Saturday, November 26, 2022

Which Teams Are in for San Fran? Masters Women and Men 60+ Races

 Wednesday, November 23. The biggest bash of the year for Masters LDR Teams is Club Cross. That's where Teams get their ultimate bragging rights. Last year things were settled on the turf at Tallahassee on an unseasonably warm and humid day. Conditions worsened as the day went on and several runners ran into trouble; others thrived! Before launching into prospects for Club Cross 2022 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, let's take a look at the Team Podiums from last year's Club Cross contests. Those winners have had bragging rights in 2022! And, of course, the 2nd and 3rd place clubs have bragging rights over those who did not make the podium at Tallahassee. This post looks at the contests for the first two races, the Women and the Men 60+. Updates will come later once entries close. The next post will cover the third race, Men 40+.

2021 Tallahassee, FL. Weather Cloudy, low to mid 70's, humidity in the 80-95% range. Women 9 AM/Men 60+ 10 AM/ Men 40+ 11 AM. 

Note: Scoring in the Women's races and the men 60 and over is the sum of the places of the top three (3) finishers. For Men's teams 40 and up, scoring is the sum of the first five finishers, as is traditional in Cross Country. Low score wins. The number in parentheses, after the gender/age identification, was the number of complete scoring teams in the division at Tallahassee. 

Race #1---Women---9 AM---6 Km

Women 40+ (12) Boston Athletic Association 30     Cal Coast Track Club 34     Club Northwest 50*

Women 50+ (10) Sirius Athletics 19     The Janes Elite Racing 24     Garden State Track Club 31

Women 60+ (4) Greater Philadelphia Track Club 9     Club Northwest 17     Atlanta Track Club 22

Women 70+ (3) Team Red Lizard 6     Atlanta Track Club 15     Atlanta Track Club B 27

Race #2---Men 60+---10 AM---8 Km

Men 60+ (8) Boulder Road Runners 11     Athletics Boulder 29     TC Running Company 37

Men 70+ (7) Boulder Road Runners 11     San Diego Striders 18     Atlanta Track Club 27

Men 80+ (1) Atlanta Track Club 6

Race #3---Men 40+---11 AM---10 Km

Men 40+ (20) Indiana Elite Athletic Club 85     West Valley Track Club 88     Bowerman Track Club 121

Men 50+ (11) West Valley Track Club 29     Garden State Track Club 62     Central Mass Striders 93

 * In Women 40+, Club Northwest and Gulf Winds Track Club were tied at 50 but Club Northwest took 3rd on the tie-breaker rule, 

Who's In For 2022?!

Comments are based on registration and team declaration as of November 25th. Registration closes on December 2nd--just 9 days left!

WOMEN'S RACE

Women 40+ The top two teams from 2021, the B.A.A. and Cal Coast have both declared compete teams. Karolyn Bowley, Heather Cappello, and Amanda Watters have entered for the B.A.A.. Erika Holroyd, their #2 runner from 2021 is not yet entered. Without Holroiyd or her equivalent, the B.A.A. will struggle to repeat on the podium. Cal Coast has entered four: Carla McAlister, Maggie Shearer, Kristen Soloway, Jamie Sweningson. Shearer led the way for Cal Coast last year, finishing 2nd overall. But Audrey Kroot and Laura Osman who finished 2nd and 3rd on the team are not entered yet. McAlister finished just 2 seconds and one place back from Osman; McAlister backs up Osman perfectly. That leaves them one short at this point unless Soloway or Sweningson can match what Kroot gave them last year. Club Northwest, the 3rd place finisher last year, has not been heard from yet. But six other teams have already entered complete squads. 

Katie Sherron #820 and Maggie Shearer #896, who eventually finished 1-2, lead out the field--at 2021 Club Nationals in Tallahassee Photo Credits for all photos in this post--Michael Scott 

The Boise Betties and Billies did not compete at Club Cross last year but in 2018 in Spokane, they finished 3rd among 13 teams, behind The Janes Elite and the San Diego Track Club. The top two runners for Boise, Gretchen Hurlbutt and Sarah Barber are back. The Garden State Track Club will try to move up from 5th at Tallahassee. Moving up an average of two places per runner would have gotten them on the podium; they do not have a long way to go! Like Boise, GSTC has their top two, Caoimhe Kilroy and Mary Babcock, running again, with different runners in support. One of those, Elizabeth Wakeling is likely to do more than support. She just clocked 29:23 at the Ashenfelter 8K; that is age grade equivalent to a 18:07 5K. If Wakeling is as strong on the turf, Garden State should definitely be in the podium hunt. Impala Racing did not send a team to Tallahassee, but they are turning out in force to defend the home turf. Juliette Wahleitner, Celeste Prothro, and Katie Famous finished within 18 seconds of one another at the recent Pacific Association XC Championships. Without a true front-runner, the Impalas will rely on a tight pack of athletes. With 5 strong runners entered, their top three should finish close to one another and not too far back from the front. Alanna Bernacchi gives the Phoenix Free Soles an experienced Club Cross runner; she finished 16th in W40-44 at Spokane. Two others, Apryl Campbell and Julie Swanson appear to have decent Half marathon outings. If they can convert those to the turf, Phoenix could be dangerous. As noted above, the San Diego TC finished 2nd in Spokane. They are back; their top two runners from that race, Meriah Earle and Kimberly Mueller, who finished 3rd and 5th in the team competition there, are entered. Their third runner is not, but they have four new teammates. One of those will have to be dropped as only five may be declared. One of the new teammates is Natasha Bliss who finished 3rd in 40-44 at Carlsbad this year with a 17:59. If she runs along with Earle and Mueller, San Diego is, arguably, the team to beat. 

Lead Pack--L to R in front, Meriah Earle #991, Maggie Shearer #1056 and eventual winner, Kate Landau #1041--at 2018 Club Nationals in Spokane


The Impalas are regulars on the 40+ National Championships circuit; they took the top prize in the Masters National Grand Prix for the 40+ division this year. Not so the West Valley Track Club which hardly ever fields a W40+ team for national competitions. Nonetheless they are forming a team to join the Impalas in defending the home turf. Sharon Lemberger who, at age 49, is on her way out of this division, will provide them with a strong front-runner. Seven years ago, she finished 3rd overall at the 8K national road championship in 29:35. She scorched a 1:22:55 Half Marathon on a fast course in Berlin this year. She was first Masters athlete to finish at the recent Pacific Association PA XC Championships. One of her teammates, Alyson Barrett, finished 5th in 40-44 at the Ten Mile Masters Championships in Sacramento and notched a 1:26:30 HM. Other teams are poised to complete their entries and some teams may play the waiting game, either by choice or necessity, and enter after Thanksgiving!

Top 3 Contenders*: Garden State Track Club     Impala Racing     San Diego Track Club

* For all divisions, in alphabetical order, based on entries posted so far. No incomplete teams are listed, no matter how promising.

Women 50+ Only five clubs have complete teams now, Buffalo Chips Running ClubImpala Racing, Lake Merritt Joggers & Striders, Oregon Track Club and the San Diego TC. Neither of the top two teams from Tallahassee, Sirius, out of Oregon, and the Janes Elite Racing, out of So Cal, have been heard from yet. The Janes, perennial contenders, and Sirius, podium finishers at both Lehigh and Tallahassee, will surely enter strong teams. Garden State has entered two runners. That is news because one of them is a top 50's competitor, Fiona Bayly, running for GSTC for the first time. In years past she competed at national championships either unattached or as the sole entry from Urban Athletics. Among many other accomplishments, she won her division at both the Half Marathon and 12 Km Masters National Championships this year. Kimberly Aspholm, who is also entered, and finished 4th W50 at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta, gives GSTC a strong 1-2 punch. We will have to wait to see who else will compete for them. Last year Hortencia Aliaga led them to the final podium spot at Tallahassee. She ran a strong 10K on November 13th so appears to be fit. If she joins Bayly and Aspholm, Garden State can compete for the win. 

L to R: Suzanne La Burt, who finished 2nd in 55-59, leads Carla McAlister and Hortencia Aliaga, who finished 6th in 50-54, mid-race--at 2021 Club Nationals at Tallahassee


The Impalas have 9 runners entered; they could be split into an A and a B team or, possibly, an A, B, and C team. Chris Lundy will likely lead the way for them. She took the 50-54 title at the Masters 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento with a 1:01:50 and, at the age of 50, clocked 50:16 to take 4th place among the Women at Dipsea this year. Samantha Forde and Megan Kossar, experienced XC runners, should provide strong support. Lake Merritt looks like a solid team that may need one additional strong runner if they are to compete for the podium. 

Ingrid Walters #930, who finished 2nd in 50-54, leads Michelle Rohl, #771, who finished 1st in 55-59
    --at 2021 Club Nationals at Tallahassee

In Valerie Miller, San Diego has someone who can run with Bayly, should that be necessary. She finished 53 seconds behind Bayly at the California International Marathon last December, in 2:57:44. Eileen White looks solid with a 43:18 10K at the Oakland Running Festival and Jeanine Holmlund brings XC experience from competing at Spokane in 2018. Atlanta has Kris Huff and Katharine Serrano entered; they will compete hard but will need help if they are to make the podium. Beverly Anderson-Abbs finished 4th in this division in Spokane. With Allison Orofine and Jackie Sword-Olson providing strong support, the Buffalo Chips look like a podiu m contender, at least for now.

Top 3 Contenders: Buffalo Chips     Impala Racing     San Diego Track Club

Women 60+ Six complete teams are entered but the top team from this past year, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club, are waiting to enter. Their top harrier, Lorraine Jasper, was coming back from injury earlier this autumn. They will need her to be healthy, and close to her norm, to capture a second straight crown. Mary Swan showed she could step up if needed, finishing 4th in the 50+ team division at Boulder. Doreen McCoubrie, their other front-runner, does not usually join them for Club Cross, If Cheryl Bellaire joins Swan and Jasper to compete for the top prize, they should be favored if they enter 60+. At some championships, Greater Philadelphia has opted to drop their strong 60+ runners to help the Club to compete for a 50+ prize; that is another possibility. The Impalas and the San Diego Track Club already have enough entrants to field both an A and a B team, the Impalas 'B' team has just one athlete so far, but San Diego B is complete. 

Lorraine Jasper on her way to the 60-64 win--at 2021 Club Nationals at Tallahassee


Three of the top 4 Impalas who went up to Boulder last month and brought back the 60+ championship are already entered, Mo BartleyEileen Brennan-Erler, and Carol Keller. Their top runner at Boulder, Suzanne Cordes, is not entered currently. 

