December 19, 2021 It was a beautiful day for spectators at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee FL, but definitely warmer and more humid that many were expecting. In 2016 when the last Club Cross Championships were held in Tallahassee, temperatures ranged from the low 40's to low 50's F during the races and the dew point was within the 25-23% range. This year the temperatures ranged from 69 to 74 degrees F, with dew points in the 67-70% range. Some authorities equate that to having a 3-5% negative effect on performance for hard running, which is what we see at National Championships. A number of competitors in the Men's races, run later in the morning when it was hotter and more humid, did have to drop out because of heat related problems. To the credit of competitors this year, winning age division times were not generally that much slower than in 2016. For the men's winners in their 40's through the 60's the winning times were typically 1-2% slower.
In fact for the women, most of the times in 2021 were faster than in 2016. Two possible explanations suggest themselves 1) the conditions were less extreme than later in the morning; and/or that 2) women's athletic performance, especially in Masters ages, is still on the upswing. Each new cohort has experienced the effect of regularized competitive running for women for a greater proportion of their running lives and, in particular, a greater proportion of time since Title IX went into effect in 1972. That was a year after the current cohort of 50 year old's was 1 year old but when the 2016 cohort of 50 year olds was already 6. We know that culture changes more slowly than laws and each year makes a difference.
I will report again in the actual order of the races. The gun sounded for the Women's race at 9:00 AM ET; for the 60 & Up Men at 10 AM. The 40 & Up Men at went off at 11 AM; they are recapped next in a separate piece.
WOMEN 6 km
The dew point was at 66 when 118 Masters Women in eight different age divisions assembled for their race at 9 AM. It was misty on the course.
40-44 The Overall recap covered this age division well. The top 3 women overall came out of this age division and 11 of the top 12. Take a look at the Overall Recap published on Friday, December 17, 2021. It was a tremendous duel between Maggie Shearer and Katie Sherron, matching stride for stride until Sherron was able to pull away as they ran along the edge of the upper field before dropping down on the way to the crushed shell path.
|From Left: Maggie Shearer and Katie Sherron vie for the lead, 3 km into their 6 km race at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|| |
All Photos courtesy of Michael Scott!
From there it was all Sherron! And hats off to Heineck who was trailing the leading duo by 15 meters by the time they circled around the upper field. But she had a 15 meter lead on the rest of the field. She ran alone the whole race, dropping back behind the leaders but always focused on keeping her pace up; she showed no weakness, holding the rest of the field 20 meters back and then 30 and then more.
|Carre Joyce Heineck ran by herself most of the race, keeping all but the two leaders at bay at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
She claimed third with plenty of room to spare.
Katie Sherron 22:09 Maggie Shearer 22:22 Carre Joyce Heineck 22:29
45-49 The preview focused on Carla McAlister Cal Coast, Holly McIlvaine, and Gwendolen Twist The Janes Elite. McIlvaine did not run. McAlister competed but it was only 6 days after a Marathon run at the California International Marathon CIM in Sacramento. She finished 6th overall and 3rd 40-44 on this course for 2018 XC Nationals. Last year she ran 10K's in the upper 39's to low 40's. Twist finished 10th W40 at Lehigh in 2019 and finished 3rd in the Masters 12 km Championships in 48:50, equivalent roughly to a 40:21 10 km. Other contenders identified included: Euleen Josiah-Tanner T.H.E. Track Team with a 19:13 5000 meter son the track at Ames this past July and a 50:14 effort at the 12 km Championships; Michelle Richards Unattached who had a 3:18:27 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon; and Kathy Wiegand Atlanta TC who is a reliable runner for her team, especially on the turf. She is always in the hunt.
The gun sounded! Off they ran over the top field and down toward the Jumbotron.
