Monday, September 29, 2014

Preview 3 of USATF Masters 5K Championship-Team Competition_Men

September 28, 2014. Earlier previews covered the men's and women's individual races plus a special preview on Jen Rhines's attempt on the American Masters 5K record held by Colleen DeReuck. This preview focuses on the team competitions on October 5th at the Syracuse Festival of Races. There is fierce competition to be the top team in the country or, failing that, at least to beat out a top rival to the podium. Let's look at the men's competitions first, followed by the women tomorrow. For each we go age group by age group. [Preview based on entries as of 8:48 pm EDT on September 28, 2014.]

Just to refresh your memory, in USATF road races, unlike Cross Country, the team competitions, both male and female, are determined by the cumulative times, not points, of the top 3 runners for each team. Each team may enter up to 5 team members. Because it is total time, not a sum of places, there is no issue of displacement by a 4th or 5th runner on one team of another team's scoring runners. The fastest three runners determine the total time for the team. Fourth and fifth place runners provide insurance in case any of the first three falter or are unable to start on race day.

Men 40+. The Atlanta Track Club has ruled this age division for the last two years, winning by over three minutes in 2012 and by over two and a half minutes in 2013. The fall off in performance from 6:41 to 47:27 was primarily due to the absence of the fleet Malcolm Campbell
Malcolm Campbell, winning his second consecutive National Masters Club Cross Country Championship in 2012.

Kristian Blaich proved a very strong performer in 2013 as he finished within 4 seconds of the team's leader, Chad Newton, but it is tough to replace a sub-15:00 runner. 

Kristian Blaich []
Other teams should take note that ATC comes fully loaded this year for M40+ as Campell, Newton, and Blaich are all entered. Although ATC should be able to win the competition this year, it is likely to be a gritty race for 2nd and 3rd. It usually is. In 2012, the Genesee Valley Harriers took 2nd by 27 seconds over the Syracuse Track Club, averaging 16:40 to STC's 16:49. It was even closer in 2013 as the Garmin Runners of New Jersey edged GVH by a mere 3 seconds, an average of 16:42 to 16:43. Not only that, the Willow Street AC out of New Jersey was only 29 seconds. So far, in addition to the ATC, Garmin, GVH, and Willow Street AC are all entered.

Brian Crowley, putting the pedal to the metal in the 2013 Giralda Farms Run [photo by Mark Nyhan]

Garmin has their top three runners, Brian Crowley, MarkWilliams, and Gary Rosenberg returning and have added Mark Zamek, a regular 16:20-16:50 5K performer, to the mix. That is not enough to challenge ATC if their top three are on but it should help in the battle for second. GVH is entered but so far the only team member who is listed is their 4th runner from 2013, Scott Bickham. It will be interesting to see who GVH puts up for the race when they finalize their registration this week. Willow Street's first and third runners, Volker Burkowski and Robert Irwin are entered but we do not know if number two, Derrick Staley, will be back or if there will be a substitute. Could be a tight race for 2nd, third, and fourth.

Men 50+. The Genesse Valley Harriers won this division in both 2012 and 2013, with the Atlanta Track Club second in both years, but the margin is shrinking. GVH won by 1:04 in 51:45 in 2012 and improved their time to  51:19 in 2013. Had they not, ATC would have taken the race as they improved their total time to 51:36, only 17 seconds off the pace. ATC has entered their  top 3 2013 runners already, Gary Droze, Ken Youngers, and Nathan Skipper. 
Gary Droze
Gary Droze, top masters runner at the Gulf Winds Track Club's 2013 Ten Mile Challenge []

And they are joined by Jeffery Dundas who could well be their third runner in and reduce their time still further.
Jeff Dundas took top honors at the 2013 Turkey Day Run   []

And what of GVH? We do not know. They are waiting to enter a team so we have no idea who will be on it.Playmakers Elite/New Balance will be in from Michigan to challenge in this division.
Winner Ron Zywicki, 53 yrs old
Ron Zywicki, winner this year of the 1st annual LaFarge Presque Isle Quarry 5K run []

If Ruben Henderson, Jr., Dan Dixon, Jr. and Ron Zywicki all run up to their potential, PE/NB should have three runners finishing in under 17 minutes which makes them very competitive with GVH and ATC. This should be a barn-burner of a race for the M50+ division team championship.

