Friday, October 19, 2018

Individual Masters Grand Prix-Who's In the Driver's Seat as We Head into Tulsa?

October 19, 2018. The Individual Masters Grand Prix provides recognition to those athletes who are the most successful in a given year among those who commit to the circuit by running at least three events. In most 5-year Age Divisions, the winner will have at least 5 of the 9 events and often more. Because of this required commitment many, but not all, of the top runners in the Individual Grand Prix are also focused on winning a Club Grand Prix race for their team. Here I focus on individual outcomes. 

The general sense of the Governing Rules is that runners accumulate points for each event starting with 100 points for the Age Division winner, and going down in continual 5-point increments for the 1st 19 positions. Then 20th and below acquire 5 points for the race. Point totals are accumulated over the highest 5 race scores; the 6th highest race adds nothing to the total. Runners must score in at least 3 events for an award. The Age Division runner with the higher point totals places higher in the GP. 

Aging Up. Runners who age up to the next higher 5-year division in a given year will move up to the higher division as soon as they compete in a Grand Prix race in that higher age division. A 49 year old runner who turns 50 in early October will be in the 50-54 division if they compete in Tulsa but remain in the 45-49 division if they do not compete in Tulsa. 

Tie-Breakers. Ties for 1st, 2nd and 3rd can be broken, not just for 1st as in the Club Grand Prix. Ties in places 4th and below are not broken. The 1st tie-breaker for any of the 1st 3 places is head-to-head competition within the age division. If that does not break the tie, then the runner with more first place finishes is declared the winner of the place/position. If neither tie-breaker succeeds in breaking the tie, the runners are awarded the same place and receive duplicate plaques.

As in my previews, I list a preview/predicted final GP top-3 order under each division, just for fun. If a runner has a place locked-in they are in bold. But it is harder here than in the races; in many cases, one of the main determinants of the outcome is whether someone not yet entered will do so before the deadline.

Women Heather Webster leads the way with 285 points followed by Vanessa Lordi 270, Kathy Wiegand 220, Melissa Gacek 200, Heather Patterson 170, Liz Gottlieb 165, Murphee Hayes 155, Alice Kassens 145, and Sunday Patterson, 145. 
Heather Webster finishing off the 2018 USATF 10K Championship with a 3rd place division finish [Photo by Mike Scott]

Webster is not currently entered at Tulsa nor is it clear whether GVH will field a team and, if so, who would be on it. Lordi, Gacek, and Kassens are entered at Tulsa. Gacek is the favorite for the Age Division win; she won Overall 2 years go and finished 2nd Overall last year, winning the Age Division in both years. Even if Gacek gets the 100 points for the win, Lordi only needs to finish 14th or higher to outpoint her. Right now there are 11 entrants so it is a sure thing. If we got to 14 it would be the first year having that many. Actually the 11 is already the high water mark. With several days of online registration left it could happen, and the women entered already are a fast bunch. Kassens is coming back from being injured for much of the year, but she ran well in Atlanta at the 5K and has had a couple of months of good training to ready herself for a 15K. Depending on whether any of the other contenders enter, Kassens could certainly move up into the top 5 with a good performance in Tulsa. Wakenda Tyler won this division last year with 320 points at 5 events. This year the only Championship she has run is Club XC. Tyler also ran a solid time at the UA NYC Half Marathon in March but nothing since. I hope to see her active with GVH again next year, competing for the Club GP and, along the way, for the Individual GP. 
Vanessa Lordi   Melissa Gacek   Heather Webster

Men David Angell has this division sewn up; he has 500 points and no one can overtake him. Last year he took this division with 495 points so he was delighted to get to 500 with the 5K in Atlanta. 
David Angell capturing the Overall Masters and Age Division win at the 2018 USATF 5K Championship in Atlanta [Phot by Jason]

