Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships-Masters Age Division Recap

December 20 2018. The focus of the Club XC Championships is on the Team Races but that does not mean the Individual Age Division Championships and podium finishes are of no interest. Many strong runners who are not on teams that travel turn up because the competition is so keen. As the earlier recaps pointed out, the weather was very cold but with no precipitation in the days leading up to the race nor on the day, running conditions were good. Let’s get right to the action.

Photo Credits: Michael Scott 


40-44 The recap on the Overall Race winners covered this division in depth. None of last year’s podium returned to contest this Championship so we knew there would be a new winner. 

Masters Women attack the hill at the start of their 6K Race at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

ust to summarize
, Kate Landau Tacoma City Running Club, who finished 8th overall in the Chicago Marathon this year, took the win going away. 

Kate Landau wins the Overall Race and Takes the 40-44 Crown at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Gretchen Hurlbutt Boise Bettie's and Billie's surprised many by running hard all the way to take 2nd for one of the Inland Northwest  Association 'home' teams. Third place went to Maggie Shearer TeaMosqueda Elite to add to her 

podium finish at the USATF XC Championships in
Tallahassee earlier in the year. Just off the podium were Kaela O'Neil Boston Athletic Association (BAA), Nancy James-Klinger The Janes Elite Racing, and Meriah Earle San Diego Track Club.
Kate Landau 21:29     Gretchen Hurlbutt 22:05     Maggie Shearer 22:10

45-49 The top contenders in this division were expected to be Alexandra Bigelow Bull City Track Club and Nancy Kaiser Bull City TC Jennifer Federov Team Red Lizard Valerie Miller San Diego Track Club Grace Padilla The Janes Elite Racing Nancy Thomas Impala Racing. Padilla won the 2016 edition of the USATF XC Championship in Bend, Oregon and raced 5Ks recently in the 18:30-18:45 range. Thomas was 7th in the division at the much more competitive 2015 Club XC Championships in San Francisco and, with her 5th place division finish, is the top returning runner from last year’s championships in Lexington. Federov’s 5K’s tend to be in the low 20’s but she also finished 3rd Masters and 1st in the 45-49 division at the Stumptown #4 XC Race in Oregon. Kaiser finished 7th in the division last year in Lexington KY while her teammate, Bigelow, ran 40 seconds faster as part in the 40-44 division. Miller has a recent sub-20 5K and a sub-39 10K to her credit.
Nancy Thomas far left #973 strides through the first loop of the Women's 6K course on her way to 2nd place in the Women's 45-49 division at  the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Once things got going, Padilla made it clear her plan was to run in the top 40+ chase pack. In doing so, she quickly left the rest of the division in her wake. Thomas was content to follow about 30 meters back, hoping that Padilla might come back to her as the race proceeded. Another 30 meters back from Thomas was what looked would be the battle for the final podium spot. Miller had a 5 meter lead on Kaiser; 10 meters back was a trio as Lyda Cruden and Keysha Stutz were running in a pack with Federov. Bigelow was, no doubt, in there somewhere but could not be spotted in the photos available. By the time they were headed to the final loop, Padilla and Thomas had 1-2 with definitive gaps, but the race for the Bronze medal had tightened up as Kaiser had moved up to within 5 meters of Miller, with Federov also only 5 meters back from Kaiser. 
Grace Padilla strides over the 6K XC course with a commanding lead on her way to victory in the 45-49 Division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Neither Thomas nor anyone else had a late surge to challenge, and Padilla ran strong to the finish to take the division crown with more than a minute to spare. Thomas, meanwhile held her lead to take 2nd with nearly a half minute margin over Kaiser who had, in turn, passed Miller and, in the end, left her 14 seconds back. Federov almost made the catch but was 2 seconds back from Miller at the line. Fourteen seconds later, Bigelow claimed 6th in 24:57.
Grace Padilla 22:56     Nancy Thomas 24:01     Nancy Kaiser 24:27