M60+. A multi-age division power, the Atlanta Track Club took this title in 2012 in a time of 56:50, defeating the 2nd place Green Mountain Athletic Association by over a minute. In 2013, howeer, the Ann Arbor Track Club brought in a new team that was able to wrest the title away from ATC.
Lloyd Hansen from a great article about him overcoming heart disease to become a top runner  []

Ann Arbor's top 3 runners, Lloyd Hansen, John Tarkowski, and Wally Hayes totaled 57:29 to ATC's 58:12. The Genesee Valley Harriers were 27 seconds back in 3rd, with the Shore Athletic Club 27 seconds behind GVH. What's in store this year? The big change is for ATC where they are
now headed by Tom McCormack who burst onto the Masters scene last year as an unaffiliated runner, winning his age group at the US National Road Racing Championships in 43:04 in Alexandria and taking the prize for best age-graded time at 93.79. Since then he joined the ATC and led them to victory at the USATF 10 K championship in Dedham, MA.
Tom McCormack from a feature article in Running Times [ by Ron Campbell]

That is a big advance for the ATC. But Kirk Larson, their lead runner for the past two years is not currently entered. Unless he jumps in within the next few days, that would taker a bit off the edge that ATC gains. Buth there is also some doubt about AATC. 
Kirk Larson, heading for the finish line in cross country []

Their 2nd and 3rd runners from last year, John Tarkowski and Wally Hayes, are entered, along with Terry McCluskey who ran the Twin Cities marathon last year but ran an 18:07 two years ago. His more recent 5Ks have not been that fast but if he can come close to matching his 2012 result he will be an ample replacement for Lloyd Hansen should he not enter this year. If Hansen jumps in too, that will give Ann Arbor a formidable team; Hansen ran a blazing 18:28 last year and has been running stronger than ever this year. GVH has not entered yet so all we can say is that they are likely to be competitive.Shore AC has entered and likely has a new lead runner in Reno Stirrat. Still unless there is a major surprise it should not be enough to get them on
Reno Stirrat, one of 31 people to run a sub-3 hr Marathon for 5 consecutive decades []

the podium. There is still a little uncertainty about the exact make-up of teams in the division but like the 50+ this too should be a race full of interest.

M70+. In 2012 this division belonged to the Clifton Roadrunners of New Jersey with a team time of 71:20, outdistancing the Shore AC by over 4 minutes and the Ann Arbor TC by 7 minutes.
Doug Goodhue pictured in one of his other roles as a Race Director of the 2013 Dexter to Ann Arbor Run []

But Ann Arbor flipped the division in 2013, winning in 67:05 behind the amazing Doug Goodhue who contributed a sub-20 time to the effort. With Thom Weddle and John Farah both breaking 24 minutes, Ann Arbor took the title by almost 6 minutes, with Clifton finishing 2nd by a minute and a half over Atlanta TC, with the Shore AC another 3 and a half minutes back. Ann Arbor is back this year with both Goodhue and Farah entered, but not Weddle.  
Dr John Farah
John Farah in a story about the Boston Marathon []

But Wally Herrala is entered for Ann Arbor; he is mostly running triathlons and longer events but has run one 5k under 24 minutes and one just over within the last year or so.  As of now Atlanta TC has not entered a 70+ team but Shore AC is likely fielding a stronger team, in part because Przemyslaw Nowicki, who broke 22 minutes last 
Przemyslaw Nowicki (3rd from left) with other members of victorious M60+ team at USATF 2013 5K XC []

year, has moved up to the Shore AC's 70+ team.So if all goes according to form this division should go to Ann Arbor, with Clifton and Shore doing battle for 2nd and 3rd.

