Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2018 USATF Club Cross Country Championships-Masters Division-Team Recaps

December 16, 2018. The day was cold but the competition was hot. The Cross Country layout at Plantes Ferry in Spokane was nearly perfect. If you like long hills, this is not the course for you but it had plenty of small elevation changes and lots of snaking back and forth around the fields. Some thought there were too many turns. One advantage was that you fit the races onto a relatively small footprint of ground. That made it easy for spectators, teammates, and coaches to spread themselves out over the course and cheer runners on at various points. It definitely was an exciting day of racing! The cheering and excitement keep runners coming back to these Cross Country venues which typically have more challenging terrain and footing than road racers encounter.

With temperatures below freezing for all 3 Masters races, the question at the starting line was singlet and shorts versus long-sleeve shirt underneath or arm sleeves? gloves or no gloves, hat or headband or just scalp?--tights or just shorts? Virtually every combination was observed. Once the races got underway, the attire did not matter much. The Team Competition will be covered first, with Age Divisions next up. After all, it is the National Club Cross Country Championships!

Note: In narratives below, all finishing places refer to places within the team competition. A runner from a team that lacks 5 finishing runners is dropped from the places in the team competition. A runner who finishes 5th overall, may be referred to below as finishing 4th, for example, if the runner who finished 3rd overall did not have a complete team scoring.


Women Top 3 score
40+ The 9 top contenders included the Boise Betties and Billies Inland Northwest and the Spokane Swifts Inland NW, along with a neighbor, Run Wild Missoula Montana who were defending the home turf from the Impala Racing Pacific, Janes Elite Racing Southern California, San Diego Track Club San Diego-Imperial, Team Red Lizard Oregon, Seattle Running Club Pacific Northwest, and the Bull City Track Club North Carolina. Last year's Championship in Lexington, Kentucky saw the Atlanta Track Club Georgia take top honors but they did not make the cross country trip this year. Impala was the closest to a defending Champion, having claimed 2nd place last year. Bull City  took the Bronze. The Janes finished 10th in 2017 but appeared to have a much stronger team in 2018. Grace Padilla, winner of the USATF XC Championship in 2016, and Nancy James-Klinger, who ran 18:44 in a 5K and has triathlon strength which can come in handy on the XC turf, looked to lead the way, along with Grace Wu. San Diego countered with Meriah Earle who took the Masters title at Carlsbad this year, Kimberly Mueller who finished 7th in the Masters division, and Valerie Miller who ran 19:43 at the Balboa Boogie 5K. Bull City and Impala were missing their top runner from last year so their task would be tougher this year. 
The Women's Feld is off and running over the 6K course at Plantes Ferry in Spokane--to decide the Championships at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championship

Gretchen Hurlbutt helped the Boise team to an early lead by finishing 1st. Then James-Klinger and Padilla came in 2nd and 4th, with San Diego's Earle between them. Earle's teammate, Mueller, came in 2 seconds behind Padilla. That gave the Jane's 6 points on 2 runners and San Diego 8 points; no other team had two runners finished yet.

40+ Lead pack mid-race-Meriah Earle 991, Maggie Shearer 1056, Kate Landau 1041. The two runners in pink singlets are Grace Padilla and Nancy James-Klinger; the runner in white is Gretchen Hurlbutt. The runner in black trying to maintain contact is Earle's teammate, Kimberly Mueller--at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA
Now came the wait. Seattle's Marlene Ferrell took 7th, but then Wu came across in 7th, sealing the win for the Janes. Rachel Jaten took 8th for Spokane, followed by Heather Webster of the Genesee Valley Harriers (GVH), and then Missoula's Jenni Brown in 10th. San Diego still needed their third runner in to land on the podium and Boise needed their 2nd and 3rd runners. Seattle's Trisha Steidl, the Red Lizard's Janne Heinonen, the Impala's Nancy Thomas, and another Jane's runner, Gwendolen Twist, came in before the Betties got their 2nd runner, Sarah Barber finishing. Could the Boise's sneak in past San Diego? 
Fighting it out in the Trenches--L to R-Jennifer Williams 1014 Martha Amrine white singlet Maureen Bookwalter 1069 Nancy Kaiser--San Diego, Missoula, and Bull City getting it sorted out at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

