Saturday, December 20, 2014

Recap of USA National Masters Club Cross Country Championship--Men's Teams-- at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA on Dec. 13 2014

December 19 2014. Recap of 2014 National Masters Club Cross Championship--Men's Teams.

The big daddy of professional cross country, the USA Masters Club Cross Championships determine bragging rights among the different clubs. This is also the final stop on the USATF Masters racing circuit. In 2014 there were 10 races, 7 on the roads at distances from 1 mile to the Marathon, plus 3 cross country races at distances for the women from 5K to 6K and for the men from 5K to 10K. That meant this was also the last race to get additional points for the Team Grand Prix contest and for the Individual Grand Prix (conducted for the first time this year).

The Championship was held at the historic Lehigh University Cross Country course in Bethlehem, PA, past host to NCAA Division I XC championships and regular host of the large Paul Short Run. . Considering it was the middle of December in the foothills of the Alleghenies, it was a good day for cross country. Most runners opted for gloves and many had knit hats. Although it was overcast, no snow fell and there was none on the ground. Parts of the course were muddy, however, from a snowfall in midweek.

Because it is the Club Championships, first focus will be on the clubs. After that there will be a posting on the individual results. And this posting is for the Men's Teams; women's teams were covered in the previous post.

Men's teams. The masters men, who were running 10 kilometers, were the 2nd race of that chilly day in mid-December. In the men's races,for the 40+, 50+, and 60+ runners, the team score is determined by adding up the finishing places of the first five team runners. Each team may declare up to 9 runners, with the 6th through 9th runners displacing any of the top 5 runners of another team that they come in ahead of. Unattached runners and runners from incomplete teams are removed from the team scoring. All of the age groups run together so it can be quite a tangle for the timers to unravel in figuring out all of the different scores.

At the end of the race, 595 men had completed the race, with the first arriving 31:59 seconds after the starting gun went off, and the last runner, an 80 year old athlete, finishing over an hour later. The uneven terrain and uncertain course conditions with respect to softness and muddy stretches make a 10K XC race a much more difficult test for any runner, and doubly so for the older masters athlete. Hat's off to all of these remarkable masters athletes!



Men 40+ Teams.

Once the starting gun went off, Greg Mitchell of the Bowerman Track Club [Portland OR] went to the front to take an early lead, with his teammates close behind. At first he was simply a leader among equals with a small pack running easily right behind his lead. Other contending teams at this stage include Team Pearl Izumi-MidAtlantic, and the Atlanta Track Club.
150 meters into the race, Greg Mitchell (far left) eases into the lead. Other team members are behind and to his left. Team Pearl Izumi-Mid Atlantic is in the light blue singlets to the right of the picture and the Atlanta Track Club, in red, is on the far right of the picture. At the USA Masters Club XC Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
Runners like Alan Jackson of the Asics Aggies Running Club [Northern California], Alan Black [Atlanta Track Club], Dave Slivinski of Team Pearl Izumi-Mid Atlantic [New Jersey], Chris Magill of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA), Phillippe Rolly of the Baltimore Washington Athletic Club, Craig Greenslit of the Boulder Running Company [Colorado], and John Gardiner of Cal Coast [Southern California]were tucked in behind Mitchell for the first portion of the race. 
Mitchell leading the pack, with Greenslit (1357) and Philippe Rolly (black singlet to Mitchell's left), and then stretching out to the left of the picture, it is David Allison of Phoenix Free Soles, John Gardiner (1440), Slavinski (light blue behind Gardiner), and Black (far left of picture) in early stages of National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
As Mitchell was already a 4-time national champion this year, with three on the road at distances from 5 K to 15K and at the 8 km USA XC championships, he was certainly the favorite and runners were content to tuck in as long as they could.  After a bit, Mitchell decided to up the cadence a bit and started to develop a gap.
Mitchell opening up a gap on Slavinski (light blue singlet) and Gardiner (dark blue singlet) mid-race at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
Shortly thereafter the main pack started to break up and stretch out.
Chase pack behind Mitchell and Slavinski of Gardiner (1440) and Jackson (1213), with Jackson's Asics Aggie teammate, Jaime Heilpern (visible behind Gardiner's elbow, and back to the left of the picture, Black (Atlanta's red singlet) at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
Once the gap was established, Mitchell built on it and did not let up until he was at the finishing line, winning comfortably by 27 seconds to nail down the first place that 
Greg Mitchell, crossing the line to take first place for the Bowerman TC at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
Bowerman hoped would be the basis for a victory.
Coming out of the woods for the last time, Black had passed Slavinski (green shoes) and Jackson (in black) to move into second place at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
Black, Jackson, and Slavinski fought hard for the next three places. Jackson  had a strong kick to establish a gap over Black and Slavinski. Then, with the finish line in sight, Black got his second, or perhaps third wind to kick out away from Slavinski and give Jackson a bit of a worry. But in the end, Jackson held on for an Asics Aggie 2nd place,  
Alan Jackson takes second for the Asics Aggies at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

