Feb. 20, 2011
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad - A fantastic first year became all the sweeter today for Husky freshman Chelsea Orr, as the local product stood atop the podium for Team USA at the seventh annual North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships at Queen's Park Savannah in Trinidad. Orr earned the individual gold medal in the junior women's race to lead the U.S. to the silver team medal.
The NACAC Championships contested races for the open men's 8 km, open women's 6 km, junior men's 6 km and junior women's 4 km. Including Team USA, 166 athletes from 20 nations competed at the 2011 NACAC Championships.
In the first race of the day, Orr ran patiently in the lead pack during the first 2 km loop before taking control of the race at about 3 km. With about 400 meters remaining, Orr held a seven second advantage over Fiona Benson of Canada with Benson trying to close the gap but Orr went on to a six second win, running 13:54. Julia Foster (Albuquerque, N.M.) was the second Team USA finisher, running 14:13 for seventh.
Canada scored 15 points to take the team gold medal, Team USA scored 30 to take silver and Puerto Rico scored 61 points for the team bronze.
Orr, who led Eastlake High of Sammamish to back-to-back Washington state cross country titles her junior and senior years, has taken major strides in her short time at UW. She redshirted the fall cross country season, but then opened eyes with a 4:47.51 mile time at the UW Invitational early in the indoor track season. Just last week she ran the No. 6 indoor 3k time in school history, clocking 9:26.73. That followed a seventh-place finish in the U.S. Junior Cross Country Championships in San Diego which earned her the NACAC roster spot.