PARK CITY, Utah (May 17) - The 2007 U.S. Cross Country Championships will return to the Midwest for the first time in more than a decade for the next two seasons, bringing title races for the first time to Houghton, Mich., next Jan. 3-7 and again in 2008, U.S. Nordic Director Luke Bodensteiner said.
Houghton and Michigan Tech hosted the cross country Junior Olympics last season and was chosen over two other sites bidding for the championships, he said. Disabled cross country races will also be part of the national championships races in Houghton.
"The organizers in Houghton just wrapped-up one of our best-ever Junior Olympic championships, and the response from the coaches and teams was overwhelming," Bodensteiner said. "With such a high-quality organizers waiting to bring the championships back to the Midwest, the choice was clear. They have the trails, they have the facilities, and they have a great organizing committee led by guys like Mike Abbott, Jim Tervo and Jack Jeffery...and a community eager to bring to the races to their town."
Bodensteiner said the championships would be split in two with the short distance races in Houghton and longer distance title events in the spring at a site to be determined. The 2007 schedule in Houghton:
Jan. 3 - Men's 10K and women's 5K classic technique
Jan. 4 - Men's 15K and women's 10K freestyle technique
Jan. 6 - Sprint CL
Jan. 7 - Team Sprint FR
The longer races - men's 30K pursuit (15K CL and 15K FR) and women's 15K pursuit (7.5+7.5) as well as the men's 50K and women's 30K freestyle - will be held in the spring.
The last U.S. championships in the Midwest were in January 1992 at Giants Ridge, Minn., and doubled as the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Albertville, France - coincidentally, when Bodensteiner qualified for his first Olympics (along with newly named U.S. Head Coach Pete Vordenberg). Giants Ridge also was the nationals site in 1989.