Scoring. For the women's teams, five runners may be declared; it is only the top 3 on each team who count for scoring, with 4th and 5th runners eligible to displace any of the first 3 runners on another team. Because of displacement possibilities, the outcome of a race may be decided ultimately by any and all of a team's declared runners.
Notes: All references to times below are based on road times and so should not be taken as a prediction of actual time on a XC 5 km course. It is understood that XC times vary considerably from course to course and, on a given course, from day to day, and sometimes from hour to hour, depending on weather and the condition of the course.As with the men, the handicapping is done as good fun. The actual competition is what matters. As always we hope for no injuries, good efforts by all, and a few extraordinary performances to lift our spirits!
W40+. This appears to be a classic Great Lakes contest, with Dave's Team and Team Ohio, from the Buckeyes, going up against Patient Endurance Racing, out of Michigan and the home bunch from Indiana, the Purdue Area Track Club. It looks like a close contest between Dave's Team and Patient Endurance Racing for first and 2nd with an equally close battle for the third spot on the podium. Rachel Kinsman should lead the Dave's with a sub-20 minute time; her 18:28 5K in May makes her one of the favorites for a Team Race first. Michelle Brooks has recent times very close to 20 minutes so should be the team's 2nd runner in, followed closely by Amy Spieth who had times around 21 minutes in 2013 and focused on longer races earlier this year.
|Amy Spieth, Dave's Team [photo: http://www.davesrunning.com/index.php/upper-nav/about/meet-the-racing-team/amy-spieth/]
|Serena Kessler, Patient Endurance Racing of Michigan [photo:http://aatrackclub.org/view-article/for-women-only-5k-women-prevail/Greg Sadler/sadlershots.com]
Able support comes from Erin LaRusso, with a 40:55 10K in April, suggesting a time close to 20 or just under is possible. Peggy Zeeb should be counted on for a 21 minute 5K. Finally Patient has Leslie Braun for insurance should any of the other 3 falter. Although Braun has been focusing more on longer races, a 21:58 5K in 2013 and a 45:42 10K in 29014 suggest she can be counted on for a sub-22 minute performance and might run a bit faster.
|Leslie Braun, Patient Endurance Racing [photo: http://blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/extra/2007/09/audio_genesys_winners_talk_running.html]
Based on her 18:52 5K time in May 2013, it appears Kimberly Wise should lead Team Ohio to the tape. Nancy Jeggle appears ready to run under 22 minutes. Her best time in a 5K earlier this year is 22:16 but a year earlier she ran a 20:46 5K. Their third runner, Jodie Smith is the wild card. I cannot find any online times that can be definitely linked to a Jodie Smith who would be running for an Ohio team. Unless she is completely new to running this probably is a sign of a recent relocation. Smith's performance can make a huge difference and adds a lot of uncertainty to this prediction about the race for the bronze.
The Purdue team has no candidate for front-runner and this is a difficulty. As we know, Purdue will have to pack it up to compensate. It appears their top 3 runners have recently been concentrating on longer races. What kind of 5K runners will they be? Lucy Flesch has a 3:25:42 Boston Marathon in 2013 which suggests that a 5K around 21 or better should be possible. Julia Verville has an October 2014 half marathon time of 1:39:54, which is quite comparable in terms of a projected 5K time. Michelle Wade ran a 1:44:25 half marathon this year suggesting perhaps a 22 minute time in a 5K is a possible projection.
|Michelle Wade (in yellow), guiding Kristin Fleschner, a blind runner, in the Indy Monumental Marathon [photo:http://www.monumentalmarathon.com/stories/11-Running-Blind.php]
Sally Yuska's quarter marathon time this year seems to indicate a time between 22 and 23 minutes is likely.
It appears that Jodie Smith will be very influential n the outcome. If she turns out to be a front runner, Team Ohio can contend for a top spot on the podium. If she is middle of the pack a third seems likely; otherwise Purdue may take the third spot on the podium.
W50+. This division appears to be a toss-up between the Genesee Valley Harriers of New York and Team Ohio. Rosalie Franek of T.O. appears to be the front runner based on last year's 5K time of 21:39 and this year's 10K time of 42:33. Those two results together suggest a 5K time of 21:00 would be plausible.
|Rosalie Franek, Associate Head Cross Country Coach, Hiram College [photo: http://www.hiramterriers.com/sports/xc/coaches/Rosalie_Franek]
Michelle Mead should provide sub-23 minute back-up based on a 23:19 in February and a 22:49 in June. Rae Alexander could be their 3rd runner in based on time's this year of 24:09 in June and 24:47 in September. But Team Ohip appears to have a wild card in the person of Debbie Kilpatrick. I can find no recent results for Kilpatrick but I do find a 2007 10K in 37:14. It is unlikely Kilpatrick has that kind of fitness today but if she has been able to get some good training in and has no other issues, one would think she might contend for the top spot. If so, that would give Team Ohio the edge they need to take first.
As always, Genesee Valley enters a strong team when they come to these national races. Bonnie Lindblom appears to be a solid sub-23 minute runner with a June time of 22:54 and an October time of 22:42.
|Bonnie Lindblom, Genesee Valley Harriers [photo: Facebook/B. Lindblom]
Colleen Magnussen should be close on her heels, based upon a 23:47 in early August, but a 22:49 at the national 5K championships at Syracuse.
|Collen Magnussen, cruising over the course at the 2013 Club Cross Championships [photo: Facebook/C. Magnussen]
Marie White provides vry solid support with sub-24 minute times like her 23:34 at Syracuse and earlier times this year of 23:45 and 23:39. If Kilpatrick can run with Franek, the gold should go to Team Ohio but if she runs, instead, with Rae Alexander, then GVH has a real shot at first.
W60+. If the runners cover the ocurse true to form, this should be a gold for the Genesee Valley Harriers and a silver medal for the Playmaker Elite/New Balance team of Michigan. GVH is led by Sharon Moore who appears capable of a 22:30.
|Sharon Moore, Genesee Valley Harriers, 2011 Club Cross [photo:http://www.gvh.net/results/home-page-archive/]
Carolyn Smith-Hanna has recent times between her 24:01 at Syracuse and an earlier 24:51.
|Carolyn Smith-Hanna, finishing off a grueling 5 km Cross Country Championship race [photo:http://www.innovative-edge-sports.com/id3.html]
Finally, Jeanne Herrick should provide her usual steady support with a time in the 25 minute range. The PE team has a strong pack but appears to lack the up front speed to contend fully with GVH. Deborah Feltz should be quite competitive with Herrick but Donna Swanson and Jean Bolley should follow Feltz in.
|Donna Swanson, far right with a team on Michigan runners at the Columbia River Power Marathon [photo:http://througharunninglens.blogspot.com/2013/10/guest-race-report-michigan-runners-at.html]
They have recent 5K times slightly under 26 minutes for the former and slightly over for the latter. Of course if any of the runners is off their fitness, it could come out otherwise.
W70+. Fresh off their impressive victory over Checkers AC in the USA 5K road championships in Syracuse, the Playmaker Elite/New Balance team comes into this race unopposed. So the outcome of the race is easy to predict and it is also easy to predict that Ellen Nitz, Janet Wallen, and Shirley Larsen will all run excellent races even without the spur of competition. Their times at Syracuse were 29:08, 31:24, and 32:17 respectively. thise are not only excellent times but PE/NB's ability to run a tight pack means they are very tough customers indeed in the W70+ division.
Hat's off to these impressive teams! I look forward to some stirring team races and outstanding individual efforts.