Black got 3rd for Atlanta, 1.5 seconds behind,
Black is glad this one is over as he rallies for a strong 3rd place showing for the Atlanta TC at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

and Slavinski 4th, another 2 seconds back for Team Pearl Izumi-Mid Atlantic. 
Dave Slavinski, finishing in 4th place for Team Pearl Izumi-MidAtlanticat the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014
  Those four teams, along with the BAA, would comprise the top five teams, but in what order?

Chris Magill (BAA), in 5th place, leading two of Mitchell's Bowerman TC teammates, John Howell (gray hat) and Ahrlin Bauman (black hat), as they head into the final portion of the course at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.


John Howell and Ahrlin Bauman would come home in 5th and 6th to give Bowerman a strong start towards a championship. Bowerman had 12 points from their top 3 runners but runners 4 and 5 were still out on the course.
John Howell (1384) and Ahrlin Bauman (1376) outkick Chris Magill (yellow singlet) to take 5th and 6th for the Bowerman TC at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
And nothing is ever that easy or clear cut in XC! Magill took 7th for the BAA and two of his teammates, Peter Hammer (11th), and Mike Galoob (12th) would come across the line before the next Bowerman TC runner. That gave the BAA 30 points for their top 3 runners.

Mike Galoob of the BAA and his teammate, Peter Hammer (in the yellow singlet in the background) head into the last part of the course and top 15 finishes at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

And two of Alan Black's teammates from the Atlanta TC, Chad Newton (10th), and Kristian Blaich (13th) would also cross the finish line before Bowerman's 4th runner
Chad Newton takes 11th place for Atlanta at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
was in so there was still hope.
Kristian Blaich moves Atlanta into 2nd with this 13th place finish at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
Atlanta had only 26 points from their top 3 runners, to edge in front of the BAA and stay within sight of Bowerman.  And Malcolm Campbell of Atlanta was only three seconds behind his teammate, Blaich. Unfortunately for Atlanta, the one runner who
Despite a terrific finishing drive by Malcolm Campbell, of Atlanta, Oscar Bauman is just able to hold onto 16th place for Bowerman at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
slipped into that 3 second gap was Oscar Bauman of Bowerman who took the 14th place ahead of Campbell's 15th.

But Atlanta was not ready to concede the victory to Bowerman yet. Eric Stabb finished in 18th place to give Atlanta the first complete team score at 59 points.
Eric Stabb, driving hard into the last part of the course holds on to finish in 18th place, giving Atlanta the first complete team score at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

That set the standard. Bowerman's 5th runner, Joshua Gordon, still out on the course, needed to finish in 32nd place or better to give Bowerman the victory. There was some suspense as the 6th runner from Atlanta, Thomas Carroll crossed the line and then the BAA's 4th runner, Keven O'Neill along with two runners from other teams. But in the end, Gordon had more than enough gas in the tank to finish in 23rd place and give Bowerman the team victory by 10 points over Atlanta. 
Joseph Gordon (1381) has almost enough to catch Keven O'Neil of the BAA. O'Neil holds onto the 22nd spot but Gordon's 23rd place finish clinches the BowermanTC victory with 49 points at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

At that point, the BAA had 3rd place pretty well locked up. Forty seconds later it was official when Harry Stants finished in 39th place.
Harry Stants kicks to the finish ahead of Francis Burdett of the Greater Springfield Harriers and Kenneth Barbee of Greater Philadelphia to give the BAA its 5th scorer and the final spot on the podium at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
 That gave the BAA a complete 5-runner team in and 91 points on the board. No other team could now break 100 points. The podium was complete.