Twist ran forward in the first chase pack that formed going around the upper field. A kilometer into the race, Twist was the first of the 45-49 group in the field, with Josiah-Tanner about 25 meters further back toward the end of the chase pack. McAlister started off conservatively, perhaps because of her recent Marathon, and was 15 meters behind Josiah-Tanner at that point.
|Rachel Hopkins #1109 and Euleen Josiah Tanner running side by side at the end of the first loop, just after Tanner took the lead in the W45 Competition at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
Wiegand followed another 25 meters back, followed by Gabrielle Panepinto Garden State TC. Josiah-Tanner bided her time in the pack along the trail and the shell path through 2000 meters. But when they ran up 'The Wall' and across the top field past the starting area, Josiah-Tanner made her move. By the time they were passing the Jumbotron for the 2nd time, Josiah-Tnner had 10 meters on Twist.
|From Left: Suzanne La Burt, Carla McAlister, Hortencia Aliaga, Erin Dewalt, and Kristin Hetzel at the end of the 1st loop at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
McAlister was 30 meters back in third, followed by Wiegand, Panepinto and Richards. Over the next kilometer, Josiah-Tanner stretched her lead to over 40 meters and McAlister closed on Twist. With a kilometer to go, Josiah-Tanner had a 16 second lead; she would not be caught. McAlister was past Twist but had just a few meters on her. It could still go either way for 2nd place. Wiegand was 54 seconds back in 4th. Josiah-Tanner claimed the win with a cushion of more than 60 meters. Twist was not able to latch onto McAlister as she went past. McAlister took 2nd with 30 meters to spare, with Twist 3rd and Wiegand 4th, followed by Panepinto and Richards. That was a sweet upset win for Josiah-Tanner. McAlister finished strong, and Twist got the points her team needed, possibly sacrificing a good finish by going out so strong at the start.
Euleen Josiah-Tanner 24:31 Carla McAlister 24:48 Gwendolen Twist 24:56
50-54 Top contenders appeared to be Karolyn Bowley Boston Athletic Association, who finished 4th overall and took the 50-54 title in 19:53 at the 5 km XC Championships in Boston; Abby Dean Unattached, claimed 4th W45 on this 6 km course at 2018 XC nationals in 24:18; Rachel Hopkins Sirius Athletics, who finished 6th in 50-54 at Lehigh; Gwen Lapham Club Northwest, who took 6th overall and 2nd 45-49 at Club Cross in San Francisco; and Ingrid Walters Janes Elite, who, despite being side-tracked by battling Beast Cancer, has worked her way to a 19:11 5K in July and a 1:30:50 HM in September. By the time they passed the Jumbotron for the first time some 350 meters into the race, it was clear that Bowley was running with the top overall leaders. Unless something surprising happened, no one in this division would catch her! Bowley had 30 meters on Dean and Hopkins, running together in 2nd and 3rd. Walters and Lapham were in 4th and 5th another ten meters back. Over the next kilometer, Bowley stretched her lead as Walters and Lapham moved past Hopkins, closing in on Dean. By the time they next ran past the Jumbotron, Bowley had 100 meters on the field;
|Karolyn Bowley ,4th Overall and with a large lead in the W50 Division at the end of the first 3 km loop at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
Walters and Lapham had moved past Dean but she was tucked in close still. Hopkins was now 25 meters back. As it turned out, that move by Walters and Lapham had been decisive. Lapham could stay within 5-10 meters of Walter, but Walter would not let her closer. Dean, despite her best efforts, found herself slipping back gradually from that pair.
|Ingrid Walters leading from left Emily Noble, Megan Lyle, Gwen Lapham, Michelle Rohl, Abby Dean at the end of the 1st loop at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
Bowley carried her pace all the way to the finish line, taking the Division win with a minute to spare. Up the wall and along the top field and then to the down slope to the finish, Lapham poured everything into it, but Walters held firm. In the end, Walters had the division Silver, with Lapham ten meters back, coming across for the Bronze! Dean was 4th in 24:09, disappointed not to be on the podium, no doubt, but proud, I hope, of beating her 47 year old self by 9 seconds! Hopkins took 5th in 24:21, followed by Aliaga in 5th,
Karolyn Bowley 22:53 Ingrid Walters 23:53 Gwen Lapham 23:56
55-59 The top two contenders were expected to be Michelle Rohl Greater Philadelphia TC and her teammate, Marisa Sutera Strange, but Strange did not run. Rohl set American Records at 800 and 1500 meters on the track at Ames and won the division, finishing 4th overall, at the 5 km XC Championships in Boston in 19:21. Other top contenders included: Suzanne La Burt Shore AC, who took 3rd in this division in Boston at the 5 km XC and 2nd in the 12 km Masters Championships in New Jersey; Mary Lynch The Janes Elite, who ran a fine 3:07:38 marathon the previous Sunday at the CIM; and Tania Fischer The Janes Elite, who has run 5K's this year in 21:49 and is always tough on the turf, finishing 7th in this division at Lehigh. Fischer's teammate, Shannon Stryker The Janes, who ran a 43:42 10K at altitude, would also play a role, along with Judy Stobbe Central Park TC, who finished two minutes behind Fischer at Lehigh, but ran a 1:10:08 at the Bronx 10 Mile this year.