M80+. This division has been a battle ground between Belle Watling AC of New York and the Syracuse Charger TC. Belle Watling won by almost 3 minutes in 2012 but Syracuse turned the tables in 20:13, winning by 11 minutes. So what does 2014 hold? The Syracuse Chargers have already entered and two of their first three runners, Wally McRae and David Rider, are there.
Fritz Schlereth, ultra marathoner with 100+ marathons to his credit []

But if their 2nd runner from last year, Fritz Schlereth is not back, that could cost the team several minutes. Belle Watling has not entered yet but we hope they will jump in this week with their usual competitive team. Ann Arbor TC is a new entrant in this division but so far have only one runner, Jon Desenberg, entered so we cannot judge if this will be a strong challenger or not.

But Desenberg has recently been running under 30 minutes for 5K's so if joined by reasonably comparable runners, Ann Arbor could be a real threat. For this division we'll have to wait and see who is actually entered by race time. Syracuse could well be the class of the field but Ann Arbor may challenge and, as of now, Belle Watling is the dark horse. Look for a quick update later this week when the late entrants are known.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Roy Griak Invitational Division 1 Cross Country Results-Great Lakes Focus

September 27, 2014. On an unseasonably warm and sunny day in Minnesota, Butler University's Women's Cross Country team had a disappointing debut, finishing 11th of the 35 Division 1 schools entered in the Roy Griak Invitational. For many teams that would be a good day at the office but more was expected from last year's 3rd place finishers. Prior to the meet, Coach Matt Roe felt his team was strong and ready to go and that three of his returning athletes were much stronger than last year.

Mara Olson finished 4th last year for Butler and I had her picked as an almost certain top 5, but this year it was a 21st place, proving again that there are no sure things in distance racing. Running conditions, fitness on the day, morale and luck all play a role on the day. As the saying goes, that's why we run races. The individual competition was billed as a tight race between Shelby Houlihan (Arizona State) and Emma Bates (Boise State). It was a tight race, but between Houlihan, the winner in 20:35 and Rachel Johnson (Baylor) six seconds back. Bates ran with the lead pack for

View image on Twitter
Overall winner, Shelby Houlihan, Arizona State Sun Devils [Mile Split US image]

much of the race but faded a bit towards the end to finish 6th overall.

Michigan State proved the class of the team competition following the lead of 5th place finisher, Rachele Schulist to take the team title with 66 points, placing their top 5 runners in the top 25
Rachele Schulist was the top Big Ten finisher in the women's 6K at Roy Griak.
Rachele Schulist, leading the Spartans to their 2013 2nd place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational  []

Cross Country Regionals
Crystal Nelson on her way to victory in the 2013 Midwest Regional race [Iowa State Daily] <>
overall.Tight running as a pack was evidenced by there being only 22 seconds between MSU's 2nd runner, Leah O'Connor, and their 5th runner, Alexis Wiersma. That tight running among the 2nd through 5th runners is what got the Spartans their well-earned victory over a surprisingly strong Iowa State squad that almost rode their first 2 runners to what would have been a truly shocking win. Crystal Nelson and Katy Moen took 3rd and 4th for the Cyclones and Bethany Brown came in 16th

so after 3 runners in, Iowa State was in the lead. But it was not to be; MSU's 4th and 5th runners were too strong. But kudos to the Spartans and Cyclones on a great team race!

And what do the Bulldogs carry away from this race, apart from humility? There were really no bright spots as all of the Dawgs finished further back than expected. Their second runner in, Laura Good, finished in 71st, followed by Katie Good and Laura Riches just inside the top hundred. So from top to bottom it was a disappointing outing. Coach Roe's view was that the team had trained primarily in the cool of the morning and late afternoon so was not prepped for a grueling cross country race on a hot day where the temperatures exceeded 80 degrees. Let's hope he's right and that the team's morale rebounds quickly from this early check to their 2014 ambitions. You can be sure the Bulldogs will be heading to Notre Dame next week with their aim on redemption! Right now the forecast is for a high of 59 degrees with a 40% chance of rain. It ought to be just what the doctor ordered.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Roy Griak Invitational X Country Meet-A Great Lakes Perspective

September 26, 2014. The 29th annual Roy Griak Invitational Cross Country Meet will be held tomorrow, Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the University of Minnesota's cross country course.

