October 10 2021. The years in the title of this article say this is a uniquely different Grand Prix. The contest began in December 2019 with the Club Cross Country Championships at the Lehigh University course in Bethlehem PA and ends with the Masters 5 km XC Championships in Boston this coming October 17th. In between there was the XC Nationals Championship in San Diego in January 2020 and the Masters 12 km Championships on September 19th, two weeks ago. The Covid Pandemic wiped out almost all of 2020 and most of 2021. The USATF Masters LDR Committee decided that the points from the 2019 and 2020 races should count and that the two races in 2022 should also count. The normal scoring rule is that the best 5 scores are counted. The Committee changed that for this year only to the best 2. And they changed the minimum requirement for an award to 2 Championships, down from 3. In most years, three of the total races counted are cross country and usually 5 or more road races; this time 3 of the 4 contests are cross country! Those changes seem reasonable in the circumstances, but it means the contests are wide open still, and hard to predict. As a reminder, individuals get 100 points for a division win, 95 for second, and so on down to 5 points for 20th. The top 3 individuals in each division get plaques; the next 12 get certificates.
There is a span of almost two years between the first and last events; the age listed for individuals is more complicated to interpret. The rules say that an individual is not moved up to the next age division until they compete in a Championship that year. Someone born in September 1966 who competes only in a January race in 2020 would be listed as 53, their age in January 2020, even though if they would compete in the final event in October 2021, they would at that time be moved up to age 55 and would be contending for the 55-59 award, not the 50-54 award. In a number of cases, competing in the final event of the Grand Prix year in Boston will determine which of two age divisions they are finally competing in. Luckily that complication does not exist for teams. This will become clear with the discussion of the first age division. In this article I identify the main contenders in each category.
Detailed rules are given at:
INDIVIDUAL GRAND PRIX
W40 If one looks at the standings as published, one can list the top 6 and their current point totals from their best 2 and the number of championships as Vivien Hyman 120 2, Sascha Scott 100 1, Juliet Wahleitner 100 1, Roberta Groner 100 1, Maggie Shearer 95 1, Margaret Brennan 95 1. Of those top 6 only one, Hyman, already has the two contests needed. So she is in the driver's seat in a sense. On the other hand, if any of those other 5 enter the XC Championships in Boston, that would be their 2nd event and, whether Hyman competes or not, would likely vault ahead of her. Scott and Brennan went 1-2 at Lehigh; Hyman finished 15th. The others did not compete at Lehigh but finished either 1st or 2nd at other Championships. Scott is not likely to factor in this division; if she doesn't compete in Boston, she only has 1 event. If she does, she ages up to 45-49. So see 45-49 for Scott's chances. At the present time, only Shearer registered for Boston. That could change in the next week. If not, Shearer is the favorite to take the title in Boston and accumulate enough points for the GP Championship as well.
|Maggie Shearer finishing off her Division Win in Highlands NJ Photo by Jason Timochko|
Online registration closes on the 15th. Hiroko Guarneri 60 2, Jill Braley 45 1, Kelly Couch 75 1, and Katie Famous 60 1 are registered. I list Guarneri first as an example of aging up. In the standings she is listed as 44 because that was her age when she last competed, at the XC Nationals in San Diego. But for Boston she is listed in the 45-49 division and that is where she will finish the Grand Prix if she actually runs the race. So I will consider her chances in the next age division. Braley, Couch, and Famous are entered so will definitely have the 2 event minimum, and are strong runners. They are probably not as strong as the top 6 listed above but those athletes may not enter. Some are pointing to a fall marathon; others are focusing on other races. Winning the Grand Prix is always a mix of talent and participation. If you show up to compete, you get more points than a faster runner who did not.
If Braley, Couch and Famous have the same relative fitness they exhibited at Lehigh, they would be likely to finish in the same order, Couch, Famous and Braley. With Sjearer in the race, it appears that Couch, Famous and Braley are fighting for 2nd and 3rd in the GP. If none of the others entered above turn up it seems likely that Couch and Famous, at least, would move ahead of Hyman. Braley would have to finish at least 5th to do so. We do not know yet how many local runners will sign up over the last week. There are lots of strong runners in New England who have not participated in any of the other 3 events. The Boston Marathon is on Monday, October 11, six days before this event; that may pull many New England runners away from the XC Championships but it is not definite.
