By David Yon
First, a little explanation about Junior Championship Competition is probably in order. Today’s Junior Champions are tomorrow’s Olympians and World Cross Country Championship participants. To compete in this year’s Junior Championships you can not turn 20 years of age before the end of 2004. So the competition involves more than just high school athletes, college freshmen for example, and the top six finishers in each race compete at the worlds. The juniors will compete along with the World Cross Country Champions in Brussels, Belgium this year and it is quite an honor.
On Saturday the US selected its team in Indianapolis for the World Championships this weekend. In the senior’s men race it was folks like Bob Kennedy, Jorge Torres and Alan Webb among the qualifiers. In the Junior race USATF reported that a huge pack, including Ryan, hung together at the 2K mark (6:04) and stayed together through the 4K point (12:19). Temperatures were in the 20’s with snowy conditions. By 6K (18:23) the lead pack was down to three – Ryan Deak, Pete Janson (University of Colorado) and Joshua McDougal – with another group right behind. Over the final 2K Janson sprinted to the win in 24:14.2, while Ryan out dueled Trent Hoerr (University of Illinois) 24:24.3 to 24:14.4 for second. Hopefully, he looked good leaning across the line in his GWTC singlet (with something really warm underneath, I hope).
The following quotation appeared from Ryan on the USATF web site: http://www.usatf.org/news/showRelease.asp?article=/news/releases/2004-02-08.xml
Ryan Deak, Smoky Hills HS, Aurora CO (2nd place)-“It feels awesome to be one of the few high schoolers on the national team! All the hard work and training and dedication makes going to world championships worthwhile. This will be my first time going to Europe, and it will be an experience of a lifetime. My plan was to stay with the leaders. I didn’t want the pack to get away and get stuck in 7th or 8th place. I’m amazed that I felt this good today.”
Deak, a senior at Smoky Hills HS in Aurora, CO., was born July 31, 1985 in Tallahassee, FL.