Nancy Simmons #1004 and Suzanne Cordes #1000, who finished 2-3 in 60-64, head into the 2nd loop in their 6K race--at 2021 Club Nationals in Tallahassee


San Diego is not quite as strong, but they have a good core of runners. Nancy Wilkins-Diehr, who finished 7th in 60-64 at Cross Nationals in San Diego and Linda Powers, who finished 8th in 60-64 at Spokane, will likely lead the way. Tina Breen and Annie Deioma should not be far back. They will surely make a run for the podium. Liberty AC has made more of a commitment to the Masters National Grand Prix, finishing third in the 60+ division. At the 5 km Masters XC in Boston in 2021, they finished a close 2nd to Greater Philadelphia. Two of their top three from that race, Mary Cass and Victoria Bok will be in San Francisco. Their #2 runner, Amanda King, is not entered. But Alda Cossi, who is entered, will not be far back from Bok. The Atlanta Track Club enters their veteran squad of Cynthia Williams, Robin Tanner, and Margaret Taylor. They finished 3rd at Boston behind Philadelphia and Liberty, and 5th at Boulder last month. If Mireille Silva joins them, as she did at Tallahassee last year, Atlanta might have a good shot at the podium. With Nora Cary, the American 65-69 Record holder at 12K, and Susan Stirrat, the 60-64 winner of the 2022 Masters National Grand Prix entered, Shore AC has a solid core. But will they have a 3rd runner?

Top 3 Contenders: Impala Racing     Liberty AC     San Diego Track Club

70+ All that is certain at this point are complete teams from the Impalas and Atlanta. Jo Ann Rowland and Donna Chan should lead the way for the Impalas. Irene Herman will have to take off her Local Organizing Committee hat and put on her competitor's singlet to help land the team on the podium. Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall led Atlanta to the win at the Road Mile Championships in Rochester with a 7:59. Her teammates, Andrea McCarter and Catherine Radle were almost three minutes back, but that was close enough to give Atlanta the victory. McCarter is entered along with Hudnall. If the rest of Team Red Lizard shows up and Radle joins her teammate, a podium finish is likely; it would be a stretch for them to beat the Impalas or Red Lizard

 
Jeanette Groesz on her way to the 70-74 win--at 2021 Club Nationals in Tallahassee


Their chief rivals are likely to be Team Red Lizard out of Portland. Only Cande Olsen is currently entered, but Jeanette Groesz and her two running pals, Suzanne Ray and team newcomer, Sabra Harvey, are likely to sign up. If so, they bring plenty of firepower and are favored for the win. 

Top 2 Contenders: Atlanta Track Club     Impala Racing

MEN'S 60+ RACE

60+ Thirteen teams have entered but the only team from the Tallahassee podium with a complete team is Athletics Boulder. As at Tallahassee, they are going with three runners, Rick Bruess, Dan King, and Jay Littlepage. Their success is based on King contending up front, with Bruess and Littlepage getting as close to the front as they are able. It got them 2nd place last year. 

Dan King, who eventually won the 60-64 championship, leads the pack chasing after Rick Lee, in the early going--at the 2021 Club Nationals in Tallahassee


The Boulder Road Runners, who took the 60+ title at Tallahassee, have two entered, Roger Sayre and Adam Feerst. They were joined at Tallahassee by Tim De Grado and Mark Tatum, but they have not entered yet. If they join Feerst and Sayre, BRR will likely be the favorite. The TC Running Company out of the Twin Cities in Minnesota took the final spot on the Tallahassee podium; no one is entered yet. The Ann Arbor Track Club is back at Clubs. They have two strong runners in Lawrence Saks and Steve Schmidt. Saks took 3rd in 60-64 at the USATF Masters HM with a 1:24:15. Schmidt achieved fame in 2020 as one of the first two entrants to Amby Burfoot's 6DS3 Club, runners with a sub-3-hour marathon in each of six decades. More recently he competed on the track at Lexington this past summer, claiming gold in the 5000 and 10,000 meters with a 17:37 and 36:20 respectively. They have two good support runners in Aaron Pratt and Michael Mester, but neither is likely to finish close to their first two. Atlanta Track Club has acquired one of the all-time great Cross Country runners in Rick Becker, who previously ran for Club Northwest. A three-time Masters Harrier of the Year, Becker won the 60+ race in San Francisco in 2015. But now he is 68. It will be hard enough for him to win 65-69, much less compete at the front of the 60-64 pack! Mike Anderson has been one of the mainstays of the ATC 60+ team for the last several years but is on the comeback trail from a series of setbacks. He will run hard, but this is too early; he will contribute more in 2023. That leaves it up to Lester Dragstedt and Casey Hannan to support Becker. Dragstedt also had some setbacks but is well along on the recovery road. New to the 60-64 division, he clocked an 18:26 5K on Labor Day and a 39:35 10K on the 12th of November. Hannan finished 4th in the Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta in February and was 15th in 60-64 at Tallahassee. There is a new wave of runners for the Cal Coast 60+ team. Most have been around for decades competing on the 40+ and/or 50+ teams. Pete Magill needs no introduction. He wrote the book on FAST!, literally! But first he ran it! A breaker of records on the track and the road, he also excelled at XC, His most recent division titles were at 2016 Club Nationals in Tallahassee, taking M55 in 34:13 over 10 K. and at 2017 XC Nationals in Bend, also for the M55 win, with a 30:27 over 8K. He is returning to national competition after several years away. An 18:18 5K at Corona Del Mar in June shows that he is on track for a good outing at Golden Gate Park. His long-time running partner, David Olds, is also entered. he clocked 34:59 to finish 8th in this division at Cross Nationals in San Diego in January, helping Cal Coast to a 2nd place finish. Joining them is Luis Morales who ran 18:28 at Carlsbad this year. With Mark Core and Mike Filipow providing backup support, Cal Coast should be in the mix! Cal Coast is also sending a B and a C team! The Jamul Toads could be in the podium mix as well. Their top two are likely to be Jim Walsh and Adam Weiner Walsh finished 6th in M60 in XC Nationals at San Diego this year in 34:03 and clocked 19:16 at Carlsbad. Weiner has a recent 19:24 5K and has a 7th palce finish in M55 at Lexington Clubs as part of his history. Rick Siebern, Arno Sist, and Marshall Varano. All are capable of running in the low 20's over a 5K. If Walsh and Weiner have good days and one of those three is 'on', the Toads could wind up on the podium. The Shore AC 'A' team will miss its long-time ace, Reno Stirrat. On the comeback trail, Stirrat will run for the B team. Rick Lee and Henry Notaro should lead the way for Shore. In his first race for Shore, Notaro finished right behind Lee at the Masters Road Mile Championships, taking 2nd and 3rd in the division. Last year at Tallahassee, Lee took it out hard and was passed by several runners on the final run to the finish, finishing 8th. He redeemed himself, and then some, with his first place M60 finish in the Cross Country race at the WMA Championships in Tampere Finland. He also took the HM crown there with a 1:18:32. Lee was busy in 2022. He won the Masters Half Marathon and was on the podium at three other Masters national championships. He found time to win his age division at prestigious road races like the Boston Marathon, Gate River Run, Broad Street Run, and the Fifth Avenue Mile. Moreover, Lee loves to race in Ultra Marathons. He just set the M60 course record at the JFK 50 Miler in 7:08:19. Five days later he ran 28:49 at the Ashenfelter 8K, finishing 2nd to the record-breaking effort of Nat Larson. Notaro is almost as amazing. He finished 2nd at the 12 Km Masters Championships at Highlands, and ran two fast marathons, 2:55:51 at the Boston Marathon in April and 2:53 at the London Marathon this fall. Unlike Lee, I can find no recent XC results for Notaro. But strong marathoners have often done well at XC. They will be supported by Kevin Dollard, who finished 3rd in M65 at Tallahassee in 34:43, and then went on to win the M65 Masters National Grand Prix. A highly dependable runner, Dollard was a fixture ont he M65 podium. Were this a 65+ team competition, Dollard would be one of the front runners. He cannot keep up with the fastest 60-year-olds, but he will give a strong effort. If Lee and Notaro do their job, Shore could well wind up on the podium. The SRA Elite will rely on Jacob Nur and Iain Mickle up front. Nur has been breaking 65-69 American road records left and right this year. And he is strong on the turf. At Boulder last month, he took on high altitude and came away with a strong 65-69 victory. His 19:13 over the 5 K course not only took the M65 crown, it was faster than the times of all 60-64 runners except the legendary Dan King. Mickle is fast, but not quite as fast as Nur right now. Mickle finished 2nd M60 at the Masters 10 Mile Championships, losing to Boulder's Tim De Grado by just ten seconds. Chris Little is the third entrant for SRA. He recorded an 18:54 5K in June 2021, and was just 20 seconds back from Mickle at the Pacific Association XC Championships. If he can contribute that kind of effort at GG Park, it might be enough to put SRA on the podium. There are many fine runners on the other complete teams entered, including the Bowerman TC, the Colorado Racing Club, River City Rebels, San Diego TC, and Team Bula. They will compete hard at Golden Gate Park, but they do not appear to have the firepower to stay with the teams mentioned above. This will be one of the most hotly contested divisions. 

Robert McCormack, Kevin Ostenberg, Tim De Grado and Roger Sayre, vying for 2nd through 5th, with less than a quarter mile to go--at 2021 Club Nationals in Tallahassee


The Boulder Road Runners are likely to contend for the podium. But they do not have a complete team so cannot be listed yet. It is tough to leave Athletics Boulder off the podium contender list. Of course, any team with just three runners entered is potentially vulnerable. It will be tough for both King and Littlepage to repeat the sterling performances they turned in to put AB on the podium at Tallahassee.

Top 3 Contenders: Cal Coast TC     Shore AC     SRA Elite

Men 70+ There are ten complete teams, 9 'A' and 1 'B'. The Ann Arbor Track Club M70+ team is reunited on the turf for the first time since their win at Club Cross in Lehigh. Doug Goodhue has had at least one knee surgery and Lloyd Hansen has been figuring out how to live well with Mesothelioma. Pretty soon there will be new guys on the 70+ team and these four, Goodhue, Hansen, Terry McCluskey and yours truly, Paul Carlin, will figure out if competing as an 80+ team makes sense. Goodhue is already there and Carlin is just three years away. It's a couple of years more for Hansen and McCluskey. They do not expect to compete for the 70+ team podium but will enjoy competing! The Atlanta Track Club keeps rolling along. Kirk Larson will be running again after missing a couple of events due to conflicts. When he joins Dave Glass and Jerry Learned, they are a team to be reckoned with. They were on the podium in Tallahassee even though Larson ran into trouble with the conditions. They might have taken 2nd had Larson had his usual day. They won at Dedham, for example, with Larson, Learned and Glass finishing in that order, with just 40 seconds between them. 