It is hard to judge current conditioning. Couch ran a trail run in Colorado and finished 2nd among Masters women. Famous ran 19:12 at the Morgan Hill 5K in July, finishing 2nd Masters. That seems to be a little slower than she was in 2019. Braley has run three 5K's on the road this summer all between 19:15 and 19:24. Those recent results seem consistent with the previous paragraph. Shearer appears to have the best shot at the GP win.
W45 Unlike the 40-44 division, the top 4 in the standings at this point all have the minimum of 2 events already. Those 4 are: Gwendolen Twist 175 3, Grace Padilla 175 2, Hortencia Aliaga 155 2, Alexandra Newman 120 2. Padilla, who was 48 in January 2020 may age up to 50-54 if she races Boston. Two who will age up into 45-49 if they race in Boston would be: Hiroko Guarneri and Sascha Scott. Guarneri could have moved past Newman with a good race if Newman had not entered. But she did. If their relative fitness is similar to what it was at Lehigh, Newman would be favored to come in ahead of Guarneri in Boston. It is unlikely Guarneri would be on the podium; that won't stop her from running as hard as possible for her team! If Scott should enter Boston, it is a different story. Assuming she has her usual fitness, she would be favored to win that race. If so, she would be unbeatable. But Scott is not entered as this blog goes to press; she apparently is very active in Cyclocross and that may be getting her attention this month. Three other athletes have 100 points from a single event that they won. If any of those enter, and Scott does not, they become the favorite for the 45-49 Grand Prix title. Lorilyn Bloomer 100 1 has entered. If she wins, she adds to the 100 she scored at XC Nationals in San Diego, and would be unbeatable with 200 points on two wins.
|Lorilyn Bloomer heads for the Finishing Tape and the win at XC Nationals in San Diego Photo by Michael Scott|
Karen Dunn won the division title at the 12 km Championships in September, and Olena Rozhko scored 100 points at Club Cross in Lehigh. She ran for Garden State at those championships but was listed as a Non-Citizen; if still true, she cannot score for her team. That makes it somewhat less likely she will compete. Things are looking good for Bloomer at this point. Unless Dunn, Scott, or Rozhko enter, Bloomer need not win the race to outscore everyone in the Grand Prix, landing on the podium would be enough.
W50 As noted in the Memorial I posted earlier this year for Matt Lalumia, Fred Zalokar, and Nancy Thomas 190 2, she leads the race for the W50 Grand Prix title. With 190 points in 2 contests, her total will not be easy to catch. The rules do not address whether a Grand Prix award can be made posthumously. There are 7 athletes with at least 90 points on one event who could match or exceed Thomas's total if they win Boston: Kimberly Aspholm 95 2, Fiona Bayly 95 1, Tania Fischer 165 2, Hronn Gudmundsdottir 95 1, Laura Latchford 100 1, Mary Lynch 90 1, Perry Shoemaker 100 1. Bayly is focused on her fall Marathon, Chicago I believe, which is just 7 days before this upcoming Championship. I do not expect her to enter. Fischer and Gudmundsdottir would need to travel from the West Coast. It seems more likely they will wait and head to Tallahassee to start off the 2022 Grand prix season at Club Cross. But Gudmundsdottir runs for Impala and they are sending a 40's team. At present only Megan Kossar 80 1 is signed up for the 50's from Impala.
It will be interesting to see if Gudmundsdottir joins her. Depending on exactly who else shows up, she should have a good shot at a podium finish. Latchford, who won the division at Lehigh, and Shoemaker, who won the division crown at Sandy Hook are both east coasters who might run. Shoemaker, if I recall correctly, had it on her list of races she might run. Shoemaker is likely to run stronger than at NJ in the 12 km as she has been coming back from a hip issue. Perhaps, as with the 12 km, we will not know until the final day of registration. I am not sure of Latchford's current fitness, or interest in the race, but the winner of the age division at Club Cross would certainly be one of the favorites for Division Gold in Boston. Of those currently entered, Kossar is the most likely to score points to move up in the GP standings but she cannot catch Thomas even if she wins; her max is 180.