Another Missoulan, Cori Stern, the first Bull City runner, Nancy Kaiser, and Impala's 2nd runner, Liz Gottlieb, finished before San Diego's Miller came across the line to give San Diego the Silver Medal. Three runners later, Keysha Stutz came across the line in 22nd place; that gave Boise the Bronze medal. Four more runners came in before Maureen Bookwalter closed the deal for Missoula, leaving them just off the podium in 4th, followed by Team Red Lizard, Impala, Seattle, Bull City, Spokane, GVH, and Club Northwest.
Janes Elite Racing 13     San Diego Track Club 27     Boise Betties and Billies 38

50+ The Janes Elite Racing took this division last year, with the Athena Track Club Mid-Atlantic 3 points back and Club Northwest Pacific Northwest another 15 behind, in 3rd. The Genesee Valley Harriers (GVH) Niagara and Atlanta took 4th and 5th, with Liberty Athletic Club New England in 7th. Athena did not field a team this year but the rest returned. The Janes looked to be loaded again with their top 2 runners, Kirsten Leetch, Tania Fischer, back; Shannon Teslow, with her sub-20 5K time, looked to be a strong replacement for Gwendolen Twist. Northwest appeared a bit stronger also, as Susan Pappalardo finished 1st in the Pac NW Women's 50+ XC Championship in 2016. With Kristen Mossman, their top runner from last year back, they must have felt they had a better chance this year. Another strong team to reckon with would be the Team Red Lizard Oregon. Valerie Banks ran 26:48 in the Oregon XC Championships Stumptown Races and had a 1:33 HM to her credit; Susan Hay finished 2nd in this division at the 2017 USATF XC Championship at Bend, Oregon, finishing behind Fischer but ahead of Athena's Marisa Sutera Strange, no small feat. Their 3rd runner, Katherine MacTavish, had finished 6th in the division at Bend in 2016. 

Kirsten Leetch white 'Janes' singlet is followed by her teammate, Tania Fischer as they keep pace with a pack of 40's runners at the front of the 50's field at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA
The Janes took the suspense out early; Leetch, Fischer, and Teslow took 1-2-3 in a half minute interval. Beverly Anderson-Abbs, a trail runner competing for Sacramento's Buffalo Chips Running Club Pacific, came in 4th. Banks and Hay came in 5th and 6th for Red Lizard, followed by San Diego's Laura Stuart and Northwest's Pappalardo. She was followed by the Red Lizard's MacTavish, closing out their scoring, with her teammate, Jill Pettibone 6 seconds back in 10th. After the Impala's Eileen Brennan-Erler finished 11th, Mossman and Regina Joyce, claimed 12th and 14th for Northwest, separated only by Kathleen Cushing-Murray of the Janes. 
Battling for Women's 50+ team honors surrounded by other age division runners-L to R Tracy Wright red hat Mireille Silva 909 Liane Pancoast 952 Kathleen Cushing-Murray 1057--San Diego, Atlanta, Greater Lowell and the Janes Elite aiming for the podium at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

The Buffalo Chips were 15 points back from Northwest but ran strong enough to edge San Diego for 4th by a single point. They were followed by Impala, Atlanta, Oregon TC, GVH, and Liberty AC.
Janes Elite Racing 6     Team Red Lizard 20     Club Northwest 34

60+ The top 3 teams from last year, Team Red Lizard, Atlanta, and the Impala Racing Team, were all back, joined by a strong squad from the San Diego Track Club. The Red Lizards were missing their top runner from last year, Suzanne Ray, but had an able replacement in Jennifer Teppo, who aged up earlier this year and just took the division crown at the USATF 15K (road) Championships in Tulsa. Atlanta was missing Mary Richards, who was their top runner last year but Cindy Williams finished just 4 seconds behind her. She and Margaret Taylor were joined this year by Cindy Lucking who gives them added strength. Impala lacks their 1-2 punch from last year, Jill Miller-Robinett and Jo Anne Rowland but have Mo Bartley back. She was their strongest runner on the roads last year; her 21:54 at a Thanksgiving Day 5K shows she is race-ready. She will be aided by her new teammate, Sara Freitas, who finished over a minute ahead of Bartley at the Pacific Association XC Championships. San Diego were trying to rely on a tight pack. At the Balboa Boogie, their top 3 runners, Linda Powers, Mary Ryzner, and Ernestina Martin came in at 24:14, 25:12, and 25:44. Without a strong runner up front they needed to run together. 
Jennifer Teppo 1055 and Sara Freitas electric blue singlet with long sleeves racing in the 40's and 50's field at the head of the 60+ field at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