50-54 By contrast, last year’s podium in this division all returned: Kirsten Leetch The Janes Elite Racing, her teammate, Tania Fischer, and Liisa Miller Santa Cruz Track Club. Karyl Sargent did not make the trip this year, but the 5th  place finisher, Kathleen Cushing-Murray Janes Elite was back but with no recent results there might be questions about her race readiness. Kristen Mossman Club Northwest who finished 6th has aged up to 55-59. Three newcomers, Valerie Banks Team Red Lizard, Christine Olen HOKA Aggie Running Club, and Shannon Teslow Janes Elite might have the horsepower to leave Cushing-Murray, Miller and Mossman behind on this go-round. Olen finished 14th in the 45-49 division at the very competitive 2015 Club XC Championships in San Francisco. Banks ran a 1:33 Half Marathon this year and was only a minute behind her 45-49 teammate, Federov. Teslow has 19:30-20 minute 5Ks to her credit this year. A 4th runner, Beverly Anderson-Abbs Buffalo Chips Running Company, had only a 1 km uphill trail run on her resume that I could find, but it was apparently a pretty good prep for XC. 
Tania Fischer white singlet-black cap-center and Beverly Anderson-Abbs white singlet-red sleeves duking it out on the first loop of the Women's 6K Championship course at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA
Leetch and Fischer left nothing to chance. Leetch set the pace for the 50+ runners right from the gun, with Fischer following on her heels and Anderson-Abbs just off her pace. Then there was a gap of about 10 meters, filled with 40's runners before Ohlen rushed past with Teslow within a stride. Those two were followed a few strides back by Miller, Laura Stuart, Banks, and Jill Pettibone.

By the time they were approaching the final loop, Leetch was still the engine but Fischer had given no ground. They had put a good gap on Anderson-Abbs, perhaps 25-30 meters. Anderson-Abbs, in turn, had a 15 meter or so gap on the rest of the field. Teslow had separated herself from the rest, as Ohlen was now 15 meters back, with Banks and Stuart pretty close, followed after a gap, by Pettibone. 
Kristen Leetch #1061 cresting a hill just ahead of her teammate, Tania Fischer #1058 on their way to a 1-2 finish in the 50-54 Division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Once on the final loop, Leetch was finally able to pull away from her teammate, Fischer, enjoying a 14 second margin by the finish line. Teslow found her closing speed, pouring it on and passing Anderson-Abbs to give the Janes a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium. Twenty-two seconds later Anderson-Abbs claimed 4th in 24:58; she had just enough in the tank to hold off a hard-closing Banks by 4 seconds! After a gap of 13 seconds, Ohlen, Stuart, Susan Pappalardo, Miller and Pettibone finished within an 18 second interval. Quite a day for the Janes!

Kirsten Leetch 24:07     Tania Fischer 24:21     Shannon Teslow 24:36 

55-59 Hall of Famer, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso unattached was the only one of the top finishers from last year in this division to return. The defending Champion would be tough to beat, even in her last year in the division. Four newcomers to the age group, Patricia Bellan HOKA Aggie Running Club, Susan HayTeam Red Lizard, Katherine McTavish Red Lizard, and Kristen Mossman Club Northwest would give it their best shot. I found nothing recent for Bellan but did find a 2004 Club XC result in Portland, where she finished 6th overall and 3rd in 40-44. She finished behind Ayala-Troncoso then and ahead of Jennifer Teppo, now in the 60-64 division. Hay finished 2nd in 50-54 at the Cross Country Nationals at Bend in 2017 and this year has run her 10K's in the low 40's. McTavish finished 6th in 50-54 in the 2016 XC Nationals at Bend. Mossman finished 6th in 50-54 last year in Lexington.
Carmen Ayala-Troncoso #1068 crests a rise on the 2nd loop of the 6K course on  he way to an Age-Grading win overall and a 2nd place in her last year in the 55-59 division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 
Bellan knew she had to establish an early lead and by midway through the first loop she had 5 meters on Ayala-Troncoso who was about that far ahead of Hay. Ha's teammate, McTavish was 5 meters back from her, with Mossman 10 meters off the pace, followed closely by Eileen Brennan-Erler. By the time they were approaching the final loop, Bellan had extended her lead over Ayala-Troncoso to 30 meters, with Hay another 20 meters behind her. Bellan kept it going all the way to the finish where she took the win in 24:27, 43 seconds ahead of Ayala-Troncoso. 
Patricia Bellan #958 sprints for the finish line against two 40's competitors, enjoying the knowledge that all of her division rivals are well behind her at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Thirteen seconds later Hay claimed third, 14 seconds ahead of McTavish. Brennan-Erler claimed 5th in 25:48 with Mossman 5 seconds back in 6th. It is tough to win a Club Cross Country age Division Championship in your last year in the division. Ayala-Troncoso had some consolation in that she won the overall age-Grading championship, as noted in an earlier recap. And Bellan had the satisfaction of earning a National Championship in her new Age Division.
Patricia Bellan 24:27     Carmen Ayala-Troncoso 25:00     Susan Hay 25:13 