W55 The top 6 athletes in this division all have 2 races in their resume already. But three, or perhaps 4 of them will definitely age up if they run Boston. Lorraine Jasper and Mary Swan, teammates on the Greater Philadelphia TC, are already signed up for W60 so I will address their chances in the next division. Laura Bruess 175 2 will stay in this division unless she surprises me by entering the XC at Boston. Her brother, Dan King, is already entered. But the two already have one trip out to Greater Boston, just a few weeks ago, where they both set 60-64 American Records for the one hour, 15,000 meter and 10 miles on the track. The others are Mimi Fallon 105 2, Marisa Sutera Strange 200 2, Nancy Wilkins-Diehr 125 2. Strange won both Club Cross and XC Nationals, so she is in the drivers' seat for the GP title.
|Marisa Sutera Strange heads for the finish and a 2nd place finish overall at Cross Country Nationals in San Diego Photo by Michael Scott|
The only runner who could possibly threaten her winning the Grand Prix title has not entered yet and may not. Lisa Veneziano won the 12 km title, breaking the American Record. Whether she is interested in coming east again from Michigan is a question. She had not been that active in USATF Masters National Championships before this year, but she and Strange have met a couple of times at the USATF Masters 1 (Road) Mile Championships in Flint MI. They are both terrific competitors. It would be fun to see them race against each other on the turf. Two others, though not currently entered, seem more likely to compete, Suzanne La Burt 95 1 and Doreen McCoubrie 90 1. They cannot threaten Strange for the Grand Prix win but they are definitely threats to make the GP podium if they run.
W60 The top 3 on this list all have 2 or more events. Nancy Simmons 200 2 took the division crown at XC Nationals in San Diego and at the 12 km Championships in Highlands NJ. Suzanne Cordes 180 3 is one of the very few athletes who have raced in all three of the Championship races in this Grand Prix contest. If not for the fact that Stella Gibbs, one of Cordes's Impala teammates is already entered, I might have suspected they would skip that contest to focus on Tallahassee. Diane Rothman 130 2 scored at both Club Cross and the 12 km. If Simmons does not enter the XC at Boston, she cannot be beaten in the GP.
|Nancy Simmons left and Mo Bartley right heading for a 1-2 Age Division finish at San Diego Photo by Mike Scott|
One runner could tie Simmons, but she is not entered and is probably not likely to run there. Hall of Fame runner, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, won the division at Club Cross. If she runs and wins, she would tie Simmons with 200 points. If both Simmons and Ayala-Troncoso would enter, the winner of that duel would win the GP title as well, by a tie-breaker rule. Others who could factor into the race for the GP podium if they enter, include: Beth Stalker 95 1 of Willow Street AC in NY, who took 2nd at Club Cross; Stella Gibbs 95 1 who was second to Simmons at the 12 km; and Mo Bartley who took 2nd at XC Nationals.
W65 The leaders are Nora Cary 190 2 and Susan Olesky 145 2 who went 1-2 at the 12 km and 3-11 in 60-64 at the highly competitive, deep field in Club Cross at Lehigh. Cary is entered at Boston; she will need to finish 2nd or higher in the division to increase her total from 190.
|Nora Cary right sprints to the finish, matching strides with Kathleen Cushing-Murray at Club Cross in Bethlehem PA Photo By Mike Scott|
Those who could potentially deny Cary the GP win include Lorraine McPhillips 100 1 and Mary Ann Gurka 95 1 who went 1-2 in W65 at Lehigh. Their times were both slower than Cary's and Olesky's. If they enter they can likely factor into the podium contest, but it would be a surprise if they beat Cary or Olesky. Deborah Shea 100 1 and Sara Cohen 95 1 went 1-2 at San Diego but may not make the cross country trip. If they did, it seems likely Cary would be up to the challenge.
