Apr 11, 2006

Jordan returns from Japan

by David Thompson

On Sunday, April 2, 98 runners lined up to take their starting positions for the junior men’s 8k race, at the international cross-country championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Among them was Jordan McDougal, a freshman from Liberty University. 

McDougal’s brother Josh is well known for his exploits in the cross-country world, but lately his younger brother has been making a name for himself and building quite a reputation. McDougal secured his place at the international competition by finishing fifth at the national competition. The top six runners went on to Japan. 

For McDougal, this was the first international championship meet of his career. Even so, finishing 52 with a time of 26:26, was a disappointment for him. He had stated before the race that he was hoping to finish “in the top twenty.” 

Even with the disappointing individual finish, McDougal helped the U.S. team to a ninth-place finish over all. The scores for the race are calculated by adding the finishing place numbers of the top four competitors from each team, then ranking them from the fewest number of points to the greatest. With finishers in 36th, 41st, 49th, and 52nd, the US came out with a total score of 178. 

Kenya won the competition, taking the race for the seventh straight year. Kenya provided the first and second place winners in Mangata Kimai Ndiwa (23:53) and Leonard Patrick Komon (23:54), who broke away at the last minute to overtake Tariku Bekele (23:56) from Ethiopia. Ndiwa and Komon were within the front four runners beginning the fourth lap of the race, and overtook the lead when Bekele pushed out in front, only to be slowed substantially by the wind. Ndiwa and Komon then teamworked the final hundred meters to win the race and give the gold to Kenya. 

In order, the US finishers were Kiel Uhl (36), Andrew Bumbalough (41), Scott MacPherson (49), Jordan McDougal (52), and Chris Eaton (60). Chris Barnicle did not finish the race due to a cramp in his leg. The medaling teams in order were Kenya, followed by Ethiopia, with Eritrea taking third place. 

Concerning his plans after the race, McDougal told Runner’s World Magazine that he planned, “Just to continue hard training and make (NCAA) regionals and hopefully nationals, then continue my season and hopefully go to Worlds (Junior Championships in China) again in track.” 

Despite his middle-of-the-road finish, McDougal has come onto the international screen, and it will be interesting to see what else comes from the younger McDougal, finally coming into his own on the world cross-country scene, has to offer.

Contact David Thompson at dbthompson@liberty.edu.

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