60-64 The only returning runner from the top 6 in this division last year was Joanna Harper Red Lizard who took the silver medal last year. This year the field looked stronger. Sara Freitas Impala Racing Team ran a 21:17 5K at Stow Lake and a 1:14:52 at the JF Norcal 10 Miler. Joannie Siegler Golden Valley Harriers ran two 5K races under 21 minutes and clocked 1:08:14 at the Apple Hill Harvest 9 Miler; she finished 20 seconds behind Freitas at the Pacific Association XC Championships. Jennifer Teppo Red Lizard, a newcomer to the division, ran 1:09:16 at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in the spring and then took the national 15K championship in the age division with a 1:08:01 on the hilly course at Tulsa. Others who could factor in include: Mo Bartley Impala, Regina Joyce Club Northwest, and Liane Pancoast Greater Lowell Road Runners. Bartley finished 3rd in the division at the 2017 5K National Championships in Syracuse in 21:41; she ran a recent 5K in 21:54 so does not seem far off in her conditioning. Joyce has run a bit faster-- 21:33 at the Freihofer's 5K for Women and 20:49 at a recent 5K road race. Pancoast was 59 at Club XC last year. Had she been in the 60-64 division, she would have won by 17 seconds. Her 5K's this year are slower than the others at 22+, but she appears to excel at XC and longer distances. She ran 43:31 at the Reebok Boston 10K for Women in October. 

By the time they finished the first loop, Teppo had established herself in the lead as Freitas settled in a couple of strides back. 
Jennifer Teppo #1055 pushes to escape her 60-64 rivals in the first loop of the 6K course at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Joyce was the closest pursuer 30 yards back with Pancoast another 20 yards back. Pancoast was not alone though, as Siegler was within 5 meters, with Bartley following 15 meters back. Teppo went from strength to strength, pulling away for a 48 second victory margin at the finish. 
Sara Freitas #966 eyes the 'F60' on Teppo's back just out of picture to the left identifying her as a 60-64 division rival-someone to overtake if possible-on loop 1 of the 6K course-Teppo and Freitas would go 1-2 in the division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Joyce had the faster last portion of the race, almost catching Freitas. Freitas held tough at the end for a 1 second margin as she claimed silver to Joyce's bronze medal. Siegler was able to get past Pancoast but could not catch Freitas and Joyce; she finished 14 seconds off the podium, followed by Pancoast and Bartley.
Jennifer Teppo 25:32     Sara Freitas 26:20     Regina Joyce 26:21

65-69 The 3rd and 5th place finishers from last year's Club XC Championships were back, Jeanette Groesz Red Lizard and Donna Chan Impala. Groesz has had a successful 2018 with division silver medals at the 10K and Half Marathon Championships. Could she add another to her total? Chan has battled some injuries, running 26:38 at the Morgan Hill 5K this September, over a minute slower than her 2017 time She had run 23:50 at a 5K in April and finished 4th in the division at the 8K National Masters Championships in March in Virginia Beach. Others who might challenge included: Kathleen Allen Atlanta Track Club, Cindy Lucking Atlanta TC, Ernestina Martin San Diego Track Club, and Willie Mundt San Diego TC. Allen finished 5th in the division at the 5K National Championships in 27:46. Lucking moved up to the division in the summer and ran 24:57 to finish 2nd in the division at the 5K National Championships in August in Atlanta; she won the national road mile division championship in 7:30 in Flint, Michigan. Martin ran a 25:44 at the Balboa Boogie 5K and, perhaps more indicatively, a 32:46 4 Miler, which is age grade equivalent to a 24:57 5K. Mundt would have her work cut out for her but she did run a 26:12 Carlsbad 5000. If the others have an off day and she is on her game, Mundt could factor into the race.

Groesz was taking no prisoners as she rushed to a 40 meter lead on the first loop. Lucking was in 2nd, with Chan tracking her 5 meters back. It was another 10 meters back to Martin, with Mundt 5 meters back, followed by Allen. 
Ernestina Martin #996 bides her time, running in 3rd place on Loop 1 of the 6K course at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Groesz won by almost 2 minutes in 29:00. 
Jeanette Groesz #1046 builds her lead on Loop 1 of the 6K course on her way to the 65-69 division win at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Martin surged over the 2nd loop, passing both Chan and Lucking. Lucking had a tough 2nd loop and Chan passed her as well. Lucking tried to fight back but Chan had the final podium spot with 14 seconds to spare. Allen was 5th in 33:10, followed by Mundt.
Jeanette Groesz 29:00     Ernestina Martin 30:52     Donna Chan 31:06

