Monday, February 9, 2015

USATF Masters Cross Country Championships-Feb 07 2015--Recap of Team Races

February 7 2015. The 2015 USA Masters Cross Country Championships unfolded today on the Flatirons course in Boulder Colorado.  Clubs from Colorado and across the country were in Boulder to compete for a national championship and to start building the point totals necessary to claim a USATF Masters Club Grand Prix banner by the end of the year. And, of course, there are unofficial bragging rights that are an important part of any cross country event. The weather was gorgeous for spectators and a bit warmer than anticipated for the runners. Despite some snow melt the course was in pretty good shape. Recall that scoring for the Masters women’s teams depends on the first three runners in.

How did the teams do?

Women’s Teams

40+: In 2014, the podium consisted of: Team Colorado-10 (Melody Fairchild, Maureen Wren, Sheila Geere); Colorado Racing-12 (Colleen DeReuck, Joanna Zeiger, Kerrie Wlad); Athletics Boulder-29 (Noelle Green, Laura Bruess, Lesia Atkinson).  This year, six teams contested the 40+ championship.
Team Colorado did not enter this year. Instead Maureen Wrenn was entered for the Boulder Mountain Warriors. It looked like a solid 1-2 for the Warriors.  Maureen Wrenn, who finished 4th in the team competition gave them a top runner.; Laura Haefeli  who, as an Open athlete, was the 2004 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year, provides very strong support. In 2013 she was the first woman, overall, to finish the Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race by a wide margin. Two other runners, Dianne Gates and Lisa Goldsmith, should provide solid support and the third place finish needed to place on the podium.  But then the celebrated mountain and road runner, Melody Fairchild entered the championships at the on-site registration the evening before the competition. With Fairchild joining the Warriors, they looked like the team to beat.  Colorado Racing was also back and had their two tigers, DeReuck and Zeiger, up front again.  Terzah Becker and Lydia Dissly join them this year. But they did not appear to have the really strong third runner they would need to challenge the Warriors. Even if DeReuck and Zeiger would finish on the podium, it might not be enough to take the crown. And there is a new contender this year; The Janes Elite racing team from Santa Monica California.  They finished fifth at the 2014 Club Cross championships in December in Bethlehem PA and will try to move up onto the podium in this event.  The top two Janes runners, Tania Fischer and Kirsten  Leech, who finished 5th and 12th respectively at Club Cross, are on the team going to Colorado; they are joined by a new teammate, Darcy Arreola-Lange. But without a very strong third runner it seems unlikely they can challenge for the top spot. Runners Roost Colorado has a good group of runners, including last year’s winner of the 50+ group, Janet Rooney, but they do not appear to have anyone to be up in the front pack and it is difficult to place well without that when only the top 3 runners’ places count.

DeReuck celebrated her first year in the 50+ age category by leading Colorado Racing with a 1st place finish. Unfortunately, the Warriors were able to take the next two places with Fairchild and Wrenn.  
Colleen DeReuck, Colorado Racing, checking over her shoulder as she approaches the finish line, to be sure Melody Fairchild, Boulder Mountain Warriors, is not closing fast enough to catch her at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015.

 But Zeiger was able to pull Colorado Racing even again with a sterling 4th place. That left it to the third runner for each team. 
Melody Fairchild (#73), Boulder Mountain Warriors,  and Joanna Zeiger, Colorado Racing, battling for the title in the Women's 40+ Team Competition at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015.

And, as one might suspect, Haefeli took the 5th spot overall to give the Boulder Mountain Warriors the team win. Tania Fischer, of the Jane’s Elite, took 6th place in the team competition but they were not able to make the podium. What about the Runners Roost. Were they able to parlay the potential of a tight pack against Colorado Racing? Rebecca Larsen led the Roost in with a team 8th. And she was joined by Janet Rooney and Leslie Hoffman in 10th and 11th. That gave them a final total of 29 points. Colorado Racing had 5 points from their top two but they needed a third scorer. When Lydia Dissly took the 14th spot, that was all they needed for the team 2nd.

