Other Sports

Kentuckian Morgan helps his team to title

Sounding more like a particular college basketball coach in Lexington, Thomas Morgan assessed his performance in Saturday's USATF National Club Cross Country Championships.

"Good and bad," the former Lexington Catholic and University of Kentucky standout said. "I kind of wanted to be a little bit higher but just had to grind it out — 10K."

Morgan, 28, crossed the finish line at Masterson Station Park in 12th place overall, timed in 30 minutes, 14 seconds, and helped ZAP Fitness win its third national championship in four years.

ZAP, headquartered in Blowing Rock, N.C., also had the individual winner in David Jankowski (29:18).

ZAP finished with 60 points. Boulder (Colo.) Running Company/adidas placed second with 92, four points ahead of International City (Calif.) Racing Team. Team Kentucky A placed 37th with 911 points and Team Kentucky B was 42nd with 1,246.

Former Western Kentucky distance ace Jef Scott, 37, led the Kentucky contingent. He placed 64th overall in 31:29.

The 12th annual meet included more than 1,000 post-collegiate runners, competing for national titles and a total prize purse of $30,000.

The Boulder Running Company/adidas women defended their team title, scoring 79 points. McMillan Elite of Flagstaff, Ariz., was runner-up with 94, followed by Asics Aggie Running Club (California) with 109.

Serena Bula of Ellisville, Mo., was individual champ, covering 6,000 meters in 20:23. Asics Aggies' Kim Conley, who graduated from California-Davis earlier this year, took second in 20:36.

With temperatures near 40 degrees and a mostly sunny sky, the weather was "about as good as it gets" for December, Morgan said. "This is perfect cross country weather."

Morgan, in his fifth year with the elite ZAP club, had home-course advantage Saturday.

"Although I've never raced this course, I've run out here quite a bit," he said. "The fans were great. I was hearing my name yelled a lot. I wanted to finish a little better, but over the last mile or so I just couldn't pick up as many people as I wanted."

Jankowski, in his first season with ZAP, finished in 29:18 to edge Josh Simpson of Morgantown, W.Va. Because Simpson was not part of a complete team, overall third-place finisher David Nightingale of ZAP scored second in the team event, timed in 29:40.

The rolling terrain of the course suited Jankowski.

"I think it worked in our favor," the Idaho native and former Oklahoma State runner said. "We train on this kind of thing all the time, with the bigger hills and things like that, so it was easy for us to adapt to this sort of course."

Earlier, masters (age 40 and up) had the course.

Laura Haefeli of Del Norte, Colo., beat defending champion Carmen Ayala-Troncoso of Austin, Texas, for the overall women's win. Troncoso won the 50-54 age group, though.

Reigning national masters marathon champion Tracy Lokken of Marquette, Mich., won the men's race in 32:14, four seconds ahead of defending champ Simon Gutierrez, from Alamoso, Colo.

Amby Burfoot, who won the 1968 Boston Marathon as a senior at Wesleyan College, was the second finisher on the men's team-champion Raritan Valley Road Runners in the 60-69 age group. Burfoot, 63, finished in 41:01, placing seventh in his age group.