70-74 Dianne Anderson Impala returned as the defending champion but she lost a good part of 2018 due to a fall. In early September she ran 30:02, two minutes slower at the Morgan Hill 5K compared to her 2017 time. None of her challengers from last year were back but there were plenty of new challengers: Manya Hult San Diego TC ran 30:53 at the Balboa Boogie 5K and 47:37 at the Balboa 4 Mile XC. Carolyn Mather Atlanta TC ran a 27 minute 5K on Labor Day and had finished 10th in the 65-69 division at the 2015 National Club XC Championships in San Francisco. Catherine Rhodes Atlanta TC finished 2nd at the 5K National Championships in Atlanta in 37:44. Finally, Judy Schickler San Diego TC ran 42:59 at the Balboa Park 4 Mile XC and had a 39:46 4-miler on the roads, age grade equivalent to a 30:09 5K effort. That suggested Mather was the one to beat, with Anderson, Hult, and Schickler in the hunt for the last 2 podium spots. Schickler took the early lead with Hult a good ways back, followed closely by Mather. 
Judy Schickler, bundled up against the un-San Diego-like temperatures, was warm and in the 70-74 division lead at this point at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Anderson and Rhodes were giving chase. Mather had apparently paced herself well as she was able to pass Schickler on the 2nd loop and stretch her winning margin to the better part of a minute. 
Manya Hult #994 leading Carolyn Mather #905 in the 70-74 Division on loop 1 at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Schickler held on to take 2nd but Hult was only 5 seconds back in third at the finish. Anderson finished 4th in 42:34, followed by Rhodes in 5th.
Carolyn Mather 38:21     Judy Schickler 39:14     Manya Hult 39:19

MEN 60+

60-64 Last year Joe Sheeran Club Northwest had a 20 meter lead before they hit the 400 meter mark. This year a crew of runners including Rick Becker Club Northwest, Doug Keller Run N Fun, Daniel Johnson Run N Fun, Jim Miller Green Mountain Athletic Association, Roger Sayre Boulder Road Runners, Michael Smith Club Northwest, Jacob Nur River City Rebels, and Ken Youngers Atlanta TC were with Sheeran when he called out, "Looks like it's gonna be a barn burner!" Whether he was just 'feeling his oats' or was interested in psyching out his rivals is anyone's guess. Sheeran was running like the defending Champion he was. Becker, a 2-time USATF Harrier of the Year, would hang tough. Keller and Johnson, teammates from Minnesota, had both run 1:02 and change at the challenging Medtronic TC 10 Miler in early October so they were race fit and might work together. Miller was someone I did not know and it can be hard to find results for the right Jim Miller. I have learned subsequently that he had been a DIII All American in college and had qualified for the 1980 Olympic Marathon Trials. He apparently took 1st in the 60-64 division at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon this year. Kate Landau found Chicago to be a good prep for XC. Perhaps Miller would, as well. Sayre has been 'Mr. Everything' on the roads this year. He has won races from the 1 Mile to the Half Marathon, and bested Sheeran at the 5K and 8K National Championships. He was only 59 last year so he and Sheeran ran in different XC races. Smith, Becker's teammate, had an 18:00 5K and a 2:58 Marathon to his credit, in addition to a bunch of trail runs-he could be dangerous!

The details of the race are given in the previous post as the lead runners in the 60+ race were all from this division. Suffice to say, for the purposes of this article, that Sheeran took a little longer to establish a gap this year but once he got rolling, only Nur tried to stay with him and it was a forlorn hope. 

Joe Sheeran crests a rise on the first big loop of the Men's 60+ 8K Championship, with his rivals, Jacob Nur, Roger Sayre, Rick Becker, and Michael Smith trailing behind-on his way to victory at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA
Nur gave it his best effort but it sapped him. Later in the race, first Sayre and then Becker and Smith were able to pass him, although none of them could close in on Sheeran. 
Roger Sayre digs for the finish line on his way to a 2nd pace finish in the 60+ race and the 60-64 Silver Medal at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Becker outkicked his teammate, Smith for the Bronze medal by a single second! They were followed by Nur, Johnson, Keller, Youngers and Miller.
Joe Sheeran 28:55     Roger Sayre 29:28     Rick Becker 29:37