W70 The leaders are Jo Anne Rowland 185 2 , Irene Herman 180 2, and Nelda Williams 150 2. Rowland took 4th at San Diego and won the 12 km. Herman and Williams both finished behind Rowland at XC Nationals and Herman came in after Rowland at the 12 km. Rowland's position seems secure on that front. Jane Treleven 100 1, Jeanette Groesz 95 1, and Sharon Gerl 90 1, who went 1-2-3 ahead of Rowland would clearly be threats if they entered Boston. At the moment, there are no W70 entries for the 5 km XC. Should that continue to be the case, itw ould be unprecedented. It would be a cross country trip for all of them. It would be the first such trip to run in a national championship for Treleven. Groesz and Gerl, on the other hand, have run in a number of races on the east Coast; they both run for Team Red Lizard, as does Treleven now. Most likely they will wait and come east for Tallahassee to start off the new season with a bang! But you never know. Treleven and Groesz woul dbe tough to beat, but Rowland has been coming back over 2021 and my guess is that she is stronger now than she was in January. It would be interesting to see if Rowland could break up those three. We may have to wait until Tallahassee to find out.
|Jo Anne Rowland winning her division at the 2021 UATF Masters 12 km National Championships Photo by Jason Timochko|
Kathleen Allen took first in this division at Club Cross. As she runs for the Atlanta Track Club, it is plausible that she might run, although not certain. If she runs at Boston and the three Impalas, Rowland, Herman, and Williams stay home, as do the three Red Lizards, Treleven, Groesz and Gerl, Allen's chances of taking the GP title away from Rowland increase markedly.
W75 Kathleen Davies 160 2 is in the driver's seat with her 9th place finish at Club Cross and her win at the 12 km championship. Catherine Radle won at Club Cross but has no other races as yet.
|Catherine Radle runs to a Big Win in her division at the 2019 Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University Photo by Mike Scott|
Running for Atlanta, like Allen, it is plausible that she might sign up yet for Boston. If she does, she would have a good chance of coming in ahead of Davies (if she enters) and moving ahead of her in the Grand Prix contest. Radle is the only one who can come in ahead of Davies as she is the only one who could have the 2 championships as the minimum number of required contests.No one has entered the 5 km XC from this division yet.
W80 Heide Moebius cannot be beaten. She has 200 points for winning Club Cross at Lehigh and the 12 km at Highlands.
|Heide Moebius on her way to winning the Women's 80-84 division at the 2019 Club XC Championships in Bethlehem PA Photo by Michael Scott|
Madeline Bost has 95 points from her 2nd place finish at Club Cross and her win at XC Nationals in San Diego. But even if she enters and wins at Boston, her 200 points would only tie Moebius, who would win on the tie-breaker from coming in ahead of Bost at Lehigh. Sandra Folzer, with 95 points from her 2nd place finish at Highlands, can tie Bost if she enters and wins at Boston. By rule, that tie would not be broken; they would both receive a 2nd place plaque. No one is yet entered at Boston in this division.
M40 The current leaders are David Angell 170 3, Chris Naimoli 140 2, and Brock Butler 125 2. Angell, winner of the 40-44 Grand Prix 2017-2019 has his two best scores from 2nd place at Cross Country Nationals at San Diego and his 7th place finish at the 12 km. Naimoli has a 2nd at the 12 km and an 11th place finish at Club Cross, ahead of both Angell and Naimoli. Butler's points are from his win at the 12 km and his 15th at Club Cross. Angell faces the conundrum that if he does not run, he winds up in 40-44 where he currently leads. If he runs he would age up to 45-49; he cannot win that division as Jacques Sallberg leads with 200 points already. But if Angell does not run and Naimoli or Butler run, they could amass more points by finishing 6th or higher for Naimoli, 5th or best for Butler. Eric Blake is another runner who could upset the applecart.
|David Angell on his way to a 2nd place finish at the 2020 USATF Cross Country National Championships on the Mission Bay course in San Diego Photo by Mike Scott|
The winner of Cross Country Nationals, Blake is a New Englander,ordinarily I would expect him to enter (unless he is running the Boston Marathon six days earlier). He would likely earn enough points to take the Grand Prix unless he runs the Marathon and competes in the cross country championships, with heavy legs from the earlier effort. Several other runners could also hit the podium or even win if they enter: Peter Gilmore and Eric Loeffler, 1-2 at Club Cross, Matthew Wagoner, 3rd at the 12 km, Jorge Maravilla, 3rd at Club Cross, and Jesse Barragan, 3rd at XC Nationals. Until one or more of them enter, it is useless to speculate on their chances.
M45 Jacques Sallberg 200 2, the winner of both Club Cross and XC Nationals, has this one sewn up, with 200 points.