Boulder Mountain Warriors 10 [Fairchild, Wrenn, Haefeli]
Colorado Racing 19 [DeReuck, Zeiger, Dissly]
Runners Roost 29 [Larsen, Rooney, Hoffman]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Boulder Mountain Warriors                                         100
Colorado Racing                                                                90
Runners Roost                                                                  80
Janes Elite A                                                                       70
Athletics Boulder A                                                         60
Revolution Running A                                                    55

50+: Last year there were only two 50+ teams entered, the Heart and Sole Warriors (Ellen Hart, Coo Dughi, Martha Buttner) who took first with 9 points and the Boulder Striders (Janet Rooney, Catriona Dowling, Dianne Thompson) who took 2nd with 14 points.

It is a different and better story this year with 6 teams from 4 different clubs entered. The Boulder Striders are back, although without Janet Rooney who ran in the 40+ division this year and helped the  Runner’s Roost team onto the podium. The Striders, with Catriona Dowling, Diane Thompson, and Susan Schultz likely their top 3, looked to have enough strength to get on the podium but it is hard to gauge  their cross country strength as their runners did not compete in the race last year.

Noelle Green and Laura Bruess , who finished 8th and 9th in the 40+ competition last year, anchor the strong  Athletics Boulder team. They are joined by Delcia Litt who did not run this race last year but appears poised to provide very solid support to Green and Bruess. It appears the race is Athletics Boulder’s to lose. Flatirons Running, behind the leadership of Ellen Hart, Martha Buttner, and Vicki Hunter, should have what it takes to finish 2nd in this group.

The race went according to the formbook in this case, with Green, Bruess, and Litt finishing 1-2-3, for 6 points and the Athletics Boulder victory.  
Laura Bruess, digging for the tape as she claims 2nd for her team, Athletics Boulder, in the women's 50+ competition at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015

Flatirons had the tight pack of the group, with their first three runners, Valerie Eiper, Ellen Hhart, and Martha Buttner, finishing within 28 seconds of one another as they took the 4-5-6 spots to claim 2nd by a wide margin over the Boulder Striders.  The Striders, led by Catriona Dowling, Susan Schulte, and Diane Thompson took 8-10-12 to defend the last spot on the podium from the challenge of three other teams.

Athletics Boulder 6 [Green, Bruess, Litt]
Flatirons Running 15 [Hart, Buttner, Hunter]
Boulder Striders 30 [Dowling, Schulte, Thompson]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Athletics Boulder A                                                         100
Flatirons Running A                                                         90
Boulder Striders A                                                           80
Revolution Running  A                                                   70
Revolution Running C                                                     60
Revolution Running B                                                     55

60+: Last year it was Revolution Running, led by Edie Stevenson, Amy Lease, and Debra Hathaway sweeping the top 3 spots. The Boulder Road Runners also entered but only one of their runners was at all competitive with the Revolution runners. 
Revolution Running is back this year but with a substantially different team.   Last year Nancy Antos and Lynn Kidder were on the team for insurance should any of their top 3 falter. This year Antos and Kidder should lead the way. It is a little unclear whether Brooke Alt, Virginia Schultz, or Cynthi Stahli will be their 3rd scoring runner but one of those should finish close enough to Antos and Kidder to give Revolution Running a repeat win. But it will not be without a challenge. The Boulder Road Runners have entered an A and a B team. The A team of Boulder Road Runners need Sandi Wiebe to run strong. She has primarily been running triathlons recently and that kind of strength is often useful on a cross country course. If she can finish close to the front of the group, it might give Boulder Road Runners a shot at 1st. It would then depend on whether Connie Harmon and Jean Nistico can both come in ahead of Revolution’s 3rd runner. Presumably the B team is in for the third spot on the podium.

As it unfolded, Sandy Wiebe did run strong, taking the team 2nd place, behind the surprise win of Laurie Rugenstein of the B Boulder team. But the rest of the A and B teams ran according to expectations. But Revolution Running’s Antos and Kidder, did their parts by taking 3rd and 4th in the team competition. 
Lyn Kidder, heading for the 2nd place age group finish that would keep the momentum going for  Revolution Running's top finish in the women's 60+ team competition at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015

But then when Paula Vaughn took 5th for Boulder A, that left the two top teams knotted at 7 points each. It was up to the third runner in. A few seconds after Vaughn came in, Sahli came in for Revolution, guaranteeing them the top spot with 13 points. A half minute later, Harmon crossed the line to give Boulder Road Runners A 14 points and the second place finish.  Boulder B took the 3rd spot with 21 points. The irony is that if Boulder Road Runners had switched on of their A runners out for Rugenstein, they would have taken the team title with just 8 points. But it is never just about winning.