With Strange absent from the race,t here was no one who could stay with Rohl if she was on her game. By the time they got to the 1st timing mat at 1170 meters, Rohl was running in the top 15 at the front of the field. LaBurt was 40 meters back, with Stobbe right on her heels, and Stryker another 20 meters back in 4th. Another 20 or so meters back was Jody Jensen Genesee Valley Harriers, followed closely by Fischer and Lynch. By the next mat at 2170 meters, there was more separation.
Rohl was over 60 meters in front of the field contending for the overall podium. La Burt, in turn, had extended her lead to almost 30 meters over Stobbe,
|Suzanne LaBurt drives forward,chasing Michelle Rohl,a ahead of Carla McAlister and others at the end of the first loop at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
who had 30 meters on Stryker. Fischer had a slight edge still on Lynch, but both were over 50 meters behind Stryker. As they went up 'The Wall' and across the top field to pass the Jumbotran again, the order was unchanged, but Stryker had closed to within a few strides of Stobbe.
|From left: Amy Fakterowitz & Judy Stobbe competing at the end fo the first 3 km loop at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
Going up the rise and along the upper field, Stryker passed decisively. She would not catch Rohl or La Burt, but each stride was taking her closer to a podium finish, and better points for her team! Meanwhile behind Stobbe, who was solidly in 4th now, a battle was shaping up for 5th through 8th. .At the 4000 meter mark, Fischer was still in 5th in 17:28, but Kris Huff Atlanta TC, now in 6th, and Julie Luft Sirius Athletics had closed and passed Lynch. Lynch latched onto them, knowing that if she stayed with them, she might have a chance to move up at the end. With a kilometer to go, Rohl, La Burt, Stryker and Stobbe were solidly in 1-2-3-4. But the next few finishing positions were still in play, with Fischer, Huff, Luft and Lynch in that order, each with 5-10 meters on the runner behind. Up 'The Wall' and across the top field, Lynch edged closer to Luft and Huff. Once the finish line was in sight, Lynch finished like there was no marathon in her legs, passing those two to finish in 6th right behind her teammate, Fischer, who took 5th in 26:33! Stobbe finished strong, as one would expect from a middle distance star on the track, in 26:11. It was Rohl taking the win 50 meters ahead of La Burt in second, who had well over a hundred meters on Stryker. It was another tour de force for Rohl, with strong performances from La Burt, who held her ground over the second loop, and Stryker!
Michelle Rohl 24:27 Suzanne La Burt 24:40 Shannon Stryker 25:16
60-64 No one was expected to dominate in this division the way Bowley and Rohl did in theirs. But expectations are not always realized. Top contenders included: Gail Hall Club Northwest, who finished 8th in 55-59 at Spokane and ran two XC races this fall with times just a tad slower; Lorraine Jasper Greater Philadelphia TC, who finished 4th in 50-54 at Lehigh and won the 60-64 division in the 5km XC at Boston in 21:38; Nancy Simmons Impala Racing, who won 60-64 in early 2020 at XC Nationals in San Diego and won the division 12 km Championships in New Jersey; and Mary Swan Greater Philadelphia TC, who was not far behind her teammate, Jasper at Lehigh and Boston. Suzanne Cordes Impala Racing took 3rd in 60-64 at New Jersey two minutes behind her teammate, Simmons, but Cordes does love the turf! Kathi Sleavin Club Northwest, who ran XC races in 27:27 and 28:15 this fall, would also be in the mix.
