National Cross Country Championships (Feb. 11th, 2012, St. Louis, MO)

Joe Gray and Claudia Copeland raced in the National Cross Country championships under extreme conditions on Saturday. St. Louis greeted the competitiors with the worst weather of the year with temperatures near 20 degrees and wind gusts of 20 mph making it difficult to breath. Joe ran a very strong race, going out with the leaders and hanging close for more than ½ of the race to finish in 11th place in a race in which the top 5 finishers were selected to represent the US at the NACAC cross country championships in Trinidad & Tobago. Claudia aslo had a similar strategy and it worked for a while as she remained in the top 15-20 for ½ of the course before her breathing problems caused her to lose ground. She finished in 26th place.

Overall, for Joe it was a great experience, knowing that he can compete at this level. It was a great experience for Claudia too and it gave her a taste of what competition at this level and it was a good learning experience.