Tuesday, December 28, 2021

2021 USATF Club Cross Country Championships-Recap #3 - Age Division: Men 40 & Up followed by Age-Grading

AGE DIVISION

MEN 40 & Up 10 km

40-44 This division was well covered in the 1st recap covering the Overall Winners in this division. Jessie Davis Indiana Elite RC made an impressive debut as a Masters Athlete, leading wire-to-wire, dictating the pace and taking the win with well over 50 meters to spare. Peter Gilmore West Valley TC and Eric Blake Central Mass Striders had an epic battle, matching Davis stride for stride until he started to pull away after the 2nd 3 km loop. From there to the final downhill leading to the finish, the two were locked in; neither could break away. But Gilmore had the final kick to claim second, with Blake just two strides back--WoW! They were followed by Roosevelt Cook Cal Coast TC in 33:36, Joshua McAdams Boise Betties & Billies in 33:39 to round out the top five; Alexander Taylor Boston Athletic Association, Kevin Shirk, Peter Bromka, John Poray and Chris Garvin in 6th through 10th.

Jessie Davis 32:56     Peter Gilmore 33:13     Eric Blake 33:15

45-49 The preview highlighted Jacques Sallberg Cal Coast TC, Gregory Mitchell Bowerman TC, and Jason Holroyd Boston Athletic Association as podium favorites. Others ultimately in the top 10 who were mentioned included Mike Cole Indiana Elite RC and Aaron Price Boston Athletic Association. Sallberg needs no introduction;  he has won so many national championships on the turf, including the last three Masters Overall crowns-Club Cross at Lehigh, and the 5 km XC and the XC Nationals at Mission Bay in San Diego. Mitchell was almost as dominant from 2013 - 2016 when he finished 1st or 2nd at all major Masters National XC races. The point in favor of Holroyd was his recent 16:58 win over the Franklin Park 5 km XC course to take the Division Championships in Boston. Cole took 2nd overall at the 2019 USATF Masters 8 km Championships in Virginia Beach and ran a 1:12:18 at the Carmel Half Marathon in April. Price took the Overall Championship at the 2016 Masters 5 km Championships in Boston and finished just 9 seconds behing Holroyd, his teammate, at Boston this fall. Others who might have been mentioned included: David Angell Roanoke Valley Elite, who finished 3rd Overall in Spokane, and was 1st Masters finisher at Gate River and 2nd to Abdi Abduirahman at Peachtree, had to get past some nagging Achilles issues to run at might not be at his best; Konrad Knutsen West Valley TC, who finished 19th in M40 at Lehigh and ran a 15:47 5K in late-November; ; Todd Rose West Valley TC, who was 5th in this division at both Spokane and Lehigh, and ran 56:18 at the JF Norcal 10 Miler this year; Orrin Schumacher Bowerman TC, who was 7 seconds behind Rose at Spokane, finishing 6th, and ran 1:10:47 at the Eugene Half Marathon; and David Wertz Pacers Running/GRC NB, who finished 17th in M40 at Lehigh and had a 16:02 5K and a 26:21 8K this year. 

The gun sounded and after a little separation over the first 200 meters, the lead pack overall started to settle with all of the contenders from this division right in behind the overall leaders, with less than a strid between any two of them. By the time they hit the Shell Path along the back of the loop course, there was still no speatation among the top 17. Then it was up 'The Wall', around the top field past the start and down past the Jumbotron for the second time. Rose hit that point in 1st at 10:01, with Steven Short Team Red Lizard 15th in 10:13. In between were Knutsen, Wertz, Howell Bowerman TC, Sallberg, Angell, and Schumacher. Another kilometer along a lead pack of Rose, Sallberg, Wertz, Mitchell and Knutsen had a 20 meter gap on a chase group led by Angell. Sallberg pushed the pace through to the Shell Path but by the time they were racing past the Jumbotron again at the 6 km mark, Rose was back leading Sallberg and Wertz in 20:24 ,with a 30 meter gap on Mitchell who had a similar gap on Knutsen, with Schumacher a similar distance back in 6th. Angell, Aaron Totten-Lancasters Atlanta TC, Ahrlin Baumann Bowerman TC, Jasen Ritter Indiana Elite AC, Holroyd, Short and Price following in close order. Only two short loops of 2 km each to go! Rose surged from there to the Shell Path and put a 20 meter gap on Wetrtz and Sallberg, with 40 meters back to Mitchell and more than 70 more back to Knutsen and Schumacher. None of the leaders' chils were picked up by any of the remaining timing mats. It seems reasonable to project that the order did not change much. Rose had almost 40 meters on Sallberg by the end, winning in 34:14. It was an off day for Sallberg, who is used to competing for the Overall win, but kept it going all the way to the finish for the sake of his tem's efforts. Twenty seconds later Mitchell came from behind to claim 3rd in the division, nipping Wertz by a lean! The clock time showed 0.1 seconds between them! Schumacher 35:06 had moved past Knutsen 35:18 to take 5th, followed by Short 35:35, Price 35:39, Ritter 35:33, and Cole 35:55. Holroyd and Angell finished 11th and 12th.

