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Air Force Wins Armed Forces Cross Country Championship

Special to American Forces Press Service

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla., March 2, 1999 – The Air Force swept the three team events and two of three individual titles to dominate the 1999 Armed Forces Cross Country Championships here Feb. 19.

The meet consisted of 12-kilometer and 5-kilometer races for men and a 5-kilometer race for women.

Ens. Jonathan Clemens of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas, opened up a huge lead on the pack to win the men's 12K in 38 minutes, 38 seconds, but he was the Navy's lone bright spot at the meet.

Clocking a total time of 1 hour, 57 minutes, 50 seconds, the Air Force's 12K team title winners were 1st Lt. Clifton Volpe, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., second, 38:46; Maj. Mark Cucuzzella, Air Force Academy, fourth, 39:31; and Staff Sgt. Michael Mann, Langley AFB, Va., fifth, 39:33.

Capt. Keith Matiskella, Fort Riley, Kan., finished third in the 12K with a time of 39:02 to pace the Army to second place with a composite time of 2:00:48.

The men's 5K individual title went to 2nd Lt. Robert Dickie, Little Rock AFB, Ark., who led from the start and logged a time of 15:48. Maj. Michael Wasson of Kelly AFB, Texas, was second at 16:05. Their times gave the Air Force the 5K team award. Cpl. Armondo Tijerina, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., third at 16:24, paced the Marines to a second-place total of 33:41.

In the women's 5K, Maj. Kim Markland, Lackland AFB, Texas, set the standard with a time of 18:20 -- over a minute better than the 19:25 posted by the second-place runner, Cpl. Jennifer Mills, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. Spc. Sara Shepard, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, finished third at 19:33.

Air Force won the women's team event on the strength of its best three finishers, the other two being 2nd Lt. Vista Beasley Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., sixth; and Capt. Heidi McKenna, Air Force Academy, seventh, for a composite 58:15. The Army was second with 1:00:55.

The Air Force team sweep earned it first place overall, followed by the Army and the Marines.

The best eight 12K men, four 5K men and five women formed U.S. running squads for the International Military Sports Council Cross Country Championship at Mayport Feb. 22-27.

First Lt. Patricia Reastripo, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Calif., and 1st Lt. Katherine Forehand, North Carolina National Guard, rounded out the women's team.

The last three berths on the men's 12K team went to Capt. Brad Chvatal, Katterbach, Germany; Maj. Andrew Klemas, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.; and Staff Sgt. Gary Brimmer, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Sgt. Maj. Steven O'Connell, Fort Bliss, Texas, was the fourth member of the men's 5K team.

Moroccan runners captured the three individual medals in the 12K event and the team award; Italy and Algeria took second and third team awards, respectively. Individual 5K winners were from France, gold; Italy, silver; and Austria, bronze; Portugal won the team event followed by Italy and Morocco. Individual 5K women's winners were from Morocco, gold; Belgium, silver; and Germany, bronze; Italy won the team event followed by Morocco and Belgium.

Matiskella was the best U.S. finish in the 12K run, 43rd with a time of 41.30. Wasson ran the best U.S. showing in the men's 5K, 41st place with 16.31. Markland's 19:10 and 18th place finish was the best U.S. showing in the women's 5K.

[Based on news releases from the Armed Forces Sports Council and the Public Affairs Office at Naval Station Mayport, Fla.]

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