Ortiz and Stevens selected for U.S. Mountain Running Team | VailDaily.com

Ortiz and Stevens selected for U.S. Mountain Running Team

Approximately 350 athletes and officials from 30 countries are expected to converge on Wellington, New Zealand, for the 21st annual World Mountain Running Trophy. Among them will be two local runners from the Vail Valley. Anita Ortiz and Jonathan Stevens have been selected to the 2005 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. They will travel with the U.S. Team to Wellington in late September to compete in the grueling World Mountain Running Trophy race, the designated world championships for mountain running.Eagle resident Anita Ortiz, 41, earned a spot on the senior women’s squad as an automatic qualifier with her win at the Teva Devil’s Trail Race on July 16 in Merrimac, Wisc., which was one of this year’s Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team selection races. Ortiz brings an impressive resume to her fourth Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. She is a two-time USATF Mountain Runner of the Year (2002 and 2003). Ortiz has been the top American at each of the previous three WMRT events in which she has participated (11th in 2002, 8th in 2003, 11th in 2004), and she is a four-time winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent. She was the overall winner of the WMRA World Masters Mountain Running Championships the week before the WMRT in 2004. She teaches media arts at Eagle Valley Elementary and has four children.Fifteen-year-old Jonathan Stevens is the youngest runner to represent the United States on the Teva U.S. Junior Men’s Mountain Running Team. Athletes must be 16, but not yet 20 in the year of competition to compete as juniors. Stevens turns 16 at the end of November. He earned his spot on the team based on his running resume which includes a second-place overall finish at the Teva Games 5K Trail Run, a third-place overall finish at the Teva 8K Trail Run, and a fifth-place overall finish at the Teva 10K Berry picker Trail Run all held on Vail Mountain. In addition, as an up and coming trail runner, Stevens has had numerous other overall wins and age group wins in various races this summer. As a freshman last year at Battle Mountain High School, Stevens lettered in cross country, ice hockey and track. He qualified for the Colorado High School State Championships in all three sports and was on the honor roll with a 3.58 GPA. Stevens will miss Battle Mountain’s home cross country meet at Beaver Creek, which will be run while he is in New Zealand. Huskies cross country coach Rob Parish, has given Stevens an excused absence, on the condition that he has a respectable showing against the best mountain runners in the world.Vail, Colorado

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