Jasper took it out hard at the gun and already had a dozen meters on the Impala crew by the time they passed the Jumbotron for the first time at 350 meters. That lead had grown to 30 meters by the time they hit the 1170m mark, and it was Cordes, not Simmons, in 2nd, who was there leading the chase pack with Hall and Swan. But Simmons, Lesley Hinz T.H.E. TC, and Sleavin 5-10 meters back. By the time they traversed the 'Shell Path' for the first time, Jasper's lead had grown to 60 meters. Cordes had a 15 meter lead on the rest of the pack, but now it was her teammate, Simmons who was next in 3rd, with Swan right on her heels and Hall and Sleavin 5 meters back. By the time they passed the Jumbotron a second time at 3 km, Jasper's lead had grown to a hundred meters. The idea that there would be no dominant runner in this division was blown to bits! Simmons, in the meantime had moved up to run alongside Cordes, her teammate. They had 20 meters on Swan, with Sleavin on her shoulder and Hall 10 meters back. After another kilometer, Jasper still had a hundred meters on Simmons, who was moving well now, and had 20 meters on Cordes.
|Nancy Simmons leads her teammate, Suzanne Cordes, 2nd and 3rd in W60 at the end of the first 3 km loop |
Cordes in turn was not being threatened by Sleavin and Swan, 25 meters back, but which of those two would win their duel was still uncertain. Now Sleavin was leading but Swan was on her heels! Hall, 40 meters back from that duo, but 60 meters ahead of the rest of the field, looked safe for 6th. Sleavin tried to pull away from swan along the Shell Path, but the Greater Philly runner was not giving an inch! They were up The Wall and running on the flat along the top field; Swan had made her move and Sleavin could not answer. Swan had 4th in 26:38, 20 meters ahead of Sleavin in 6th, with Hall 6th in 27:05. Cordes cashed in for 3rd place, 50 meters ahead of Swan, and 30 meters behind Simmons in 2nd.
|Lorraine Jasper leads the W60 Division at the end of the first 3 km loop |
Jasper had a wire-to-wire division win with over a hundred meters to spare!
Lorraine Jasper 25:51 Nancy Simmons 26:17 Suzanne Cordes 26:26
65-69 This division was projected as a battle between Sharon Moore GVH, Susan Stirrat Shore AC and Cynthia Williams Atlanta TC, with the possibility that her teammates, Terry Ozell, Margaret Taylor, and Elizabeth Unislawski Atlanta TC would factor in. Moore has been a mainstay for GVH for years but her participation, perhaps due to injury, was a little sparse in 2019. But she did race XC Nationals on this course in both 2018 and 2019, collecting 3rd and 4th 60-64 respectively. A 27:14 on the Pete Glavin XC #1 over 5k shows that she was reasonably fit, if not at the very top of her game. Williams, who clocked 26:38 over the 5 km Franklin Park course in Boston appears to be in slightly better XC condition. Stirrat finished two places behind Williams in Boston with a 27:35 effort. Ozell ran a 28:28 5K this year, while Unislawski ran a 5K in 27:06.
Moore announced her return by moving right to the front of the division field. By the 1170 m. mark, she had 15 meters on Stirrat, who had 20 meters on Unislawski. Taylor and Williams started more conservatively and were running in tandem, 10 meters back, followed further back by Ozell.
|Sharon Moore #1189 leads a group of runners including Susan Stirrat #749 down the hill at the start of the race |
Over the next kilometer, Moore extended her lead over Stirrat to 30 meters while Williams closed to within 10 meters of Stirrat. Taylor was 40 meters back, 15 meters ahead of Unislawski. Up The Wall , along the upper field and down past the Jumbotron, Williams attacked, passing Stirrat and leaving her 10 meters back. Looking ahead she could see Moore a good 45 meters ahead. Taylor was now 45 meters back, followed a good distance back by Unislawski and Ozell.
|Atlanta Track Club W65 Athletes, from left: Elizabeth Unislawski, Margaret Taylor, and Cindy Wiliams chasing down Moore and Stirrat at the start of |
There were no changes after that except that Williams pushed the 5th kilometer and reduced Moore's lead to under 45 meters, but that was the closest she would get. Moore had returned in style, taking the 65-69 win in 31:42! That time over 6k is age grade equivalent to a 26:14 5K, a fine improvement over her Pete Glavin XC effort! Williams kept up her outstanding effort all the way to the finish, claiming the Silver medal in 32:03. Stirrat did a nice job of holding her pace all the way to the finish, holding off a hard-charging Taylor who finished in 4th, just 2 seconds back!