Sam Teigen with 445 points has a similar stranglehold on 2nd place. No one can take it away now. The same is not true for Teigen's teammate, Thomas Knowles. Knowles has 270 points, is 70 points ahead of his nearest pursuer, and is entered at Tulsa. That should be enough to ensure he has a cushion against Aaron Cooper 200, Alan Black 195, Chuck Schneekloth 190, Greg Mitchell 180, and Tim Rieth 175, the only runners who could move up with a 100 point performance in Tulsa. Two of those runners could well get the 100 points. Black took the 1 Mile Championship and was a contender in the 5K until he ran into some breathing problems. He is entered and no doubt hopes to be a contender for the Overall win after a couple of year away from top fitness. Mitchell is not currently entered but is no stranger to Tulsa, having won here previously. But even if Black wins, Knowles would only need a 15th place finish to keep him at bay in the GP, and only 18th to keep Mitchell out of 3rd. Late update--I noticed that Black is entered at Tulsa in the 45-49 category. If he runs that race, he will be advanced to the 45-49 division for the purpose of the GP and will not be a factor here.
David Angell   Sam Teigen   Thomas Knowles

Women The leaders at present are Sonja Friend-Uhl 380, Melissa Senall 340, and Jennifer Bayliss 295. Not far back are: Abby Dean 265 and Nancy Thomas 245, followed by Molly Watcke 200 and Erin Larusso 195. None of these contenders are entered in Tulsa. Unless someone steps up the standings will remain as is, at least for the top spots. Alexandra Newman is entered but if she wins and gets 100 points, her total rises to 220 and she would move up from 10th to 6th, displacing Watcke. 
Sonja Friend-Uhl heading for the finish line and an Overall Masters and Age Division win at the 2018 USATF Masters 5Km XC Championships in Buffalo NY [Photo by Andy Martin, Exclamation Services!]

The most likely entries are probably those affiliated with Atlanta (Friend-Uhl), GVH (Senall) and Impala (Thomas), all of whom have a team incentive to participate as well. But for now I am assuming no entries from the leading contenders. Cassandra Henkiel won this division last year with 290 points on three Championships, Club XC, the 10K and the 5K. This year she skipped the 10K so has only two events and 190 points. Should she be a late entry at Tulsa and place well, she could well move as high as 4th if there are no other late entries.
Sonja Friend-Uhl   Melissa Senall   Jennifer Bayliss

Men In this division the podium is set, just not the order. Jonathan Frieder 470, Brent Fields 440, and Philippe Rolly 390 are well away from the pack. No one can catch them. Rolly and Fields are entered at Tulsa. I have heard a rumor that Frieder will register also but nothing is certain until the registration actually appears. 
Jonathan Frieder collects an Age Division 2nd place only 3 seconds out of first at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA [Photo by Michael Scott]

Right now it looks like Rolly should take the win with 100 points. If so, that would give him 490 points and the lead. Fields's 5th score is 80 so even if he wins at Tulsa, he maxes out at 460. He cannot catch Frieder. It appears that Frieder is the only one with a chance to keep Rolly from the GP win, and he would need help. Not only would he have to enter but he would also have to achieve what has been unachievable in three previous tries this year, come in ahead of Rolly. If Frieder wins and Rolly finishes 2nd, then Frieder winds up with 480 points as the 100 would replace his 5th score of 90. But if Rolly finishes 2nd, he would have 485, enough for the win; a 3rd place leaves him tied with Frieder at 480 but Rolly has the tie-breaker. So even if Frieder wins, he needs two other runners to finish ahead of Rolly. [If Frieder finishes 2nd he has 475 points and Rolly would need to finish 5th or lower for Frieder to win.] And now we get to the two runners who are already entered and have a shot at coming in ahead of Rolly. John Gardiner, the defending GP Champion in this division, has not been able to fit many Championship events in this year so he has 195 points on two races, the Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington and the 5K in Atlanta. As noted above, Alan Black ages up to this GP division if he races in Tulsa. Black was near the top of the heap in 2014 when he finished 3rd Overall at the Club Cross Country Championships. But a variety of challenges have kept him from competing at that level until this year. He was among the leaders at the 5K in Atlanta before breathing problems slowed him. He won the Road Mile Championship in Flint. Whether he is fast enough on the roads to come in ahead of Rolly on a 15K is a question. There is no doubt he can handle the distance. In 2016 he ran 52:32 at the Gate River Run and he ran Boston this year in those terrible conditions, clocking 2:50:06 so we know he can endure. Suffice to say that if Frieder comes to Tulsa, his main job is to beat Rolly, at least as far as the GP goes. I am sure he will let the rest take care of itself. Gardiner and Black come in tied for 4th. Gardiner beat Black in Atlanta so he is favored to take 4th with Black finishing 5th.
Philippe Rolly   Jonathan Frieder   Brent Fields