65-69 The first and 2nd place finishers from last year, James Foster Syracuse TC and Kirk Larson Atlanta TC were back but had several new challengers to contend with. Doug Bell Boulder Road Runners, George Braun Boulder RR, John Hirschberger Tamalpa Runners, Robert Qualls River City Rebels, Tomas Rodriguez Cal Coast Track Club, and Doug Winn Bowerman Track Club. Bell sat out the Club XC Championships after winning the division the year before in Tallahassee; his back had been acting up. Winn is returning to contest a National XC Championship for the first time since he won the 65-69 division in 2016 in Bend OR. Braun and Hirschberger are regulars on the Masters Grand Prix circuit; Hirschberger broke onto the 65-69 podium with 2nd place finishes at the 5K and Half Marathon, as well as taking a bronze at the 1 mile in Flint. Braun has been laboring in the 60-64 division; this would be his first national Championship race as a 65-69 competitor. Qualls ran 5K's in the high 21's to low 23's but he also finished 21 seconds ahead of Hirschberger in the Pacific Association Cross Country Championship over 6 miles. Would he have the same edge at the shorter 8K distance? Rodriguez ran 1:31:20 in the 60-64 division at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Orange County in 2017, finishing only 5 seconds behind Peter Mullin and well ahead of Hirschberger. 

Foster knew he had some tough dudes to contend with so his solution was to take it out strong and see who could stay with him. By midway through the first big loop, only Rodriguez had elected to stay close, just a few strides back. 
Jim Foster #1231 pushes the pace uphill and down dale to put his 65-69 division rivals behind him- Loop 1 at the  2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

The two Doug's, longtime rivals, were another 15 meters back. 
Doug Winn #1134 and Doug Bell #1118 locked in a battle for individual honors in the 65-69 Division. Winn would get the win at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Then there was a larger gap back to Larson and Qualls, with Braun, opting for the cautious approach, another 25 meters back. Winn found his speed on the second loop, catching and passing both Rodriguez and Foster. Foster was unable to go with him but had the strength to carry it all the way to the finish before any of the chasers. Bell tried to match Winn's surge. Even though he was unable to do so, his efforts carried him to within 4 seconds of the third place finisher, Rodriguez. Larson came 5th with Hirschberger and Qualls just holding off Braun whose strong last loop brought him within a few seconds of the pair. Winn, author of the book, HappyFast Running, certainly showed that he is still fast, and presumably happy with his latest national championship on the cross country turf!
Doug Winn 32:30     James Foster 33:22     Tomas Rodriguez 33:52

70-74 West Coast runners took 1st, 2nd and 4th last year--David Longmuir Eastside Runners, Don Porteous Tamalpa, and Len Goldman Tamalpa. Only Dave Glass Atlanta TC, running last year for the Adirondack AC, out of New York, broke them up with his bronze medal finish. All four were back but they had new rivals to contend with. Lloyd Hansen Ann Arbor Track Club, Terry McCluskey Ann Arbor TC, Rick Katz Boulder RR, and Jerry Learned Atlanta TC aged up. Katz's teammate, Dave Dooley, who finished 6th last year, might also factor in. Tony Gingello GVH, who finished 5th last year, is even more 'banged up' this year and would be pressed to stay with the leaders.  Longmuir took the Pac NW XC Championships so was race fit. The same should be true for Porteous and Goldman; Porteous took the division title at the Pacific Association XC Championships. Goldman skipped that event but had run well on the roads. Glass has been battling injuries this fall so might have a hard time contending for the podium. Hansen, Katz, Learned, and McCluskey were the three main new threats. Hansen won the division championship at the 15K and the 1 Mile, with Learned not far behind. At the Masters 5 Km Championships in Buffalo, it was McCluskey, Katz, Hansen, and Learned finishing in that order behind Gene Dykes. Dykes, by the way, was off finishing his prep for another assault on Ed Whitlock's World Best Marathon mark. One question remained from the event in Buffalo; was Hansen thrown off by his heavy racing schedule at the WMA Championships in Malaga, Spain and subsequent return trip to the US just before the XC event? 

When the gun sounded, McCluskey surged up the rise with Goldman, Hansen, Katz, Longmuir and Porteous right with him. Learned was a few steps back and then others dealing with various levels of injury followed, including Glass and Gingello, who had battled for the 2017 5k national championship in Syracuse, and Gene French Tamalpa who was just off the podium at the USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee. Jim May GVH also might have been closer to the front had he not just stepped off the plane, almost literally, returning from an extended jaunt to Tasmania. By the time they reached the middle of loop 1, the field had sorted itself out. McCluskey was showing that Buffalo was no fluke. 
Terry McCluskey pushes the hills to stretch his lead on the way to victory in the 70-74 division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

The 3-time Age Division Runner of the Year may have won his last award in 2012 but 7 years later it looked like he was back at the front of his division. He crested one of the many little rises on the course with a good 30 meters on his closest rival, Longmuir. It was 20 meters back to Katz and another ten to Hansen who had Goldman and Porteous on his heels. 
Rick Katz #1124 eyes ahead to keep McCluskey in sight, trying not to worry about Lloyd Hansen light blue hat approaching the hill 10 meters back at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

