Seniors Aisling Cuffe and Craig Lutz proved they could run with the best talent in the world during the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain.
Cuffe, who stars for
Cornwall Central (New Windsor, N.Y.)
, was the No. 1 USA runner in the Junior Women's Division, placing 17th in 20 minutes, 15 seconds over the 6-kilometer course. Molly Grabill of Rancho Bernardo (San Diego)
finished 28th in 20:40.
Lutz, who owns two Class 5A state cross country titles at
Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas)
, paced the USA by finishing 29th with a clocking of 24:02 for the 8K race in the Junior Men's Division. Ammar Moussa of Arcadia (Calif.)
placed 32nd in 24:21.
"I was happy with my time," Cuffe told MaxPreps. "I went out too fast, but I felt a lot of other people did, too. For my first world competition, I'm happy with it. It's the experience that counts. I didn't really have a time goal, because I didn't know how the course would run. I went there hoping to get in the top 15 and be the first U.S. runner."
Cuffe noted that the weather was a little on the hot side - low 70s with a lot of sun. Lutz is used to it, but he noticed a lot of humidity, too.
Having just missed the national indoor two-mile record, Cuffe now is setting her sights on the national outdoor 3,200-meter record, which appears quite reachable. She takes Spanish in school and was happy to put it into practical use during her trip. Athletes are allowed to trade team clothing and she came home with a jacket from Great Britain.
"I hit all my goals," Lutz pointed out. "I wasn't too worried about time. I told my parents I wanted to finish in the top 30. It was a random thing; I wasn't sure how realistic it was. I also wanted to be the first U.S. finisher."
He estimates that he broke his personal record for an 8K by close to 45 seconds.
"A really big PR shows where my fitness is now. The whole experience was awesome," he said proudly. "One of the cool things was meeting kids from other countries."
Lutz came home with a Moroccan team jacket, but he – like everybody else – really had wanted a Kenyan souvenir.
"The Kenyans wanted about 100 Euros," he laughed. "They knew how popular they were."
Having never won a state track title, Lutz said he has his eyes on the 1,600 and 3,200 crowns this spring.FREEMAN WINS SPRINT DUELLake Wales (Fla.)
senior Octavious Freeman defeated defending state champion Tynia Gaither of Osceola (Kissimmee, Fla.)
in a great 100-meter dash duel during the Kowboy Invitational in Kissimmee (Fla.). She was timed in 11.42 seconds, while Gaither finished in 11:62. Freeman also defeated Gaither in the 200 with a clocking of 23.47 seconds (Gaither was timed in 23.70) and added the long jump title with a leap of 17 feet, 9½ inches. In addition, Freeman won the 100 (11:42) and 200 (23.42) during the Bob Hayes Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. HIGH JUMPERS SOARSouthmont (Crawfordsville, Ind.)
junior Jonathon Christensen leaped 7-2½ to win the high jump during the Sagamore Conference meet at Crawfordsville, Ind.
* Justin Fondren of Oxford (Miss.)
won the high jump by clearing 7-1 during the Oxford (Miss.) Invitational.
* An outstanding girls high jump duel developed during the Ohio Indoor State Meet at Akron. Hoover (North Canton, Ohio)
junior Maddie Morrow placed first with an outstanding 5-11 effort, while Taylor Burke of Medina (Ohio)
was a close second at 5-10. During the same meet, Olentangy Liberty (Powell, Ohio)
senior Joey Uhle defeated twin brother Chris in the pole vault by clearing an even 17 feet. Chris, who cleared 16 feet, also was second in the 800 with a time of 1:54.76.ARMAN HALL WINS 2 DUELS St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
junior Arman Hall nipped Washington (Miami)
senior Dedric Dukes in a pair of sizzling races during the Bob Hayes Invitational in Jacksonville, Fla. Hall won the 400 by an eyelash in 46.41. Hall also nipped Dukes in the 200 with a clocking of 20.87. Northwestern (Miami)
sophomore Artie Burns swept the hurdles, winning the 110 hurdles race in 13.66 and the 300 hurdles race in 36.96. Orange Park (Fla.)
senior Karl Barr captured the long jump with a 24-8 effort.