The Griak Invitational, along with the so called 'Battle in Beantown' hosted by Boston College, is viewed nationally as one of the two big meets kicking off the more serious part of the NCAA Division I Cross Country season. Up to this point the nationally competitive teams have mostly just been getting their early miles in and shaking off the dust from summer with some local races in their own area. Sometimes even races that sound like they should be a big deal and would attract national competitors like the National College Cross Country Championship, hosted by Notre Dame, are not because the traditionally powerful east coast Catholic universities like Providence,Villanova, and Georgetown often choose not to compete that early in the season. So starting with tomorrow's meet, we get our first view of many nationally competitive teams and individual runners going head to head.

At the beginning of the season, I had this penciled in as the first meet where we in the Great Lakers region would get our first serious look at both the Butler Men's and Women's cross country teams. Butler does not post a separate schedule for men and women so I assumed both teams would be in Minnesota. But when I checked the entry list, I found the Butler Women's team entered but not the
Butler placed third at the Roy Griak Invitational in 2013.
The Butler University Women's XC Team Placed Third in Last year's Meet

men. So, in keeping with my Great Lakes Cross Country focus, this entry will focus exclusively on the Women's race and what we are likely to learn about the Butler Bulldogs.

In 2013 The Dawgs followed the lead of Mara Olson and Katie Clark, who finished 4th and 7th respectively, to place 4 runners in the top 30 and race to a third place finish behind Arizona and Michigan. Unfortunately for Butler, Katie Clark and Kirsty Legg, who finished  26th, are both graduated. Olson is back and seems likely to place in the top 5 again this year but for Butler to have
Mara Olson
Mara Olson, helping Butler nail down the A10 League Championships in her Sophomore Season (2012)

another podium finish will require some other runners to step up. They will be counting on Katie Good (16th last year) to compete for a top ten finish. Three other returning runners, Olivia Platt,
Katie Good (right) and Kirsty Legg at the Bradley Intercollegiate.
Kirsty Legg [left] and Katie Good [right] striding out at the 2013 Bradley Open

Lauren Wood, and Colleen Wetherford will need to improve on last year's race to have Butler on the podium again. Pratt was 69th and Wetherford 71st. Lauren Wood, who  was Butler's second runner to finish in the Great Lakes Regionals last year, running right with Platt and ahead of Good and Wetherford, did not race in Roy Griak last year. The Dawgs will need all three to crack the top 50 (or at least be very close) to match last year's achievement.

The competition is different this year but presents a strong field as usual. Michigan and Arizona are gone but Michigan State (ranked 3rd nationally in the USTFCCCA poll and 1st by FloTrack) should have the lead pack. If one believes the USTFCCCA poll, Iowa State is next (9th), followed by Butler (11th) and then Boise State (20th), Vanderbilt 22nd, Minnesota 28th, and North Carolina 30th. But if FloTrack is your guide, North Carolina, 8th, is actually ahead of Butler, 9th, with Iowa State, 12th, just behind. Of course much of that is on paper. The actual fitness levels of most of the runners are not known. What is clear is that if anyone falters, there will be strong runners by the score poised to race past.

The individual race is expected to be primarily between Emma Bates (Boise State) and Shelby Houlihan (Arizona State) but cross country meets have a way of springing surprises. Certainly Olson should be in the hunt. The Butler website indicates Coach Matt Roe's belief "...that Olson is on a whole new level and is stronger than she was last year."

On that same website, Coach Matt Roe notes that Butler's top 6 runners are all healthy. But this will be their first race this season. The second six runners have had a couple of local outings but not the
Matt Roe, Butler Cross Country Coach

core of the team. Apparently Roe does not feel his runners need the shake out races as much as they do the training. Roe also stated, "We minimize racing to get as much training in (as we could). So that's what we did. We've gotten a solid month of training in beyond summer...if you race too much, you compromise." So no compromise from Butler; now we'll see what the team can do. It should be an exhilarating and revealing first race.