Doug Bell #872 and James Foster blue singlet next to Bell take the lead from the start in the 70-74 field, with 60+ runners around them--at 2021 Club Nationals in Tallahassee


The Boulder Road Runners return to defend their title, with two of the same three that brought them the win last year: Doug Bell and Mike Wien. Rick Katz who was the #3 scorer last year, is not listed. Gary Ostwald, who is one of the top M75 runners is included. Ostwald did not compete at Tallahassee, but he and Bell competed in Boston the October before. At that event Ostwald was about 2 minutes back. At Tallahassee in December, over 8K, Katz was a little over 2.5 minutes back. That suggests, on paper, that the substitution could cost them around half a minute; the big question will be how many places. And, of course, Katz might yet register. They should be one of the top teams. Cal Coast has upgraded their talent with the addition of Ignacio 'Nash' Jimenez. Jimenez raan 21:42 at Carlsbad and 1:23:05 at Sactown, where he finished 7th. His strength over the years has been a Crosss Country though. Even at age 69 in 2019, he finished 2nd inn 65-69 at cross Nationals in Tallahassee in 34:00. At Bend in 2017, he took the 65-69 win with a 34:34! Perry Forrester has also been running his 5K's in about 21:30. He competed in Boulder, finishing 13th in M70 but would, presumably, do better at sea level. It is likely their third runner will be either John Combs or Bill 'Coach' Sumner. Sumner, one of the top Coaches of all times at all levels, had a track named after him earlier this year. Whether that will help him close the gap up to Jimenez and Forrester is another question. At Tallahassee last year, Rick Pfeiffer and Ron Wells were running with the San Diego Striders. They finished 2nd and 4th in the 70+ team competition. David Dunbar, of the Jamul Toads, finished 4 seconds behind Pfeiffer. At Cross Nationals in San Diego, Pfeiffer, running unattached, finished 1st in M70, with David Dunbar, Jamul Toads, in 2nd. Wells, if he had been running in M70 instead of M75, would have finished third. In the interim, Pfeiffer and Wells decided to join Dunbar on the Toads. As if that were not enough, Greg Wilson actually led the other three home at the recent San Diego-Imperial XC Championships! That makes them the pre-race M70+ favorite in San Francisco. 

David Dunbar #1042, with Rick Pfeiffer in the background white singlet--Pfeiffer and Dunbar eventually finished 1-2 in 70-74--at 2021 Club Nationals in Tallahassee

With Robert Qualls leading the way, the River City Rebels should make some noise. Qualls took first in M70 at the 12 km Championships at Highlands NJ. Perhaps more relevant, he took 1st place in the 70+ division at the World's in Finland over 6Km of turf! He also took top honors by over two minutes in M70 at Boulder over 5 Km. Perry Linn joins him as RCR's outside athlete. Linn finished 4th at Boulder, three minutes behind Qualls, but only 1 minute back from Boulder's Bell. It is hard to know how much of a fall-off RCR has after those two. Randall Margo does not show up on the radar at all. David Stancliffe's only recent results seems promising though, a 22:45 at Carlsbad. With no recent XC results, it is hard to know how strong he will be on the turf. Qualls won the PA XC M70 championships, but neither Margo nor Stancliffe competed. The Syracuse Track Club should be in the mix as well. James Foster did not have aa good day at Tallahassee last year but he is perennially one of the tough XC runners in his division. At Lehigh, for example, at 68, Foster finished 6th in M65. At Spokane a year earlier, he finished 2nd to Doug Winn. Ted Larison, their #2 XC runner, has typically finished within a minute or two of Foster at Clubs. But this fall, larison has been running strong on the turf, finishing as first M70 at each of the three Pete Glavin XC series over 5 Km. In the final race, in early October, he came in 14 seconds ahead of Foster. That gives them a strong 1-2 punch. Their ability to make the podium may well depend on how close Douglas Wood can stay. The Tamalpa Runners have not competed in M70+ since Spokane, when they finished 2nd to Ann Arbor. The year before, in Lexington KY, they took the top spot in 70+! Their top two from Lexington, Don Porteous and Len Goldman, are still running well. Goldman has been running his 5K's in the 22:30-22:45 range and was the first M75 athlete to finish at the PA XC Championships, clocking 37:08 over 5 miles. Porteous did not compete at the PA XC Championships but ran a 45:20 10K at the Oakland Running Festival in March and was a half-minute behind Goldman at Stow Lake, one of his 5K's. 

Don Porteous #1315 on his way to 70-74 victory, along with George Braun 60-64 --at 2017 Club Nationals in Lexington KY


They have been bolstered by the addition of John Hirschberger, who finished 5th in M70 at Cross Nationals in San Diego and was a minute faster than Goldman at Stow Lake. Another newcomer, Arthur Beckert, ran 20 seconds faster than Porteous at Oakland. Joe Schieffer was just a minute back from Hirschberger at Cross Nationals. That suggests that one way or another, Tamalpa should have a pretty tight pack. Unless one of their team can run at the front of M70, though, they are a long shot for the podium.

Top 3 Contenders: Boulder Road Runners     Jamul Toads     River City Rebels

80+ At this point, Florida Track Club/West and the San Diego Striders are in with complete teams. Atlanta has two entered. Of the two complete teams, FTC/W appears to be the stronger. James Callaway finished 6th in M75 at Cross Nationals in San Diego, finishing 5 minutes ahead of his teammate, James Metts, who finished 2nd in M80. Metts runs his 5K's in around 30 minutes, while Callaway is about 4 minutes faster. Their teammate, John Becker, is probably the Becker who ran 27 and change to win the 5000 meters at Ames IA this past summer. It appears that Keith Wetterer, of the Striders can run with Callaway and Becker. But it appears that Metts is faster than the Striders' #2 and #3 runners, Byron Mellendy and Lowell Smith. That makes FTC/W the favorites for 80+ on paper. We will have to wait to see if Atlanta gets a 3rd entrant or not. David Turner was their third entrant at Tallahassee but has not entered yet.

Top 2 Contenders: Florida Track Club/West     San Diego Striders

That concludes my early analysis of the upcoming Women's and Men 60+ races at San Francisco. Next up will be the Men's 40+ Races. Once registration closes and the USATF Annual Meeting is over, look for last-minute updates.

Monday, October 31, 2022

A Great Day of Racing on the Front Range of the Rockies--Mile High Cross Country Championships at Boulder

 Boulder, Colorado. October 22, 2022. 

Temperatures climbed and the sun blazed forth at Harlow Platts Community Park. It was a great day for spectators. The Cross Country course was an honest one, with your classic sharp, short up- and downhills, technical sections, and some cross-slope running. The warm temperatures, dry conditions and high altitude made this day of racing a challenge. Some were able to overcome the challenges brilliantly, while others had less success, and were left shaking their heads, wondering how they could have managed to run as slow as they did. But most vowed it would make them stronger so they could rebound and fight another day.  Lee Troop and his T.E.A.M. Boulder crew provided great organization of the Event; they also arranged for Award presentations by some of the many Olympic athletes who make the Boulder area their home. To the delight of the winning Masters athletes, Olympic athletes, Colleen De Reuck, Benji Durden, Adam Goucher, Kara Goucher, Joe Klecker, Alicia Monson, and Jake Riley presented the medals.

OVERALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

WOMEN

The Women’s race went off first. The top contenders appeared to be Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, Kathryn Davis, Melody Fairchild, Jessica HruskaAnn Kirkpatrick, Shelly McDonald, Katherine McGee, and Trina Painter. The gun sounded, the runners streamed down the slope toward the first short climb up and across slope to the right. Kirkpatrick, who finished 27th in the Women’s Open Championships at Tallahassee last December, was in the lead, with McDonald running beside her. McDonald finished 3rd this year in the Equinox Half Marathon in 1:20:58, a serious rival no doubt. Tucked in behind those two was Hruska, who took the 5K Masters Championship on the roads last February. Fairchild, who had competed for Team USA in the World Mountain Running Championships in 2012 and won the Overall Masters title at the 2017 USATF Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon, was a few strides back. Off to her right was Cherobon-Bawcom the 2012 Olympian in the 10,000 meters. 

The Early leaders in the Women's race-From left: Janet Cherobon-Bawcom #43Melody Fairchild #79Rochelle Persson #284Ann Kirkpatrick #303 and Shelley McDonald #146
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

The others fell in behind in the pack and bided their time. As they cruised around the lake for the first time, Kirkpatrick, McDonald, and Hruska were leading the field, with Cherobon-Bawcom 50 meters back and Fairchild another 20. Cherobon-Bawcom, an Olympian in 2012, had run a 16:38 5 K a couple of years ago. Since that time, she has focused on her 'real job', a nurse testing for Covid at the Grand Canyon, and has devoted less time to training. Nonetheless, she has the talent and enjoys running with her team! But today was not her day. Fairchild passed Cherobon-Bawcom on the latter part of the first loop. Once McDonald fell back from the stiff early pace that Kirkpatrick was setting, Fairchild passed her as well and found herself in third as the leaders headed back around behind the starting area at the end of the first big loop. From there it was just a question of whether Hruska could stay with her or not. In the end, Kirkpatrick had a little more to call on and pulled away from Hruska over the second loop. Kirkpatrick was home with the win in 19:21, with Hruska a half minute back in 2nd. 

Ann Kirkpatrick heads to the Finish Line where she takes First Place in the Women's race at the 2022 USATF Masters National 5 Km Cross Country Championships at Boulder CO
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

Fairchild, a very determined runner, was able to hang there in 3rd the rest of the way, finishing just ten seconds back from Hruska. 

Kirkpatrick did not compete in college, starting serious training only after starting a career and having two children. Nonetheless, she was able to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta and finish in the top 30 at the USATF Cross Country Open Championships in 2021, at the age of 39! Winning a Masters National Championship in her first outing seems only fitting! 

Hruska did her best to stay with Kirkpatrick but was delighted to claim her first Silver Medal this year at a National Championship, adding to the Gold she earned at the 5 Km in Atlanta and the Bronzes in the Half marathon in Syracuse and the 10 Km in Dedham, MA. As one might guess, with that record, she was even more delighted at her ability to close out the 2022 Masters National Grand Prix in style. The 90 points from this contest gives her 445 points and a dominant Grand Prix win in the 40-44 age division. Fairchild, who focuses primarily on Coaching her Boulder Mountain Warriors, was, no doubt, pleased to podium at the age of 49.

Painter, who competed for Team USA in the 1998 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships and raced in four different Olympic Trials, in events from the 3000 meters to the Marathon, was able to pull away from the rest and finish strong in 4th at 20:45. Painter, 56, like Fairchild, focuses primarily on Coaching but apparently stays in top condition to inspire her charges. Davis, an Ultra Runner, was just three seconds back in 5th. McGee took 6th and McDonald 7th.

Ann Kirkpatrick 19:21     Jessica Hruska 19:52     Melody Fairchild 20:02

MEN

In the Men’s Overall Championships, it was a Marathoner, Anthony Bruns, vs. a trail runner, Chris Gomez, vs. a smoking fast 5K road specialist, Adam Rich. All sorts of runners have done well in Cross Country. Marathoners took the top two spots, for example, at the 2018 Club Cross Championships in Spokane. Fast Miler and 5K specialist, Neville Davey, won the 2017 Club Cross at Lexington KY. Simon Gutierrez, the 2005 USA Mountain Runner of the Year, was on the podium at Cross Nationals in Boulder in 2015. 