John Gardiner 160 2, GP winner of this division in 2017, is in 2nd place. If any of the top 5 athletes from the 12 km, Christopher Shaw, Nicholas Thompson, Marco Cardoso,Mark Williams, David Szostak, enter the 5 km XC, they would fight it out fo rthe right to move past Gardiner into 2nd in the GP. That assumes, Gardiner, who runs for Cal Coast, does not make the trip. Otherwise it would be a race not only for the 5 km XC Championship but fo rthe 2nd spot in the 45-49 GP.
M50 Craig Godwin has 200 points from wins at XC Nationals and the 12 km championships. He is likely to take the GP title.
|Craig Godwin on his way along Mission Bay to the Men's 50-54 title at the 2021 USATF Cross Country National Championships Photo by Michael Scott|
Peter Hammer, who took first ahead of Godwin at Club Cross, could, potentially tie him by entering and winning the XC championship. He would them have the tie-breaker for the GP title. But it seems likely that Hammer has aged up into 55-59. If he stays in 50-54 by not running in the Boston XC championship he finishes no better than 5th and possibly lower. His chances, if he runs and ages up are discussed in M55 below. Christian Cushing-Murray 165 2 is in 2nd from his 7th at Club Cross and 2nd. at XC Nationals. Others who might factor in include Sandu Rebencuic 95 1who took 2nd at Club Cross. A New Englander, he might well enter. The athletes who finished 2nd, Gregory Putnam, 3rd, Terry Davidson, 4th, Elliott Frieder, and 5th, Jonathan Frieder at the 12 km Championships could also threaten for the GP podium.
M55 This division has some of the most intriguing possibilities. Nat Larson, winner of this division GP every year since he entered it, is leading with 200 points. He won at Club Cross and at XC Nationals. He had surgery during the Covid downtime and is back close to his normal self, but not quite. Whether it is that factor or simply new blood in the division, Larson took 2nd behind Brian Crowley at Highlands NJ. If Crowley and Larson both enter the 5 km XC championships, their race not only determines who beats who in the race, but the winner has the edge over the other in terms of the GP tie-breaker.
|Peter Hammer #4058 matching strides with Nat Larson immediately to his right/viewers left; Hammer took 3rd and Larson 7th in the Men40+ race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5 km XC Championships in Boston Photo by Michael Scott|
If Peter Hammer has aged up, as seems likely, and has anywhere near his normal fitness, he too would race for the 5km XC win and the 55-59 GP title. Hammer ran over a minute faster than Larson at Club Cross at Lehigh. Complicating factors are: (1) Will Hammer run the Boston Marathon instead or try to run both? (2) a Peter Hammer, 55, ran a 5K on the 4th of July, averaging over 8 minutes a mile. Was that the same Peter Hammer? If so, was he just running easily with a friend or relative, or is it a sign he was, and may still be, injured? Depending on how the entries go, it appears that the top and possibly 2nd or even 3rd spots are essentially locked up by those three individuals. Who else can get on the GP podium if any of those three fail to enter or have an off day? Mark Zamek and Jeff Devlin took 2nd and 3rd behind Larson at Club Cross. But I understand Zamek does not expect to compete nationally until Tallahassee. Kevin Zimmer took 2nd behind Larson at XC Nationals. Kenneth Barbee took 3rd at the 12 km and 4th at Club Cross, with Mike Nier right behind him in both races.
M60 Joe Sheeran won Club Cross and XC Nationals, giving him 200 points and the win. No one else can match his total.
|Joe Sheeran continues to attack the Lehigh course with a big lead in the Men's 8 km Race at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships Photo by Michael Scott|
Dan King 185 2, who has broken multiple records on the track over the past year, from the Mile to the 10 Mile, finished 3rd behind Sheeran at Club XC and 2nd behind him at XC nationals. That gives King the lead for 2nd in the GP. But Mark Reeder who finished 2nd to Sheeran at Club Cross could deny King. Both Reeder and King are entered. Both, no doubt, are focused primarily on leading their teams to victory. But a 2nd place in the individual GP would be a nice bonus. Chuck Shields 135 2 finished 5th at Club Cross and 10th at the 12 km. His running partner, Timothy Conheady, finished behind Shields at Club Cross and ahead of him at the 12 km. They will both be running for the team, but whichever one has the better day might well be the one to make the GP podium. Rick Lee, Roger Sayre, Joe Mora, and Matt Ebiner who finished 1-2-3-4 at the 12 km could clearly upset that possibility. Lee is planning on running the Boston Marathon. That could mean he does not run in the XC Championships even though he is entered,or it could mean that he runs but at much less efficiency due to recovering from a hard marathon 6 days before. Neither Sayre nor any of his Boulder Road Runner teammates are currently entered in the 5 km XC. Mora runs for GVH and I understand that at least some of the GVH guys plan on running Boston. Will Mora be among them? If so, he would be running not only for GVH but for a possible podium spot in the 60-64 GP.