[The event is streamed live on FloPro but you will need to pony up for a membership, $149.99 for a year or $19.99 per month.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jennifer Rhines Targeting American Masters 5K Record at USATF Championships in Syracuse on October 5, 2014

USATF 5K Masters Road Championship—Update Sep 24 2014—Jennifer Rhines to make an attempt on US Women’s Masters 5K Record

September 24, 2014. The Syracuse Festival of Races, host of the 2014 USATF 5K Masters Road Championships, announced yesterday that three-time Olympian, Jennifer Rhines, had entered the championships with the goal of taking down the US Masters Women’s record for 5K. Their announcement can be found here:

This will be Rhines’s first attempt at breaking the 5K Masters record; she just turned 40 in July. And it is fitting that her first attempt at a 5K Master’s record comes in the area where she grew up and first became a champion high school runner in the early 1990’s. Rhines’s incredible career includes competing in three Olympic games at three different distances: 10,000 meters (2000-Sidney, Australia); Marathon (2004- Athens, Greece); and 5000 meters (2008-Beijing, China). To put it in context, the 2012 Olympics in London were the first games in the new millennium where the US Olympic team did not include Jen Rhines, an astounding fact and a tribute to her ability to perform at an elite level over an unusually extended time period. 
Jen Rhines, USATF Bio

More recently she won the USA Half Marathon title at Houston, TX in 1:11:14 and was the first American woman to finish, and third overall in the Carlsbad road 5K in California that year, with a time of 15:37. Rhines joined the B.A.A. high performance team, which is coached by her husband, Terence Mahon, in fall, 2013.

 Since that time she has, as throughout her career, run a variety of different length races against elite fields. Rhines began 2014 with a southern trip to get in some early races in mild weather; she hauled in a 3rd place finish in the famous Gasparilla (Florida) Half Marathon in March in 1:14:39 and a few weeks later finished 20th in the Gate River Run (15K) in 52:09 in the same state. Heading to southern California at the end of March, she ran 16:03 in the Carlsbad 5K before returning to Boston where she ran in the BAA 5K (16:22 for 18th) on the 19th of April and in the BAA 10K (33:45 for 8th place) on June 22nd
Jen Rhines, winner at the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championship, Houston, TX

Her first venture as a Masters runner, at Peachtree on July 4th, was more successful, with a 7th overall and her first USATF Master’s championship in 33:04. Nonetheless, she was 14 seconds off of Colleen DeReuck’s 10K Master’s record. She concluded the summer with two famous road races where she won Master’s Championships, the Utica Boilermaker 15K where she finished 7th overall in 52:21, and the Falmouth Road Race [7 miles] where she finished 11th overall in 38:12.

Can she get the American record? It is not clear. The record of 15:48 is currently held by the incredible runner, Colleen De Reuck, who set the record a decade ago a two hour’s drive to the east in Albany, NY. DeReuck holds almost all of the American Master’s records for women from the 5K to the Marathon. 

Photo by Kathy Freedman: Colleen De Reuck at the 2008 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile
Colleen De Reuck, 2009 Masters Athlete of the Year
The course record is another story. Even if Rhines should come up short in her quest for an American Master’s record, the results suggests she is almost certain to take down the Master’s course record. Interestingly that record was set by Stephanie Herbst-Lucke in winning the Women’s 45-49 title 3 years ago in 16:37. Rhines will surely return that honor to the 40-44 year old group.

Stephanie Herbst-Lucke, setting the Syracuse FoR Course Record, 2011 (photo by Yuki Mizuma)

As I indicate above, Rhines was off of De Reuck’s American record setting pace when she ran the 10K in Atlanta. Can she surpass DeReuck on October 5th? In a 2012 Runners World article by Phil Latter [], Terence Mahon is quoted as saying: “The training for Jen is somewhat secondary to the desire. If she is excited to do the 10K, then we make that the focus of the workouts. The same goes for the marathon or the 5K.” As no other race results are posted for Rhines since August, I infer that Rhines is peaking for the 5K in Syracuse and has made it her chief focus in these closing weeks of her training. Let’s hope that works out well for her; she certainly seems to be motivated and has shown in the past that she can rise to the occasion. Her 2014 results suggest that the American record of 15:48 is a worthy goal that is within reach but is by no means a soft target. Breaking the record would be a major achievement. Getting lots of supporters out for the hometown heroine’s quest should help.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Indiana Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships--Men's Championships