Revolution Running 13 [Antos, Kidder,Sahli]
Boulder Road Runners A 14 [Wiebe, Vaughn, Harmon ]
Boulder Road Runners B 21 [Rugenstein, Gonzales, Tollesen]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Revolution Running  A                                                   100
Boulder Road Runners A                                               90
Boulder Road Runners B                                               80
70+: Last year the Boulder Road Runners were unchallenged and it is the same story this year. It is a shame really because this year they have the added strength of the renowned Libby James up front. It would be interesting to see someone else try to challenge this strong team. Not surprisingly, Libby James led the way, with Betty Valent and Gail Hunter running a surprisingly close but, no doubt, companionable 2nd and third.

Boulder Road Runners 6 [James, Valent, Hunter]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Boulder Road Runners  A                                              100

Commentary: On the women’s side, the Colorado teams successfully defended their turf in every age group. The names of Boulder Mountain Warriors (40+), Athletics Boulder (50+), and Boulder Road Runners leave little doubt as to their place of origin. Revolution Running, the 60+ winner, gives away no secrets but is also based in Colorado. So a clean sweep for Colorado here.

The ‘Age is just a Number’ Team Mention goes to the 40+ Colorado Racing team, led by 50+ runner, DeReuck and to the 40+ Runners Roost who had 50+ Rooney as their second runner in, and the 60+ Boulder Runners B team who had 70+ runner Gonzales as their second finisher.

Tightest Pack Award for a team on the podium goes to

50+ Flatirons Running [top 3 within 28 seconds]
40+ Runners Roost   [top 3 within 55 seconds]
50+ Boulder Striders [top 3 within 75 seconds]

Best team performance across the age group categories goes to Boulder Road Runners with a 1st in the W70+ category and a 2nd and 3rd in the W60+ category.

Finally the across the ages, Team Age-Grading contest.  Take the top 3 teams with the lowest age-grading scores across all age groups.

The Age-Grading Team Podium:
Boulder Mountain Warriors 5,7,9=21
[Dianne Gates 82.5%, Melody Fairchild 82.1%, Laura Haefeli 81.56%]
Athletics Boulder 6,8,11=25
[Laura Bruess 82.39%, Delicia Litt 81.69%, Noelle Green 80.86%]
Boulder Road Runners 1, 4, 30=35
[Libby James 91.63%, Sandi Wiebe 74.28%, Anita Gonzales 72.65%]

Men’s Teams

40+: In 2014 the podium was comprised of: Boulder Running Company/Adidas 72 (Simon Gutierrez, Cody Hill, Kevin Konczak, Cary Hitz, Mark Misch); Bowerman Track Club 87 (Ahrlin Bauman, Oscar Bauman, Mike Blackmore, Matthew Farley, Scott MacDonald); Cal Coast Track Club 90 (John Gardiner, Christian Cushing-Murray, Robert Arsenault, Kevin Barda, David Olds). But Santa Barbara Running and Racing was in hot pursuit with 96 points, just off the podium.

2015. These top 4 teams were all back although their rosters have changed slightly. In the case of the Bowerman Track Club, the minor change of adding Greg Mitchell should reduce their score substantially, enough to give Bowerman the win. Last year he competed unattached. But the other teams have also changed  and fitness levels can vary from year to year, not to mention from month to month. The Boulder Running Company has added Chris Grauch, Andrew Biglow and Art Siemers. The first two are Colorado runners who ran unattached in this race last year and finished 5th and 9th respectively in the 40-44 age group. Siemers, a solid all around distance runner finished 25th in the USA Masters Club Cross Country championships in 2013. So has Bowerman or Boulder improved more? Cal Coast has Jerome Vermuelen and Jonathan May in place of Rob Arsenault and David Olds but those appear to be changes that leave their overall strength similar to last year. Santa Barbara Running and Racing has their team intact so they will have to run faster to make the podium. Other teams like LRC Racing and Flatirons Running have very solid runners but may lack a top ten runner; it is difficult to make the podium without at least 1 runner in the top ten. A very tight pack would be a necessity.