Bruns ran 2:25:35 for a Masters win at the 2021 edition of the California International Marathon CIM and finished 3rd overall at the Denver Colfax Marathon this past May in 2:32:48. Known primarily for his trail running, Gomez has won the Soulstice Jackie Weintraub Mountain Trail Run over 11 miles in Flagstaff the last two years. He also finished 2nd Masters this September at the Imogene Pass Run over 17.1 Miles. The race has a mile of elevation rise in the first ten miles and then falls 4300 feet over the next 7 miles. No doubt a 5 Km XC race would feel short after that kind of Mountain Race. He also found time to win 1st Masters at Flagstaff's Pride 5K in early October, clocking 16:39. Rich, on the other hand, took 1st masters at the Cookie Chase 5K in Denver in July with a 15:40, and at the Evergreen Town Race 5K in August with a 15:19, and won the Golden Gallop 5K Overall in 15:49 in September in Golden CO, all at altitude. 

There were plenty of others with strong credentials, even after star Open Runner, Fernando Cabada, had to withdraw from his first Masters National Championships due to work conflicts. Ryan Baker entered the race with credentials in the ballpark of his rivals. Baker took first Masters at the 18th Annual Pat's Run in Flagstaff over 4.2 miles, roughly equivalent to a 16:45 5K. Then he won the Masters race at the Flagstaff Mile in 4:43 on the 4th of July.  Anthony Gallo, in a similar vein, lacked truly impressive credentials coming in. He ran 17:47 at a 5K in June and 16:55 at the Pride 5K in early October, finishing 16 seconds behind Gomez. Both were at altitude, so more impressive, but all of the times mentioned here, except CIM, were at altitude.  Neil McDonagh brought in a strong and broad road runner's resume, from a 1st Masters, 2nd Overall 4:36 at the Mile High Mile this summer, back to a 15:46 5K and a 33:07 10K, both at altitude in 2021, to a solid 2:41:59 at Grandma's in 2019. 

Front of the Men's Field 200 Meters into the Race--From Right: Adam Rich #186, Neville Davey black singlet right behind Rich, Neil McDonagh #144, Jesse Armijo, Anthony Bruns #34, Jonathan Huie #275, Anthony Gallo #91, Jerry Snider #214, and Peter Newton #302 
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

Rich took it out hard, daring the others to go with him! Up the short hill and around the lake, Rich held the lead for the first loop. Gomez, Bruns, McDonagh and Gallo formed a chase pack that was a good 50 meters behind Rich. Neville Davey, Masters winner of the 2017 Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington KY, was just 20 meters back from the chase pack at that point.  Gomez and Bruns were able to drop McDonagh and Gallo. They then passed Rich and gapped him on the last loop. Gomez had just a little more in the tank over the finishing half mile, pulling away for a three second victory over Bruns in 16:35! 

Chris Gomez Enjoys the Overall Win in the men's race at the 2022 USATF Masters National 5 Km Cross Country Championships in Bouder CO
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

Rich claimed 3rd in 16:48. McDonagh closed strong but could not quite catch Rich, finishing two seconds back in 4th. Gallo was 5th in 17:05, five seconds ahead of Baker, who moved up strongly over the 2nd loop of the course.

Chris Gomez 16:35     Anthony Bruns 16:38     Adam Rich 16:48

AGE DIVISION NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

MEN 

40-44 It is not always this way, but everyone mentioned in the Overall race came from the 40-44 division. It was Gomez, Bruns and Rich on the podium with McDonagh, Gallo and R. Baker in 4th through 6th.

Chris Gomez 16:35     Anthony Bruns 16:38     Adam Rich 16:48

45-49 This division was packed. Neville Davey, winner of the 2017 Masters Overall Club Cross Championship and current holder of the Masters Road Mile record at 4:22 was, arguably, the headliner. If one focuses on Open Cross Country credentials, Clint Wells comes to the fore. A three-time member of Team USA at the World Cross Country Championships, Wells also enjoyed success on the roads, with Masters wins in 2016 at the UA NYC Half Marathon in 1:06:47 and at Boston with a 2:24:55. Mike Madsen lost by a whisker at the 2019 Masters Road Mile Championships in Flint to Chuck Schneekloth (now also the 2022 Fifth Avenue Mile Masters Champion). Todd Rose won this division at Club Cross in Tallahassee, getting a rare win over Jacques Sallberg. Julian Marsh did not compete at Tallahassee last December but was just outside the top ten Overall in the Masters Race at Club Cross at Lehigh. Aaron Kleinman entered with a 2:38:33 at the CIM last December, a 2:57:47 at Boston and a 36:44 at the Bolder Boulder 10K. On a warm, humid day in Tallahassee last December, Brantley Lutz found himself finishing almost two minutes behind Rose. He was looking forward to a better day in the mountains. Lutz had also built a base last winter, prepping for a 2:50:21 Marathon in Rome, Italy in March. [It may not have the prestige of a Berlin or a London, but it sounds like a heck of a destination race, starting and ending at the Coliseum!

When the gun sounded, Davey shot off like a bolt! He positioned himself, in the first quarter mile, off of McDonagh's left elbow, slotted in right behind Rich. By the time they were headed around the lake for the first time, Davey was leading the division, but Lutz was moving up through the pack. Madsen and Wells were biding their time behind Lutz, with Rose, and then Marsh, tracking them. Lutz eventually passed, and pulled away from Davey, enjoying a 14 second gap by the time he crossed the finish line 1st in the division! Rose, in the meantime, had been closing on Davey over the second loop of the course, and nearly nipped him. Davey's strong finishing kick served him well as he edged Rose by a single second in 17:37! Then they came pouring in! Kleinman at 17:44, followed 5 seconds later by Wells, Madsen at 17:52, and Marsh six seconds further back. What a race! Lutz certainly enjoyed that one more than Tallahassee!

Brantley Lutz 17:23     Neville Davey 17:37     Todd Rose 17:38

This Photo of the Men's Chase pack, consisting of Chris Gomez, Anthony Bruns, Neil McDonagh, and Anthony Gallo shows off the spectacular beauty of the setting in Boulder for the 2022 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos


50-54 Mark Yuen was the King of this division last winter, taking the division crowns at both Tallahassee and San Diego. His teammates, Ivan Lieben and Charles Mullane, were not far back. Yuen did not participate in the roads portion of the Masters National Grand prix, but Lieben and their West Valley teammate, Mark Callon did.  Callon took the Half Marathon title at Syracuse with a fine 1:15:43, edging his Central Mass Striders rival, Gregory Putnam by just 5 seconds. Lieben, meanwhile, gathered in points at the 10 Mile, 10K, and 12K Championships, entering the final Championship in 2nd place in the Grand Prix, just twenty points back from Putnam. Chris Grauch, Glen Mays, and Flavio De Simone were prepared to defend the home turf of the Boulder Road Runners. In August 2021, Grauch took 2nd Masters, behind Max King, at the USATF Mountain Championships at Mt. Hood, Oregon. Mays clocked 1:20:21 at the Bar Harbor, ME Half Marathon in mid-September. De Simone, who provided videos of the course for the benefit of out-of-state runners, was just 49 seconds behind Callon in Tallahassee. Chokri Dhaouadi, who finished 4th overall at Cross Nationals in San Diego in 2020, made the trip up from another mile high city, Albuquerque, to try his luck. Dhaouadhi took it out hard, running with the second Overall chase group for the first part of the race. Then the Mountain King, Grauch, took over. Grauch came in at 17:18, a whopping 45 seconds ahead of Dhaouadhi. Dhaouadhi made the trip from Albuquerque worthwhile, though, managing to hold off Lieben by a single second for the Silver medal. Lieben's 18:04 gave him his 3rd consecutive national Cross Country podium, to go with Tallahassee and San Diego. Twelve seconds later, Callon took 4th, with Mays 5th in 18:23, and Mullane just 3 seconds back. Putnam finished 7th in 18:44, followed by Yuen and De Simone.

Chris Grauch 17:18     Chokri Dhaouadhi 18:03     Ivan Lieben 18:04


The Races within the Race--From Right: Craig Godwin 55 Bowerman TC orange singlet/lenses, Ivan Lieben 53 West Valley TC lime green cap/reversed, Glen Mays 52 Boulder Road Runners #141, Julian Marsh 48 West Valley TC #139, Eric Monda 43 Boulder Road Runners white singlet/ blue shorts, Will Drexler 47 Team Run Flagstaff #71, Francis Burdett 57 Greater Springfield Harriers #35
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

55-59 Christian Cushing-Murray aged up after claiming the 5 km national 50-54 title in Atlanta with a 16:45 and finishing 3rd at Cross Nationals in San Diego behind Yuen and Lieben. Craig Godwin won the 50-54 division at Highlands NJ in the 12 Km in September 2021 with a nifty 41:23. He took 6th in that division at Tallahassee and followed it up with a 1:18:52 Half marathon at the Eugene marathon in April and clocked 16:30 in a September 5K. David White would be a formidable Cross Country opponent. He finished 2nd at Tallahassee and took the division crown at San Diego. Rick Granquist took top Masters honors in 47:15 at the CMRA South Seven Trail Run. That would only be equivalent to a 41:29 10K but was on mostly gravel trails with a fair amount of up and down and, of course, at altitude. In some sense, you never know what to expect from Francis Burdett. You will always get top effort, but Burdett often runs with injuries that would sideline others. He had a great outing at the Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth Maine in early August, taking the division prize in 37:03. A month later, he ran with a minor injury at the 12 km Championships in Highlands NJ, still managing an 8th place finish in the division in 46:40, equivalent to a 38:28 10K. Mike Nier finished off his hamstring rehab and would, presumably be at full strength. He finished 4th at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta with a 17:43 but was back in 13th at Dedham at the 10 Km Championships with a 38:48, in the early stages of rehabbing the hamstring. Would he be ready for Cross Country? He had a good outing at the 3rd of the Pete Glavin XC Series on Oct 9th, with a 16:05, and was only 19 seconds out of first in the division.

After the gun sounded and the field was 200 meters out, one naturally looked for Cushing-Murray, who often gets out fast with the Overall leaders. In contrast, he was more restrained this time, going out with the 50+ leaders but keeping himself in check. Godwin was a few strides back, and Burdett, off to his right. Godwin pushed the pace from there, with Cushing-Murray a few strides back, and Burdett back a few more. The rest could not be picked out but were, no doubt, there in the mix. When they headed up the hill at the end of the second loop, White was able to pass Godwin, who appeared to be having breathing difficulties. White's hopes of a big win were soon dashed, however, as he had trouble catching his breath on the downslope, and Godwin went roaring past. Godwin said, after the race, that until he got to the final few hundred meters, he doubted if he would finish. But finish he did, clocking 18:54 to take the division win with 9 seconds to spare! White did eventually find his breathing again and was able to stay ahead of Cushing-Murray. Granquist had been right behind Cushing-Murray on the way up the final big hill on the second loop. But, by the end, Cushing-Murray nailed third in 19:15 with Granquist ten seconds back. Nine seconds later it was Burdett in 5th, with Nier claiming 6th just three seconds later.