Teppo took 1st, but when the Impala's Freitas and Bartley took 2-3, it looked like impala might move up from last year. But the chance at first was shortly closed off as Betsy Miller and Jeannete Groesz came in 4th and 5th for the Lizards, giving them their repeat victory. Powers of San Diego came next in 6th, but the other two of their pack, though fairly tight, were not tight enough to shut out Joanna Harper of the Red Lizards, and the Impalas' 3rd scorer, Rosemarie MacGuiness. 
Battling for the 60's podium-L to R Joanna Harper 1047 Cindy Williams 913 and Williams's teammates center background on the rail Margaret Taylor and Cindy Lucking black hat Team Red Lizard and Atlanta Track Club striving for a podium finish at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

Atlanta's first runner, Williams, followed MacGuiness across the line in 9th, with the 2nd and 3rd scorers for San Diego, Ryzner and Martin, taking 10th and 11th to close out the scoring and give San Diego the Bronze medal. Atlanta finished 4th with 36 points.
Team Red Lizard 10     Impala Racing Team 13     San Diego Track Club 27

70+ Last year there were no 70+ teams competing. This year there were two, and both traveled to get to the Championship site. It was the closest team competition of the day! The Atlanta Track Club, winners of the 2018 Masters Grand Prix for Clubs would be tested by the San Diego Track Club. 
Manya Hult San Diego Track Club leads Carolyn Mather Atlanta Track Club in the Women's 70 and up Competition--Mather later passed all rivals to take the win--Mid-race at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

Carolyn Mather got Atlanta off to a good start with the individual win in the Team competition. But San Diego came roaring back a minute later when Judy Schickler and Manya Hult came across, 5 seconds apart to give their team 2nd and 3rd. It would come down to the third runner. Four minutes later Carol Rhodes took 4th for Atlanta. When her teammate, Catherine Radle, took 5th another minute back, that gave them the Gold. 

San Diego's Virginia Lopez finished 6th which was good enough for Silver. One point separated the two teams!
Atlanta Track Club 10     San Diego Track Club 11

The Janes Racing Team took two titles and Team Red Lizard scored two podium finishes but the only team that finished on the podium in three different divisions was the San Diego Track Club. Maybe they were sending a message that any team coming out to San Diego next October 12th for the USATF 5 Km Masters XC Championship had better be ready for a fight!

Men  40+ and 50+ top 5 score; 60+ and up top 3 score
40+ Last year the SF Bay Area's West Valley Track Club Pacific took the title with 53 points; the B.A.A. New England and the Bowerman Track Club Oregon took 2nd and 3rd with 62 and 69 points. That was a tight, competitive race. The Central Mass Striders New England, Club Northwest, and the Bull City Track Club finished 4th through 6th, on the outside looking in. The Striders stayed in Massachusetts this year but the others returned; 16 different clubs sent teams and two of the clubs sent two. Anyone who figured the top three would be battling it out again had it right. But a strong team from Run Minnesota Minnesota was determined to bust up their party. Club Northwest would give it another shot, as would the Cal Coast Track Club who signed up Jacques Sallberg, the 3-time Masters Champion at the 2015, 2016, and 2017 USATF Masters XC Championships. He and John Gardiner who has finished in the top 10 at these Championships for the last five years, would give Cal Coast a strong 1-2. That is less predictive than in the Women's and Men's 60+ races where only the top 3 score; here a 1-2 needs a strong 3-4-5 too. But at least Cal Coast had a 1-2 punch to counter Bowerman's 1-2 of John Howell and Gregory Mitchell, as well as West Valley's 1-2 of Neville Davey and Jorge Maravilla. A top 2 is not sufficient but it is tough to break onto the podium without two in the top 10. It looked like Maravilla might be a little stronger than Davey this year but both would be strong; the others appeared to be as tough as ever. 
Two Hundred Meters into the Men's 40-59 Race-Across the front L to R David Angell 1487 Christian Cushing-Murray 1359 Olivier Vrambout 1503 Eric Loeffler 1495 Jorge Maravilla--Further back on the left-Top 50's runners, Carl Combs 1379 orange singlet Nat Larson 1471 at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA [Photo Credit-Robyn Doloughan]

