by Graeme Shirley
CHULA VISTA, Calif. - (October 27, 2002) - In a competition held less than ten miles from the United States-Mexico border, the Mexican team raced to a popular victory in the North American 5K Team Championships.
Teams from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. met in a unique format which used cross country scoring to rank the teams. Each country was represented by a men's team and a women's team of three runners each. The top two runners for each sex determined total scores.
The race was conducted on a 2 3/4 lap loop course so that the runners were visible to spectators three times. Men and women started together.
As the men came by the finish line the second time, Mexico's Teodoro Vega put on a finishing kick. His apparent miscount of laps caused him to fade to seventh place (14:23). On the final loop, the other Mexican runners overcame Vega's mistake as David Galvan raced to a 13:47 win and Julio Valle took fifth (14:05). Second and fourth places went to the U.S.'s Bolota Asmerom (13:54) and Clint Wells (14:01) to match the Mexican's six points for the men. Kevin Sullivan was the only bright spot for Canada's men as he took third (14:00).
A minute later, as the women turned the corner into the final straightaway, Dulce Rodriguez (15:30) and Adriana Fernandez (15:36) were running first and third, positions which they held to the finish in front of a cheering crowd. The top U.S. runners, Sylvia Mosqueda (15:38) and Libbie Hickman (15:49) finished fourth and sixth. Emilie Mondor (15:32) took second for Canada, but, as on the men's side, the remaining Canadians took the last two spots.
The final score (low total wins) was Mexico 10, United States 16, and Canada 21.
The Championships were the featured event at the 14th Annual Arturo Barrios 5K & 10K.
The winners of the 10K were defending champion Nazario Romero (30:28), and Kathy Kasischke (36:26). Two-time defending champion Tom Kloos (14:37) and E. Castillo Aripez (18:29) won the people's 5K race.
Barrios remains the only Mexican to have held a world record. His 1989 27:08.23 for 10,000 meters stood for 4 years. He still holds the marks for 20,000 meters (56:55.6) and 1 hour (21.101 kilometers), set in 1991.
Race results are at Elite Racing. The team championship will be televised on Fox Sports November 8 at 3:00 p.m., and again November 11 at 11:30 a.m. It will also be shown frequently on COX San Diego 4.