This Cross Country win was sweet for Godwin; he has had medical issues over the last few years but has not let it slow him down. His first national Masters Cross Country outing seems to have been at Cross Nationals in Bend, Oregon in 2017, where he finished 4th in 45-49. It has been up and down ever since. At Club Cross in Lexington later that year, he was 15th in 50-54, and the following year, 13th in Spokane. He had his best Club Cross finish at Lehigh, claiming 3rd in 50-54. Right before Covid hit, Godwin had his first national Cross Country win, taking the 50-54 crown at Mission Bay in San Diego in early 2020. But then at Tallahassee last December, he was back to 6th. Coming into Boulder, up against so many top runners who train at altitude, must have seemed daunting. Nonetheless, at the end, he was atop the podium. 

Although he was not able to claim the top prize, White has a nice XC trifecta, with a 2nd at Tallahassee last December, a 1st at San Diego a month later, and another 2nd here in Boulder. Cushing-Murray was happy to return to a Cross Country podium, especially in a race at altitude! Cushing-Murray has been on Cross Country division podiums many times and won the whole show at Cross Nationals in 2012 in St. Louis! His most recent division podium was at Tallahassee Cross Nationals in 2018 where he took Silver in 50-54. Granquist salvaged some of the hometown pride for this division, while Burdett and Nier enjoyed a return to form and helped themselves out a bit in the Individual Grand Prix contest.

Craig Godwin 18:54     David White 19:03     Christian Cushing-Murray 19:15

60-64 All eyes were on Dan King. He was winning everything in sight, on the track, coming out of Covid in 2021. He ran faster than the 60-64 American Mile record and faster than the 1500 Meter record. He set the 60-64 Road Mile Record at 5:00 flat in Lincoln, Nebraska. Coming off the track season, he went on a tear on the turf! He has won the last three 60-64 Division Cross Country crowns, at Boston last November, at Tallahassee last December, and at San Diego in January of this year. Could he win 4 in a row? There was some doubt as 2022 has been more up and down. A Master at rehab, he still did get injured and however good you are at rehab, it will, necessarily, slow you down for a period of time. His most recent injury was to his knee. That rehab was coming along, but he was not far enough along to win the 60-64 division at the Fifth Avenue Mile, as everyone expected. He did still come second. And he was able to run a 37:55 10 Km at the Boulderthon 10K on October 9th. At Tallahassdee last December, Tim DeGrado and Roger Sayre finished 2nd and 3rd, well back from King. Mark Tatum finished 7th and Joe Mora 12th. Would they all move up on King? If King's knee held up, it appeared his chances for a 4th straight win were good. DeGrado had a tough outing at the BOA Chicago Marathon 2 weeks before this race, running a good bit slower than he anticipated. That would work against him perhaps. Sayre is in the last few months of his time in the 60-64 division; he ages up next year. Tatum might be the more dangerous of those three Boulder Road Runner teammates. He won Dipsea in 2021. He did not win this year but did very well again. He had no known weaknesses coming into the race. Mora has not been quite as strong on the turf as he has been on the track and on the roads. And he was coming to altitude from the flatlands of Upstate New York.

When the gun went off, King left little doubt that the knee was fine. He mentioned to me that one of the secrets of altitude running is to be cautious at the start so you can make a strong move over the 2nd half of the race. DeGrado pushed to the front of the field. That had worked well for him in the 10 Km Championships at Dedham, where he went out hard and was never headed. Despite employing his conservative strategy, King was not far back. He was followed by Tatum and the others. King started to move up on the longer uphill in the second half of the 1st loop, and really extended himself on the downslope. King's knee held up, his strategy worked, and he had another big win on the turf! He crossed the finish line in 1st at 18:57. DeGrado probably felt a bit of the Marathon in his legs. In any case, this time he could not hold off a challenge from Tatum, who claimed second in 19:58. De Grado was 7 seconds back in 3rd. Considering the altitude and the warm, dry day, Mora did well, claiming 4th in 20:19. He was followed 7 seconds later by Daniel Greer, primarily a Trail Runner, with Sayre in 6th at 20:35. 

King had his 4th straight win on the turf. More than one athlete was wondering if anyone, in any Masters division, had ever accomplished that feat before. My guess is that it is quite rare. But, in one of the ironies of sport, immediately before King did it, Joe Sheeran did it, and in the same 60-64 division, winning at Tallahassee in February 2019 (Cross Nationals), at Mission Bay in San Diego in October 2019 (5 Km Masters Cross), at Lehigh in December 2019 (Club Cross), and at Mission Bay again in January of 2020 (Cross Nationals). To be accurate, Sheeran actually got the 5-peat, because he also took the division win at Spokane in December 2018 (Club Cross). He did not go to Buffalo, NY in October of 2018 however, so it stops at five. And yes, King was second to Sheeran at the last three of those. Sheeran has not competed nationally since that last win in San Diego. A snowstorm kept Sheeran from catching his flight to San Diego in 2022. It would have been fun to see that race; King was at the top of his game. Either way, King has one more to go to match Sheeran. Will he get it at San Francisco?

Dan King 18:57     Mark Tatum 19:58     Tim DeGrado 20:05

65-69 This division looked, initially, like it would have one of the most competitive fields. Jacob Nur has been setting records left and right on the roads. He currently holds the American Records at 10 Km 35:42, 10 Miles 58:34 and the Half Marathon 1:18:29.  Rick Becker is one of the finest XC runners of his age and a 3-time USATF Masters Harrier of the Year. Last year he broke the 5000 and 10,000 65-69 American Records on the track at the USATF Masters Outdoor Championships. Ken Youngers had had a remarkable 12 months, starting with a 12 Km American 65-69 Record at Highlands, NJ in September 2021, and including a 37:46 10 Km at the National Championships in Dedham MA. That established the 65-69 Course Record. That possibility vanished when Youngers had a nasty fall at Highlands this year when his hamstring gave out in mid-stride. Of course, it still looked like Becker and Nur might have a rematch. Becker took their meeting in Spokane in 2018 and Nur had the edge in San Diego last January. Then that fell apart, too, when Becker came up with a calf strain heading into the race. That meant it would be up to one of the high-altitude guys to try to rein in Nur. It was good to see Dan Spale running well again. In 2016 and 2017, he was a 60-64 podium regular on the Masters National Grand Prix circuit, whether Club Cross at Tallahassee or a 15K in Tulsa or an 8K in Virginia Beach. He ran 41:43 at Bolder Boulder this year and followed that with an 18:53 5K in August, and a 1:34:02 Half Marathon on Labor Day, all at altitude. Kansas City is not high altitude, but Stan McCormack should also be a podium contender. He took 7th in the 5K National Championships in 65-69 at Atlanta in 19:22. Others in the hunt included Normand Guilemette, Jack Pottle, and Jerry Blair. 

Nur, as it turned out, ran splendidly and no one in the division could keep him in sight. He clocked 19:13, finishing 1st by well over a minute. His time was also faster than all of the 60-64 year-olds except for Dan King. Despite McCormack's best efforts to stay close, Spale was able to pull away on the second loop, claiming the Silver medal in 20:53. McCormack earned the final podium spot with a 21:37, holding off Guillemette, who was just six seconds back in 4th. Pottle finished at 22:06 in 5th place, with Blair in 6th at 22:30.

Jacob Nur 19:13     Dan Spale 20:53     Stan McCormack 21:37

70-74 In a 12 Km Road matchup in Highlands, NJ in September, Robert Qualls, the 'new kid on the block' in the age division, was able to beat Gene Dykes. For those who do not know Dykes's recent history, he came within a whisker of breaking the World Marathon 70-74 record of the legendary Ed Whitlock in 2018, clocking 2:55:22. Dykes was winning everything in sight in 2018 but is now looking toward the 75-79 division. Essentially injury-free in 2018 and 2019, the last two years have seen more injuries for Dykes. He always seems to come back strongly, though.   

But Qualls is formidable right now. At the WMA Championships in Finland this summer, he came home with a Gold Medal from the Cross Country, a Silver in the 10 Km Road Championships and a Bronze in the 1500! He kept that rolling with his win at the 12 Km Championships. Not to ruin any suspense, but Dykes, it turned out, was not ready for the altitude or just needed more recovery time from the London Marathon on October 2nd and the Indiana Trail 100 Miler on the 9th. He was not in the race after the first mile. 

No one else had a chance of staying with Qualls, who ran a superb race, taking the win in 20:50. Doug Bell is a tough customer on the turf. He was upset at Boston in October, finishing 2nd in the division. But he righted the ship and took 1st at Club Cross in Tallahassee. He had run well this summer, with a 44:33 at the Bolder Boulder. He could not stay close to Qualls, but had everyone else beat, clocking 23:08 to enjoy a margin of over 40 seconds back to his teammate, Carl Mohr. Perry Linn who had a good outing at Ames this summer, with a 21:04 5,000 meters and a 44:23 10,000-meters, was just off the podium at 24:09. Jerry Learned had another fine outing; he is has had a very consistent year. He edged Pablo Vigil, taking 5th place in 24:18, with Vigil three seconds back. It is very tough to take a place away from Learned in the final stages of a race; he can always find a strong kick!

Robert Qualls 20:50     Doug Bell 23:08     Carl Mohr 23:51

75-79 The big question in this division was whether Dave Glass could come into Gary Ostwald's home territory and keep his amazing season going in style. Last year at Tallahassee, Glass finished 2nd to Ron Wells at Tallahassee but had an off day at San Diego. Ostwald came in 12 seconds ahead of Glass. And, of course, Ostwald should have the advantage from this race being at altitude. In the interim, Glass bounced back to beat Ostwald by 44 seconds a month later at the 5 Km Road championships in Atlanta and went on to win every national championship from 10 Km up in 2022. To say the least, he was coming in on a roll! Ostwald went out strong and led for most of the first loop. Glass was able to move past Ostwald as they passed the Tennis Courts on the way out to begin the second loop. Glass never looked back and took the win in 23:57. Ostwald claimed 2nd 45 seconds later. His teammate, Jeffrey Dumas, took 3rd in 26:42, a minute ahead of the pair from the Genesee Valley Harriers, Keith Yeates and Jim May, who took 4th and 5th.

Dave Glass 23:57     Gary Ostwald 24:42     Jeffrey Dumas 26:42

Dave Glass #96, eventual winner of 75-79, and Brian Cloherty yellow singlet work their way back around the lake at the 2022 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

80-84 I did not know what to make of Richard Zerbe's credentials. What I could find on Athlinks was that he has competed regularly in the race walk at distances up to 1500 Meters. This past summer, he clocked 11:37 for the 1500 Meter Race Walk. The track races I could find topped out at 400 Meters. But I should have looked more closely at the times to figure out that Zerbe is quite an athlete. And maybe I should also have remembered that Michelle Rohl who is setting records as a distance runner had a career as a race walker before that. Stan Edelson looked like the favorite. He took first in Rochester at the Road Mile Championships with an 8:38 and also claimed the division title at Boston in the 5 km XC Championships last autumn, with a 30:47. But once the gun sounded, it was Zerbe's day! He had no trouble covering the course in a fine 31:49, over two minutes faster than Edelson. Edelson was not ready for Zerbe but was ready for everyone else, claiming 2nd in 34:03. Andrew Sherwood had his fourth podium finish of the year, adding to his win at the 10 Mile Championships and thirds at Club Cross and the 1 Mile at Rochester. Shenk was not far off, finishing in 4th a half minute back from Sherwood. 