Run Minnesota's Eric Loeffler was one of the favorites to take the individual title; with a 1:12:16 HM and a 54:57 10-Miler, Eric Hartmark, gave them a solid 1-2 of Eric's. If Olivier Vrambout were injury-free, the winner of the WMA Marathon at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the USATF Trail Marathon Championship could give them another top end scorer. The B.A.A. would rely on David Bedoya to stay close to the front and lead a tight pack of Matthew Carter, Peter Hammer, Ryan McCalmon, and Brendan Prindiville to victory. 
David Angell all black kit left Jorge Maravilla 1448 ctr. Eric Loeffler 1499 cresting one of several short rises on the course-putting 'the hurt' on the chase pack of L to R Jacques Sallberg, Eric Hartmark, John Gardiner, and Neville Davey at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

First in was Maravila for West Valley, followed shortly thereafter by Minnesota's Loeffler. Davey finished 3rd, giving West Valley the first twosome in. Bowerman was heard from next as Howell and Mitchell took 4th and 6th separated by Sallberg of Cal Coast in 5th. Steven Short of Team Red Lizard, took 7th, with Jaime Heilpern of the Hoka Aggies Pacific in 8th. Then Cal Coast got another boost from Gardiner's 9th place. West Valley was at 4 points, Bowerman with 10 points and Cal Coast at 14, all with two runners in. The B.A.A. was heard from next as David Bedoya and Matthew Carter took 10th and 14th. But that small space of 7 seconds between them allowed Bowerman's Williams to claim 11th, Minnesota's Hartmark, 12th, and West Valley's Todd Rose, 13th. West Valley with 17 and Bowerman with 21 now led the way with 3 runners in. With Joshua Gordon and Orin Schumacher zipping across the finish line 3 seconds behind Carter in 15th and 16th, that sealed it for Bowerman. The B.A.A. thought they might get the victory with a tight pack but they were just a hair off the money; 5 seconds after Schumacher, the 3rd, 4th and 5th runners, Prindiville, Hammer, and McCalmon, came storming across the line in 17th, 18th, and 19th to claim 2nd. It was not enough for the win but it was enough to hold West Valley at bay; Konrad Knutsen and Thomas McGlynn finished off the scoring for West Valley. 
Crunch Time--The Final Sprint-Club NW vs. West Valley vs. B.A.A. vs. Bowerman--Mark Bloudek 1375 Konrad Knutsen 1546 Julian Marsh [NC] 1549 Chris Magill 1319 Ahrlin Bauman partially obscured behind Magill--at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA
Once Tim Hardy, Vrambout, and Patrick Russell finished for Minnesota, West Valley had a 7 point margin, squeezing onto the podium for the 2nd straight year. Minnesota will have to come back next year at Lehigh in Bethlehem PA to show us what they can do, perhaps with a healthy Vrambout and a focus on the team championship! Club Northwest, Cal Coast, SRA Elite Pacific, Team Red Lizard, Atlanta Track Club, Garden State Track Club-New Balance New Jersey, and the HOKA Aggie's rounded out the top 11.
Bowerman Track Club 52     B.A.A. 78     West Valley Track Club 88

