Saturday, October 11, 2014

Recap of USATF 5K Championship at the Syracuse Festival of Races-Men's Teams

October 10, 2014. It was a beautiful day in Syracuse on October 5th for some stirring team races-crisp and clear. The individual men's competition was recapped yesterday. Today the focus is on the Men's Teams. In USATF National Championship Road Races like this one, the competition is determined by the cumulative time of the first three finishers on each team. Every second counts and the pressure is on. Unlike the five-year age groups for individuals, the teams are organized on the basis of ten year groups. So 40+ refers to teams made up of individuals between the ages of 40 and 49.

Ten different clubs entered runners in one or more age divisions; two clubs (Genesee Valley Harriers and Clifton Roadrunners) had both A and B teams in at least one division. The Syracuse Chargers Track Club entered a team in the 40+, 50+, 60+, and 80+; no other team entered in more than 3 divisions (Atlanta Track Club and GVH). Two of the teams established new 3-man team bests for the Syracuse FoR Course; more detail after the age division recaps.

M40+. Atlanta TC ran away with this division as their top 2 runners [Chad Newton, Kristian Blaich] finished in the top 5 overall and their third runner [Matthew Whitis] was second in the M45 group. Their overall winning time was 47:47 for a sub-16 minute average.The second and third place teams both had all three runners under 17:00 with the Garmin Runners [Brian Crowley, Mark Zamek, Mark Williams] finding their way to the second place position on the podium by running just a little bit faster than the Willow Street Athletic Club team [Robert Irwin, John Stadtlander, Volker Burkowski] at every position.Garmin clocked 49:38 to Willow Street's 50:30.

Atlanta Track Club's victorious 40+ Team [Blaich, Newton, Whitis, Wilcox]; Lein (USATF)

M50+. This was the most tightly contested age division. It was a tight battle for 1st between Playmakers Elite/New Balance and the Genesee Valley Harriers with the Playmakers prevailing in 50:54 for a sub17 minute average. Ruben Henderson, Jr. led the way for the Playmakers, closely followd by Daniel Dixon, Jr. and Ron Zywicki. The GVH (Alan Evans, Charlie Andrews, David Bischoff) was pressing for first but also had to be careful not to lose second place to the swift Atlanta TC team. In the end, GVH  outkicked the Atlanta TC (Ken Youngers, Nathan Skipper, Jeffery Dundas) for the second spot on the podium, 51:31 to 52:18.

Playmakers Elite/New Balance's victorious 50+ team [Dixon, Henderson, Zywicki, Lambrecht]; Lein (USATF)

M60+.  In another well contested division, Ann Arbor Track Club led the way, defeating the Shore Athletic Club by just over a minute. Led by Lloyd Hansen's 18:46, all three Ann Arbor runners came in under 19:40, with Terry McCluskey and John Tarkowski finishing second and third for them. Reno Stirrat who finished in 18:33 was joined by Emmanuel Brody and Harold Nolan, resulting in an overall clocking of 58:46. The Atlanta TC was led by Tom McCormack's scintillating 16:58 but Hansen graciously pointed out to me that Atlanta was hampered by the absence of Kirk Larson, recovering from surgery. An additional factor was that Jerry Learned was slowed by a strained hamstring injury that cropped up a few days before the race and added almost four minutes to his time from last year. But the race is to the swift on a given day at a given time. We race against those who show up and are fit on the day with the fastest finishers crowned. So hat's off to Ann Arbor and Shore and Atlanta.
Ann Arbor TC's victorious 60+ team [Tarkowski, Hansen, Hayes, Manz, McCluskey]; Lein (USATF)

M70+. Doug Goodhue, still under 20:00 at age 72,  led the Ann Arbor TC to victory with the able help of Monte Piliawsky and Wally Herala, both of whom cracked 24 minutes. Their overall time of 66:02 was more than 3 minutes ahead of Shore AC and constitutes a course best (see below). Przemyslaw Nowicki led the way for Shore, with Roland Cormier and John Nowatkowski  not far behind. Clifton Rodrunners (Craig Wunderly, William Ash, James Leitz)  claimed the third place on the podium.
Ann Arbor Track Club's Victorious and Record-setting M70+ Team [Goodhue, Farah, Piliawsky, Herrala]

M80+. The Syracuse Chargers TC claimed the victory in the oldest division contested this year in Syracuse. Not only did they win it, but they too established a course best as Wally McRae, Fritz Schlereth and David Rider came across the line in 96:35.
Wally McRae of the Syracuse Chargers Track Club's record-setting 80+ team, with Don Lein (USATF) enjoying and joining in the humor of the assembled Masters runners

Course Records for Teams. The Syracuse Festival of Races does not post master's team bests for their course. This is in part, no doubt, due to the different way of scoring over the years. Even during the USATF years, 2008-2014, the 40+ and 50+ teams were changed from scoring by the cumulative times of the top 5 runners to the cumulative times of the top 3 runners. For my purposes I decide to include the earlier 5-man team results in the competition for best USATF master's team times [2008-2014] by refiguring their times by only counting the top 3 runners. This way there is direct comparability of teams across the 7 year USATF history with Syracuse. Based on this approach, the records for each division coming into 2014 were:
M40+: COMPEX RACING [Pete Magill, Christian Cushing-Murray, Gray Mahvera] 45:32 2009

M50+: ATLANTA TC [Gary Droze, Ken Youngers, Jeffery Dundas] 50:34 2011

M60+: ATLANTA TC [Kirk Larson, Mike Wien, Jerry Learned] 56:50  2012

M70+: NEW ENGLAND 65+ RUNNING CLUB [Bill Spencer, John Pelton, Jerry LeVasseur]  
                                                                                                             67:01  2010

M80+: SYRACUSE CHARGERS TC [Wally McRae, Fritz Schlereth, David Rider] 96:52 2013

Syracuse FoR course bests for 3-man USATF Masters Men's Teams, as compiled by Paul Carlin
The 40+, 50+, and 60+ records are all safe for another year. And the M40+ time of COMPEX with an average of 15:11 per runner seems safe for some time to come unless there is a determined onslaught by an elite team. No other team has come within 90 seconds of it so far. Playmakers was only 20 seconds off of the 50+ best so that seems potentially attainable. And while Ann Arbor was almost a minute off of the best this year, they were only 40 seconds away last year. Perhaps next year will be the year this one falls too.

Ann Arbor soared to M70+ victory this year and in the process, they swamped the course best for that division by almost a full minute. Doug Goodhue, Monte Piliawsky, Wally Herrala, John Farah and Jon Desenberg made up the record setting team, with the first three listed scoring the times that are counted for the record. The new course best is 66:02.
Congratulations to Ann Arbor TC on this record-setting achievement!

The Syracuse Chargers Track Club surged to victory again this year with the trio of Wally McRae, Fritz Schlereth, and  David Rider lowering the record they established last year by 17 seconds. they had able support in Sheldon Kall who was on hand to help secure the championship medal if any of the first three had faltered. The new course best is  96:35.
Congratulations to the Syracuse Chargers TC on their record-setting team time!

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