Todd Rose 34:14     Jacques Sallberg 34:23     Gregory Mitchell 34:48 

 50-54 The preview featured Craig Godwin Bowerman TC; Tim Harte Greater Philadelphia TC; and Jaime Heilpern Hoka Aggies, with nods to Mark Callon West Valley TC and Gregory Putnam Central Mass Striders. Godwin won the M50 division at the 15 km Championships in Tulsa, following up with a 3rd at Lehigh in 35:08, and a win in the 12 km in New Jersey. Harte finished 11th at Lehigh in 36:33, but ran a 1:16:07 HM and won the division at the 5 km XC at Boston. Heilpern finished 10th overall and 4th in M45 in 34:04. His 16:06 5k at Morgan Hill was a sign of 2021 fitness. Callon ran a 1:14:32 HM in San Jose and Putnam took 2nd in the division behind Godwin at the 12 km in Highlands NJ. Those two met up in Boston and sorted things out in a sprint to the finish, with Putnam prevailing. Others not mentioned, who turned out to be important players include: Emmet Hogan Club Northwest, Ivan Lieben West Valley TC, Kelly Mortenson TC Running Company, Charles Mullane West Valley TC, Michael Nahom Greater Springfield Harriers, and Mark Yuen West Valley TC. Hogan took the Pacific Northwest XC Championships over 8K in 28:21, finishing ahead of Uli Steidl; Lieben finished 4th at Lehigh in this division in 35:26; Mortenson  took 12th M45 at Lehigh in 35:42; Mullane waas busy with triathlons but ran 17:11 at Morgan Hill and 1:18:12 at the San Jose RnR HM; Nahom finished 4th in this division in Spokane in 35:18, had an off year at Lehigh, and finished 5th M50 in Boston this October; Yuen took the 150 meter M50 title at Ames in 4:19 and ran 1:13:38 in San Jose.

Heilpern shot off at the gun, running in the top ten overall for the first kilometer and ten meters ahead of Yuen. Twenty meters back was a group led by Lieben and Mortenson, with Harte, Mullane, Putnam, Callon and Nahom in close contact. The runners ettled into their paces and gaps appeared or grew larger throughout the first 3 km loop. When they passed the Jumbotron around 3 km, Heilpern had more than 20 meters on Yuen, who had, in turn, over 50 meters on Lieben. It was 40 meters back to the chasing group led by Harte and Putnam, with Mullane, Hogan, Mortenson, Godwin and Nahom just strides apart. The lead group did not change over the 2nd 3 km loop but there was some shuffling among the others. Yuen moved slightly closer to Heilpern; Lieben had over 60 meters on Putnam, who had Godwin on his heels now. Hogan was over 30 meters back now, but had over 40 on Mullane, Nahom, Harte, Mortenson and Richard Falcone Garden State TC. The next kilometer saw Yuen close on and pass Heilpern. Yuen was now driving at the front. Heilpern was in no immediate danger from behind though; he had over 200 meters on Lieben. Putnam was 70 meters back from Lieben, but appeared to be dropping Godwin who was now over 20 meters back. Hogan was now 40 meters behind Godwin and 70 ahead of Mullane and Nahom, running side-by-side now. Thirty meters back Falcone and Mortenson were duking it out as well. The next two splits missed either all or the top 3 leaders. There was no major change among the leaders. Yuen kept the hammer down all the way to the finish, winning by over a hundred meters! Heilpern took 2nd, 200 meters ahead of Lieben in 3rd. Lieben kept all challengers 70 meters back. The other contenders kept the pressure on the whole way. Putnam 35:57 claimed 4th, with Hogan 36:12 and Godwin 36:17 sixth. Further back in 7th through 10th were Mullane 36:49, Mortenson 36:55, Nahom 36:57, and Falcone 36:59