So how did they fare? Mitchell took care of business for Bowerman, getting the team first place. 
Greg Mitchell, Bowerman TC, leading Ivan Ivanov (LRC Racing), Art Siemers Boulder RC, Ahrlin Bauman, his teammate, Chris Grauch, Boulder RC, and John Gardiner, Cal Coast through a middle loop of the 12K Men's Team Championship at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015
Last year Boulder’s Gutierrez and Bowerman’s A. Bauman had an epic sprint to the tape which Bauman won by a hair. This year Gutierrez left nothing to chance, opening up enough of a gap that Bauman could not catch him. John Gardiner came in 4th after Buaman’s 3rd place, to give Cal Coast some hope and then Rusty Snow for Santa Barbara. This year’s epic sprint finish involved a different Bauman, Ahrlin’s brother Oscar, but the outcome was the same. Bauman just edged Boulder’s Grauch for sixth. That gave Bowerman 10 points for their first three runners while Boulder had 9 points just from their first two. But the newcomers saved the day for Boulder. Four seconds after Grauch, it was Biglow in 8th and 15 seconds later, Boulder’s Siemers  outdueled Bowerman’s Joshua Gordon to take 9th by 2 seconds. That gave Boulder 26 points for their first 4 runners while Gordon’s tenth gave Bowerman 20 for the same number. It would all come down to the 5th runner! There was not long to wait. Twenty seconds later Craig Greenslit came sailing in to claim the team 12th place and the victory with 38 points. Everett Whiteside sealed the 2nd place position on the podium for the Bowerman TC by  taking the 19th spot. Boulder and Bowerman had a terrific battle for 1st. What about the battle between Cal Coast and Santa Barbara for the third and final spot on the podium. As mentioned above, the first runner for each team was in earlier, Gardiner in 4th for Cal Coast and Snow in 5th for Santa Barbara. That pattern held for the second runners as Cal Coast’s Vermeulen [14th] established a gap that Santa Barbara’s Booth [15th]could not close, giving CC a two point lead after the first two runners. But that was all she wrote for Cal Coast. Santa Barbara would bring 4 runners home before the next Cal Coast runner came in. This was not their day. Mejia-Perez, DeVreese, Harding and Swan would finish 18th, 25th, 26th and 28th; Santa Barbara took the 3rd spot on the podium by 25 points. But next year could be another story. Last year there was an unattached runner named Mitchell who won the championship and he wound up on his most competitive local area team this year, Bowerman. Next year it looks like Cal Coast could have a similar recruit. If so, their competitiveness will be enhanced.

Boulder Running Company 38 [Gutierrez, Grauch, Biglow, Siemers, Greenslit]
Bowerman Track Club 39 [Mitchell, A. Bauman, O. Bauman, Gordon, Whiteside ]
Santa Barbara Running and Racing 89 [Snow, Booth, Mejia-Perez, DeVreese, Harding]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Boulder Running Company A                                      100
Bowerman Track Club A                                                90
Santa Barbara Running and Racing A                        80
Cal Coast A                                                                          70
LRC Racing A                                                                       60
Flatirons Running A                                                         55
Fleet Feet Sports Boulder Racing A                          50
Highlands Ranch Running Club A                               45

50+: In 2014 the podium was comprised of: Genesee Valley Harriers 19 [David Bischoff, John Van Kerkhove, Tim Dwyer, Mark Rybinski, Tim McMullen]; Athletics Boulder 39 [Ted Kennedy, Rick Bruess, Kevin Cooper, Charles Shapiro, Eddie Metro]; Revolution Running 69 [Richard Luck, Jeffrey Rheiner, Fred Beavers, Brian Bell, Michael Keilson]

In 2015 quite a few new challengers appeared. Cal Coast brought a strong team for this division and a strong team came in from the Midwest, Playmakers Elite/New Balance, the reigning Club Grand Prix champions. In addition local teams, Colorado Racing and LRC Racing contested the championship. And the competition was a dandy with only twenty points separating first from fifth.