50+ The Greater Springfield Harriers (GSH) New England took the title in a dominant fashion last year, placing four of their runners in the top 10. Cal Coast, Prado San Diego-Imperial, Club Northwest, TC Running Company Minnesota and GVH followed in that order. Prado and TC were not back. GSH brought back their core runners, Nat Larson, Kent Lemme, Michael Nahom, Mark Hixson,  and an ailing Francis Burdett, but added Alejandro Heuck to the mix. Cal Coast seemed unlikely to move up. They returned their top two from 2017 in Christian Cushing-Murray, and Frederick Herr, and also Thomas Schumann, but were missing the two who finished 3rd and 4th for them last year. Northwest would make a stronger run this year most likely. Last year Carl Combs and Tony Gerbino were their top two runners; this year Tony Young, who finished only 40 seconds back from Combs in the Pac NW XC Championship, would join them and likely slot in as #2 behind Combs. Lance Logan and Acy Roff would add depth they did not have a year ago. GVH also seemed unlikely to move up; their top three of Mike Nier, Alan Evans, and Dale Flanders, from a year ago were back, but their 4th runner, Michael Gardella, was not. Bowerman looked to be stronger, as one might expect, due to proximity. Their top two runners from last year, Craig Godwin, and Mike Blackmore, were back but they appeared to have stronger runners in the mix now. Eric Hartman took the 50 and up title at the Stumptown Races #4 Championship in Oregon (which Godwin skipped, so it is not definitive), and Eric Williams had a faster Half Marathon than Godwin this year. They added another three runners who might run ahead of Blackmore. Run Minnesota would also be pushing for a podium spot. Their top three runners appear to be William Lindell who had a 17:35 5K in April; Matthew Waite who ran 58:42 in the tough Medtronic Twin Cities 10 Miler and also clocked a 35:11 10K and a 17:02 5K; and Patrick Billig who was a minute slower than Waite in the 10K but clocked a 1:17:45 half marathon at Grandma's, adding a 16:59 5K the Friday evening before.
Fighting out the 50+ Men's Team Competition with L to R Carl Combs 1379 Christian Cushing-Murray 1359 and Nat Larson white singlet surrounded by 40-49 runners at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

By the time the first loop was done, it was clear that GSH's Lemme was off his game. Ordinarily  he would be running in tandem with Larson but there was a sizable gap. Burdett's injury would keep him out of the mix as well; only his will to finish and contribute would keep him in the race. Luckily for GSH, Larson, Hixson, and Nahom were on their game. Northwest's Carl Combs pulled away from the pack and only Larson kept him in sight. Tracking him about 20-30 meters back for most of the race, Larson closed a bit over the last kilometer, but Combs enjoyed a 3 second victory. Larson took 2nd and was followed 17 seconds later by his teammate, Nahom in 3rd, and another half minute saw Hixson come in 6th for GSH. That gave them 11 points on 3 runners. Cushing-Murray of Cal Coast and Hartman of Bowerman took 4th and 5th.Williams of Bowerman, Young of Northwest, and William Lindell of Minnesota, took the next 3 spots before Lemme, injured or not, came across in 10th and made another victory for GSH pretty likely. They had 4 runners in with 21 points. Only Bowerman and Northwest among their competitors had even 2 runners in. But now there would be a worrisome wait. Bowerman would bring in their next three, Godwin, Scott Tucker, and Dan Franek in 12th, 17th and 19th, giving them a complete team of 5 in and 60 points. GSH needed either Heuck or Burdett to  finish inside the top 40. In fact, Heuck came in 29th, with Burdett only 6 seconds back. Despite being injured, Burdett would have delivered the goods had Heuck faltered in any way. But both finished strong. Northwest's Gerbino came in 15th but Northwest had no answer once Bowerman's 3-4-5 combo of Godwin, Tucker and Franek finished in the top 20. 
Club Northwest's Tony Gerbino L and Bowerman's Mike Blackmore R fighting it out for 50 and up  team supremacy at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

Still they had enough to keep Minnesota off the podium. Despite Matthew Waite coming in 14th for Minnesota, Northwest's Lance Logan claimed 22nd just ahead of Minnesota's Patrick Billig in 23rd and Robert Economy in 26th. When Northwest's Roff finished a half minute after Economy, Northwest had their 5 scorers and the Bronze medal. Run Minnesota was just off the podium in 4th, followed by Cal Coast, GVH, Chattanooga TC Tennesee, Pamakids Pacific, and Phoenix Free Soles Arizona.
Greater Springfield Harriers 50     Bowerman Track Club 60     Club Northwest 77