They were followed by battlers like May, Learned, Frazer Mann Eastside, and Dooley. Up another rise and down into the swale and along the curvy track they went. In the end Longmuir had put out a bit too much early energy, but he was not going to let his title go without a fight! McCluskey pulled away from him to win by over half a minute. In the meantime, Katz showed that he is a runner to be reckoned with as he held off a hard-charging Hansen while both were surging past a spent Longmuir. Katz had 5 seconds on Hansen at the tape, with Longmuir 16 seconds back. A minute later Goldman and Porteous finished together, followed by Learned, Dooley, Mann and May in quick succession.
Terry McCluskey 34:47     Rick Katz 35:23     Lloyd Hansen 35:28

75-79 It seemed there would be little suspense to this contest. Since he recovered from his latest injury, Hall-of-Famer, Doug Goodhue Ann Arbor TC has dominated the division again, winning Championships this year from the 1 Mile to the 15K. The only reason his list of wins did not include the Half Marathon is that he was too busy directing the race to run in it too! James Callaway San Diego Striders, the defending champion, not only had Goodhue to worry about, but Hans Schmidt Tamalpa, dropping down from his ultra marathons, would provide a challenge. He held the 70-74 10K record until Jan Frisby took it from him three years ago. Others in the hunt for the podium would include Charlie Patterson Atlanta TC, who finished 4th at Club XC in Lexington, and had 2nd place finishes at the USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee and in the Half Marathon at Ann Arbor.

As expected, Goodhue was up front battling with the 70-74 crew, rapidly building a lead of minutes on the division field. 
Doug Goodhue, the 'Silver Bullet' is far ahead of his 75-79 rivals and a couple of strides behind David Longmuir, 3rd in the 70-74 division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

But Schmid and Callaway were close to each other, with Schmid tracking Callaway about 20 meters back midway through the first  big loop. Patterson was a good 40 meters back but with a comfortable lead on the rest of the field. Goodhue took the win with several minutes to spare. Schmid was able to catch and pass Callaway on the final loop. Callaway gave it his best effort but Schmid is a tough guy to hold off in the closing stages of a race. Schmid had silver in the end by 27 seconds. Callaway preceded Patterson by a few minutes to take the bronze medal.  It was great, as always to see Patterson's teammates, Ed Bligh and Andrew Sherwood rounding out the field.
Doug Goodhue 36:07    Hans Schmid 42:24     James Callaway 42:51

80-84 James Kurtz, Warren Osborn, and Richard Williams all of the San Diego Striders  battled for team and division supremacy at the same time. Assured of the team victory if all three finished, they could enjoy the journey and not worry too much about the destination. Osborn took the honors at the San Diego-Imperial XC Championships, but Williams was not in that race. Williams took the honors this time with almost two minutes to spare. 
Richard Williams #1220 tops a hill in loop 1 ahead of his teammate, Warren Osborn background on the way to an individual and team victory in the 80-84 division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Then it was Osborn and Kurtz as they celebrated their team victory!
Richard Williams 53:11     Warren Osborn 54:57 James Kurtz 58:14  

MEN 40-59

40-44 As with the Women's 40-44 and Men's 60-64 division championships, the details for this race can be found in the description of the Overall Race posted on 12/11/2018. An initial lead pack that included, from this division,  David Angell Roanoke Valley Elite, David Bedoya BAA, Neville Davey West Valley TC, Eric Hartmark Run MN, Eric Loeffler Run MN, Jorge Maravilla West Valley TC, Jacques Sallberg Cal Coast, Steven Short Red Lizard and Scott Williams Bowerman did not last long. By the middle off the second large loop, there was a 3-runner lead pack and 20 meter gap back to a large chase pack. 
Jorge Maravilla #1448 pushes the pace with Eric Loeffler #1499 and David Angell black singlet-black hat as they establish a gap on the Men's 40-59 chase pack at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Angell, Loeffler, and Maravilla fought it out over the next loop. Once they hit the last loop, Maravilla pushed a little more; Loeffler stayed with him but they dropped Angell. About halfway through the last loop with about a kilometer to go, Maravilla surged once more to drop Loeffler a few meters back. 
Jorge Maravilla #1448 begins to open a gap on Eric Loeffler #1499 as David Angell #1487 struggles to maintain contact at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Loeffler was not able to recover and Maravilla took the Gold Medal by 14 seconds in 32:53. 
Jorge Maravilla takes the win in the Men's 40-59 race and also the Gold Medal in the 40-44 Championship at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA  