Women Kris Huff leads the way with 365 points, followed by Michelle Simonaitis with 290 and Carol Bischoff with 235 points. Huff is in the driver's seat. She is entered at Tulsa and if she finishes is almost assured of winning the GP. 
Kris Huff finishes strong at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA, Helping Her Team to 3rd place and acquiring valuable points toward the Individual Grand Prix contest [Photo by Michael Scott, cropped by author]

Simonaitis would have to enter and finish 15 places ahead of Huff. It is not certain that Simonaitis will enter. After finishing either first or second in the Age Division in 3 championships in a row, she has not entered since. She may be waiting for Club XC in Spokane and the 2019 GP series. On the other hand, if she enters, she is almost assured of finishing 2nd in the GP. Laurie Wharton has 145 points but unlike Simonaitis and Bischoff, has already entered the 15K Championship. If Bischoff does not run Tulsa and Wharton finishes third or higher, she would tie or exceed Bischoff's point total and Wharton has the tie-breaker. If Bischoff enters and finishes the race, she is almost assured of staying ahead of Wharton. Katherine Wolski has 195 points from 2 events. If she would run Tulsa and Simonaitis does not, then Wolski could finish 2nd in the GP if she finishes 2nd or better. If 2nd, then it would be a tie for 2nd and they would be even on both the first tie-breaker (no common events) and the second (both would have one 1st place). If Wolski wins at Tulsa and Simonaitis is not entered, then Wolski wins the GP also. Other athletes who could get on the GP podium if neither Bischoff nor Wolski enters include: Amy Fakterowitz, Laura Delea, Elizabeth Randell, Judy Arlington, and Michelle Allen. This division was dominated by Marisa Sutera Strange in recent years but she has moved up to 55-59.
Kris Huff   Michelle Simonaitis   Laurie Wharton

Men Kent Lemme has 485 points and an insurmountable lead. That gives Lemme his second consecutive Individual Grand Prix victory. 
Kent Lemme capturing the Division title at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA [Photo by Michael Scott]

His teammate, Mark Hixson, is in 2nd with 415 points and, unlike Lemme, is already entered in Tulsa. But Hixson only earns an additional 50 points, even if he would win. If Lemme stays away from Tulsa, Hixson is, in fact, the favorite in this Age Division although his other teammate, Francis Burdett, has been coming on strong of late. That means Hixson is almost sure to remain in 2nd place although it is not a mathematical certainty. Dale Flanders is currently in 3rd with 370 points. Although not currently entered, Flanders did run here in 2016 when the 50-54 field was loaded. If he enters and finishes 5th or better, he can repel any challenge from Burdett, who is entered, and comes in with 295 points. Flanders has 50 points as his lowest score of 5 so he only realizes 30 points from a 5th place finish. Burdett ran for the team last December in the Cub XC Championships before fully recovered and earned 5 points; that is his lowest score of 5. So if he finishes  If Flanders does not run, then Burdett can tie with a 6th place finish or better, and Burdett has the tie-breaker. Thomas Schumann, though not entered yet, has run here the last two years. If he enters, he can add to his 195 points and likely move into the top 5; the podium is out of reach. Mike Nier finished 3rd last year and has 260 points but he has a hamstring issue that hampered him substantially at the 5Km XC Championship in Buffalo so it seems unlikely he will attempt Tulsa. Although if he is a fast healer, one cannot rule it out. 
Kent Lemme   Mark Hixson   Francis Burdett

Women This is the only division where we could, potentially, wind up with two athletes tied with 500 points each. How can that be in a 9-event series? It is because one of the athletes aged up during the year and there is one event where both athletes won their respective divisions before the aging up happened. The two athletes in question are Marisa Sutera Strange and her teammate, Doreen McCoubrie. Strange has 500 points already but is not currently entered in Tulsa. 
Marisa Sutera Strange drives for the finish line and an Age Division win at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Dedham MA [Photo by Michael Scott]