M65 The two runners most likely to win this division GP contest are in 3rd and 5th. Ken Youngers 160 2 showed by winning the 12 km and breaking the American Record that he is at the top of his game. John Barbour 100 1 won Club Cross; this will be his first championship since that race. Barbour is a real warrior when it comes to Cross Country. But Youngers, two years his junior, did not race in this division at Lehigh; Youngers finished 5 seconds ahead of Barbour. That is a race that will be fun to watch. Youngers clearly has the edge in recent fitness. Barbour ran 43 and change at the Lone Gull 10K a couple of weeks ago, slower than one would expect were he at his normal fitness. But every race is different. This is one that will be fun to watch! Whoever wins will take the GP title as well.
|John Barbour leading Tom Ryan blue singlet and Ken Youngers red singlet on their way to finishing 1-3-2 in the M60+ race at the 2017 USATF Masters 5 km Championships Photo by Michael Scott|
Joe Reda 180 2, winner of this division GP in 2019, and Jack Pottle 180 2, a new runner for the Boulder Road Runners, are tied for the lead at present. Reda came in ahead of Pottle at the 12 km. Neither is entered for the Boston XC yet. Brian Pilcher would be a wild card. But I believe he does not have this race on his radar. Motivated primarily by attempting to break records, he will most likely be focusing on the roads for the near-term future. George Braun 95 1, who finished 2nd in Club Cross at Lehigh is entered. If he can make the podium in the race, he may also land on the GP podium.
M70 As usual this is a highly contested, close contest. The current leaders are: David Dunbar 180 2, Rick Katz 180 2, Jerry Learned 180 3,. Katz had the better of Dunbar at Club Cross by about a minute, but Dunbar reversed that on his home course, Mission Bay, in San Diego, where he took Katz by about a minute. In both races, Learned was about a minute further back. Learned picked up a second place at the 12 km, which Dunbar and Katz skipped. That pulled him even on best 2 scores. Others who might make a difference include Terry McCluskey 100 1, who beat all of the above in Club Cross at Lehigh, but has not raced since. It is unlikely he will race at Boston in the 5 km XC. Ignacio Jimenez 100 1 did the same at Cross Country Nationals in San Diego; he, too, is unlikely to race in Boston. Don Morrison, who came in ahead of Learned in Highlands NJ at the 12 km, is entered at Boston. Learned is also entered at Boston; neither Dunbar nor Katz is yet. Learned may be better at Cross Country than Morrison. At the 2017 5 km XC championship in Boston, Learned had the edge over Morrison.
|Don Morrison #288 and Jerry Learned #273 leading their pack out to a 1-2 Finish in Men's 70-74 at the 2021 USATF Masters 12 km Championships Photo by Jason Timochko|
Three of Katz's teammates are entered; that is either a sign that Katz is likely to sign up soon or that he is off his game right now or has a conflict. If neither Dunbar nor Katz is entered, Learned would need to win the race in Boston to overtake those two. Otherwise each would be ahead of him on the tiebreaker. Learned winning in Boston seems unlikely. Morrison would need at least a 4th place finish to get to 185 points and win the GP. That seems plausible. There are two newcomers to the division, already entered, who will give Morrison a battle, Doug Bell and Kirk Larson. But nothing is certain; that is why we run the races! Neither Bell nor Larson bring enough points from 65-69 to challenge for the GP win. [Last minute update-just learned to day that Morrison is injured and will not compete in Boston.]