Pete Magill, the seasoned veteran, drew first blood for Cal Coast, outduelling Athletic Boulders’ David Litoff, for a 3 second victory in the team competition. But a half minute later the dynamic duo of Genesee Valley, Mike Nier and Alan Evans, more than answered as they came in three seconds apart in 3rd and 4th
Pete Magill, the wily veteran (#192) biding his time on the shoulder of Daniel Greer, Colorado Racing Club, trying to lead his team, Cal Coast, to victory in the Men's 50+ team competition at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015
Right after that Athletics Boulder got a 2nd runner in as well when Daniel King came in 6 seconds later in 5th. Two seconds after that, Colorado Racing was heard from when Andrew Ames chugged in to claim 6th. Cal Coast got a boost when David Olds nailed 7th place but Athletics Boulder had an answer again with Dan Spale in 8th. Playmakers was then heard from as their strong pack of Eric Stuber, J.D. Pepper, and Ron Zywicki came in within 7 seconds of one another in 9th, 10th, and 12th, sandwiching Colorado Racing’s Keith Johnson who claimed 11th. At this point everything still hung in the balance. Cal Coast had 8 points from 2 runners, Athletics Boulder had 15 points from 3 runners, Colorado Racing had 17 points from 2 runners, and Playmakers Elite had 31 points from 3 runners. If the rest of the Playmakers pack could come in strong, they still had a good chance for the podium.
Playmakers Elite runners, Eric Stuber (#244), Ruben Henderson (#154), and J.D. Pepper (#211), try to keep their pack together in an effort to claim the prize in the Men's 50+ division at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015
 Alas, whether it was the altitude or the strength of the competition, it was not their day. And it was the same story for Colorado Racing after their third runner, Daniel Greer, claimed 13th; it was just too big a gap back to their 4th runner. So that left it to Cal Coast, Athletics Boulder and Genesee Valley. The next salvo was fired by Genesee when Joseph Mora and David Bischoff came in 16 seconds apart in 14th and 15th, with Bischoff beating Cal Coast’s Thomas Schumann by just 3 seconds. 
Genesee Valley Harrier's Joseph Mora (#202) pacing his way through the middle of the race focusing on building gaps between him and other team's racers, like Revolution Running's Eric Patterson (#210) trying valiantly to keep pace at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015
When Dan Arsenault finished in 20th for Cal Coast, that gave them and Genesee 4 runners in while Athletics Boulder only had 3 runners in. David Crowe gave them their 4th runner in though by finishing in 22nd. All 3 teams had 4 runners in with Genesee at 36, Athletics Boulder at 37, and Cal Coast  a bit further back at 44. As with the 40+ teams, this one too comes down to the 5th runner!  Cal Coast needed their 5th runner to come in soon for any chance at the top two spots, but not this time. Among this trio of teams, Genesee Valley actually took the next two positions with Theodore Schnaufer and Mark Rybinski finishing within 3 seconds of one another in 23rd and 25th. That gave Genesee Valley 59 points and the win! For a while it looked like Cal Coast might have a shot at 2nd when their Mike Filipow came chugging in to take 27th place. But 7 seconds later that hope was dashed as Rick Bruess claimed the 28th spot, giving Athletics Boulder 65 points to Cal Coast’s 71. Another terrific contest in the books at the USA Masters XC championships.

Genesee Valley Harriers 59 [Nier, Evans, Mora, Bischoff, Schnaufer)
Athletics Boulder 65 [Litoff, King, Spale, Crowe, Bruess ]
Cal Coast Track Club 71 [Magill, Olds, Schumann, D. Arsenault, Filipow]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Genesee Valley Harriers A                                           100
Athletics Boulder A                                                         90
Cal Coast  A                                                                         80
Colorado Racing Club A                                                  70
Playmakers Elite/New Balance A                               60
LRC Racing A                                                                       55
Revolution Running A                                                    50


60+:  In 2014 the podium consisted of Boulder Road Runners A 25 [Doug Bell, John Roeske, Richard Katz, Dave Dooley, Carl Mohr]; Ann Arbor Track Club 30 [Lloyd Hansen, Terry McCluskey, John Tarkowski, Wally Hayes, Dave Minier]; Boulder Road Runners B 76 [James Christoph, Chuck Lowrie, Richard Castro, Rich Holston, Donald Price].