Sharon Moore 31:42 Cynthia Williams 32:03 Susan Stirrat 32:46
70-74 A sweep by Jeanette Groesz, Sharon Gerl, and Cande Olsen, all of Team Red Lizard, seemed possible. Gerl won the 70-74 division at the XC Nationals in Tallahassee in 30:04. Groesz finished 2nd in 65-69 at that same race, clocking 29:32, and won that division at Lehigh in 29:00! Olsen ran a 28:06 5K on the roads this year. Others who would try to break up that threesome included: Kathleen Allen Atlanta TC, who won 70-74 at Lehigh in 36:27, equivalent to a 30:10 over 5K; Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall Atlanta TC, who ran 7:47 in the 1500 meter, and 12:36 in the 2000 m. steeplechase; and.Carolyn Smith-Hanna GVH who ran 34:16 at the Pete Glavin XC race over 5 km. Anyone who can run the steeplechase in her 70's is a threat on the XC turf!
Groesz and Gerl started out like they would definitely be 1-2 at the end of the day. Groesz hit the 1170 m. mark in 5:27, with Gerl 50 meters back in 2nd.
|Jeanette Groesz all alone in front of the Women's 70-74 Division |
But then it was more like 150 meters back to Hudnall, with Olsen within 10 meters in 4th. It was another 15 meters back to Smith-Hanna, and 20 more to Allen. Groesz and Gerl kept extending their lead over the next kilometer. Olsen did not wait long; she pulled even with Hudnall and passed her. Hudnall fought to stay close but Olsen forged a 15 meter lead by the 2170 m. mark. Allen pulled to within ten meters of Smith-Hanna. Groesz passed the Jumbotron with a hundred meter lead on Gerl who had, in turn, almost 400 meters on the field.
|Sharon Gerl running away from the field in 2nd place in her Womens 70-74 Division |
Olsen built her lead over Hudnall to 25 meters. Eighty meters back from Hudnall, Allen was now running stride for stride with Smith-Hanna. In the next kilometer, Allen built a 25-meter lead over Smith-Hanna; otherwise, the differentials between runners expanded. There was no stopping Groesz who took the win with over a hundred meters cushion. Her teammate, Gerl, took 2nd with 500 meters to spare.
|Cande Olsen heading for a Bronze Medal in her Women's 70-74 Division |
Olsen kept up the pressure growing her lead to 50 seconds by the time she crossed the finish line third in the division. Hudnall took 4th with a similar lead over Allen. Smith-Hanna took 7th in 37:09. It was an excellent race and a dominating win for Groesz. Groesz's time was faster than the winning 70-74 time! Gerl showed herself to be a steady performer in taking 2nd by such a wide margin.
Jeanette Groesz 30:24 Sharon Gerl 31:01 Cande Olsen 35:02
MEN 60 & Up 8 km
The humidity was creeping up as 130 Masters runners in ten different divisions assembled for the start of the Men's 60&Up race at 10 AM. The dew point had risen to 68; heat could be an issue.
60-64 This competition was covered well in the recap of the Overall M60+ race posted a few days ago. Dan King Athletics Boulder dominated the race, pulling away from the field after the first kilometer and adding to his lead throughout the race. He took the win with over 150 meters to spare!
|Dan King heads for the Finish Line and the Overall Men 60 & Up crown and the Men's 60-64 Division crown |
Robert McCormack HFC Striders emerged from the pack to lead the rest of the field by ten meters at the 2.2 km mark. He built that lead to 30 meters by the end of the first 3 km loop only to see it steadily but gradually shrink over the second loop.
|Robert MacCormack alone in 2nd place M60 at the end of the first 3 km loop |
Tim DeGrado Boulder Road Runners, Kevin Ostenberg HOKA Aggie RC, and Roger Sayre Boulder Road Runners were right on his heels as they started the final short 2 km loop. Despite his best efforts, McCormack could not hold them off.
|Robert McCormack has the lead for 2nd in M60+ , followed by Kevin Ostenberg, Tim DeGrado, and Roger Sayre, with 300 meters to go at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
DeGrado took 2nd, just 3 seconds ahead of his teammate, Sayre. McCormack rallied in the final kilometer to take 4th in 31:11, with Ostenberg 5th and Paul Abdalla, Mark Tatum, and Rick Lee following in close order, all finishing within 4 seconds of McCormack. That was a heck of a race for the top 8 positions!