60+ Club Northwest placed all 3 of their scoring runners in the top 6 last year. No other team came close. Atlanta's powerful squad was held to 2nd, still well ahead of Shore Athletic Club New Jersey and Syracuse TC in 3rd and 4th, separated by only 2 points. Greater Lowell Road Runners New England, Cal Coast, the Ann Arbor Track Club Michigan, and the Genesee Valley Harriers rounded out the top 8. Had John Barbour, Greater Lowell's ace who has often battled for the win in these races, not come in with a dicey Achilles tendon last year, Greater Lowell might have been more competitive. With Joe Sheeran and Rick Becker back, their 1-2 intact, Northwest was in good shape to repeat. Their 3rd runner from 2017, Greg Beyerlein, was not making the trip, but Michael Smith, with an 18 flat 5K, a 2:58 Marathon and a number of trail runs on his list, would likely be a strong replacement. Atlanta returned with Ken Youngers, Mike Anderson, Phil Richey, and Kirk Larson, and was probably still the strongest challenger among the returning teams. The Boulder Road Runners, who had only two team members finish last year, would be much stronger this year because Roger Sayre aged up to the 60-64 division. With Dan Spale, close to full fitness again, running in the top tier and with able support from Nate Anderson, Doug Bell, and George Braun, Boulder would press Atlanta, no doubt. Syracuse should also push as they return their top 2-Brian Cummins and James Foster. John Austin is not making the trip this year but Ted Larison was only 30 seconds behind him last year; it may be that Todd Baum, who did not make the trip in 2017, but led Larison by about a half minute at this year's PG #4 6K XC race, will make up the difference. Barbour is still not healthy enough to compete nor was Ann Arbor able to field a team this year. The Cal Coast guys are still struggling with injuries so it will be hard for them to compete for the podium. And there are newcomers. Two of the strongest would be Run N Fun out of Minnesota and New England's Green Mountain Athletic Association. As I wrote in my preview before the race, "Two runners from the Twin Cities' Run n' Fun team might have a chance at the podium if they can run together and push each other. Daniel Johnson and Doug Keller both ran 1:02 and change at the challenging Medtronic TC 10 Miler and matched that with 1:23-1:24 times in the City of Lakes HM." With that strong 1-2 punch, the team has a strong chance at the podium even if they are shut out individually. Beating Northwest is a tall order but beating the rest could be feasible if their third runner, Paul Brown, can stay close to those two. Whenever Norm Larson is  on a 60's team, you know it is strong. He finished 3rd in the Masters 10K Championship in Dedham this year in 38:16. Jack Pilla had a 2:59 Marathon and a 1:28 Half Marathon so could provide strong support. When a third runner I do not know has a name like James Miller, it is easy for him to come in under the radar. My research turned up lots of James Millers in their 60's in New England but none were fast. I found a fast 57-year old but even with a birthday later in the year, he would not qualify. If Miller was fast they were in the hunt; if not, back in the pack. River City Rebels Pacific had a strong front-runner in Jacob Nur but it was not clear if they had supporting depth.

The front end of the race unfolded as expected, with Joe Sheeran attacking the course and his rivals after the first quarter mile. 
Joe Sheeran crests a hill as his pursuers in the background in order Jacob Nur, Roger Sayre, Rick Becker, and Michael Smith strive to keep in contact-mid-race at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

