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Team USA senior men and women take team gold at NACAC

Team USA senior men and women take team gold at NACAC Cross Country Championships; Cheseret, Orr win individual titles

Robert Cheseret

Robert Cheseret

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Robert Cheseret (Colorado Springs, Colo.) took the individual title in the men’s 8 km and Megan Duwell (Flagstaff, Ariz.) won silver in the women’s 6 km to lead Team USA men and women to the team gold medals. Chelsea Orr (Sammamish, Wash.) won individual gold in the junior women’s 6 km to lead the U.S. to a team silver medal Saturday, at the seventh annual North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships at Queen’s Park Savannah in Trinidad.

The NACAC Championships contested races for the open men’s 8 km, open women’s 6 km, junior men’s 6 km and junior women’s 4 km. Including Team USA, 166 athletes from 20 nations competed at the 2011 NACAC Championships.

In the first race of the day, Orr ran patiently in the lead pack during the first 2 km loop before taking control of the race at about 3 km. With about 400 meters remaining, Orr held a seven second advantage over Fiona Benson of Canada with Benson trying to close the gap but Orr went on to a six second win, running 13:54. Julia Foster (Albuquerque, N.M.) was the second Team USA finisher, running 14:13 for seventh. Sarah Fakler (Phoenix, Ariz.) ran 14:43 to finish 10th and Alexis Goldsmith (Orland Park, Ill.) ran 14:52 to round out the team finisher in 12th-place.

Canada scored 15 points to take the team gold medal, Team USA scored 30 to take silver and Puerto Rico scored 61 points for the team bronze.

In the junior men’s 6 km, Clint McKelvey (Maryville, Tenn.), Jacob Sienko (Warwick, R.I.) and David Perry (Portland, Ore.) ran with the lead pack before Canada’s Ross Proudfoot, Paul Janiskowski and Connor Darlington made a break at 5 km. Proudfoot went on to the individual title, running 18:27. McKelvey finished fourth in 18:38 and Sienko and Perry ran 19:03 and 19:06 to finish eighth and tenth respectively. Jacob Benn (San Antonio, Texas) finished 15th in 19:34. Matthew McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was unable to finish due to an injury.

Canada scored 12 points to win the team gold and Team USA took the team silver medal with 37 points, Puerto Rico scored 56 for the team bronze medal.

In the senior women’s 8 km, Team USA took charge early and after the first 2 km loop, looked to be on their way to the team championship. Kathy Newberry (Ann Arbor, Mich.) — along with teammates Kim Conley (West Sacramento, Calif.), Duwell, and Allison Kieffer (Tempe, Ariz.) — ran in a tight pack with Kathryn Harrison and Dana Buchanan of Canada and Margaret Hernadez Flores of Mexico, while Kara June (Austin, Texas) was just off the pack.

Going into the final lap, the U.S. was in full control of the team race but Harrison made a break and ran to the individual title, running 20:19. Duwell made a strong run to try to catch Harrison but fell three seconds short, running 20:22 for the silver medal. Team USA took the following four places to clinch the team title with Conley taking the bronze in 20:24, Kieffer finishing fourth in 20:30 and Newberry rounding out the team score in fifth, running 20:35. June pulled away from Flores to take sixth in 20:41.

Team USA scored 14 points for the team gold medal and Canada scored 30 to win the silver medal. Host Trinidad and Tobago scored 68 points to take the bronze medal.

In the final race of the day, Team USA established its presence early with Cheseret, Craig Curley (Tucson, Ariz.), Colin Leak (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Jeremy Johnson (Albuquerque, N.M.) in the lead.

Over the next two laps, Team USA maintained its hold on the team race but the individual title was still to be decided with Canada’s Cameron Levins and Barry Britt and the Cayman Island’s Jon Rankin each taking a turn in the lead.

With about 400 meters remaining, Levins and Cheseret pulled away from the pack and Levins held a small lead. Making the final turn, with about 200 meters to go, Cheseret found one more gear to pull away for the victory, running 23:43 to Levins’ 23:46. Leak overtook Britt to take the bronze medal in 23:51 while Johnson and Curley ran 23:58 and 23:59 for fifth and sixth respectively. Jacques Sallberg (Pasadena, Calif.) steadily made his way through the pack to take seventh in 24:02.

Team USA scored 15 points for a 22 point win over Canada. Host Trinidad and Tobago scored 86 points to take the team bronze medal.