The Indiana Intercollegiate Men's Cross Country Championships were held on Friday, September 19, 2014. It was held at the Purdue University 8K Cross Country course on a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the low to mid-70's at race time. [For course and weather details see my September 20 blog on the women's race.] This recap focuses on the Big State Meet; the Little State Meet was held on the same course at the same time but that is not my focus.

Indiana, Indiana State, IUPUI, Purdue and Evansville had teams entered in the Men's Big State Championship. As usual there was a tight pack for the first mile with all of the main contenders, Indiana State's John Mascari, ranked 21st nationally by Flo-Track on September 2nd, Matt McClintock, Purdue's main man and also ranked nationally at 24th, and IU's Evan Esselink,

The pack approaches about 600 yards into the race, Mascari on left, McClintock in the middle.
Matt Schwartzer, and JR Crist, with IUPUI's dynamic duo of Tom Ohlman and Joey Zielinski in the mix. The pack as a whole spread out over the next mile or so but the front of the pack didn't change much. Mascari and McClintock were in the lead pack but so was IU's pack, a couple of
The pack, around 2.3 miles with IU's Owen Skeete in the lead, flanked by Mascari (left) and McClintock (right), with 3 Jaguars tucked in behind McClintock and the rest of the IU pack  bunched on the left trailing Mascari.

Purdue runners and IUPUI's duo joined by Peyton Reed hanging in there as well, a good omen for the Jaguars.

By the 4 mile mark, Mascari had made his move and established a gap over Boilermaker, Matt
Mascari (ISU) in the lead with Esselink (IU) and McClintock (Purdue) battling for second about 30 yards back.

McClintock, and the Hoosiers Evan Esselink, who were competing for second about 30 yards back.
IU's Esselink and Purdue's McClintock head to head at the 4 mile mark with a clear gap back to the next two (also IU)

After that it was mostly IU with a few Boilermakers and a few Jaguars mixed in.

Mascari pulled away over the final mile to win in a stirring 24:32.8, easily justifying the early attention from national rankings and planting the seed that maybe a top 10 finish in November at the
Johyn Mascari
John Mascari, considered a 'dark horse' for a top ten finish in NCAA's this year

LaVerne Gibson course in Terre Haute might not be out of reach.Clearly something about Terre Haute brings out the best in Mascari. Purdue's Matt McClintock was able to kick away to
Matthew McClintock
Matt McClintock, considered a likely top 25 finisher in NCAA's this year

finish second in 24: 45.2 for a  5 second gap over IU's Evan Esselink who took third by 15 seconds.
Evan Esselink
Evan Esselink, one of the key runners counted on to keep IU in the top ten teams at NCAA's this year

Indiana [29]. IU showed that they may not have a single dominant runner but they have a dominating pack, at least in Indiana. The Hoosiers took 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th to wrap up first place at the Big State meet. At least in this race, Esselink showed a little more than the rest of the pack. But Matt Schwartzer (25:05.0),
Matt Schwartzer
Matt Schwartzer, IU, 4th place in Indiana Intercollegiates

Jason Crist (25:11.0) and Kieran Reilly (25:18.9) ran as a tight pack, finishing within 14 seconds of one another. A 16 second gap that opened between the 4th and 5th runners in for IU did allow a second Sycamore and 3 Jaguars to insert themselves. That gap is likely a little worrisome for the Hoosiers who have high hopes for not only a strong Great Lakes regional showing but for making noise at the national meet as well. But they clearly have time and enough depth to address the worry.