McCoubrie currently has 495 points, is entered in Tulsa, and is favored to successfully defend her 2017 age division win in the 15K. That would give her the 5th win and 500 points in the Grand Prix. McCoubrie has the tie-breaker. Their common races in the Age Division are the 5K in Atlanta and the Road Mile Championship in Flint and McCoubrie came in ahead in both of those. In the races earlier in the year where Strange finished before McCoubrie, they were in different age divisions so, based upon previous rulings/precedent, those do not count in the head-to-head. That means the only way Strange can win the GP title is to enter and win at Tulsa. It is worth mentioning that Strange won the GP series in 2017 and 2016 so it would not be surprising to see her go for the 3rd in a row by trying to win at Tulsa. On the other hand, Strange has not run at Tulsa before and I would say 10K and below is in her wheelhouse whereas McCoubrie seems happy to run everything from the Mile to the Marathon. That is the headline story but it is not the only story. Their teammate, Mary Swan, is in 3rd with 440 points, followed by Karyl Sargent 405, Suzanne Cordes 395, Colleen Magnussen 365, and Lorraine Jasper 275, despite her primary focus on Track in this WMA Championship year. Cordes is the only one of those three currently entered in Tulsa and would likely move up into 3rd in the GP if the entry list stays as it is today. Cordes must have run into some difficulty in Buffalo; she finished outside the top 20 overall and only 6th in the age division. If she can bounce back, things look good for a GP podium finish right now. Swan has run in Tulsa before but at this point only her two teammates, McCoubrie and Teri Cassell are entered. That makes me think Swan has a conflict; otherwise she would have entered with them.  Gail Geiger, Janet Smith, and Mireille Silva have a good shot at finishing in the top ten. Silva is entered in Tulsa as is Teresa Quan who is only 5 points behind her. If Quan can come in ahead of Silva in the 15K, she would take the 10th spot away from Silva. For now I will guess that neither Strange nor Swan will compete in Tulsa.
Doreen McCoubrie   Marisa Sutera Strange   Suzanne Cordes

Men Nat Larson bolted out of the GP gun this year, taking first in the first 4 events, Club XC, XC Nationals, the 8K,and the 10K. He skipped the Half Marathon in June but won the 5K in August. That gave him his second straight Grand Prix win with a perfect 500 points. No one can get within 50 points of him this year. 
Nat Larson takes 3rd Overall and Notches his 5th Age Division win in 2018 at the USATF Masters 10K Championship in Atlanta GA [Photo by Michael Scott]

But John Van Kerkhove and Gary Leaman will be happy to take the next two spots; the only question is the order. Van Kerkhove is ahead with 340 points; that gives him a 35 point bulge on Leaman. Neither has run Tulsa in recent years; if that practice continues, it will be Van Kerkhove 2nd and Leaman 3rd in the Grand Prix. After that podium trio, Dennis Kinney 200, Alan Evans 195, and Eric Stuber 190, hold 4th through 6th.
Nat Larson   John Van Kerkhove   Gary Leaman

Women The top 6 in this division are Sharon Moore 430, Cynthia Williams 415, Patricia Ford 410, Cheryl Guth 355, Susan Stirrat 350, and Joanna Harper 335. If Moore does not compete in Tulsa, she still has a good chance of ending up in first in the GP competition. Williams would need to finish 4th or better in the division. The score in Tulsa will replace her 5th best score of 70 points if it is higher. If Williams finishes in 4th, she ties Moore on points but owns the tie-breaker going into Tulsa, 3-2. If Moore races in Tulsa she needs to finish in 5th place or higher for her result to increase her GP total. If Moore comes in ahead of Williams, she definitely beats Williams. 
Sharon Moore has the finish line in sight at the USATF Masters 5K Championship in Atlanta GA where she landed on the Age Division podium [Photo by Michael Scott]

