DEARBORN, Md. Ė Duke cross country runners Suejin Ahn, a freshman, and Emily Schwitzer, a sophomore, competed Saturday afternoon in the 2009 USA Cross Country Championships at the Agricultural History Farm Park in Dearborn, Md.
“It was definitely a good experience for both of them,” said assistant coach Liz Wort. “To compete against some of the best runners in the country is great, and for Emily to go out in the senior race at a longer distance than she’s used to against that competition was great for her. The course was very hilly and muddy, so they both did really well toughing it out today.”
Schwitzer finished 21st in the women’s open 8K race with a time of 29:26. She finished in the top half of a field of 59 runners that included some of the nation’s top collegiate athletes as well as several professional harriers Ė many of whom competed last summer in the Beijing Olympics. The 8K was the longest distance for Schwitzer at the collegiate level.
Ahn raced in the 6K junior event, taking 14th overall in 22:15. Though only the top six finishers in each race automatically qualify for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 28, in Amman, Jordan, Ahn was one of the top 15 runners to be pooled for the remaining bids to the race, or a spot in the North America, Central America, and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships March 7 in Orlando, Fla.