February 17, 2008

Fernandez continues strong run

Riverbank High's German Fernandez added another top finish to his résumé Saturday.

Running unattached, the state Division IV high school champ won the Junior Men's division out of 100 competitors at the USA Cross Country Championships at San Diego's Mission Bay Park. He outkicked Ryan Sheridan of Iona College in Melville, N.Y., to win the 8-kilometer (4.96 miles) event in 24 minutes, 18 seconds.

Sheridan was just a step behind at 24:19. Riverbank coach Bruce Edwards said Fernandez and Sheridan matched each other "stride for stride" the last 1,000 meters.

The top six finishers earn trips to Edinburgh, Scotland, for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on March 30.

Dathan Ritzenheim won the men's 12-kilometer race in 35:03, 26 second faster than runner-up Jorge Torres. Shalane Flanagan took the lead at the outset of the 8K women's open race and finished in 25:26, with Renee Metiver second in 26:36.

The 2008 USA Cross Country Championships will be televised next Sunday on ESPN2 at 5 p.m.

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