Between last year and this year, in part out of concern about the difficulty of maintaining healthy 5-man teams, USATF decided to return to the rule that team scores be determined by 3, not 5, runners. In 2015, the Boulder Road Runners A team returned largely intact. The only change was the addition of Devin Croft, a strong runner who finished 5th in his age group in the 2014 .US National Road Race in December 2014. Ann Arbor TC returned with a somewhat weakened team when Terry McCluskey, their celebrated long distance runner and previous Masters Runner of the Year, declined to join them this year. And there was a new Boulder Road Runners B team that consisted of runners who did not run last year in this race. Newly minted into the 60+ group, John Victoria has a a couple of 18:37 5K’s to his name in 2013 as well as a 66 minute+ ten mile run. That gives BRR B a very plausible front runner. Heath Hibbard does not appear to be quite as strong on the flat, as Victoria but has an interesting mix of mountain running that helps for running XC at altitude. And they also have Chuck Smead who, in the 2012 USA Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington Kentucky, finished within shouting distance of the Atlanta Track Club’s Kirk Larson, which suggests Smead is pretty swift too. And Rich Sandoval ran unattached in this race last year as a 59 year old; his time suggests he would be competitive with Ann Arbor’s Hayes. So both of the Boulder Road Runner teams look strong; Ann Arbor clearly had their work cut out for them. The Genesee Valley Harriers also sent a team which did not appear to be quite as strong as these three but would need to be reckoned with if anyone faltered.

Lloyd Hansen (#150)  battling for Ann Arbor Track Club and establishing a gap on Boulder Road runner's John Roeske (#223) who is trying to maintain contact in the Men's 60+ team competition at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015

The suspense for Ann Arbor, in terms of possibly getting a first or second place,  did not last long at the finish line. The young legs of Boulder B’s Victoria took the crown as the Boulder A team’s Doug Bell stormed into 2nd place, 16 seconds back. The two Boulder Road Runner teams traded back and forth over the next few spots, with B’s Heath Hibbard in 3rd and A’s Devin Croft in 4th followed by B’s Chuck Smead in 5th. With just 3 runners scoring this year, that was enough to give Boulder B a final score of 9 points and the win. Boulder A had 2 runners in and 6 points before Ann Arbor was heard from. John Tarkowski and Lloyd Hansen took 6th and 8th for Ann Arbor, giving them some hope as long as Boulder A did not have a 3rd runner in. Genesee’s Doc Rappole with his 7th place finish just a second behind Tarkowski , split the 2 Ann Arbor runners to give them some hope of a podium finish. But Boulder A’s John Roeske popped the 2nd place bubble for Ann Arbor when he came home in 10th place to give them a final score of 16. But would Ann Arbor stay on the podium? When Michael Reif, Sr. and Bruce Wilkins took 11th and 13th for Genesee, that gave them a final score of 31 points. Ann Arbor needed their 3rd runner to finish soon. As it turned out, Wally Hayes was following hard on the hells of Genesee’s Wilkins, finishing only 7 seconds back in 14th place. That gave Ann Arbor 28 points and the final place on the podium. Genesee Valley did, nonetheless, collect some nice Club Grand Prix points.

Boulder Road Runners B 9 [Victoria, Hibbard, Smead)
Boulder Road Runners A  16 [Bell, Croft, Roeske]
Ann Arbor Track Club A 28 [Tarkowski, Hansen, Hayes]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Boulder Road Runners B                                               100
Boulder Road Runners A                                               90
Ann Arbor Track Club A                                                 80
Genesee Valley Harriers A                                           70

70+: The 2014 podium was: Santa Barbara Athletic Association 10 [Larry Brooks, Al Sladek, John Brennand]; Boulder Road Runners A 11 [Tom Lemire, Jim Romero, Bill Faulkner]; Boulder Road Runners B 24 [Roger Wittner, Henry Kaplan, Charles Westley].