M75 Jan Frisby 180 3 earned his points with third place finishes at Club Cross and XC Nationals. He was not able to improve on his total at Highland NJ. Dave Glass 175 3 aged up to 75-79 a bit before the 12 km Championships, won that contest and pumped up his total to 175. Edward Leydon 165 3 finished 4 minutes behind Frisby at the Lehigh Club Cross Championships but finished a half minute ahead of him at Highlands. Przemek Nowicki 160 2 finished in 4th at XC Nationals and 6th at Highlands. Nowicki was 4 minutes behind Frisby in both San Diego, and Highlands, but is entered at Boston and is a threat for the podium.Others who might have threatened for the win include Tony Marshall and Doug Goodhue, who went 1-2 at Lehigh but have not run since. Len Goldman who won at XC Nationals rarely travels east except for Club Cross.
|Dave Glass navigating a slippery turn during the Men's 8 km race at the 2021 Club Cross Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA Photo by Michael Scott|
None of those are entered or anticipated for Boston. Ezequiel Garcia and Julio Aguirre finished 2nd and 3rd behind Glass and ahead of Frisby at Highlands. They would be GP podium threats if they enter; right now they have not entered. Barring unexpected entrants and/or fitness problems, it looks like Boston will be a race between Glass, and Frisby. If Glass would come in ahead of Frisby and finish 4th or higher, the GP title goes to him.
M80 Roland Cormier 200 2 won the XC Nationals and the 12 km. No one can beat him for the GP but John Elliott 100 1 could tie him if he should enter for Boston and win the event. Other threats for the GP podium include Andrew Sherwood 185 2, who took 3rd at Club Cross and 2nd at XC Nationals. James Leitz 180 2, with a 4th at Club Cross and a 2nd at the 12 km, is just 5 points back. Roland Ratmeyer 175 2 claimed 2nd at Club Cross, ahead of Sherwood and Leitz, but 5th at the 12 km behind Leitz and Tony Fiory 155 2.. Cormier and Fiory are the only two from that group already signed up for Boston.
|Roland Cormier races along the Mission Bay course on his way to victory in the Men's 80-84 division in the 2020 USATF Cross Country National Championships Photo by Mike Scott |
Should that hold true, Cormier definitely takes the M80 GP title. If Fiory can land on the race podium, he has a good shot at being on the 2021 GP podium as well.
M85 At the moment it is a tie between Warren Osborn, who won XC Nationals, and Warren Seamans who won Club Cross. Sid Davis, who finished 2nd to Seamans at Club Cross is in 2nd with 95 points. None are currently entered at Boston. If anyone one of them enters and the others don't, that individual will win the M80 GP. If more than one enters, the winner of the race between them at Boston also wins the GP. If no one enters, no one will have the required minimum of two events.
CLUB GRAND PRIX
The Club Grand Prix is funded, with the top Club in each division winning a Clubhouse banner and a cash prize of $1000; 2nd place teams earn $500 and a certificate; 3rd place teams get $250 and a certificate. Fourth through 10th teams get a certificate. The Club Grand Prix does not have the same problem of runners moving up to different divisions over the two year period of this GP. The two-year period means it is a little harder to presume thee relative strength of different teams is essentially unchanged form 1st event to last event. New, younger, sometimes faster, runners age up to join an older team and some runners who were an important part of the team's success may have aged so they are either still important, but slower or have been replaced in the top 3 by another runner. With that caveat in mind, consider the following observations.
Women 40 and Up W40+ The top 5 teams with 2 events already raced include, in order of standing: The Janes Racing 200 2, Impala Racing 160 2, Garden State Track Club New Balance 125 2, Greater Philadelphia TC 105 2, Shore AC 105 2. Despite being in 5th place, Shore AC is the only team that can tie the Janes. Assuming the Janes are not a late entry in Boston, they win the GP contest by a tie-breaker as they finished ahead of Shore AC at Club Cross in 2019. In the unlikely event they sign up, it would be possible for Shore to tie them in the GP if Shore wins the race. If the Janes would enter and win, they would, of course, protect their first place standing. The Atlanta Track Club 15 1 and Impala Racing are entered for Boston. Atlanta cannot make the GP podium in the final standings, even with a victory. Impala Racing is, no doubt, aiming for a victory and cementing their hold on 2nd place in the GP contest. Based on what is known right now, the order above is likely to be the final standings order.