Angel finished 7 seconds behind Loeffler to take the bronze medal. Last year's champion, Davey, finished in 4th, 25 seconds back from Angell. Sallberg came in 4 seconds later 7 seconds ahead of Short who preceded Bedoya, Williams, and Hartmark, who all finished within three seconds of one another.
Jorge Maravilla 32:53     Eric Loeffler 33:07     David Angell 33:14

45-49 The front end of this division was covered in the December 11th posting as well. The Chase pack behind the top 3 identified in the 40-44 section  included the top runners from this division: John Gardiner Cal Coast, Jaime Heilpern HOKA Aggie Running Club, John Howell Bowerman TC, Gregory Mitchell Bowerman TC, Todd Rose  West Valley TC and  Orin Schumacher Bowerman TC. Howell, Mitchell and Rose finished 2nd, 5th, and 9th in the 40-44 division last year, with the first two running ahead of Gardiner, the top returning finisher from this division who took the Silver medal last year. Schumacher finished further back in the 40-44 division last year and Heilpern did not make the trip to Kentucky. 

By the middle of the 2nd loop, Howell, Gardiner and Mitchell had achieved a 10 meter gap back to Rose who had a similar gap on Heilpern. 
The Men's 45-49 lead pack consisted of John Gardiner #1360 John Howell Gardiner's immediate left and Greg Mitchell #1341, running with 40-44 athletes, Neville Davey #1543 and David Bedoya on the 2nd big loop at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA   

Schumacher was another 15 minutes back. By the early stages of the final loop, Mitchell and Howell were pushing and established a 2-3 meter gap on Gardiner for the first time. 
Greg Mitchell #1341 leads his teammate, John Howell by a step as they start to forge a gap on John Gardiner just cresting the hill 5 meters back, with Jaime Heilpern another 20 meters back on the right 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA   

Gardiner still had 10 meters on Rose but Heilpern had now caught up and was dictating the pace. [Rose had beaten Heilpern by 5 seconds in  the Pacific Association XC Championship.] Schumacher was now 30 seconds back. As they approached the finish area, Howell had kicked away from Mitchell and held the 5-second gap to the finish, taking the gold medal in 33:41. 
John Howell left kicks past Jacques Sallberg to get another point for his team and to cement his 45-49 victory at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA   

Mitchell held tough to the line, holding off a hard charge from Heilpern which brought him ahead of Gardiner in the final 50 meters, taking the bronze medal by a single second-close! Five seconds later Rose came in 5th with Schumacher another 7 seconds back in 6th.
John Howell 33:41      Gregory Mitchell 33:46     Jaime Heilpern 33:50

50-54 The top 3 finishers in the division last year were returning: Peter Hammer BAA, Carl Combs Club NW, and Kent Lemme Greater Springfield Harriers. Christian Cushing-Murray Cal Coast, 5th last year, and Michael Nahom Greater Springfield, 8th. Eric Stabb Atlanta TC, who finished 12th in 40-44 last year would also try to make things interesting. An added competitor was Andy Gardiner BAA, whose US citizenship must have finally come through. Hammer can usually beat Gardiner, but often not by much.  Hammer was on his game, having finished 4th overall at the USATF-NE XC Championships, over a half minute ahead of Gardiner, and another half minute ahead of Nahom, one of their Greater Springfield rivals. Lemme did not participate but ran 34:22 at the Turkey Talk 6 mile trail run a few weeks later; at that point he seemed fit and ready. A very un-Lemme-like 18:31 at a Hot Chocolate 5K the week before Spokane made one wonder. Did he have a niggling injury or was he just out for the fun of a hot chocolate at the end of an easy training run? Cushing-Murray had been out for a portion of the year due to a nagging injury. After running 16:08 at the Carlsbad 5000, his 5K times ballooned into the 17 and then the 18 minute range in May. By early November his 5K time had come back down to 16:54. A little over two weeks later Cushing-Murray finished 4th in the Masters division at the Southern Cal usatf XC Championships, a half minute back from John Gardiner, so he was almost as fit as earlier in the year. Stabb had no recent XC outings but he did have a 16:46 5K in early November; he was race-fit.