Williams finished 2nd in the 2016 15K Championship; Moore has not run in Tulsa before. But Harper is  entered in Tulsa already and will look to move up. Harper has only 4 scores thus far so she gets full value for any points she earns there. Should she win the division, and Ford, Guth and Stirrat skip Tulsa, and neither Moore nor Williams add to their current GP score, Harper could win the GP competition. That is a lot of 'ifs' but it is not impossible. If Harper finished 2nd and Moore stays at 430, Harper would tie her and win the GP on the tie-breaker 2-1. If Ford does not run, Harper needs only to tie her 410 points by finishing 6th or higher at Tulsa because she is ahead head-to-head by a 2-1 score. She would replace Ford in 3rd. Ford competes for the Syracuse Track Club which cannot finish on the podium in the Club GP competition; there is no extra incentive for her to enter Tulsa. Patrice Combs, who is sitting in 7th with 300 points from wins at the 10K. the Half Marathon, and the 5K, could move up to 4th if she would enter and win at Tulsa but could move no higher. Jill Miller-Robinett won last year but her team, the Impala 60+, has had a number of team members struggling with fitness and injuries. She took 1st at Club XC and 2nd at Virginia Beach in the 8K but ran no further races. We will be looking for the Impalas and for Miller-Robinett in 2019.
Cynthia Williams   Sharon Moore   Joanna Harper

Men Roger Sayre does not have 500 points yet but he cannot be caught. He is entered at Tulsa and is the favorite to win; if so he gets the perfect 500 points! 
Roger Sayre flies over the last hundred meters to capture an Age Division first and 100 GP Points at the USATF Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta GA [Photo by Michael Scott]

Ken Youngers, who is in 2nd at 460, is not a threat to Sayre because his 5th place score right now is an 85. If he entered the 15K and upset Sayre by winning, he would max out at 475, five points short of Sayre. Rick Becker,  who sits in 3rd with 380 points on 4 events, could be a threat if he had 5 more points. As is, the best Becker could do would be to tie Sayre on points. For that Sayre would need to have an off day. Becker would need to win, but even that would not be quite enough. Sayre is ahead on the 1st tie-breaker going into Tulsa by a 2-0 score. And Sayre would have to have a seriously off day to finish lower than 2nd. That would give him 495 points and the outright win. Unless Youngers enters at Tulsa, Becker can move into 2nd place with a top 5 finish since he owns the tie-breaker. If Youngers would race Tulsa and if the final order would be Youngers-Sayre-Becker in 1st through third, Youngers would hold onto 2nd place. Michael Anderson who is in 4th with 360 points, would have to enter Tulsa and beat both Becker and Sayre to move up and pass Youngers. He needs the full 35 points he would get from an outright win. That is pretty unlikely so Anderson is not likely to run with the idea of moving up in the GP competition. He does have to worry about being moved down. Brian Nelson sits in 8th right now with 325 points on 4 events. That means he gets full points from his Tulsa endeavors. Nothing is certain but with the entry list right now, Nelson looks like a good bet for 3rd. That would give him 90 points and move him up to 415. The highest point total Anderson can get to is 395, but more likely his best shot would be third for 90 points which would give him 385. Even if he could beat Nelson he would have to rely on others pushing Nelson down below 7th place in the division at Tulsa. That way Anderson would retain his 4th place finish in the GP. Nelson finishing 8th or worse is unlikely but not impossible. Kyle Hubbart who won the title last year spent most of this year rehabbing an injury. He was able to make a token appearance at the 5K for his team but will, no doubt, be ready to burn up the roads and turf in 2019.
Roger Sayre   Rick Becker   Ken Youngers

Women Only 40 points separates the top 4 contenders in this division: Cindy Ingalls 415, Cindy Lucking 405, Suzanne Ray 385, and Jeanette Groesz 375. 
Cindy Ingalls closing in on the Finish Line at the USATF masters 5K Championships in Atlanta, helping her team to a 2nd place finish and earning valuable points toward the Individual GP Contest  [Photo by Michael Scott]

Of those 4, only teammates Ray and Groesz are currently entered at Tulsa. They also have an advantage relative to Ingalls and Lucking. Unlike those two who already have 5 events, Ray and Groesz have only 4 events so they get full value of any points they score in Tulsa. Ingalls would only realize points earned over 75 and Lucking would realize points over 65. Ray is not only ten points ahead of Groesz but has come in ahead of her in 3 of the 4 races they have both run this year. That makes Ray the favorite, followed by Groesz. Last year the order was reversed; Groesz finished 5th and Ray 7th. Sabra Harvey sits in 5th place with 300 points from the three races she ran this year. As Ray and Groesz will likely increase their totals well over 400 points, Harvey, the defending Champion, cannot make the podium this year. Her 5 medals from the WMA Championships in Malaga, Spain, will no doubt be a satisfactory substitute. If Kathleen Allen, Jeanne Herrick or Terry Ozell entered they might well move ahead of Harvey into the top 5, but that would be the limit of their ascendancy. For now I am guessing that neither Ingalls nor Lucking will enter. Is that wrong?
Suzanne Ray   Jeanette Groesz   Cindy Ingalls