Richard Zerbe 31:49     Stan Edelson 34:03     Andrew Sherwood 39:50


WOMEN 

40-44 The top runners in this division either made the podium or were just off. Kirkpatrick took the win, followed by Hruska. Fairchild is from the next division and Painter from the 55-59. But Kathryn Davis who finished 5th Overall, claimed the final spot on the Division podium. Shelley McDonald was 4th, followed by Katie Famous in 5th.

Ann Kirkpatrick 19:21     Jessica Hruska 19:52     Kathryn Davis 20:48

45-49 Melody Fairchild, a Boulder native, took 3rd Overall and, in passing, won the 45-49 division. Katherine McGee, who also trains at altitude in Flagstaff, AZ, could not stay with Fairchild but distanced all others, claiming 2nd in 21:02. Two low-altitude runners, Sara Girotto, out of Philadelphia, and Liz Gottlieb of Impala Racing, battled for the final podium spot. Girotto has taken wins at the 5 Km, Half Marathon, and 12 Km national championships this year, but was untested on the turf. Gottlieb did not compete on the national circuit this year. Her times were not as impressive as Girotto's but, unlike Girotto, she could draw on recent Cross Country experience. In 2018 she competed at both Spokane for Club Cross, and at Buffalo NY for the Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championship. She finished 7th overall and 3rd in 40-44 in Buffalo. It turned out that the faster times mattered more than the Cross Country experience. Girotto took 3rd in 21:38, with Gottlieb over a minute back in 4th. 

Melody Fairchild 20:02     Katherine McGee 21:02     Sara Girotto 21:38

50-54 Samantha Forde had the strongest credentials based on road racing. She finished 4th in 50-54 at the 5 Km National Championships in Atlanta in 20:22, and 2nd at the 12 Km in 50:19, age-grade equivalent to a 41:30 10K effort. The one worry was the lack of any Cross Country experience in the last few years. Road runners do not always adapt easily to the turf. Her teammate, Jennifer Bayliss has plenty of Cross Country credentials but has not raced as much recently on the national level. In 2018, Bayliss took the overall Masters win at both the Cross Nationals in Tallahassee and the 10 Km Championships in Dedham, where she clocked 37:19. She competed in two events with her teammate, Forde, a 5K and a 6-Miler. In both cases, Forde was the faster. Both, of course, would have to overcome the altitude to make the podium. Marcey Cote, of the Boulder Road Runners, Jennifer Lee, of Fort Collins Running, Rochelle Persson, of Colorado Springs, and Sara Wagner, of Team Run Flagstaffwere high altitude trainers who would try to defend the home turf. Cote had finished 5th in 50-54 at San Diego Cross Nationals and clocked 45:56 at the Bolder Boulder. The only race I could definitely identify as this Jennifer Lee's was a 5:49 at the Mountain Avenue Mile 5 years ago. Persson dropped down to Pittsburgh this year to test herself at the Liberty Mile. A 2nd place finish in 50-54 at 5:41 showed she has good speed. A 26:24 in the 5 Km Rim-to-Rim Royal Gorge runs shows that she is fit and unafraid of challenging herself with a trail run with elevation change, first down, then up. Wagner ran a 47:38 10K in Flagstaff this August and won her division and finished 3rd Masters at the Soulstice Jackie Weintraub Memorial 11 Mile Trail Run in 1:18:07. Persson's combination of speed and trails did the trick. She crossed the finish line in first in 21:31, thirteen seconds ahead of Wagner, giving the high-altitude runners 1-2. Bayliss used her Cross Country savvy to close well and claim third, just 6 seconds back from Wagner. Lee, Frde and Cote had quite the battle for 4th, 5th and 6th over the last half of the final loop. Lee took 4th in 23:24 with Forde just 8 seconds back, edging Cote for 5th by three seconds!

Rochelle Persson 21:31     Sara Wagner 21:44     Jennifer Bayliss 21:50

55-59 Trina Painter who took 4th overall out of this age division took this title with almost a minute to spare. She moved up into 5th early on and no one from the division gave her a serious challenge the rest of the way. As noted, she was able to claim 4th in the end. It was a different story for Kristine Clark, Allyson Serrao, and Lisa Valle. They were well matched. Clark had taken 1st in 55-59 at the Bolder Boulder with a 43:11 and dropped down in altitude to take a division first in the Alameda 10 Miler in Oakland CA in 1:10:24. Serrao had a slight edge on the roads. She ran two 10K's in February and march, one just under and one just over 42 minutes. She also took a 55-59 1st place at the Pearl Street Mile in Boulder at 6:08. Her hometown is apparently Golden CO now, but she is listed in Athlinks for Houston. She ran 1:06:50 in the Space City 10 Miler. In the summer of 2021, Valle took 3rd in the 55-59 division 1500M event at the Masters Outdoor Championships in Ames, clocking 5:08. According to milesplit.com, that converts to a 5:33 mile, but was not at altitude. She also ran a 33:23 8K in May, in Albuquerque at altitude, which is age grade equivalent to a 41:58 10K. After they crested the first short hill and started circling the lake, with painter out in front, Clark settled in ahead of the rest. Valle was right on her heels and Serrao was 15-20 meters back, but well in contact. As the race progressed, Serrao found herself falling back from those two. Eventually Clark was able to pull away from Valle as well, clocking 21:39 to take 2nd place 17 seconds ahead of Valle. Serrao was almost a minute back in 4th. After trailing Lydia Dissly for most of the race, Lesia Atkinson was able to surge past her in the end to claim 5th place by 4 seconds in 23:58.

Trina Painter 20:45     Kristine Clark 21:39     Lisa Valle 21:56

60-64 This division had a loaded field. Lorraine Jasper, who would ordinarily have been one of the favorites, was injured and in Boulder strictly to score points for her team. Jasper had taken first in the division at Club Cross in Tallahassee last December. Stella Gibbs must also be in the same boat as she was not competitive either. Gibbs took 2nd earlier this year at Cross Nationals in San Diego. Hall of famer Carmen Ayala-Troncoso won the 60-64 division at Club Cross in Lehigh after winning the 60-64 race at the Masters 5 Km Championships at Mission Bay in San Diego. She competed in the 1500 Meters at the WMA Championships this summer, taking 7th in 5:54 (equivalent to a 6:23 Mile). She also clocked a 20:44 5K at the Austin Marathon. Mary Swan tends to have the role of solid supporter to Jasper and their teammate, Doreen McCoubrie. With McCoubrie not able to make the trip and Jasper injured, Swan was expecting to step up; she is a very strong runner. She finished 4th last year when this event was in Boston and followed that up with a 4th place at the highly competitive Club Cross Championship in Tallahassee. At the WMA Championships in Finland this summer she finished 4th in the 6 Km XC race. Suzanne Cordes finished 3rd in 60-64 at Club Cross in Tallahassee, finishing 12 seconds ahead of Swan. She then took 3rd in the division at cross Nationals in San Diego. She has not participated in National Championships since then and her Athlinks account is not public. Two of the local runners, Lisa Mills, a Trail Runner, and Judy Chamberlin, who ran 52:31 at Bolder Boulder, would try to break up the trio of outsiders, Ayala-Troncoso, Cordes, and Swan. 

In the early going, Cordes moved to the front of the division field, with a gap back to Jasper, who was clearly running with pain. After another gap, Ayala-Troncoso came next, but Swan was tracking her just a few strides back.  Eventually Jasper had to fall back, but never gave in, finishing just inside the top ten in the division. Cordes proved to be the strongest on the day, claiming the win in 23:16, almost 40 seconds ahead of the field. Swan, in the end, was able to pass Ayala-Troncos. By the time she crossed the finish line, Swan had an 11-second gap on Troncoso, who had to fend off a strong finish from Mills, edging her by just three seconds! Chamberlin was another 7 seconds back in 5th. It was a great day for Cordes and Swan could hardly have been happier with her performance. You do not beat a Hall of Famer every day! And she had a Silver Medal at a National Championship; those have been hard to come by!

Suzanne Cordes 23:16     Mary Swan 23:55     Carmen Ayala-Troncoso 24:06

65-69 Abbie Wade looked to be the class of this field. She won her age division at Boston in October of last year, clocking 3:26:53. She proved that was no fluke by taking the division title at the Slacker Half Marathon in 1:42:10. The race is in Georgetown, Colorado at over 8,000' of elevation. Mo Bartley was returning to a National Championship for the first time in a few years. She won the 8K Championship in 2017 with a 35:23. This past year she has focused more on Trail Runs, which seems to be good prep for Cross Country. She also clocked 22:55 in a 5K road race last November. Christine Rodriguez ran a 52:14 10Km at altitude in the Evergreen Town Race. Sharon Vos lives in Denver but her top road-running credentials came on trips to the East. Vos ran a 50:46 at the Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine and clocked 1:23:41 in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler. Those are impressive road credentials, but will they transfer to the turf? Cindy Williams is a mainstay of the Atlanta Track Club's 60+ team. When this event was in Boston last year, she finished 3rd in 65-69 and when Clubs were at Tallahassee, she improved to 2nd. Coming up to Boulder would have additional challenges. The race unfolded with Wade moving to the front of the division field and never being challenged. She took the title in this strong field of runners with a minute and a half to spare. Each runner found their pace and had a fine race. Bartley enjoyed a 2nd place finish in 26:55, with Rodriguez 24 seconds back in 3rd. Vos missed the division podium by just 19 seconds. Williams, running for team points as well as individual objectives, took 5th in 28:25.