Cushing-Murray had the fastest start, finding himself in the front row at the 400 meter mark. Eventually the field sorted itself out and by midway through the 2nd loop, Hammer had a large lead on the group as he battled with the others in the Overall Chase Pack. 
Peter Hammer #1317 running with 40's aces, Joshua Gordon #1335, Orin Schumacher #1343 and teammate, Brendan Prindiville #1322 on his way to victory in the 50-54 division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA   

Gardiner usually stays pretty close to Hammer but he was laying off this time, about 10-15 meters back. Another 25 meters back, Cushing-Murray and Combs were battling but it appeared that Combs was pushing the pace now. Twenty meters back Stabb and Nahom were side-by-side battling for team and individual supremacy! By the time they reached the middle of the final loop, Hammer had a substantial lead on Gardiner, perhaps 50 meters, with an even greater distance back to Combs who had now left Cushing-Murray behind. 
Andy Gardiner #1315 among forties runners, pushes to  maintain eye contact with Hammer and achieve gaps on rivals at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA   

Nothing changed over the final kilometer and a half. Hammer took the division victory in 34:09, with A. Gardiner 34 seconds back in 2nd, and Combs another 15 seconds back. 
Peter Hammer right finishes alongside his teammate, Brendan Prindiville, taking 18th and 19th overall, with Hammer taking the 50-54 crown at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA 

Twenty seconds later Nahom's strong finish not only enabled him to drop Stabb, but to catch and pass Cushing-Murray. Nahom's 35:18 was a mere 2 seconds in front of Cushing-Murray-quite a sprint to the finish! Stabb came across in 6th 13 seconds later.
Peter Hammer 34:09     Andy Gardiner 34:43     Carl Combs 34:58 

55-59 Nat Larson Greater Springfield Harriers won this division by almost two minutes last year and has been as dominant on the roads this year. He won every National Championship race he entered, from the 5K to the 15K; none of the races were close. Alan Evans GVH, Scott Tucker Bowerman TC, Tony Young Club NW, and Mark Zamek Garmin Runners would give chase. Evans, known for his long distance running, is also an accomplished harrier; he took the 55-59 crown at the USATF Masters 5 Km National Championship in Buffalo. Tucker was the top 55-59 runner at Oregon's Stumptown XC Races #4, and finished 17 seconds behind Mike Blackmore Bowerman TC at the Stumptown Races #3 a couple of weeks earlier. In the summer, Tucker ran a 17:54 5K and had an impressive 15K outing in 55:27 in March. Blackmore finished 3rd last year at Lexington and is back also. Young, who finished only 40 seconds behind Carl Combs at the Pac NW XC Championships, will also be a factor. When the Club XC Championships were in San Francisco in 2015, Young finished just 15 seconds back from Blackmore. Zamek finished 2nd to Larson in the division at the 5K Championships in Atlanta with a 17:04 effort. He is prepped for XC; he took both the 5K XC and 8K XC division championship, finishing 3rd Masters athlete in each race.

Larson soon found his way to the front and stayed there. 
Nat Larson #1431 pushing up through forties runners Ian Fraser #1381 and Nicholas Bowden #1376 black headband on his way to a 55-59 division victory at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

By midway through the 2nd full loop Larson had 40 meters on Young; Zamek was tracking Young about 5 meters back. Fifty meters further back Tucker had a few strides on Evans, battling for team even more than individual glory. 
Tony Young orange singlet-orange shoes storms up a hill on the 10K course among 40's runners, Darren Moore #1538 Craig Magness #1362 and Brian Sydow #1307 on his way to a 2nd place finish in the 55-59 division at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA

Larson had no trouble; in the end he took the gold medal with a minute to spare. 
Nat Larson #1431 tracks with Paul Jones, heading for the finish line to take both the Age-Grading prize in the Men's 40-59 Race and the 55-59 Age Division National Championship at the 2018 USATF Masters Club XC Championships in Spokane WA
Young was eventually able to shake Zamek, taking 2nd with a 14 second margin. Zamek enjoyed a solid 3rd place finish. Evans was able to pull away from Tucker but could only get within 50 seconds of Zamek. Tucker was 3 seconds back in 5th.
Nat Larson 35:01     Tony Young 36:02     Mark Zamek 36:16

That winds up another Club XC Championship, exciting as always! And with competition and camaraderie that cannot be beaten in the racing world, With a course such as the one at Plantes Ferry, it is very easy for teammates, coaches, family and friends to move around the course and cheer from a number of different vantage points. That keeps the runners and teams coming back. Next year it will be in the northeast again, returning to the Lehigh course in Bethlehem, PA. Over 850 Masters runners finished the races in 2014; there should be just as many, if not more, this time around--Don't miss it!

The Club XC championships also provided the first points for the 2019 Masters Grand Prix. The teams that won and the individuals who won age division national championships earned 100 points toward the 2019 Grand Prix crown. All teams and individuals entered earned some points. Initial Grand Prix standings will be posted sometime in January on the usatf site at