Men This has been a banner year for Kirk Larson; he won his first National Championship earlier this year in his hometown at the 5K. Five weeks later he sewed up the Individual Masters Grand Prix title. 
Kirk Larson heads for the Finish Line and an Age Division National Championship in the USATF Masters 5K Championship in Atlanta GA  [Photo by Michael Scott]

His highest previous finish, attained in both 2017 and 2016 was a 3rd place. The year 2018 is one Larson will remember for a while. John Hirschberger has been chasing Larson all year but has not caught him yet; he is in 2nd with 415 points on 5 events. The maximum points he can realize out of Tulsa even if he would enter and win is 45 which would leave him 5 short of Larson. But it would help him repel potential challengers for his 2nd spot. Doug Bell has been struggling all year, and probably longer, with back problems; despite that, he has 365 points on 4 events. In principle he could enter and score a good many points. If he entered and finished as high as 4th he would have 460 points. But given the back problems and the preference for events 10K and below, my guess is that Bell will not be in Tulsa. He will likely have to be satisfied with his 2016 win. No one else is a threat to Hirschberger's 2nd place. This will be Hirschberger's 1st podium finish in the Grand Prix; he finished 5th last year in his first real attempt at the series. There are two runners who could pass Bell in the Individual Grand Prix and move onto the podium: Eduardo Matsuo 295 on 4 events, and Chuck Smead 275 on 3 events. Smead is entered; Matsuo is not. Last year they both ran Tulsa with Smead finishing 3 minutes in front of Matsuo. But with a 20 point lead, Matsuo would not have to defeat Smead; as long as he would finish within 3 places of Smead he would retain his lead and would move ahead of Bell into 3rd as long as his finishing place was 6th place or better. That is likely with the current list of entrants, especially if Tom Bernhard, who entered sometime ago but then encountered a calf problem, does not actually run at Tulsa. But there is a week of registration left so who knows. For now I will assume that folks like Bell and Matsuo who have not yet entered will stay out. Tom Bernhard was heading toward his third age division win in the GP in the last 4 years, but his calf said 'no' in the middle of the summer and he had to miss both the 5K and the 1 Mile Championships.
Kirk Larson   John Hirschberger   Chuck Smead

Women The only two athletes in this division who will have the required minimum number of events are: Carol Rhodes 275 and Terry Foody 240.
Carol Rhodes finishes 2nd in her Age Division at the 2018 USATF Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta GA  [Photo by Michael Scott]

Rhodes and Foody have only met once this year, at the 5Km Masters XC Championship in Buffalo. Foody finished almost 6 minutes ahead of Rhodes. Rhodes is entered; Foody is not. At present there is only one other athlete entered. Unless other runners enter between now and race time, Rhodes would finish no worse than third which would give her enough points to stay ahead of Foody not matter how much faster she ran. Foody would need to finish 7 places ahead of Rhodes to move ahead and take the Grand Prix title. 
Carol Rhodes   Terry Foody

Men This division is loaded with contenders; it is the most highly contested division. Before Tulsa there are 21 athletes with the required minimum and fourteen with 5 or more events. The closest division otherwise, the Men's 60-64 has 20 with the required minimum and eight with 5 or more events. Despite that, Gene Dykes has the title in hand, with 495 points. He has not been pressed yet this year in the division and is entered. 
Gene Dykes 137 captures another Age Division Title at the USATF Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta GA [Photo by Michael Scott]

