March 24, 2013
BYDGOSZCZ, Poland - Former Stanford stars Chris Derrick and Elliott Heath helped the United States to its best finish since 1984 and freshman Thomas Graham exceled in the junior race to represent the Cardinal well at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Sunday.
Derrick placed 10th and Heath 30th to help the U.S. (50 points) to the silver medal, ahead of the third-place Kenyans (52) and trailing only Ethiopia (38) in the men's senior race.
Graham, a native of Cary, N.C., who is redshirting at Stanford this season in cross country and track and field, was 40th in the men's junior race, running much of the way with a bloody nose. He helped the U.S. to fourth place.
Graham clocked 23:27 over the 8-kilometer (4.97-mile) course and was the fifth U.S. finisher. The U.S. scored 106 points. Ethiopia, led by winner Hagos Gebrihwet's 21:04, won the junior title with 23, followed by Kenya at 26 and Morocco with 65.
Derrick '12, a 14-time All-America at Stanford, was second among Americans, running 33:23 over the six-lap 12K (7.46-mile) course. Along with sixth-place finisher Ben True, the U.S. placed two runners in the top 10 for the first time since 1986.
"It was really hard," said Derrick, the reigning U.S. champion, to usatf.org. "I felt good for the first two laps, and started to push a little bit. It might have been the cold, but I really couldn't see that well over the last few laps. I knew Ben was up there, and that I needed to get in the top 10 if we were to have a shot at a medal."
Heath '11, a nine-time All-America, was timed in 34:11.
"I don't think I quite realize what an accomplishment this is," he said to usatf.org. "We had six guys in the top 35, and in the past few years, it seems that's where our first guy is."
Kenya's Japhet Kipyegon won the men's senior title in 32:45 and Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet won the men's junior race in 21:04.
Kenya swept the team titles in the women's races, scoring 19 points in the 8K senior race and 14 in the 6K junior. The U.S. placed fourth (90) and sixth (105), respectively.
Kenya's Emily Chebet won the senior title in 24:24 and Kenya's Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon won the 6K (3.73-mile) junior race in 17:51.