Dan King 29:56 Tim DeGrado 30:43 Roger Sayre 30:46
65-69 Chief contenders for this division included: Brian Cummins Syracuse TC, who finished 2nd in the division at the Masters 5 km XC Championships in mid-October in 20:59; Thomas Cushman Hoka Aggies RC who ran 44:01 at the Almond Bowl 10K on November 6th; Kevin Dollard Shore AC, who finished 3rd, 18 seconds behind Cummins in Boston; Walter Newcomer F&M TC, who ran a 3:20:48 Boston Marathon this year and also clocked 32:50 at the Rothman 8K in Philadelphia; Tomas Rodriguez Cal Coast TC, who finished 3rd M65 at Spokane in 33:52; Reno Stirrat Shore AC, who ran 33:43 at Lexington to finish 14th M60, but is coming back from an assortment of injuries, and was 10 seconds behind his teammate, Dollard, in Boston; and Keith Witthauer who has been battling various health issues over the last few years, finished 27th M60 at 2019 XC Nationals, but when Club Cross was in Tallahassee in 016, Witthauer finished 10th M60.
Dollard, who must have been feeling good, led the field out, followed closely by Stirrat.
|Kevin Dollard white cap-right and teammate, Reno Stirrat #758-center along with Keith Witthauer #918 lead out the M65 Division among other M60+ Athletes at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
At the 1.2 km mark, Dollard had a 20 meter lead on a chase pack with Newcomer, Stirrat, Witthauer and Cummins at the front of that pack. At the 2.2 km mat, Dollard had stretched his lead slightly and Stirrat, his teammate had moved 10-15 meters in front of the chase pack, which now had Newcomer, Cushman, Rodriguez and Cummins prominent at the front, and Cushman hanging back a bit.
|Kevin Dollard #751 leading the M65 Division, with Thomas Cushman #791-right rear working to close the gap at the end of the first 3 km Loop at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
By the time they passed the Jumbotron at 3 km, Cushman had moved past Stirrat, and had Dollard in his sights, just 15 meters ahead. Rodriguez had moved up even with Stirrat and Newcomer was tucked in behind. The next kilometer saw Cushman catch Dollard and run even; Rodriguez carved a 10-15 meter gap over Newcomer and Stirrat, with Witthauer and Cummins now 50 meters back from that duo. Cushman had a 20 meter gap on Dollard by the time they reached the shell path, but otherwise no major changes.
|Things were heating up in M65; from left Tomas Rodriguez #913 pulled even with Reno Stirrat #758, 3rd at that point, with Walter Newcomer red&blue singlet-rear aiming to close with those two at the end of the first 3 km loop |
When they reached the Jumbotron with just one short 2 km loop to go, Cushman had pushed his lead over Dollard to almost 50 meters. Newcomer was running on Dollard's shoulder, with Rodriguez 10 meters back, with another 30 meters back to Stirrat. Cushman finished strong over the last loop, claiming first! Newcomer closed well, finishing second, just 11 seconds later. Dollard could not keep pace with Newcomer but hung tough, keeping Rodriguez, despite noble efforts, at bay. He claimed the bronze medal with Rodriguez just ten meters back, 4th in 34:47. Stirrat took 5th in 35:02, followed by Cummins in 6th. Mark Rybinski Genesee Valley Harriers started conservatively and worked his way up to finish 7th, with Witthauer 8th.