Mark Yuen 34:08     Jaime Heilpern 34:35     Ivan Lieben 35:41

55-59 The preview emphasized a possible duel between Nat Larson Greater Springfield Harriers and Peter Hammer Boston Athletic Association. Larson had won the division at Lehigh in 35:55, even though not at his best. He had won at Spokane in 35:01. Hammer had won M50 at Lehigh in 34:36. With Larson now 59, a changing of the guard seemd in order. The one caveat was that I could find no 2021 results for  Hammer apart from a possible 5K  on the 4th of July that was in the upper 20's. Was Hammer injured then? Was that a different Hammer? The mystery would be resolved on the 11th at Tallahassee. Others considered as important contenders were Mark Hixson Greater Springfield Harriers, Tim Meigs Bull City TC, Mike Nier Genesee Valley Harriers, and John Van Danacker TC Running Company. Larson's teammate, Hixson, has also been coming back from injury. Hixson finished 6th M50 at Lehigh just 2 seconds behind Larson. In Boston at the 5 km XC in October, he was a minute and a half behind Larson. Six weeks of additinal training might make a big difference. Meigs finished 16th M50 in 36:00 at Lexington, his most recent national XC Championships, but ran 2:47:50 at Boston this fall. Meigs, from the Research Triangle area in North Carolina might, arguably, be less bothered by warm, humid conditions than runners from New England, Upstate NY and Minnesota. Nier finished 5th at Lehigh in this division and 3rd at the 5 km XC in Boston. Van Danacker finished a distant 2nd to Larson in this Division at Lexington. I could find no recent results but if he has that kind of fitness he would play a role. Blair Cossey Club Northwest, Paul Smith Bowerman TC, David White West Valley TC, and Dean Thompson Chattanooga TC would also play a role. Cossey had finished 15th M50 in 36:59 at Lehigh; Thompson finished 39th M50 at Lehigh in 38:41; White won the M55 1500 Meters in Ames in 4:38 and finished 4 seconds ahead of Thompson at Lehigh. Would they have another duel in Tallahassee?!

At the 1 km mark, Hammerwasd leading them out with Larson and White right on his heels. Twenty meters back was a second group led by Thompson, with Rick Herr Cal Coast TC, Nier, Rob Arsenault Cal Coast TC, Kristian BlaichAtlanta TC, and Hixson closely packed. Van Danacker, Meigs and Smith started more conservatively. Hammer created a 20 meter gap on Larson and White over the next kilometer. It was 20 meters back to Thompson with a bigger gap to Nier and Herr. Another 20 meters back were Arsenault, Blaich and Hixson, with Van Danacker, Meigs and Smith joining at the back. Larson had a terrific second loop wher ehe went from 15 meters back from Hammer to essentially even by 5000 meters, and that carried through tothe 6 km Mark. White was 30 meters behind that duo at 5000 meters and over 40 behind at the 6 km mark. Thompson was 80 meters behind White but over a hundred meters ahead of Herr who was in 5th. Van Danacker was 30 meters behind Herr and followed at 10-15 meter intervals by Meigs, Hixson, Nier, Smith, Cossey and Blaich. By 7000 meters Hammer was starting to gap Larson again but Larson was right there, just ten meters back. There were no big changes otherwise. The timing system lost the leaders of this group at 8000 meters. By the 9000 meter mark, Hammer had pulled away from Larson. Whether it was the warm. humid conditions or the effort to battle Hammer, Larson was falling back. Still in second at that point, with a 60 meter lead on White, Larsin had nothing left to fight off any challengers. Six division rivals would pass him in the final kilometer. Hammer led all the way to the finish and it was the better part of a minute before White crossed the finish line in 2nd. Another 100 or so meters back was Thompson who claimed third. Meigs 37:51, Van Danacker 38:07, Cossey 38:19, Hixson 38:22, Larson 38:26, Smith 38:37, and Nier 38:56 finished in 4th through 10th.

Peter Hammer 35:46     David White 36:41     Dean Thompson 37:18

AGE GRADING 

 The age grading exercise provides a way of comparing performances across different ages by tracing out a predicted maximum performance curve by age, using data on the World's best performance for each single year of life. An age grade is a measure of how close to that predicted max performance curve a given individual's time falls. It is an inverse percentage. If the individual's time is 37:00 and the predicted max performance for that person's sex and age is 36, the age grade score is 100x 36/37 = 97.30%. If the individual ran 38 minutes instead, the age grade falls to 94.74% and so on. An age grading podium is recognized for each race at Club Cross. The Age grade standards are based on data from Road Races; there are no separate tables for Cross Country. By convention USATF uses the road tables without any adjustment for its Cross Country National Championships. The primary focus of XC is on head to head competition over a given course with given conditions. Performance time is often considered secondary, unlike road racing where time is a more important element of comarisons among athletes of different ages. At Club Cross there were no age grade medals; there were $200 cash prizes to the age grade winner of each of the three Masters races, Women, Men 60+, and Men 40+.

There was a difficulty with the age grade scores provied by the Timing Company. Several athletes reported apparent inaccuracies shortly after the event. USATF did a quick check to confirm and asked the timer for corrected Age Grade results. As this article goes to press, corrected results have not been posted. I have taken the liberty of recalculating the age grade percentages using the Howard Grubb calculator which uses the 2020 tables developed by Alan Jones and Tom Bernhard and adopted by the USATF MLDR Committee. There is a link from USATF/Statistics/Calculators t the calculator at:http://howardgrubb.co.uk/athletics/mldrroad20.html. 

