DURHAM, N.C. Ė Sophomore Emily Schwitzer and freshman Suejin Ahn are set to compete in the 2009 USA Cross Country Championships this Sat., Feb. 7 in Dearborn, Md. Ahn will run in the 6K junior race set for 11:45 a.m., while Schwitzer will run in the 8K senior race at 1:15 p.m.
The races will take place at the Agricultural History Farm Park. The top six runners in each race will earn a spot at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 28, in Amman, Jordan.
Schwitzer has experience on this stage before, as she competed in last year’s junior race and earned a fifth-place finish to advance to the World Championships in Scotland. There, she was team USA’s second finisher in 28th place overall, with a personal-best 6K time of 21:19. In this year’s senior race, Schwitzer will get the chance to gain elite level racing experience as she will face some of the nation’s top harriers, including several who competed in the Beijing Olympics last summer.
The Blue Devil cross country program also has ties to two other runners who advanced to the World Championships during their Duke careers. Maddie McKeever made the cut her freshman year, traveling to race in Japan in Feb. 2006, while Clara Horowitz, who holds the Duke record in the 5,000-meters on the track, won the USA Championships and advanced to the World Championships in Switzerland in Feb. 2003.
Ahn was named a Co-Freshman of the Year for the women’s cross country program this season, with her highlight coming in a second-place for the Blue Devils at the ACC Championships. Ahn then followed that up by also scoring at the NCAA Southeast Regional, taking 40th of 231 there.
Schwitzer was Duke’s second runner at the Roy Griak Invitational and the Penn State Invitational during the regular season, before taking first for the Blue Devils and 18th overall at the ACC Championships with a time of 21:26. She was also second for Duke at the NCAA Southeast Regional in 29th place with a time of 21:50.
Please see the attached link for more information on the USA Cross Country Championships.