Harper runs for the US placing 24th overall leading the US team to a fourth place finish.
BRUSSELS, Belgium (March 22,2004) -- BYU Freshman Amber Harper led the USA Junior Women's Cross Country team to fourth place overall, Saturday at the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium.
Harper, a native of Orem, Utah, raced in muddy conditions to take 24th place, first for team USA, in 21:58.
Saturday's races at Ossegem Park in Laken Brussels were held under cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 50s. Competitors also had to deal with breezy conditions with a steady drizzle, along with an occasional downpour. The moisture caused the course to become wet and slippery with numerous patches of mud.
"We all stuck together and it was awesome," Harper said after her race. "I felt good and I just went. It was hard in the wind, though. It was a fun race. It was really muddy, but not as muddy as I thought it would be."
Team USA's junior women's team took to the 8K course first on Saturday and equaled its best ever placing at the World Cross Country Championships by finishing fourth in the team competition with 120 points. Ethiopia grabbed the top four places in winning the team competition with 10 points. Kenya was the runner-up with 36 points, with Japan third with 67 points. Team USA's junior women also placed fourth in 1995 in Durham, England, and in 2003 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"There were a lot of people yelling at us that Japan was the team right in front of us," Harper said. "I know I passed one of their gals towards the end."
The U.S. was led by Amber Harper (Provo, Utah), who placed 24th (21:58), followed by Alison Costello (Los Angeles, Calif.) in 30th (22:10) and Amanda Trotter (Palo Alto, Calif.) in 31st (22:11). Jennifer Barringer (Oveido, Florida) was 35th (22:19) with Trotter's twin sister Katy (Palo Alto, Calif.) 36th (22:20) and Brittany Brockman (Waco, Texas) 60th (23:04).