IUPUI [56]. The Jaguars showed they have made great strides under Coach Chuck Koeppen's leadership. Their lead trio of Joey Zielinski, Tom Ohlman and Peyton Reed hung tough the whole race, finishing
Joey Zielinski
Joey Zielinski, IUPUI, 8th place in Indiana Intercollegiates

within ten seconds of one another in 8th, 9th, and 10th place with times ranging from 25:23.9 to
Tom Ohlman
Tom Ohlman, IUPUI, 9th place in Indiana Intercollegiates

25:33.8. And their next two were not that far back as Miguel Lozano and Abiel Mogos worked off
Peyton Reed
Peyton Reed, IUPUI 10th place in Indiana Intercollegiates

each other to finish in 14th and 15th in 25:51.1 and 25:52.9. That gave the Jags all they needed to walk away with second place, not a surprise to them but certainly a surprise to some. But if this race is an indicator they are a bit too dependent on their top five as there was 45 seconds between 5th and 6th. No doubt Coach Koeppen and his team will try to address that problem over the next couple of
Chuck Koeppen
Coach Chuck Koeppen, IUPUI Jaguars Cross Country

weeks. We'll see at Notre Dame if they are able to tighten up a bit more. Although guys like to brag about their '6-packs', with Cross Country you really want a 7-pack or an 8-pack of running tight.

Indiana State [64]. Although this is no longer just the Mascari show there were enough gaps that the Sycamores could only manage a third place in the team standings. Taylor Head ran a fine race
Taylor Head
Taylor Head, ISU 7th place in Indiana Intercollegiates

coming in 7th overall in 25:20.8 but the thirty second gap back to their third runner in left just enough space for the lead trio of Jaguars to insert themselves. And a 16 second gap back to the fifth runner let the Jags 4th and 5th runners in to deny the Sycamores the 2nd place trophy they had hoped for.

Purdue [73]. Considering the race was on their home course, this must be a disappointment for the Boilermakers. Purdue started the season ranked 8th in the region, ahead of both IUPUI and Indiana State. But at least on this date the gap between McClintock and the rest of the team, at over a minute, was just too great. Jeff Kent, the Boilers' new Assistant Track and Field Coach for Cross Country,
Jeff Kent
Jeff Kent, Purdue University Cross Country Coach

will have plenty to work on over the next couple of weeks.

On October 3rd, IUPUI, Indiana State and Purdue, from this field, will take on Notre Dame, among others, at the Notre Dame Invitational. Butler will also compete in that meet after this next week's outing at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota on September 27. IU will, instead, be on the west coast for the Washington Invitational on October 4th.

Thsi invitational could be an eye opener. Notre dame will, of course, hope to dominate on their home course. But Butler is currently ranked 4th in the region, three spots ahead of Notre Dame. IUPUI will be eager to show that their showing at the Indiana Intercollegiates is no fluke and that the Dawgs and the Irish need to worry about jaguars nipping at their heels. And, of course, the Sycamores and Boilermakers will want to show that this weekend was an aberration and that they are actually among the top 4 teams in Indiana.

According to the second week poll of NCAA Division 1 Cross Country and Track Coaches, IU is 1st in the Great Lakes Region, Butler is 4th, and Notre Dame is 7th, followed by IUPUI 9th, Indiana State 11th, and Purdue 12th.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Preview No. 2 of USATF Masters 5K Championship Road Race-Women 55 and up

Here is the preview of the women's W55 and up age categories in the USA Track and Field 5K Masters Championships to be held in Syracuse, NY on October 5, 2014.

For details on the history of the meet, the course description, and the organization of the races, please see my earlier posts on the men's race and on preview number 1 for the women.

[Preview based upon information available online as of Sep. 21, 2014 9:00 pm]

W55. In 2013 Leslie Chaplin (GA) ran to a decisive victory in 19:31; Suzanne Myette (NY) followed her across the line in 20:52. And Elizabeth Beslo (NY) took the 3rd place medal in 23:00.
Leslie Chaplin elated over her W55 national championship in the USATF 800 Meter Run

But none of these three is yet entered. In looking at those who are entered, it appears that Ena Weinstein (Atlanta Track Club, GA) who ran in the W50 group  last year, will be a strong contender, as she clocked a 20:19 last year. Joan Miller (Liberty Athletic Club, MA) could also be in the hunt for the podium as she recently ran 20:55 for a 5K.