But there was a terrific battle for 4th through 6th place that will go largely unsung except to note that Team Pearl Izumi got the Middle Atlantic bragging rights as they defeated the Baltimore Washington Athletic Club by a mere 5 points, 174 to 179. And were they ever close; their 4th runners and their 5th runners were separated by only a second each. You would think they were so tight no other team could fit in between them! But not so--finishing right between them, the Asics Aggies, with 177 points were able to bring a top five finish back to the West Coast with them.

Final Podium for Men's 40+ race:
1. Bowerman Track Club                          49
2. Atlanta Track Club                                59 
3. Boston Athletic Association                  91

Tightest Pack. And now for the tightest pack novelty award. Which team in the 40+ division had the least time between first and fifth place finishers?Let's look on the podium first. Bowerman had a span of 1:45; Atlanta 1:04; and the B.A.A. 1:34. Can any other team beat those?Baltimore Washington can at least beat Bowerman with a 1:37. The Central Mass Striders also had a span of 1:37. But the Central Park almost caught Atlanta with a 1:09 span. 

So the final order of the tight pack clubs is:  
Atlanta Track Club [1:04]     Central Park Track Club [1:09]     Boston Athletic Association [1:34] _________________________________________________________________   

Men 50+ Teams.

It looked like the two west coast teams, Cal Coast and  Club Northwest had the strongest teams on paper. Playmakers Elite/New Balance of Lansing, Michigan and the Genesee Valley Harriers of greater Rochester NY, have
150 meters into the race and Club Northwest's 50+ team, in the orange singlets, is off with a great starting pack, stretching from Lance Logan (1559) on the left to Joe Sheeran on the right, at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

as strong 50+ teams as they have had in recent years, but they might not be quite strong enough to hang with the west coast guys. When the gun sounded, Club Northwest got off to a great start, running up on the left side, outside the main pack. That way they got through the early sprint with their pack pretty well intact. Cal Coast, in the meantime, was biding their time in the middle of the pack, waiting to work their way up through the faster 50+ runners and the mid-pack 40+ runners.
Eric Stuber (dark hat) and Ruben Henderson (gray hat) of the Playmakers Elite 50+ team got out of the starting area in good shape, running well up into the 40+ part of the pack. At the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
But apparently Club Northwest got caught a bit as the pack funneled in  between a set
Alan Evans of Genesee is well placed out of the start, with Daniel Dixon of Playmakers a few strides back at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

of trees a couple of hundred meters out. In any case by the time they got to the 1

Pete Magill [1444], the outstanding Cal Coast masters runner, had established a small lead on the Club Northwest runners in their orange singlets ranged out back well behind him, at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
kilometer mark, they were a bit behind the main runners from Playmakers Elite, Cal Coast, and the Genesee team. The nice thing about a 10K cross country race, though, is that there is time to make up ground once the pack
Stuber of Playmakers running, in mid-race, with a pack of 40+ runners including Rob Arsenault of Cal Coast (blue), Peter Keating [1305], and Dean Thomas [1516] at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

thins out a bit after the first 2-3 kilometers.
Genesee's 1-2 punch of Mike Nier [1801] and Alan Evans [1787] (just visible to Nier's left in th emaroon Genesee singlet) mid-race at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.


Cal Coast and Club Northwest were both able to move up.
Two Cal Coast runners, David Olds (left) and Pete Magill (right) moving up through the pack of 40+ runners in the middle of the race. Club Northwest's Sheeran (orange singlet) is just visible, keeping contact at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.