But he will be running the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon six days before trying to win a World masters Athletics Marathon title and take a stab at the legendary late Ed Whitlock's Age Division World Best of 2:54:48. That is only three minutes faster than Dykes ran at Rotterdam earlier this year so it is not out of the question. Ordinarily I would say Dykes would probably fail to win and might even decide to skip the 15K at Tulsa but Dykes seems to thrive on running as many races as possible. We shall see. The only incentive he would have would be to attain a perfect 500 points instead of 495 if he should win. Dave Glass is only 25 points behind but his 470 points are on 5 events with the lowest score being 90 points. That means he reaps no points from finishing 3rd or below and only 5 for a second place and 10 for a 1st place. He cannot catch Dykes but he can be caught. Lloyd Hansen is in 3rd with 455 points on 5 events and, like Glass and Dykes, is entered at Tulsa. Hansen needs to finish 1st or 2nd to beat Glass because his lowest score is 80. If Dykes does not run or is off his game from the Marathon effort, and Hansen and Glass came in 1-2, Hansen would have 475 and Glass would have 475 but Hansen owns the tie-breaker 4-0 since turning 70. It is the same if Hansen-Glass come in 2-3. If Hansen finishes worse than 2nd then Glass retains 2nd place. Hansen's teammate, Terry McCluskey is only 25 points behind Hansen at 430 on 5 events, but his maximum possible if he would win the 15K would be 465. He cannot catch Glass and would need to come in 6 places ahead of Hansen to move past him because the tie-breaker is in Hansen's favor. That is unlikely. There are 7 other contenders with over 300 points but none can catch Dykes, Hansen, and Glass. These include Tony Gingello 425, Jerry Learned 425, Przemek Nowicki 345, Gene French 345, Jim May 335, Paul Carlin 330, and Keith Yeats 315. Dykes has the win, Hansen should take 2nd, and Glass will be on the  podium for the 2nd year in a row. Last year he almost caught me, Paul Carlin, with a strong autumn campaign, but fell 5 points short. I have had an off year, trying to come back, with mixed success, from a hamstring and adductor problems since November of last year; this will be my first year off the podium in my Age Division since its inception in 2014. Hope to be in the mix for 2019 though!
Gene Dykes   Lloyd Hansen   Dave Glass

Women Madeline Bost leads with 390 points on 4 events. For the first time she has a challenger for the title. Catherine Radle has 300 points on 3 events. At the moment, neither is entered at Tulsa. If neither enters, Bost will claim her 5th consecutive Age Division Masters Grand Prix win--quite a record! 
Madeline Bost captures 2nd place in her Age Division at the USATF Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta GA [Photo by Michael Scott]
Radle will have a 2nd place Individual GP finish in her first run at the Masters Grand Prix circuit! Next year Bost will be in the 80-84 division but Radle will have a few more years in the division.
Madeline Bost   Catherine Radle

Men Doug Goodhue is back on form after missing a couple of years off and on to rehab. Not ready early in the year, he skipped the Cross Country races but finished 2nd at the 8K and then rolled to victory in the 10K, 5K, 1 Mile, and 5Km XC. 
Doug Goodhue 149 Captures another of his more than 50 National Championships at the USATF Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta GA [Photo by Michael Scott]

That gives him 495 points and a 5 point lead over Robert Hendrick who took wins in the two Cross Country races and the Half Marathon and finished 2nd behind Goodhue in the 10K and 5K. Still it is possible for Hendrick to tie Goodhue. Both are entered at Tulsa. If Hendrick could manage to come in ahead of Goodhue, that would give him 495 points also and with that win, a tie on the first tie-breaker, 2-2, and tied on the 2nd tie-breaker with both having 4 victories this year. Goodhue is favored though. Even if Goodhue were not running extremely well, Hendricks will have run the WMA Marathon Championship 6 days earlier. No one can touch those two. Ed Bligh 335 is in the driver's seat for third but is followed closely by Andrew Sherwood 315 and Charlie Patterson 275. Bligh and Sherwood are both entered at Tulsa. Bligh is favored in that contest as he came in ahead of Sherwood in their meetings at Club XC and the 5K. 
Doug Goodhue   Robert Hendrick   Ed Bligh

Joe Cordero has 185 points from the 10K and the 5KM XC. He is the only individual in this age division who can attain the minimum requirement of three events. 
Joe Cordero heads for the finish and 2nd place in the 80-84 Division at the 2018 USATF Masters 5Km XC Championships in Buffalo NY [Photo by Andy Martin, Exclamation Services!]

He is not entered at Tulsa though so this Individual Grand Prix title will be vacant unless that changes. If Cordero enters and finishes, he becomes the Masters Grand Prix Champion in Men's 80-84.
Joe Cordero

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