Nur went with him as long as he could. Sayre, Becker and Smith tried to stay close. The mystery of Green Mountain's Miller was solved; he was in a chase pack consisting of him, Atlanta's Youngers and the two Run N Fun guys, Johnson and Keller. Sheeran and Becker did not go 1-2 this year. Sheeran got the win but Sayre came in 2nd. In terms of team competition it did not matter much though, as both Becker and Smith sprinted for the tape ten seconds after Sayre, taking 3rd and 4th. That gave Northwest the victory with 8 points, one better than last year. Nur had put up the good fight but had nothing left to fight off his fast-closing rivals, finishing 5th. Johnson and Keller finished in 6th and 7th giving Run N Fun 13 points on two runners. Atlanta's Youngers took 8th, followed 50 seconds later by Green Mountain's Miller and another half minute back to Boulder's Spale. Spale's 10th place gave Boulder 12 points on two, moving them ahead of Run N Fun. Fourteen seconds later, N. Larson's 11th place gave Green Mountain 20 points; they were in the hunt for the podium! Next was the first Bowerman runner, Monty Schafer, followed by Prado's Thom Hunt (also Chair of USATF's Cross Country Council). M. Anderson came across next in 14th to give Atlanta 22 points on 2 runners. No quarter being given yet! Pilla gave Green Mountain their third scorer, toping them off with 35 points. Now it came down to the third runner for Run N Fun and Atlanta. 
Down the rise and onto the next section testing themselves and striving for team honors in the Men's 60+ race--Front to Back-Month Schafer 1132 Phil Richey 1112 Reno Stirrat red shoes Timothy Riccardi 1171 Paul Brown lime green shirt Dwight Smith 1184 Brian Cummins 1232--at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

This day belonged to Run N Fun as Brown finished 17th, giving the Minnesota team not only a podium spot but 2nd place as they edged Green Mountain by 5 points. Richey's 21st gave Atlanta 43 points, 8 out of third. When N. Anderson came in 31st, that gave Boulder 43 points; Atlanta and Boulder were tied on points. Under the current tie-breaker rule, Atlanta was awarded 4th because their last scoring runner finished ahead of Boulder's third scoring runner. Bowerman was 10 points back, followed by River City Rebels, Cal Coast, Syracuse, Prado, GVH, and HOKA Aggies for the first 12 spots-quite a competition!
Club Northwest 8     Run N Fun 30     Green Mountain Athletic Association 35

70+. Last year the Tamalpa Runners out of the SF Bay Area Pacific , took 2nd, 3rd, and 6th for 11 points and a 7 point margin of victory over the Eastside Runners out of Seattle Pac Northwest. GVH edged Boulder for third by a single point and Atlanta took 5th. This year the division looked even more competitive than in 2017. Eight teams would contest the Event, with an A and a B team coming from Atlanta. Tamalpa's top 3 runners, Don Porteous, Len Goldman and Gene French were all back. Unlike some other teams which had strengthened by adding new members, Tamalpa was standing pat. But they are the Champions until someone beats them. David Longmuir claimed 1st last year for Eastside and he was supported by Craig Andersen in 7th and Frazer Mann in 10th. Mann would be back but not Andersen which makes it tough for Eastside to challenge for the win. GVH is back with their core of Tony Gingello, Jim May, and Keith Yeates intact, and they have added (Coach) Mike Reif. As their name implies they are very tough on the XC turf. Gingello, who led the way for them last year, has suffered form an injury this fall that has hampered his preparation and his races. The other three will step up. Boulder's top 3 last year were Dave Dooley, Jan Frisby, and Jeffrey Dumas. Had Frisby's injury status moved in a positive direction, it might be the podium for Boulder, but it went the other way, and Frisby did not make the trip. But they added a front-runner, Rick Katz who aged up this past summer. Their third runner,Rich Castro, who typically runs his 5K's in the 23-24:30 range will need to have a good day for them to make the podium. A point in his favor is that he was only 27 seconds behind Dooley at the Colleen De Reuck Classic 6K XC race. Boulder should be in the hunt. Last year at this time,Jerry Learned was 69 and ran on the Atlanta M60+ team. Dave Glass ran for the Adirondack Athletic Club. Had they been running for the Atlanta M70+ team, they would have finished 4th and 5th in that race. Learned aged up and Glass was recruited to Atlanta as their one runner allowed from outside the Association. They give Atlanta a chance but Glass has been battling injuries over the fall; it seemed doubtful he could run as close to the front as he did last year. The team that most people figured would take the Championship this year, the Ann Arbor Track Club, only ran 1 runner last year, me. I am back but only in a supporting role. The difference is that three long-time runners for the Club are back in form and on the 70+ team. Terry McCluskey, from Ohio, joined up long ago when runners from an adjacent association were allowed to count as a resident member. He was atop runner on their 60+ team for many years but then took a break for a couple of years. He aged up this summer and started running in Championships. Very strong at XC, McCluskey finished 2nd to Gene Dykes at the 5K Masters XC Championship in Buffalo. Lloyd Hansen, a career guy at Ford, lived in Michigan for over 30 years and ran for Ann Arbor. He aged up this past spring. He finished 2nd to Dykes and ahead of McCluskey at the 5K Championship in Atlanta. Hansen currently resides in Utah, where he moved to help care for his elderly mother.  They are covered by a Grandfather Clause which was instituted when USATF last changed the rules. That clause is currently under review by the Masters LDR Committee. The third front-runner this fall for Ann Arbor is Hall-of Famer and now ten-time Age Division Runner of the year, Doug Goodhue. Goodhue has dominated his age division over the last 3 decades but was hampered over the last three years by a succession of leg injuries. Many doubted that he would ever come back at anywhere near his old level. But he proved everyone wrong this fall by dominating his 75-79 division and running competitively with the top end of the 70-74 division. He is the 2018 75-79 Runner of the Year.