By the later stages of the race, things had shifted a bit. The Playmaker's pack had
Stuber (Playmakers) holding on up front with Nier (maroon singlet), Magill (blue) and Sheeran (orange) pounding the course in pursuit at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

broken up but Eric Stuber was holding a top spot in front but Genesee's Nier, Cal Coast's Magill and Club Northwest's Sheeran were closing in. By the end, Stuber had run the gutsy race of putting himself out there with a chance for an incredible race. Although he was not able to hold it until the end he was a great lead runner for Playmakers, getting a 7th place score to give them a good start. Among the contending teams, Pete Magill was the star of the show, racing strongly over the last portion of the course to bring home 3rd place scoring points for Cal Coast.
Pete Magill, closing in on the finishing line next to Jeff Hashimoto, the 2nd runner for the 40+ Club Northwest team at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
Following Magill across the line about 14 seconds back in 4th place was Sheeran of Club Northwest, followed in turn by Genesee's Nier in 6th.
Mike Nier, focused on the finish line, where his 5th place finish constituted a great start for Genesee's hopes for a podium placement at  the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

Then it was Olds for a Cal Coast 8th place 
David Olds, driving for the line to give Cal Coast the early lead at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

before Evans of Genesee and Tony Young of Club Northwest finished 3 seconds apart, claiming 9th and 10th places respectively.
Gritting his teeth and finishing strong, Tony Young gets his 10th place finish to keep Club Northwest in contention at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

So, at that point, 35:40 had elapsed and it was Cal Coast, Club Northwest and Genesee with two runners in each and scores of 11, 14, and 14,. Playmakers had Stubers in 7th but where would the next points come and how soon?
Eric Stuber finishes off a gritty performance to take 7th place for the Playmakers in the M50+ team competition at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
 They needed their second finisher soon or there would be too much ground to make up.

It was as if Daniel Dixon heard the call, as he came hurtling across the line to take 13th place by 3 seconds
Daniel Dixon hurries to the line as Playmaker Elite's 2nd runner in, keeping their hopes for a podium finish alive at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

ahead of Club Northwest's Michael Smith in 14th.
Club Northwest's Michael Smith, cool and collected, strides across the finish line to allow Club Northwest to join  Cal Coast as the only other team with three of their five runners past the finishing line at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

That gave Playmakers 20 points for their first two runners, six points astern of Club Northwest and Genesee but still in the hunt.

It was anyone's game at this point, with a small edge to Cal Coast, 3 runners in and a total of 23 points, and Club Northwest, 3 runners in and a total of 28 points. Now it was time for the west coast clubs to pull away. Cal Coast's Matt Ebiner and Club Northwest's John O'Hearn  battled nip and tuck up the final straightaway to see which team would get 15 points and which 16.
Matt Ebiner, holding off a furious finishing kick by Club Northwest's John O'Hearn to give Cal Coast a six point lead over Club Northwest with the first four runners in for each team at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

As it turned out, Ebiner held on for 15th to give Cal Coast 38 points on their first 4 finishers to 44 points for Club Northwest's first 4 finishers. But the next runner in was from Club Northwest and the next Cal Coast runner was far out on the course. Eighteen seconds after O'Hearn crossed the line, Lance Logan came across in 18th place to give Club Northwest their fifth runner in and a final score of 62 points.

Cal Coast's runner would have to finish 23rd or better to beat Club Northwest. Could he finish soon enough to deny Club Northwest the title? In fact the 23rd runner to finish in the team competition came in 23 seconds behind Logan and he was not wearing the blue colors of Cal Coast. So Club Northwest takes the team title in the Men's 50+ competition home to Seattle. Among the teams in contention, after Logan it was all Playmakers and Genesee runners.

Ruben Henderson came across in 21st place for the Playmakers, outlasting Joseph Mora of Genesee by one second.
Ruben Henderson [2374] and Joseph Mora [1800] giving it their all to help their teams. Henderson won this all out sprint to the finish to move the Playmakers 2 points closer to Genesee, at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

Now, with 3 runners in  for each team, the Playmakers were within 5 points of Genesee, 41 to 36The next two runners in for each team would sway the team race one way or the other. It was a very tough race but the Playmaker Elite stalwarts, Mr. J.D. Pepper and Ron Zywicki had just enough
J.D. Pepper sprints through the finishing pack to take 29th place and give the edge to the Playmakers Elite team in their quest for a podium finish at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

left to put a little distance between them and Genesee's dashing duo, John 
Ron Zywicki, the Playmakers 5th runner in, finished strong to give his team the 32nd place they needed for a final total of 102 oints, guaranteeing them a spot on the podium, at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

Van Kerkhove and Theodore Schnaufer. Their 29th and 32nd places, respectively, gave Playmakers 61 points from their 4th and 5th runners while Genesee picked up 67
John van Kerkhove (1810) and Theodore Schnauffer (1806) sandwich a 40+ runner at the finish line to hang tough, take 33rd and 34th to give their team, the Gensee Valley Harriers one last chance to make the podium, at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

points from their final two runners.