This year Santa Barbara has not sent a 70+ team but Atlanta Track Club did.  The two Boulder Road Runner teams are back but this year the A team has their long time ace, Jan Frisby back and on his game. On paper that looks like enough to turn back the Atlanta challenge but the proof is on the race course. Jan Frisby got things started for Boulder A by taking the 1st place in the team competition. 
Jan Frisby (#134) runs with the younger guys as he stretches his lead in the Men's 70+ competition with the goal of bring home the team trophy for the Boulder Road Runners at the USA Masters Cross Country Championship in Boulder CO on Feb 07 2015
Four minutes later Tom Lemire came in to claim 2nd for them as well. Things were looking good with 3 points for their first two runners.  Atlanta’s Ron Mastin was able to slip in before Boulder A’s 3rd runner. But when their 3rd runner, Bill Faulkner, came in 4th, the A team of the Boulder Road Runners had 7 points and a decisive win. Ed Bligh and David Turner came in 5th and 6th for Atlanta, giving them 14 points and 2nd place. Like last year the B team’s Roger Wittner, Bill Buffum, and Henry Kaplan, took the next 3 spots to wind up 3rd in the contest.

Boulder Road Runners A 7 [Frisby, Lemire, Faulkner]
Atlanta Track Club A 14 [Mastin, Bligh, Turner]
Boulder Road Runners B 24 [Wittner, Buffum, Kaplan]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Boulder Road Runners A                                               100
Boulder Road Runners B                                               90
Atlanta Track Club A                                                        80


80+: In 2014, the Boulder Road Runners A team, consisting of top 3 runners Mike Fenerty, Verne Carlson and Donald Hayes were unopposed so took 1st place by default.

This year, they added a B team but there was little doubt of the outcome. Boulder Road Runners A stormed to the win, sweeping the first three positions with Carlson, Fenerty and Hayes finishing in that order.  The B team took the remaining positions with William Smythe, Kenneth Wright and Charles Howe in 4th, 5th, and 6th.

Boulder Road Runners A 6 [Carlson, Fenerty, Hayes]
Boulder Road Runners B 15 [Smythe, Wright, Howe]

Club Grand Prix Points won:
Boulder Road Runners A                                               100
Boulder Road Runners B                                               90


Commentary: On the men’s side, the Colorado teams successfully defended their turf in every age group but one. They were hard-pressed in the M40+ group but managed the victory by a single point over the powerful Bowerman Track Club of Portland Oregon. But in the M50+ category, the Genesee Valley Harriers sent a team from upstate New York on the shores of Lake Ontario, that was strong and focused on getting the win.

The ‘Age is just a Number’ Team Mention for the men goes to the 40+ Bowerman Track Club, whoo had two 50+ runners on their team, although Mike Blackmore was the only one of the two to affect the score by displacing runners from other scoring teams.

Tightest Pack Award for a team on the podium goes to

5-man teams

40+ Boulder Running Company  [top 5 within 1:19]
40+ Bowerman Track Club  [top 5 within 2:42]
40+ Fleet Feet [top 5 within 2:42]

Best team performance across the age group categories goes to Boulder Road Runners with a 1st and 2nd in 60+, 1st and 3rd in 70+ and 1st and 2nd in 80+.

Finally the across the ages, Team Age-Grading contest.  Take the top 3 teams with the 3 lowest age-grading scores across all age groups. This seems to e the best way to keep an even playing field between teams entered in the 40+/50+ groups and the 60+/70+/80+ groups…and also keeps men’s and women’s teams the same.

The Age-Grading Team Podium:
Athletics Boulder 5,7,9 = 21
[David Litoff 84.20%, Daniel King 83.99%, Dan Spale 83.65%]
Boulder Running Company 1, 16, 24=41
[Simon Gutierrez 87.22%, Andrew Biglow 82.37%, Chris Grauch 81.34%]
Cal Coast 4, 19, 22=45
[Pete Magill 84.34%, John Gardiner 81.80%, Jerome Vermeulen 81.37%]

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