Full details behind the tables are available at:         https://github.com/AlanLyttonJones/Age-Grade-Tables

Women  The 'Top Ten' as listed, in order, in the Official Results were: Karolyn Bowley 52 B.A.A. 22:53 Suzanne Cordes 62 Impala Racing 26:26 Jeanette Groesz 72 Team Red Lizard 30:24 Lorraine Jasper 52 Greater Philadelphia TC 25:51 Suzanne La Burt 58 Shore AC 24:40 Michelle Rohl 56 Greater Philadelphia TC 24:27 Nancy Simmons 62 Impala Racing 26:17 Kathi Sleavin 62 Club Northwest 26:43 Shannon Stryker 57 The Jane's 25:16 Mary Swan 60 Greater Philadelphia TC 26:38

Based on my recalculations which, I emphasize, are *not* Official Results, the final age grade order of finish among the top 5 individuals (who were all listed in the top 10 in the posted results online) is:

Karolyn Bowley 52 B.A.A. 22:53  88.78%

Suzanne La Burt 58 Shore AC 24:40 88.31%

Nancy Simmons 62 Impala Racing 26:17 87.06%

Michelle Rohl 56 Greater Philadelphia TC 24:27  86.98%

Suzanne Cordes 62 Impala Racing 26:26 86.57%    

Nos. 6-10 include: Lorraine Jasper 86.33%; Jeanette Groesz  86.18%; Kathi Sleavin 85.65%; Shannon Stryker 85.16%; and Mary Swan 83.79%.

Bowley is listed first on the original and revised list. The $200 cash prize was awarded correctly. The rest of the published finishoing order is jumbled relative to the list here.

Men 60 & Up  The 'Top Ten' as listed, in order, in the Official Results were: Dan King 62 Athletics Boulder 29:56 Tim DeGrado 61 Boulder Road Runners 30:43 Roger Sayre 63 Boulder Road Runners 30:49 Robert McCormack 61 HFC 31:11 Kevin Ostenberg 61 Hoka Aggies 31:13 Paul Abdalla 60 Club Northwest 31:14 Mark Tatum 61 Boulder Road Runners 31:15 Rick Lee 60 Shore AC 31:17 William 'Hugh' Enicks 62 So Cal TC 31:21 David Litoff 60 Athletics Boulder 31:28

Based on my Unofficial recalculations, one runner moves from #13 to #4, and the order among the others changes somewhat...But #1 is still #1 so again the cash prize was awarded correctly. 

Here are my Top 5, with #'s 6-10 following.

Dan King 62 Athletics Boulder 29:56 87.75%

Roger Sayre 63 Boulder Road Runners 30:49 86.05%

Tim DeGrado 61 Boulder Road Runners 30:43 84.75%

Daniel Johnson 64 TC Running Company 31:42 84.44%

William 'Hugh' Enicks 62 So Cal TC 31:21 83.79%

Nos. 6-10 include: Robert McCormack  83.48%; Kevin Ostenberg 83.40%; Mark Tatum 83.31%; Paul Abdalla 82.60%; Philip Garland 61 F&M TC 31:30 82.65% 

Men 40 & Up  The 'Top Ten' as listed, in order, in the Official Results were: Mark Yuen 51 West Valley TC 34:08 Peter Hammer 55 B.A.A. 35:46 Jaime Heilpern 51 Hoka Aggies 34:35 David White 56 West Valley TC 36:41 Todd Rose 48 West Valley TC 34:14 Ivan Lieben 52 West Valley TC 35:41 Jesse Davis 40 Indiana Elite RC 32:56 Dean Thompson 56 Chattanooga TC 37:18 Jacques Sallberg 47 Cal Coast TC 34:23 Gregory Putnam 52 Central Mass Striders 35:57

Based on my Unofficial recalculations, one runner moves from #11 to #6, another from #17 to #7; and finally a runner from #20 to #9. 

As before, #1 is still #1 so the cash prize was awarded correctly. The top 5, in fact, are still the top 5, with just one switch between #'s 4 and 5. The big changes were among the second five.

Here are my Top 5, with #'s 6-10 following.

Mark Yuen 51 West Valley TC 34:08 87.79%

Peter Hammer 55 B.A.A. 35:46  86.72%

Jaime Heilpern 51 34:35 Hoka Aggies86.65%

Todd Rose 48 34:14 West Valley TC85.35%

David White   56 West Valley TC 36:41 85.35%

Nos. 6-10 include: 86.65%Peter Gilmore 44 33:13 West Valley TC85.15%; Craig Godwin 54 36:17 Bowerman TC84.75%; Ivan Lieben 84.68%; John Van Danacker 59 38:07 TC Running Company 84.35%; Jacques Sallberg 84.29%

My congratulations to all of these outstanding runners for terrific performances, whether they were listed in the original top 10 or in the top 10 based on my recalculations!

 86.72%