That reversed their standings, giving Playmakers 102 points to Genesee's 103 points. Interestingly enough if you add up the first five times for each team, they finished collectively within 4 seconds of each other. It doesn't get much closer than that! But was this for 2nd and 3rd or for 3rd and 4th?

At the time that Schnaufer crossed the line, we did not know, as Cal Coast's 5th runner, Dan Arsenault, was not having his best day, and was still out on the course. He needed to finish 63rd or better to give Cal Coast the 2nd place they were now hoping for; 64th would tie Playmakers and displace Genesee. Finish worse than 65th and Cal Coast would be out in the cold. The 40th runner came across and then the 45th runner; neither wore the blue of Cal Coast. But finally Cal Coast had their 2nd place in hand as Arsenault came across in 48th place, to give them a total score of 86 points..

What a tough division and what a great battle! Hat's off to these fine runners and the others who made this a contest to remember.

Final Podium for Men's 50+ race:
1. Club Northwest                                    62
2. Cal Coast Track Club                           86 
3. Playmakers Elite/New Balance           102

Tightest Pack. Who gets the novelty award in this group? Club Northwest 1:40; Cal Coast 3:32; Playmakers Elite 1:57 set the marks for the podium group. Can any other teams compete?Genesee can side in ahead of Cal Coast with 2:22. But Pike Creek Valley can dislodge Club Northwest with a 1:39 and Baltimore Washington pulls in ahead of all but Pike Creek Valley and Club Northwest with a 1:50. And then, finishing 13th overall is the Syracuse Track Club with a 1:37 span to move into first place. But they do not last long as Greater Philadelphia slides in front with a 1:31 span.

So the final order of the tight pack teams is:

Greater Philadelphia Track Club 1:31      Syracuse Track Club 1:37    Pike Creek Valley 1:39
________________________________________________________________

Men's 60+ Teams.

A lucky 13 teams contested this division and the smart money figured it would be another tight battle between the Atlanta Track Club and the Ann Arbor Track Club (Michigan), with the likely contenders for the 3rd spot on the podium including Cal Coast, the Shore Athletic Club (New Jersey), and perhaps the Genesee Valley Harriers. But there were two events, one unfolding a few days before the race and one during the race, that would give the contenders hope that they might close in on the favorites. Before the race, Atlanta's heralded champion and record-breaking runner, Tom McCormack, announced that despite aggressive treatment, he had been able to lick neither his  recalcitrant Achilles tendon nor the troublesome calf muscle. As a result he would not be able to race at Lehigh. There went Atlanta's reliable first place finisher in this age division. At the 5 km XC national championship at Carmel, IN 5 weeks earlier, McCormack had won the division by nearly two minutes. So it was a real blow to Atlanta's hopes.

But the race still had to be run. How did it unfold? Reno Stirrat of Shore AC got off to a fast start but was not captured clearly in an early stage photo. Lloyd Hansen and John Tarkowski are typically Ann Arbor's two top runners. Tarkowski got off to a fast start but Hansen was a little

John Tarkowski (1191) was off to  good start for Ann Arbor, running in the midst of the 50+ competitors at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.
further back at the start, behind the two top runners from Atlanta, Kirk Larson and
Next up was Kirk Larson of Atlanta and Doug Goodhue, the silver bullet from Ann Arbor, dropping down a division to compete with his 60's counterparts at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

Jerry Learned,  and behind his teammate, Doug Goodhue as well. Normally Hansen would be up with Larson  and Goodhue but not today. In fact, he
Jerry Learned of Atlanta (1276) out ahead of Ann Arbor's Loyd Hansen (background in the white singlet and blue shorts with the black gloves and compression sleeves) at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

was at least a few paces behind Learned, Atlanta's 2nd runner for this race. But as observed earlier, a 10 km XC course leaves a lot of time to move up once the field thins out a bit. Genesee's two top runners, Bruce Wilkins and Mitch Moore were behind Hansen but had the 
Mitch Moore (1799) and Bruce Wilkins (1813) hang together for Genesee in the first kilometer of the race at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

advantage of running together.