Last year it was Longmuir who pulled away form the pack as the race went on; this time it was McCluskey pulling away. 
Terry McCluskey 1103 cresting  a hill in full stride moving up through the field of 60+ athletes.The rest of the field is out of sight 70 meters or more back--at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

Longmuir settled into second, trailed a few paces later by Goodhue, and then further back, Katz, Hansen and Goldman and Porteous. At that point things looked good for Ann Arbor with Tamalpa having an edge over Eastside and Boulder. McCluskey stayed strong the whole way taking the victory for Ann Arbor. Katz and Hansen both moved up in the 2nd half of the race, to take 2nd and 3rd respectively. Longmuir took 4th to get Eastside on the board. But Goodhue came across next in 5th to close the deal for Ann Arbor. With 9 points, no one could catch them. Goldman and Porteous held strong too, coming across in 6th and 7th to make Tamalpa the one to beat for Silver. They had 13 on two runners. Boulder and Eastside had only a single runner in. Atlanta was on the board when Learned came across in 8th. Dooley's 9th place finish gave Boulder two runners in with 11 points, moving them ahead of Tamalpa. A few seconds later Frazer Mann took 10th to give Eastside 2 runners in with 14. It would come down to the third runner as always to settle the podium. GVH's Jim May delayed the decision when he finished 11th, putting GVH on the board. Fifty-one seconds later, Gene French ended some of the uncertainty by taking 12th and giving Tamalpa 3 runners and 25 points. 
Second and third runners for their M70+ teams-sorting themselves out mid-race-They are determining the final outcome. Gene French 1236 (apparently enjoying XC exhilaration!) [1152 is not listed among finishers but ran for Eastside Runners] Keith Yeates immediately behind #1152 Charles Crouse 1155 Mike Reif GVH with black hat cresting the rise Gordon Lutes 1216 back left Bill Sumner lime green singlet further back left-at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane WA

But if Boulder's 3rd runner came next, they could still claim 2nd. But not this year, GVH's #2, Yeates, took 13th, followed by Steve Doyle of the San Diego Striders. The only question remaining was whether Eastside's 3rd runner could finish 3 positions ahead of Boulder's. less than half a minute later we had the answer as Boulder's Rich Castro came powering across the line in 17th, 12 seconds ahead of Eastside's Charles Crouse. That gave Boulder 3rd and Eastside 4th. GVH, Atlanta, and the San Diego Striders followed in 5th through 7th, with Atlanta's B team next. It was great to see Atlanta-B's Morris Williams close off the scoring for his team a year after dealing with deep vein  thrombosis after the 2017 15K Championship in Tulsa.
Ann Arbor Track Club 9     Tamalpa Runners 25     Boulder Road Runners 28

Another rousing Club XC Team Championship in the books. That is it for the Teams recap. The final installment of National Club XC Championship recaps will cover the Age Divisions. 

PHOTO CREDITS: Except where specifically noted otherwise, all pictures are credit to Mike Scott who continues his tremendous service to Masters athletes through his photography, in addition to his administrative work as head of USATF's LDR Division.

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