Women 50 and Up This division is a bit more open to changes due to the final event. The Janes Racing 150 2 are also at the top of this division in the GP standings but there is plenty of room for other teams to move ahead if they do not compete in Boston, as seems likely. The only complete team entered so far is the Greater Philadelphia TC 95 2. Based on current entries, they are strong favorites to take the title. If they do, their two best scores would then total 195, which would vault them past the Janes. Shore AC 105 2 was able to field a team strong enough to come in ahead of Greater Philadelphia at the 12 km. Shore is not yet entered; if they do enter a team and they can again outrun Greater Philadelphia, they could take the GP with 200 points from 2 victories. The Garden State TC 85 2 could also have a chance at the GP podium if they compete in Boston.
Women 60 and Up With first place finishes at XC Nationals in San Diego and the 12 km in Highlands, NJ, the Impala Racing Team 200 2 has this division all but locked up. The only team that can disrupt is Club NW 100 1 which took the title at Club Cross. If they would enter, which seems unlikely, and win, they would also tie the Impalas for the title. None of the tie-breakers would break the tie. In their absence, Impala takes home the title. Shore AC 150 2 currently sits in 2nd; if they compete in Boston, they could solidify their claim on 2nd place in the GP. Other teams that could factor into the GP podium include: Atlanta and Boulder Road Runners, each with 90 points, and Fleet Feet Essex Racing and Pike Creek Valley, each with 80 points.
Women 70 and Up The Impala Racing Team 190 2 has a commanding lead, but their victory is not assured. If Impala doe snot compete in Boston, either of two teams could compete and, if they would win, would take the GP victory with 200 points: Atlanta TC 100 1 and Team Red Lizard 100 1. It seems unlikely that Team Red Lizard would make the cross country trip from Oregon, but Atlanta competing is not a stretch. They already have a Women's 40+ and a Women's 60+ team entered. If Raritan Valley 90 1 would throw their cross country shoes in the ring at Boston and win, they would tie the Impalas but the tie-breaker would favor the Impalas. Raritan Valley could move up from 4th to 2nd in the GP standings.
Men 40 and Up The top teams in the standings right now are: Cal Coast TC 190 2, with a 2nd at Club Cross and a win at XC Nationals; Greater Philadelphia TC 150 2 with an 11th place finish at Club Cross and a win at the 12 km; Garden State TC 130 2, with a 13th place finish at Club Cross and a 2nd place finish at the 12 km. The West Valley Track Club has 100 points from their victory at Club Cross but they seem no more likely to compete in Boston than is Cal Coast. It does not appear that Greater Philly will compete in Boston; if they would, the team has the potential to win the GP. Garden State has 2 runners entered; it seems likely they will find at least one more of their athletes willing to compete. If they should win at Boston, they also win the GP if Cal Coast is not there.
Men 50 and Up The Greater Springfield Harriers 100 1, who have won this division the last few years, and took the division title at Club Cross, are currently in 6th place. The leaders are: Bowerman TC 180 2; Garden State TC 150 2; Greater Philadelphia TC 130 2; Genesee Valley Harriers 125 2; Garmin Road Runners 105 2. GSH is not out of it, though. If they enter in the next few days and compete, they could well win and wind up at 200 points. The only other team besides Bowerman, who took their title at XC Nationals, is Garmin who won the 12 km. Only one of these teams is currently entered as a team, that is Greater Philly. Should they win at Boston, that 100 points would vault them past Garden State into 2nd but their total of 70 would not be enough to get past Bowerman. If Atlanta TC 80 1 would compete in Boston, and Bowerman not, they could tie Bowerman but Bowerman owns the tie-breaker so the best they could do would be 2nd. Shore AC 70 2 is likely to field a team for Boston. If they do so, Shore has the potential to factor into the podium battle.
Men 60 and Up Talk about a tight competition, the top 4 teams all have 170 points from either 2 or 3 events! They are: Athletics Boulder 170 2; Boulder Road Runners 170 3; Greater Philadelphia 170 2; Shore AC 170 3. Of those teams, Athletics Boulder, Greater Philadelphia and Shore are already entered at Boston. The Boulder Road Runners, at present, have just one athlete entered, so their intent is unclear. I expect GVH will enter a team but their max is 170 points, even if they win. They are not likely to make the GP podium. Greater Lowell Road Runners 100 1 are entered. If they win in Boston, as they did at Club Cross, they win the GP title as well. If the relevant teams finish as they did at 2019 Club Cross, the order would be Greater Lowell,