Ammar Moussa qualifies for World XC, sets sights higher for Poland recently caught up with Ammar Moussa, Arcadia CA, to chat about his indoor appearance at the Reebok BIG mile (2nd in 4:14.13) and his 6th place finish at the USATF XC champs (24:28).  The placing qualified Ammar for the USATF XC Junior team that will be competing in Poland at the IAAF World XC Championships on March 28th.

  What have you done over the last several months to prepare for this race? 

Ammar Moussa:  Well, after cross country I was emotionally and physically spent, and I really needed a break.  I visited family overseas and really didn't think about running for a week and a half until I had my mental "fire" back.  I started training in January again, and I just put in base mileage to prepare for a longer race.  You won your state meet and were 4th at NXN.  You also won the USATF JO champs.  How did that play into your decision to run USATF XC champs?

Ammar Moussa:  I had made my decision to run the USATF XC champs at the end of the summer, and I knew as the season progressed that I would have a chance at competing for a spot on the team.  My post-season performances just solidified my commitment to running the XC champs.  Has making a world team been a goal of yours? 

Ammar Moussa:  Well, I wasn't going to Spokane if I didn't feel that I could make the world team.  It was definitely a goal to make the team and represent the U.S. at worlds.  You were 2nd at the Reebok mile in 4:14.13.  How did you successfully balance track work with the preparation for the XC race? 

Ammar Moussa:  When I was contacted by the BIG people I decided that I wasn't going to really change up my training because I had already decided to focus on USA's.  In the weeks leading up to BIG I did longer repeats just preparing strengh-wise.  I ran BIG almost entirely on base mileage.  Has any past junior qualifier contacted you with advice or encouragement?  If so who?  What did they say?

Ammar Moussa:  Chris Derrick (Junior USATF qualifier in 2009) contacted me via Facebook and congratulated me on making the team.  It was great getting to talk to such a great athlete who accomlished so much as a high schooler and continued his success on the collegiate level.  He told me that it would be a great experience and that I would never forget it.  What are your expectations for the Worlds race? 

Ammar Moussa:  I know that I have a way better performance in me than what I displayed on Saturday in Spokane.  I really want to be higher on the U.S. team and represent the U.S. to the best of my abilities.  Have you been overseas before?  Besides the racing, what are you looking forward to the most on the trip?

Ammar Moussa:  My dad is Egyptian and my mom is Moroccan so I've flown countless times to see family in their respective countries.  AI really look forward to getting to know all the great athletes that will be assembled at the meet, especially the guys like Ritz and gals like Flanagan.  What are some of your goals indoor?  Any national meets or just training for Worlds?

Ammar Moussa:  I have no plans for indoor because I'm focusing on outdoor, and because California doesn't have an indoor season.  The 3200 this year in California is going to be incredible and I'm going to need every ounce of energy I can save up to be able to compete for a title.