Pan American Racewalk Cup-20 km Results

Media contact: Al Heppner
Phone: 619-410-1181
North American Racewalking Foundation
October 27, 2001
For immediate release

Lopez, Sanchez lead Mexican sweeps

Cuenca, Ecuador-Facing a city of fans cheering against him, Mexico's
Alejandro Lopez pulled away from the hometown favorite and Olympic Champion
Jefferson Perez to win the 10th Pan American Racewalk Cup 20 km (12.4 miles)
in a time of 1 hour, 25 minutes, 25 seconds. In the women's 20 km, Guadalupe
Sanchez of Mexico, pulled away from her teammate for the victory in 1:38:03
as Mexico won both team titles. Jill Zenner (1:48:24) and Sean Albert
(1:33:22) paced the US teams to second and third place finishes,
respectively.

In the men's race, a pack of 9 walkers passed through the 5 km in 21:51,
including Perez. Lopez and teammate Daniel Garcia lurked closely at 21:54.
Albert was through at 22:23, followed by teammates John Nunn (23:43), Philip
Dunn (24:03), and Al Heppner (24:12).

"I went out with the lead pack for 3 km, but they were going a little faster
than I wanted, so I backed off," Albert said.

By 10 km the lead pack was down to six, led by Lopez in 43:23. Albert was
45:44; trailing him were Nunn (47:33) and Dunn (48:53). Heppner was DQ'd just
before the 10 km mark.

With the 8,100-foot altitude shutting many walkers down, the lead pack had
dwindled to just Lopez, Garcia, and Perez by 15 km (1:04:20). However, Mexico
used team tactics to wear down Perez by letting their second-tier walkers
lead the pack early on. The American order was still Albert (1:09:22), Nunn
(1:12:05), and Dunn (1:13:39).

Despite constant chants of "Ecuador, Ecuador" from the thousands of
spectators who turned out to cheer their hero, Lopez and Garcia pulled away
from Perez over final 4 km. The rest of the exuberant Mexican Team began
screaming "Mexico, Mexico" from the sidelines as the Cuencan crown lost their
momentum along with Perez.

Lopez pulled away from Garcia on the final lap and Garcia actually crossed
the finish line in second, but was disqualified shortly thereafter. That
moved Perez up to second (1:26:21) and yet another Mexican, Jesus Sanchez,
into third (1:28:30). Albert (seventh) slowed the last 3 km with no one near
him and two red cards on the board.

"I got my second red card at 13 km, but I stayed aggressive through 17 km. I
was hoping to go a little faster, but the (high) altitude was tough," Albert
said.

Nunn (eighth) was the only American to walk a clean race (no cautions or red
cards) for which he had no real explanation.

"I've just never had problems with my technique. It's just natural I guess."

Nunn had struggled to regain his fitness after coming out of basic training
in May, but stepped up big time in his first international competition at the
senior level.

"I know that others might be faster, but the judging was strict here. If I
stay within myself, I know I'll do better next year."

Dunn ended up eleventh (1:38:20).

Six walkers were within three seconds of the Mexico's Guadalupe and Rosario
Sanchez (25:08) at the 5 km mark. Jill Zenner led the US contingent (25:29),
followed by Heidi Hauch (28:36). Deb Huberty and Sam Cohen (29:47) worked
together for the first half of the race.

By 10 km, it was still a five-woman race (50:12), including four Mexicans and
Geovanna Irusta from Bolivia. Zenner passed through in (51:42), then Hauch
(58:26) with Huberty and Cohen at 1:00:39.

With Irusta picking up a second red card, Guadalupe Sanchez and teammate
Victoria Palacios took advantage. Passing through 15 km in 1:14:32, they had
opened up a twelve-second gap on Irusta. Meanwhile, Zenner (1:19:12) had
moved up from eighth to sixth, while Hauch was disqualified shortly before 11
km. Huberty (1:31:19) had pulled away from Cohen (1:32:20).

Sanchez pulled away from Palacios (1:38:27) on the last lap, with Irusta
finishing third (1:40:23). Zenner, after picking up a second red card, fell
back to eighth.

"Jill's definitely a gamer, but she's physically tired and needs a break,"
said her coach, Vince Peters.

The second half of Zenner's season included the World Championships in
Edmonton, Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, before coming to Ecuador.

Huberty finished twelfth (2:02:47) and Cohen thirteenth (2:05:33). Mexico
took five out the first six spots to defend their team title from last year.
The US, who won the Pan Am Cup in 1998, took second despite not having four
out of their top five walkers from nationals who declined for various
reasons.

The Pan Am Cup is a team competition encompassing all the countries from the
Western Hemisphere. The team scores are calculated by adding up the places of
the top three finishers from each country. The next Pan Am Cup is scheduled
for 2003 with the site to be determined.

10th Pan-Am Cup Results
Men's 20 km Top 10 Finishers

PL   Name                           Country       Time
1     Alejandro Lopez             Mexico       1:25:25
2     Jefferson Perez              Ecuador      1:26:21
3     Jesus Sanchez              Mexico       1:28:30
4     Claudio Vargas              Mexico       1:29:37
5     Cristian Munoz              Chile           1:30:00
6     Fausto Quinde               Ecuador      1:30:06
7     Sean Albert                   USA           1:33:22
8     John Nunn                     USA           1:36:36
9     Marco Taype                 Peru           1:37:13
10   Hugo Aros                     Chile           1:37:33

Other US finishers
11   Philip Dunn                    USA           1:38:20
       Al Heppner                    USA           DQ

21 starters, 7 DQ's

Women's 20 km Top Ten Finishers    

1     Guadalupe Sanchez       Mexico       1:38:03
2     Victoria Palacios           Mexico        1:38:27
3     Geovanna Irusta             Bolivia        1:40:23
4     Francisca Martinez        Mexico        1:40:53
5     Rosario Sanchez           Mexico        1:42:33
6     Mara Ibanez                  Mexico        1:45:53
7     Cristina Bohorquez        Colombia     1:46:55
8     Gianetti Senabonfim       Brazil         1:48:13
9     Jill Zenner                     USA            1:48:24
10   Tania Regina Spindler     Brazil         1:52:50

Other US finishers
12   Deb Huberty                  USA           2:02:47
13   Sam Cohen                   USA           2:05:33
       Heidi Hauch                USA            DQ

17 starters, 2 DQ's, 1 DNF

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