As the field moved into the middle part of the race, Stirrat  continued to widen his gap, and Hansen
Reno Stirrat (in the tinted shades right behind no. 1634) is moving up in the field through the younger 50+ field at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014.

gradually moved up through the field. Tarkowski continued his strong race. Somewhere in the middle portion of the race there was a disaster in the making that, luckily, turned out alright. No one I have communicated with saw the incident but at some point, Ann Arbor's Goodhue took a spill and was taken off to the Emergency Room as a precaution. After the race he was declared okay and ready for action, after a cat scan proved negative. But, in the meantime, it meant that Ann Arbor was down a runner they had counted on. So both Atlanta and Ann Arbor wound up at less than full strength.

 And how did they finish? At the end, Stirrat had the top team spot by over a minute 
Reno Stirrat captures the top spot, giving Shore AC the early lead at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

ahead of Cal Coast's John Holcomb. Each of those finishers gave their teams, 
John Holcombe finishes 2nd to keep Cal Coast in contention at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

Shore AC and Cal Coast respectively, a heads up in the race for the podium. But when 
John Tarkowski dug deep and strode in with a full head of steam to take 4th place and lead the Ann Arbor team on this day at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

Ann Arbor's Tarkowski and Hansen came in 4th and 5th, and Atlanta's 
Kirk Larson, in full sprint at the finish to take the 7th place and put Atlanta back in contention for a top finish at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

Larson and Bob Dalton came in 7th and 8th, that negated the advantage.
Bob Dalton, hurrying home to finish as Atlanta's 2nd runner in, helping to lift the team into contention at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014


But then Cal Coast's Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Rodriguez charged across the
Cal Coast's Brendan Gallagher strides in handsomely to claim the 9th spot that Cal Coast needed to have a shot at the podium at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

finish line in 9th and 10th so that Cal Coast was the first to get 3 runners in. At that point they were sitting pretty with 3 runners in and a total of 21 points. Then 
Jerry Learned, Atlanta's 3rd runner,finishing in 12th place at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

Learned came in for Atlanta in 12th to keep them close to the west coasters, with 3 runners in and 27 points. Next up was Spider Rossiter, finishing in 14th to give Shore AC renewed hope of a podium finish, with 2 runners in and 15 points. But they needed their 3rd runner to finish soon or risk dropping out of contention. But before the 3rd Shore runner was seen, Mike Wien of Atlanta came across in 16th to give them 4
Mike Wien finishing off a tough race with a strong 16th place to give Atlanta the lead at that point. At the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

runners in, and Aaron Pratt came in 17th to give Ann Arbor 3 runners in and 26 points.
Aaron Pratt, rolling home to finish in 17th and move Ann Arbor back into contention at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014


Atlanta seemed to have the trophy wrapped up but their 5th runner was out on the course and not in sight. In the meantime, the Genesee team was starting to show up, with Bruce Wilkins finishing in 19th, Michael Reif in 20th, and Mitch Moore in 22nd. But without some up front runners, this tight pack was too little to get them to the podium. Greater Philadelphia made a run as well, with Terry Permar and Gene Dykes taking 3rd and 11th, and Don Morrison in 25th, for 3 runners in and 39 points, but then their other runners were too far back. And it was a similar story with  the Philadelphia Masters with Dan Neitz and Joseph Kern in 6th and 15th, and John Hibbs in 21st for a 3-runner total of 42 points. But they had the same fate as Greater Philadelphia.