Thomas Cushman 34:13 Walter Newcomer 34:24 Kevin Dollard 34:43
70-74 Based on recent results, James Foster Syracuse Track Club should have been traversing the turf at the front of this division. At the Masters 5 km XC, he, running in M65, finished the better part of a minute ahead of the two who appear to be the strongest other contenders in M70. Doug Bell Boulder Road Runners, already in the Masters Hall of Fame, has been winning Masters National Championships for years. A fierce competitor, he remains one of the strongest podium contenders. He finished 4th M65 at Club Cross in Spokane in 33:56 and finished 2nd in Boston at the 5 km XC Championships this past October in 22:37. Kirk Larson Atlanta Track Club, who finished 5th M65 at Spokane, but a ways back from Bell, was able to pass Bell in a sprint to the finish at Boston, winning M70 in 22:32. Larson tweaked his quad in training for Tallahassee so might not be at his best. David Dunbar Jamul Toads, Scott Harvey Club Northwest, Rick Katz Boulder Road Runners, Jerry Learned Atlanta Track Club, Rick Pfeiffer San Diego Striders, and Mike Wien Boulder Road Runners. I left David Longmuir Club Northwest off of my preview list mainly because he finished over two minutes behind Harvey at the PNTF XC Championships in early November. That was definitely an oversight because Longmuir is always dangerous on the turf, as he proved in 2017 at Club Cross in Lexington when he took the M70 Championship in 34:56.
Bell and Foster moved to the front of the division field as they headed down toward the Jumbotron.
|Doug Bell blue cap reversed and James Foster, side by side as they lead out the M70 Field amidst athletes from other divisions |
Larson, who said the quad seemed okay at the start of the race, started more conservatively as is his practice. As it turned out, the uneven surfaces of Cross Country stressed his quads more than anticipated as he had to drop out after the first loop. The good news is that an MRI showed no permanent damage; a lengthy recovery period is anticipated. By the 1.2 km mark in the upper field, Bell had 15 meters on Foster, who had 20 meters on Dunbar, followed by Harvey, Pfeiffer and Wien, with a gap back to a 2nd group, Learned, Katz and Longmuir. Except for the gaps growing nothing happened over the next kilometer. But by the 3 km mark, Bell had over 50 meters on Foster, who had over 40 meters on Dunbar. Pfeiffer and Harvey followed at 15 meter intervals, followed by Wien, Learned, Katz and Longmuir. Over the next kilometer, Foster dropped way back; the rumor after the race was that a calf issue cropped up; Foster finished the race so his team would get a team score, but was out of contention for the podium.
|The M70 Chase Pack, led by Kirk Larson #1089 black singlet-right, Rick Pfeiffer #1039-just behind Larson, Jerry Learned #1090-black singlet-left, and Rick Katz far left-white singlet-cap a few hundred meters into the race |
By the time they completed that 3 km loop and had just the short 2 km loop to complete, Bell had 150 meters on his closest pursuer, Dunbar. Pfeiffer was 25 meters back from Dunbar in 3rd.
|Doug Bell putting some distance between himself and the rest of the M70 field |
He was not giving an inch, but Wien was now over 50 meters back from Pfeiffer in 4th Harvey was in 6th 50 meters behind Wien, followed by Katz, Learned, and Longmuir who were still close enough that positions could change.
|David Dunbar #1042 in 2nd M70, with Rick Pfeiffer background-white singlet, in 3rd, trying to close the gap |
The next kilometer brought no order changes to the top 4, but Pfeiffer was now within ten meters of Dunbar. Katz was surging, and had pulled just ahead of Pfeiffer, with Learned just ten meters away, and Longmuir close enough to catch them all if he could finish strong. The finish saw Bell taking the M70 title with over a hundred meters to spare. Pfeiffer was able to kick past Dunbar to take 2nd. Wien held his position, finishing 4th in 36:56. Learned had a strong enough final kilometer to take 5th in 38:35, followed by Katz 38:38, and Longmuir 38:39. What a finish that was!
Doug Bell 35:59 Rick Pfeiffer 36:29 David Dunbar 36:33
75-79 I anticipated that the top performers for this division would be Liam Finnigan, GVH who finished 17th at Lehigh, but ran 1:15:39 at the Utica Boilermaker 15K; Jan Frisby, who, despite battling off and on with calf and Achilles injuries, has some nice Division wins in recent years, from the Mile to the 15K; Dave Glass, who took the M75 title at the 12 km and at the 5 km XC in Boston; Ezequiel Garcia, who was second to Glass at the 12 k and the 5 km XC at Boston; Jim May, who finished 9th in M70 at Lehigh, and finished 5th behind Glass, Garcia, and Frisby at the Boston 5 km XC Championships in October; Gary Patton, who broke the American Road Mile Record in Lincoln Nebraska, with a 5:56 and won the XC Nationals on the challenging course at Bend OR in 2016 in 38:48; and Ron Wells, who took the M70 title at Club Cross in Tallahassee in 2016 and has run several 5K's this year in the upper 12's to mid-22's.
