Overall Championship--First Runners Across the Finish Line. The favorites went off the line and had soon left the field strung out behind. The lead group through the first loop included: Celestine Arambulo, Lorilynn Bloomer, Jill Braley, Hilary Corno, Kelly Couch, Meriah Earle, Donna Mills-Honarva, Kimberly Mueller, Marisa Sutera Strange, Katherine Wolski. I had Earle picked as the favorite based on her blazing Masters win at Carlsbad in 16:57! Corno had been 2nd about a half minute back. Both had good Marathons in the last year; Corno 2:42 at Chicago last fall and Earle 2:46 at Boston this past spring. Their combination of speed and endurance boded well for this XC race.Two of the three top men and the top woman at Club XC in Spokane all had strong Marathon backgrounds. Bloomer has no recent Marathon credentials but she has run a couple of sub-18 5K's and she has a lot of XC races under her belt. She took 4th Overall at the 1st of the Stumptown XC series in Portland this year. She did not enter last year but in 2017, she completed all 5 in the series. Couch took 5th at Club XC in 2017 in Lexington KY and finished 3rd this year at the challenging Masters 5K National Championship in Atlanta. Mueller, Earle's teammate, is a fine XC runner, finishing only 5 seconds behind Earle at Club Cross in Spokane. Strange won the Masters Overall title at the USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee in February. Braley finished 2nd to Strange in Tallahassee and took 2nd behind Sonja Friend-Uhl in the 5 Km Masters Championship last year in Buffalo.
By the time they hit the little hill at three-quarters of a mile on the first loop, Meriah Earle was in the lead, with the other challengers strung out behind. Earle commented after the race, "Such an amazing group of women competitors. I never felt like I built a lead. I could always hear footsteps behind me or the encouragement from the crowd for the runners who were close." Nonetheless, by the finish, Earle had stretched her lead a bit. She took the win by 12 seconds in 18:38. Earle is no stranger to podiums but, as far as I know, this is her first Overall National Championship as a Masters runner.
|Mariah Earle took 1st place Overall at the 2019 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships in San Diego [Photo: San Diego Track Club FB post]|
Meriah Earle 18:38 Hilary Corno 18:50 Lorilynn Bloomer 18:57
|Roosevelt Cook #139 and Adam Dailey #144 at the front of the lead pack, followed in order by Jacques Sallberg, Neville Davey, and Mark Yuen at the 2019 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships in San Diego [Photo: Cal Coast Track Club FB post]|
|Jacques Sallberg sprinting for the finish line and the Overall Win at the 2019 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships in San Diego [Photo:Cal Coaast Track Club FB post]|