Abbie Wade 25:17     Mo Bartley 26:55     Christine Rodriguez 27:19

Deb Cunningham Revolution Running #56 and Mo Bartley Impala Racing #20, with Sabra Harvey Team Red Lizard #111 competing at the 2022 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

70-74 Three of the four outstanding runners at the top of this field were from Team Red Lizard, Jeanette Groesz, Sabra Harvey, and Suzanne Ray. The 4th was home-grown Boulder Road Runner, Edie Stevenson. Harvey was the 2018 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year. In the years from 2016 to 2019, she would win her Age Division and stand atop the Age Grading podium. It did not matter if the distance was 800 Meters or 21.1 kilometers (Half Marathon). She was strongest at distances 10 Km and shorter, and, arguably, stronger on the track than the roads, but that was subtle. How as she at Cross Country. She was late to the turf in her running career but had no trouble. She was USATF Masters Harrier of the Year in 2018. Groesz has many of the same qualities as Harvey but is not quite as fast. Groesz's best surface is the turf; she is tenacious. Ray gives them depth on the turf, and a podium threat on the roads at any distances from the 15K up. In her last year in 65-69, Ray took the national title at Syracuse with a 1:49:32, and then finished 3rd at the 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento. After her 70th birthday, Ray went to Finland and came home from the WMA Championships with a Silver Medal in the Half marathon at 1:45:50. She followed that up with another win at the 12 Km Championships. Groesz finished a bit behind Ray in Sacramento and Highlands NJ, but when they take to the turf, their roles tend to be reversed. Groesz took the 70-74 title at both Clubs in Tallahassee and Cross Nationals in San Diego last winter before Ray aged up. But Groesz ran faster at San Diego. Stevenson is a terrific runner as well. Her 1:13:16 at the 15 Km National Championships in 2019 still stands as the 70-74 American Record. As I cannot find any Cross Country results for her, it is probably that Stevenson is better on the roads than the turf.  There were no real surprises. Harvey went out strong and Groesz held on as long as she could. Harvey pulled away in the late stages of the race to win in 26:18. A half-minute later, Groesz finished second. Stevenson could not keep up with that pair but had a fine run, claiming 3rd in 28:36. Twenty-seven seconds later, Ray took 4th. Stevenson's teammate, Nancy Antos, took 5th in 32:11.

Sabra Harvey 26:18     Jeanette Groesz 26:47     Edie Stevenson 28:36

75-79 Everyone in this division finished on the podium. Irene Terronez added this gold medal to the one she earned at the 2019 Masters National 15 Km Championships at Tulsa, clocking 36:45. Andrea McCarter had taken 1st in this division at the Road Mile Championships in Rochester, and 3rd at Atlanta in the 5 Km Championships. She was happy to finish 2nd here, at altitude, in 41:05. Forty-six seconds later, Linda Yarr came across the finish line in 3rd, happy to close off the 70+ scoring for the Boulder Road Runners and finish on a national podium as an individual. 

Irene Terronez 36:45     Andrea McCarter 41:05     Linda Yarr 41:51


AGE GRADING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Age-Grading is a statistical procedure that grades each the time of each runner against a standard for their age and sex. The anchor distances are 5 Km, 10 Km, Half Marathon, and Marathon. The World's Best times for Women and Men are plotted separately for each single age and a curve is fitted. That curve then predicts a 'World's Best' time for each age separately for women and men. If the standard is 14 minutes for a 5K, for example, and the runner in question runs 15:00, their age grade is 14/15 or 93.3%. Over the years, the convention has emerged to refer to scores at 90% and above as 'World Class', 80-89.99% as 'National Class'. These differences are institutionalized in the USATF Elite Performance medals awarded at Road Races which are gold for 90% and above, Silver of a high national standard, 85% and above, and a national standard, 80% and above. Like all such procedures it is not perfect. An athlete can run a better time on a challenging course and score a lower age grade than they did the week before when running less well on an easier course. When all runners are competing at the same time on the same course, they are a good measure of how athletes have run compared to the best for their age and sex. If cross country courses are measured accurately, the scores are typically lower than they would be on a road course, because of the challenge of running on grass rather than pavement, and with many sharp ups and downs and sometimes other challenges. The standards of 'World Class', etc. should not be applied to these races on the turf. A World Class run might grade well below 90%, as was the case in Boulder.

From the descriptions above, many may be able to guess which runners were atop the age grading tables. Trina Painter, whose 20:45 at age 56 allowed her to finish 4th Overall, scored the top Women's age grade at 85.06%. She was joined on the podium by Kristine Clark 59, whose 21:39 graded 84.45%, and Sabra Harvey 73, whose 26:18 achieved an 83.58%. Jeanette Groesz 73 and Suzanne Cordes 62 rounded out the top 5. 

Trina Painter crosses the Finish Line, 4th Overall, 1st in the Team Competition for Team Run Flagstaff and with the Top Age Grade at the 2022 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos


Jacob Nur ran just as well on the turf as on the road. His 19:13 at age 67, merited the top Men's score of 87.92. 

Jacob Nur Breaking the American 65-69 10 Mile Record in 58:34 at the USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships in Sacramento CA 
 Nur turned in the top Age Graded Performance at the 2022 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships Photo courtesy of SRA Elite


Dan King 63 was just behind at 86.05 with his 18:57. 

Dan King Powers Past David White on his way to the 60-64 Win and the Silver Age-Grading Medal at the 2022 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships
Photo Credit: Dave Albo Lane 1 Photos

Chris Grauch 50 joined them on the podium with his 17:18 scoring 84.51%. Robert Qualls 70 and Anthony Bruns 43 completed the top 5.

TEAM NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

MEN

40+ This division was for Club bragging rights along the Front Range. The West Valley Track Club, out of the San Francisco Bay area was the only team from the lowlands to enter. The home team, the Boulder Road Runners, fielded two. And the Boulder Track Club had a team. But they had to go up against strong teams from Albuquerque NM Dukes and Sports Warriors, Colorado Springs Square State StridersFlagstaff AZ Team Run Flagstaff, and Fort Collins CO, Fort Collins Running Club. Adam Rich let everyone know that Square State was for real. Midway through the 1st of two loops, he had a gap on the field. His teammate, Neil McDonagh, was prominent in the chase pack. But leading the chase pack was Flagstaff's Chris Gomez and his teammate, Anthony Gallo, was there as well. Gomez, as noted above, caught Rich by the end. With Gomez 1st, Anthoy Bruns 2nd, and Rich third, Flagstaff, Square State and BRR were all on the board. McDonagh gave Square State a 2nd score, but then Flagstaff got #'s 2 and 3 in at 5th, Gallo, and 6th, Ryan Baker. Then the Dukes started to come in with Brantley Lutz 7th and Brett Winegar 9th, sandwiched around BTC's Jeff Schuler. West Valley announced itself next with Neville Davey and Todd Rose taking 10th and 11th. Up to this point, Flagstaff was clearly in the lead, but it was still anyone's game. But then the other shoe fell when Flagstaff's Dirk de Heer claimed 12th. That gave Flagstaff 4 runners in and just 24 points. No other team had their third runner in yet. The next four runners in tightened up the race. BTC had Aaron Kleinman 13th and Clint Wells 16th, sandwiched around Jesse Armijo, #3 for the Dukes, and Thomas French, #2 for BRR. Three seconds after Wells finished, Mike Madsen sealed the deal for Flagstaff, claiming 17th and giving them 41 points. No one could catch them-Flagstaff had the win!

What about the rest of the podium? Wells had given BTC 37 points from 3 runners; Armijo raised the Dukes' total to 30 from 3. No one else had three runners in.  But now the runners from this division were pouring in with scores changing every few seconds! Four seconds behind Madsen was Square State's Vitaly Stepanov, and his teammate, Logan Wealing was just 4 spots back at 22nd. Those two gave BTC 47 points from 4 runners. West Valley's Julian Marsh, split those two, finishing 19th, as did Christopher Copenhaver, 22nd, who gave Fort Collins their first scorer. West Valley had 40 from 3 athletes. Behind Wealing was BRR's Kirk Anderson and Eric Monda in 23rd and 24th. BRR had 64 from 4 finishers. Which team would be the next to have 5 runners in? West Valley's John Montgomery took 25th, giving West Valley four runners and 65 points. Nine seconds later, jeff Maybach delivered the mail for BTC. They had 5 runners in and 83 points! But they did not have 2nd place yet. Square State could still salvage 2nd if their 5th runner finished in 35th place or better. Jon Teisher took care of business for the Striders, crossing the finish line in 34th. That gave Square State 81 points and 2nd place!  BTC could not be too disappointed making the podium among such a strong field. BRR got their 5th score from Michael Kraus, who took 30th to give them 94 points, edging 4th place from the Dukes by a single point!  Those teams had to wait for the Fort Collins train to pass. They had hoped to finish higher, but the tight pack of Florian Hild, Jason Toth, Juan Morales, and Nick Clark finished off Fort Collins with 27th, 28th, 29th and 31st place; Ft. Collins was 7th. West Valley took 6th; they came as emissaries as well as competitors. We have come up to the Mountains for your Championships; we hope we will see you in San Fran' for the Club Cross Championships in December! We will be ready for you!

Team Run Flagstaff 41   Chris Gomez   Anthony Gallo   Ryan Baker   Dirk De Heer   Michael Madsen   Jason Troxler   Will Dressler   Sean Baker    

Square State Striders 81    Adam Rich   Neil McDonagh   Vitaly Stepanov   Logan Wealing   Jon Teisher 

Boulder Track Club 83   Jeff Schuler   Aaron Kleinman   Clint Wells   Marty Stevens   Jeff Mayback   Chaiwat Engtrakul

50+ This was an exclusive division. Only West Valley that wanted to finish off their Grand Prix season in stye with a perfect 500 points, and the hometown team, Boulder Road Runners were entered. West Valley showed up big; most of their top finishers for their winning efforts at Tallahassee and San Diego were here. Their top runner at those Championships, Mark Yuen, must have had some hitches with his training, as he was a bit off his best. But the rest of the team stepped up. Only Chris Grauch from BRR could finish in front of them. After Grauch it was almost all West Valley, with Ivan Lieben, Mark Callon, Charles Mullane, David White, and Yuen in 2-3-5-6-7 for 22 points and the win. Glen Mays broke up the West Valley train by taking 4th. Flavio De Simone, Chris McDonald, and John Borthwick finished in 8th, 9th, and 10th, ahead of West Valley's #6 - # 8 runners. 

West Valley Track Club 23   Ivan Lieben   Mark Callon   Charles Mullane   David White   Mark Yuen   Russell Fairles   Denis Glenn   Matthieu DesJardins

Boulder Road Runners 32   Chris Grauch   Glen Mays   Flavio De Simone   Chris McDonald   John Borthwick

60+ This was more like 40+ in that there were 7 teams contesting the outcome. It helps that the minimum size for a Team is 3 for 60+ and higher, and for Women of all age divisions, while Men's teams in 40+ and 50+ use the traditional 5-runner minimum. The BRR entered two teams and there was one more from Athletics Boulder. Aurora, Colorado is the home for the Colorado Racing Club run by Darren and Colleen De Reuck. They were joined by the Atlanta Track Club, Cal Coast out of Southern California, Genesee Valley Harriers out of Greater Rochester NY, and the Kansas City Smoke. Dan King led the way for AB. A minute later, Mark Tatum crossed the line in 2nd, followed a few seconds later by his BRR teammate, Tim De Grado.  Despite the altitude, Joe Mora snagged 4th for GVH, seven seconds ahead of Colorado Racing's Daniel Greer. Before they could get their hopes up, BRR's Roger Sayre came across in 6th, closing off BRR's scoring with 11 points and the win! Eighteen seconds later, Dan Spale came across as their 'insurance' runner. Had any of the top three run into problems, Spale would have been right there to mop up! Eighth place went to AB's Rick Bruess, giving AB 9 points from their first two runners. Jay Survil nipped Jay Littlepage at the tape. Survil gave the 'B' team of BRR their first scoring runner, but Littlepage gave AB their third scoring runner, 19 points,  and the Team Silver medals! Stan McCormack gave the Kansas City Smoke their first scoring runner at 11th. Lester Dragstedt put Atlanta on the board with his 13th place finish. Three seconds behind Dragstedt, in 14th place, it was John Van Kerkhove giving GVH their 2nd scoring runner, leaving them as the tentative leaders for the final podium spot. Twenty-three seconds later, the suspense was over; Timothy Riccardi finished 15th, giving GVH their third scoring runner, leaving them with 33 points and the Team Bronze medals. The Smoke's John Blaser and Robert Harber took the next two spots, 16th and 17th, giving the KC Smoke 44 points and 4th place. The BRR 'B' team finished 5th, followed by Colorado Racing, Atlanta, and Cal Coast.