W60. Last year 2013 Masters Woman Runner of the Year, Kathy Martin, took this age group by
Kathy Martin, setting her indoor 3000 meter world record in 2012

storm with an incredible 19:06 time, beating her closest competitor by 2 minutes. Edie Stevenson (CO), no slouch herself, came in at a very respectable 21:09, holding off Erika Campbell (NJ) who
Edie Stevenson, interviewed at the USATF 8K championships a couple of years ago

nailed down third place with her 21:24. Stevenson and Campbell should both move up to the W65 age group but they are not entered there yet either. Martin is also absent from the list of W60 registrants. Of those who are registered, it appears that Victoria Crisp (TN) would be the favorite; she has a 21:09 5K to her credit this year along with a 44:26 10K.
Victoria Crisp, capturing a 5 miler Masters Crown in Tennessee a few years back

Coreen Steinbach (Athena Track Club) who ran a 22:00 in 2013, finishing just off the podium, is back this year to see if she can improve on that. Martin has run strongly all year long but has not been heard of in race postings since August 10th. I hope that just means she sensibly took some time off from racing and we will see Martin at her peak in Syracuse.

W65. In 2013, Jan Holmquist (MA) took the first place medal decisively with a time of 21:08.A few
Jan Holmquist, in action for the Liberty Track Club
minutes later, Susan Gustafson (MA) and Lenora Weber (MA) followed her across for a Bay State sweep of the age group. Of those three only Gustafson is currently entered, and should certainly contend for the podium. Holmquist has moved up to W70. But, as noted above, it appears Stevenson and Campbell have moved up to replace her in W65. If so and if they enter they would be strong contenders for the podium. Perhaps more significantly the outstanding Masters runner, Sabra Harvey (TX) is entered for the first time since 2011 when she ran 20:09. This year she has a 19:57
Sabra Harvey, smoking her age group in the 2013 Houston Marathon 5K
5K on the books and a 42:37 at the USATF 10K championships.  Harvey would come in as the favorite even if Stevenson and Campbell run too. That would be quite a barn burner of a race if all 3 show up!

W70. Last year Sue Gardinier (NY), Carrie Parsi (MA), and Charlene Francis (MA) took the podium positions in 23:43, 26:37, and 28:33 respectively. This year it will be more of a challenge. As mentioned above, Jan Holmquist (MA) took first place in the W65 group with a time of 21:08 so she should be the favorite. Parsi moves up to W75 but Francis is entered and should contend for the podium again. However, two other new entrants, Margie Stoll  and Ruth Thelen (both of
Margie Stoll,pictured at a track workout in 2008

Playmaker's Elite/New Balance) should give her all she can handle, as both have recorded 5K times around 25:00 within the last year. If they can match that in Syracuse, they should join Holmquist on the podium.

W75. In 2013 Tami Graf (MD), Edna Hyer (NY), and Helen Botti (NY) finished 1-2-3 in 32:15, 37:05, and 40:57. Hyer moves up to W80 this year but Botti is entered already; so far no sign of Graf or Parsi (who moves up from W70) . But the celebrated Master's runner,
Libby James, running in Colorado

Libby James (CO), will apparently make the trek east this year to compete in Syracuse. She will be the favorite for first place based on current form, a sub 25 minute 5K on the books this year, and her many age group wins and records over the years. It will be a real treat to see her run in Syracuse and to see if she can claim yet another age group record.

W80. Last year Anny Stockman (Team Utopia, NY) had the race all her way as she was a solo winner in 35:20. It is worth noting, however, that time would have gotten her 2nd place in the W75
Anny Stockman, crossing the finish line at Sean's Run this year

group. This year she will have to contend with Edna Hyer (Checkers AC, NY ) who moves up from W75 to give her a race. On paper Stockman should be strong enough to hold off Hyer for the gold but that's why we run races.It will be great to see which of these two excellent masters runners prevails.