After the 3 Genesee runners came in, it was time for Shore AC and Ann Arbor to shine. Tony Plaster and John Kilduff finished in 23rd and 28th to give Shore  4 runners in and 66 points. But when Ann Arbor's James O'Brien and Graham Astley came striding home in 27th and 29th place
James O'Brien, battling fatigue and the cold to take 27th place. Now Ann Arbor neded just one more finisher to have a complete team score at the National Club Cross Country Championships on the Lehigh University XC course at Bethlehem, PA-Dec 2014

that gave them the first complete team to finish and 82 points. Now no one could catch them for second place. But what about first? Where was Atlanta's fifth runner? Bradley Hill needed to finish 39th or better to give them the first place team finish, and time was running out. The 30th place finisher was Gene Jensen who wore Genesee's maroon colors, not Atlanta's red. 31st went to Raritan Valley's (New Jersey) Robert Jorrisen and 32nd to Cal Coast's William Sumner. The 33rd place went to Shore's Arthur Nowland giving them 5 runners in and a 99 point claim on a podium finish. Gary Sterber took 34th to give Genesee 5 runners in and 125 points, not a low enough score for a podium finish, but a very creditable total indeed and a top 5 finish.

Finally Atlanta's wait was over. Bradley Hill finished in 35th place, giving Atlanta the victory by 4
points over Ann Arbor. Had he run a half minute slower even, Atlanta would have had to cede the trophy to Ann Arbor. Smiles all round for Atlanta, overcoming the adversity of the loss of their top runner, this must have been very sweet. But Ann Arbor had the solace of knowing they had already won many team trophies earlier in the year, and ran a heck of a race on this day, especially considering they lost one of their runners to a fall on the course.

When Cal Coast's Glenn Colehamer finished 51 seconds behind Hill in 42nd, that gave them 95 points and a 4 point margin over Shore AC. But Shore had the top individual finisher and a top 5 finish, in 4th in the team race. Even without a podium finish, that gives them bragging rights in the northeast for the next year which is no small thing.

Tightest Pack. Who gets the novelty award in this group?  Atlanta [3:42]; Ann Arbor [4:08]; and Cal Coast [6:36] is the podium group. Surely there is another team tighter than Cal Coast? Shore AC almost gets there with 6:43. But then Genesee trumps them all with a 1:33. Finally Raritan Valley slides into 2nd, edging Atlanta with a  3:36.

Final order of the tight pack club for the 60+ division:

Genesee Valley 1:33          Raritan Valley 3:36        Atlanta 3:42
_________________________________________________________________

M70+ Teams.

Recall that for M70+ teams, scoring is based on just the first 3 runners, with 4th and 5th runners displacing other team's runners. Six teams contested this division.  The Shore AC was completely dominant in this contest, with Przemyslaw Nowicki, Edward Smith, and Roland Cormier taking the first three places in that order. This gave them 6 points and the first place trophy.

There was a battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th between the Atlanta TC, the Clifton RoadRunners (NJ), and the Pike Valley Running Club (Delaware). Ed Bligh and Ron Mastin took 4th and 5th for Atlanta. But Tom Pena and William Ash took 6th and 8th so Clifton was also in contention with 2 runners in and 14 points.And Pike Creek had Douglas Ridge and  Robert Callahan claim a lucky 7th and 11th spot for 2 runners in and 18 points before Atlanta's 3rd runner came in. But as Atlanta's David Turner was just 3 seconds behind Callahan in 12th place, the battle for 2nd place was over. Atlanta had 3 runners in and 21 points.

What about 3rd place? Frank Owczaryk put the pressure on Clifton by finishing in 13th to give Pike Creek 3 runners in and 31 points. But Matt LaLumia took care of that for Clifton by coming in and claiming the 15th spot to give Clifton the 3rd spot on the podium by 2 points over Pike Creek.
_________________________________________________________________

Overall Team Age-grading Champion: Now for the mythical team age-grading award. Looking across all age groups which teams had the best age-grading? This simply consists of looking at the age-grading results and finding the three teams with the lowest three age-grading finishers (across all age groups) for the men's teams. To make things easy for myself, I will not throw out any runners. The place for a runner in the age-grading counts whether they are on a complete team, an incomplete team or are running unattached.

Using these rules, Club Northwest gets a great start from the overall age-grading champion, Joe Sheeran [57]. And they have some other top age-graders with Michael
Smith
[56] in 10th and Tony Young [52]in 35th. John O'Hearn [52] is in 56th and David McCullough [44] in 74th. That gives them 176 age-grading points.