Boulder Road Runners 11   Mark Tatum   Tim DeGrado   Roger Sayre   Dan Spale   Adam Feerst

Athletics Boulder 19   Dan King   Rick Bruess   Jay Littlepage

Genesee Valley Harriers 33   Joe Mora   John Van Kerkhove   Tim Riccardi   Mark Rybinski

70+ The Boulder Road Runners fielded three teams to fend off the invaders from the Atlanta Track Club and the Genesee Valley Harriers. When Doug Bell and Carl Mohr went 1-2, that pretty much settled things for the BRR 'A' team. Atlanta put up a good fight with Dave Glass and Jerry Learned taking 3-4. But BRR A's Gary Ostwald put an end to speculation 24 seconds after learned crossed the line. Ostwald's 5th place gave BRR 'A' 8 points and the win! Three of the next 4 runners in were BRR B team members, John Van Camp, John Trull, and Jeffrey Dumas, giving that team 6-7-9 and 22 points. Atlanta could still beat them for second place but would need their 3rd runner to finish 15th or better. Keith Yeates and Jim May took 12th and 13th for GVH. The places they didn't take were covered by BRR A insurance runners or 'B' or 'C' teams. The BRR B team's 22 points held up for 2nd. When Sam Benedict closed off their scoring, Atlanta had the final Team podium spot with 26 points, followed by BRR C in 4th and GVH 5th. 

Boulder Road Runners A 8   Doug Bell   Carl Mohr   Gary Ostwald   Rick Katz   Rich Castro

Boulder Road Runners B 22   John Van Camp   John Trull   Jeffrey Dumas   James Reynolds   Dave Dooley

Atlanta Track Club 26   Dave Glass   Jerry Learned   Sam Benedict


WOMEN

40+ The Impala Racing Team came from the San Francisco Bay area to challenge 'Mile High' teams, Fort Collins Running Club and Team Run Flagstaff. As with West Valley in the Men's races, the presence of the Impala team was an invitation to the Mountain clubs to come to San Fran in December for Club Cross. But they also came to compete for the win! Trina Painter and Katherine McGee went 1-2 for Flagstaff before Ft Collins's Shelley McDonald claimed 3rd. Katie Famous, in 4th, gave the Impalas their first score. But it was not enough; Sara Wagner took 5th for Flagstaff, giving them an unbeatable 8-point total. After Flagstaff's insurance runner, Valerie Cross took 6th, Liz Gottlieb finished 7th, just 12 seconds ahead of Ft Collins's Janet Clemens. The Impalas and Fort Collins were tied at 11. Both teams needed their final scoring runner. The Impalas got one first; Alexandra Newman finished 10th for the Impalas, to the 11th place finish of LeAnn Williams of Ft. CollinsImpala Racing takes the Team Silver, and Ft. Collins the Team Bronze!

Team Run Flagstaff 8 Trina Painter   Katherine McGee   Sara Wagner   Valerie Cross   Janet Cherobon-Bawcom

Impala Racing Team 21   Katie Famous   Liz Gottlieb   Alexandra Newman

Fort Collins Running Club 22 Shelley McDonald   Janet Clemens   LeAnn Williams

50+ The Impalas from the West Coast and the Greater Philadelphia Track Club from the East Coast converged on Boulder to challenge Front Range teams from the Boulder Road Runners, Fort Collins Running Club, and Highlands Ranch Running Club, out of Greater Denver. Jennifer Bayliss, who took the overall title for the Impalas at the 2018 Cross Nationals in Tallahassee, showed that she can still motor om the turf, taking 1st in the 50+ Team competition. A minute later, Allyson Serrao took 2nd for BRR, followed by Jennifer Lee, of Ft. Collins in 3rd. The Impalas Samantha Forde nipped BRR's Marcy Cote by three seconds for 4th to give Impalas 5 points for their first two scorers compared to 7 for BRR. After Mary Swan claimed 6th for Greater Philadelphia's 1st score, Lesia Atkinson sped across the line in 7th to give BRR a chance. They had 14 points. If the 3rd scorer for the Impalas finished next, they would get the win. As it turned out, Kate Schulte, of Ft. Collins claimed 8th, with Patti Shore 9th for the Impalas. BRR and Impalas were tied at 14. The tie-breaker would determine who got Gold. The Old Rule up until a few years ago was head-to-head competition--compare #1's, then #2's and so on through the list of scoring runners, three for Masters Women and Men 60+, but five for Open and Masters Men 40+ and 50+.  That rule always delivers a verdict if there is an odd number of scoring runners. If that were still the rule, Impalas would have won. But USATF changed the rule a few years back, if I understand correctly because in some of the either Junior or Youth Cross Country Championships, there are 4 scoring runners and there were too many instances where teams were still tied after applying the tie-breaker. So they adopted a rule saying that ties would be broken by comparing *only* the final scoring runner for each tying team. By that rule, which is the current Official Rule, BRR gets the Gold and Impalas the Silver. 

Aside: Many people prefer the old rule. It seems you could have a two-part tie-breaker. Use head-to-head competition. If that does not resolve the tie, then go to the 'last scoring runner'.

The other three finishing places were clear-cut. After Michelle Bierstedt took 10th to put Highlands Ranch on the boardTina Jones finished 11th for Ft. Collins. They had 22 points, and the Team Bronze medals. GPTC happily took 4th when Julie Pangburn took 12th and Lorraine Jasper 14th, giving them 32 points and 4th. Highlands Ranch took 5th with 44 points.

Boulder Road Runners 14 Allyson Serrao   Marcy Cote   Lesia Atkinson   Katharine De Simone   Jeannie Freis

Impala Racing Team 14 Jennifer Bayliss   Samantha Forde   Patti Shore   Angela Longworth

Fort Collins Running Club 22 Jennifer Lee   Kate Schulte   Tina Jones   Tina Duncan   Heli Uusitalo

60+ In this division, it was again the Impalas from the West Coast challenging the Mountain squads, but this time it was Atlanta from the East. The Boulder Road Runners entered two teams as did Revolution Running, out of the west Denver suburbs. Suzanne Cordes went right to the front and was never headed, taking a solid first for the Impalas. Almost a minute later, Lisa Mills claimed 2nd for BRR, with Judy Chamberlin taking 3rd for RR seven seconds later. Eileen Brennan-Erler kept things going for Impalas with her 4th place finish giving them the lead with 5 points on two finishers. They just needed one more. Abbie Wade came 5th for RR-B. Apparently either by design or misjudging runner strength on the turf, RR split up its top 3 runners between A and B. BRR's Stephenie Scholl took 6th to give BRR 8 points on two runners, behind the Impalas but solidly in 2nd. The Impalas' Carol Keller was just 7 seconds behind Scholl. Her 7th place closed things off for the Impalas and gave them the win with 12 points. Four seconds later, Ellen Hart claimed 8th for BRR giving them 16 points and second place. Despite RR-B taking 5th form Wade and 9th from Trina Richey, RR-A was able to claim the third spot on the podium, with 29 points, when Christine Rodriguez finished 12th and Carol Breglio 14th. RR-B took 4th with 32, Atlanta 5th with 52 and BRR-B 6th. The efforts of Atlanta's Robin Tanner, Cindy Williams, and Margaret Taylor not only got Atlanta 5th place on the day, it enabled them to finish 4th in the 2022 Masters National Grand Prix!

Impala Racing Team 12   Suzanne Cordes   Eileen Brennan-Erler   Carol Keller   Mo Bartley   Stella Gibbs

Boulder Road Runners A 16      Lisa Mills   Stephenie Scholl   Ellen Hart   Vicki Hunter   Lynn O'Donnell

Revolution Running A 29   Judy Chamberlin   Christine Rodriguez   Carol Breglio   Maureen Harvey   Jill Fruhwirth

70+ Team Red Lizard was nationally competitive before this year. In 2017 they won 4 team Championships, finishing 3rd in the 60+ Grand Prix. The next year they won the Grand Prix and finished 2nd in 2019. As they transitioned from 60+ to 70+, they added to an already strong team by recruiting Sabra Harvey, out of Houston. Harvey was the 2017 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year and the 2018 Masters Harrier of the Year. By USATF rule, any team can have one team member who is not from their USATF Association and Harvey was it. They had come to Boulder with one aim in mind, to win the 70+ Championship! That would give them a perfect 500 points in the 2022 Masters National Grand Prix. The local BRR team and the Atlanta Track Club stood in their way. With just three runners making the trip to Boulder, Red Lizard had no room for error. Each runner had to deliver! BRR had a strong team, led by 15 Km American 70-74 Record holder, Edie Stevenson. Harvey and Team Captain, Jeanette Groesz, who took 1st in the Division at Club Cross in Tallahassee and at Cross Nationals in San Diego this past Winter, moved out to take positions 1 and 2 in the first loop around the lake. Stevenson was not too far back, and then the 3rd Red Lizard runner, Suzanne Ray was running behind Stevenson but ahead of Nancy Antos, BRR's 2nd runner. There were no surprises the rest of the way. Harvey took the win with Groesz 2nd for Team Red Lizard. After Stevenson claimed third for BRR, Ray took 4th for the Red Lizard team. That gave them 7 points and the win! And they had their 500 Masters National Grand Prix points, a perfect score! After Antos finished 5th and Lynn Hermanson 6th, BRR had 14 points and a firm hold on 2nd place. Atlanta was happy to take the final podium position after Kathleen Allen, Andrea McCarter and Mary Reed took 7th, 9th, and 11th, giving them 27 points and the Team Bronze medals. It also generated 80 Grand Prix points allowing them to solidify their hold on 2nd in the Masters National Grand Prix behind Team Red Lizard.

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In general, the top Individual winners tended to be those who live and train at altitude; they defended the home turf well! A few athletes from lower elevations did surprisingly well!

Hats off to all of them!

This event concludes the 2022 USATF Masters National Grand Prix; Club and Individual Champions will be honored at an Awards Ceremony later in the afternoon, after the Club Cross Country National Championships in San Francisco on December 10th.

NOTE: Dave Albo's pictures are provided, compliments of Lee Troop and his T.E.A.M. BOCO organization which planned and conducted these Championships in Boulder.