The gun sounded! Garcia and Glass took off across the field and down toward the Jumbotron.
|Ron Wells #1040 buidling his M75 lead at the end of the first 3 km Loop |
They perhaps wanted to put some distance between them and Patton, known for his strong finishing prowess. Wells was just a few strides back, followed by Patton, who started conservatively, knowing he could make up ground later, and then Frisby. By the time they encountered the first timing mat at 1.2 km, Wells had moved to the front and enjoyed a 30-meter lead over Garcia, with Glass 25 meters back. It was a hundred meters further back to Jim May GVH, who had a good 20 meters on Patton and Raymond Eck Boulder Road Runners. Over the next kilometer, Patton moved past May into 4th, but was still over a hundred meters behind Glass. Wells glided past the Jumbotron in 1st with 120 meters on Garcia.
|From left: Ezequiel Garcia, 2nd M75, running next to Rick Katz M70 at the end of the first 3 km Loop |
Glass had closed on Garcia and was now right on his heels. The gap back to Patton was 150 meters. He would have to get closer over the next 3 km loop or he would not be close enough for his finishing kick to move him onto the podium. Over the next kilometer Glass was able to move a few meters ahead of Garcia. Patton and May continued in 4th and 5th. By the time they finished that loop and passed the Jumbotron at 3 km, the podium appeared to be set. Glass had moved into 2nd, over 150 meters out from Garcia, but was still 120 meters behind Wells.
|Dave Glass #1081, running 2nd in M75, alongside Bruce Kirschner #882, David Longmuir #953, and Harry Pino #755, all from other divisions at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
Patton was 70 meters back from Garcia, which is a lot of territory to make up over a 2 km loop. Patton was followed by May, Finnigan, and Frisby. No changes took place over the final loop. It was Wells, Glass, and Garcia on the podium, with Patton 4th in 39:45, followed by May in 41:17, Finnigan 43:45, and Frisby 7th in 44:30.
Ron Wells 37:58 Dave Glass 38:35 Ezequiel Garcia 39:26
Top contenders included Ronald Cormier Shore AC, who took the M80 title at the XC National Championships in San Diego in 48:42; John Elliott Potomac Valley TC, who won Club Cross at Lehigh in 50:08; Andrew Sherwood Atlanta TC, who finished 2nd to Elliott at Lehigh; and David Turner Atlanta TC who was ahead of Sherwood at Lehigh when a Course Marshall mistakenly directed Turner and a few others to take an extra loop. Turner took the M80 title in the 2019 15K Masters Championships at Tulsa in 1:29:36. In my preview I suggested it might be Cormier and Turner battling for the win. Elliott set out as if to prove me wrong. At the first timing mat at 1.2 km, Elliott had a ten meter lead on Cormier. It was 50 meters back to Turner and another 25 to Sherwood. The gaps all got bigger through 3000 meters.
|John Elliott pushing to build his lead in M80 at the end of the first 3 km loop at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
At 4000 meters, the splits show Cormier ahead of Elliott by several minutes. That was clearly wrong as Cormier would have had to cover that kilometer in 2 minutes flat. It seems more likely that the race continued with little change in order.
|Roland Cormier rolling along on his way to a 2nd place finish in M80 at the 2021 USATF Masters Club Cross Country Championships- Apalachee Regional Prk, Tallahassee FL|
At the end Elliott was 300 meters ahead of Cormier who had an even larger lead over Sherwood, with Turner in fourth.
John Elliott 51:13 Roland Cormier 53:02 Andrew Sherwood 57:56
It was stirring competition in so many of these races within a race. That's it for the Women and gthe Men 60 & Up. The age division competitions in the final Masters race of the day, the Men's 40 and Up, will be covered next. Then Teams!