Next up individually was the BAA's Pete Hammer [48] in 2nd. He got support from Christopher Lawrence [51] and Christopher Magill [42] in 27th and 28th. Kevin O'Neil [44] was 50th and finally, Mike Galoob [40] was 71st. That gives the BAA 178 age-grading points, falling 2 shy of Club Northwest.

Next consider Cal Coast. Pete Magill [53] gets them started off with a 3rd place. And he gets ample support with three other top thirty age-graders: David Olds [53] 19th, Rob Arsenault [49] 26th, and Jeff Ambos [53] 30th. And then one of their youngsters, John Gardiner's [42], finished in 39th.  So Cal Coast has 117 age-grading points to move into first.

Who are the other main contenders, in the order of their top age-grading finisher?

Atlanta Track Club: Kristian Blaich [48] 5th, Ken Youngers [58] 8th, Chad Newton [45] 13th, Eric Stabb [46] 20th, and Alan Black [41] 23rd. They move into 1st place with 69 age-grading points. I doubt anyone else can touch them but maybe one of the others is at risk?

Team Pearl Izumi-Mid Atlantic: Dave Slavinski [43] 9th, Elliot Frieder [44] 53rd, and Todd Wiley [44] 81st. Even with some support in the top 85, Pearl Izumi, with two more runners adding at least 82 points each, cannot crack 200.

Bowerman Track Club: Greg Mitchell [41] 11th, John Howell [41] 41st, Ahrlin Bauman [41] 42nd, but then the next Bowerman runner is in 101st so they will also be well over 200 age-grading points.

Asics Aggie Running Club: Jaime Heilpern [44] 17th, Alan Jackson [40] 32nd, Jim Sorensen [47] 46th, Jamey Harris [43] 86th...so their next runner puts them well over 200.

Greater Springfield Harriers: Francis Burdett [49] 22nd, Kent Lemme [48] 24th, Michael Nahom [47] 40th, but then no other runners in the top 85 age-grading so they will total well over 200 points.

Baltimore-Washington Track Club: Raymond Pugsley [45] 33rd, Steve Kartalia [49] 34th, Phillippe Rolly [42] 47th, Peter Keating [48] 58th, Henry Wigglesworth [56] 63rd for a total of 235, not bad!

Playmakers Elite/New Balance: Eric Stuber [51] 36th, Daniel Dixon [51] 59th, Ruben Henderson [53] 68th, but with no other runners with fewer than 85 age-grading points, they cannot contend.

Genesee Valley Harriers: Mike Nier [50] 38th, Alan Evans [51] 49th, Joseph Mora [53] 70th, but with no other runners with fewer than 85 age-grading points, they cannot contend.

Downington, Garmin, Greater Lowell, Greater Philadelphia, Somerville Road Runners, Urban Athletics NYC and Whirlaway had a great top-20 age-grading individual but no other runner in the top 85 after that so they cannot even crack 300 points so they are no challenge to the top age-grading teams.

So in the end the mythical age-grading medals go to:

1. Atlanta Track Club     [Blaich, Youngers, Newton, Stabb, Black]                  69

2. Cal Coast track Club  [Magill, Olds, R. Arsenault, Ambos, Gardiner]         117

3. Club Northwest           [Sheeran,  Smith, Young, Ahern, McCullouch]        176

_______________________________________________________________________________

Three cheers for all of the athletes who contested these championships!

And thanks to Mike Scott for all of the excellent photos he shot on the course and for making them freely available.









1 comment:

  1. In just two days, Chiefs vs Patriots visiting will begin the 2017 NFL season. Yesterday, the Patriots Live issued the first weekly injury report and said they were limited to seven players both non-participatory and practically. Earlier today, the team released the latest application report.Chiefs Live will play one of the most watched regular season games in franchise history.

    Chiefs vs Patriots
    Chiefs vs Patriots Live
    Watch Chiefs vs Patriots
    Chiefs Live
    Patriots Live
    Patriots vs Chiefs
    Patriots vs Chiefs Live

    ReplyDelete