Friday, December 13, 2019

Record Field of Masters Athletes Poised to Race for the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships

December 12, 2019. BETHLEHEM, PA—This Saturday, December 14, the USATF Club Cross Country Championships will be held on the Lehigh University Cross-Country course. Over 1,000 Masters runners, the largest field ever, will contest the event. The 60 and over Masters Men’s Race begins at 10 AM, over 8 km, with Masters Women, over 6 km, at 11 AM, and Masters Men, 40+, over 10 km at 12:15 pm. Race-time temperatures are forecast to be unseasonably mild, at 50 degrees, but footing and mud may be an issue. A half inch of rain is expected overnight, with locally heavy rainfall possible. Light rain or showers are anticipated during the races. The rain will not dampen the excitement. It appears the course will be soft, and possibly muddy at points; that will probably affect some runners more than others, but I make no allowances in my preview for such an effect. There are terrific fields in each of the races as teams give their all for this mark of club supremacy; that will carry over to the individual races, but the focus in almost every case is on the Team.

A disclaimer, sometimes known as a 'lame excuse'. With so many entries and so little time I have not been able to research as thoroughly as my usual. Someone could fly in under the radar. 
2018 Club XC-Spokane-M40+ Mike Scott photo

The Men’s 40+ race will be a replay of last year, with some extra added attractions; the top 10 finishers from last year are returning. Last year Jorge Maravilla and Eric Loeffler pulled away from David Angell on the final loop, with Maravilla pulling away for the win with 800 meters to go. Those three had distanced themselves from a chase pack consisting of Neville Davey, John Howell, Jacques Sallberg, Gregory Mitchell, Steven Short, Jaime Heilpern, and John Gardiner The top 3 from last year enter as favorites but Davey and Howell, who went 1-2 in 2017, will aim to reassert their dominance. Sallberg has won all the USATF Cross Country Championships he has entered, with 4 wins in the last 5 years, including at Talahassee earlier this year. He also won impressively at San Diego two months ago in the USATF Masters 5 Km XC Championships. Can he replicate that success at Club Cross? Mitchell won the 2014 championship race on this same course. Can he repeat? And, as always, new names will be heard from. Top road runners from Philadelphia, Brock Butler and Chris Naimoli, have thrown their hats in the ring and are joined by Peter Gilmore and Michael Gordon, the respective winners of the Pacific Association [8K] and New England Association Cross Country Championships. 
2019 5 KM XC Championships-San Diego Cal Coast photo

Roosevelt Cook ran a swift 14:56 at Carlsbad this year, and finished in 2nd behind Sallberg at the 5 Km XC Masters race in October. Gilmore came in ahead of Heilpern in the PA XC race, and Gordon came in a half minute ahead of David Bedoya who finished 11th last year in Spokane. Gordon also ran a nifty 32:28 at the Beach to Beacon 10K. The field is so deep it is entirely possible that another stalwart may emerge and take it all. There are 16 names above. Who will win it? Angell is running better than ever this year and has prepped with a couple of XC races; he was the first Masters Runner across the line at the Paul Short XC race, run on the same Lehigh course. Angell came in 21 seconds ahead of Naimoli. But Naimoli came back to defeat Angell at the USATF 15K Championship in Tulsa and he acould that the Paul Short was his first XC race in 20 years. Butler finished 2 seconds back from Naimoli a week after running 2:25:33 at the Berlin Marathon. My general sense is that Davey and Maravilla have had a couple of minor hiccups that may make it difficult for them to take it all. Two years ago when Davey took the title, he ran 14:44 at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot; this year he did not break 15. He also finished 3rd at the 5 km Masters XC Championships in San Diego, jut a second back from Cook, but 11 seconds back from Sallberg. Maravilla ran his favorite San Francisco Marathon again, taking 2nd rather than first and running a slightly slower time at 2:29:28 compared to his 2:27:56 in 2018. But the time is within a normal variation so one should not put too much emphasis on it. He ran 2:24:55 at the Chevron Houston Marathon earlier in the year. He also ran a 100K Ultra in August, which he won; that should benefit him. On the other hand, I see no race results since then. After his 2nd place finish last year, Loeffler should be hungry for the win. He ran the Medtronic TC 10 Miler last year and this. His time was faster last year but had he run in the USATF Open Championship section of the race in both years, he would have placed higher this year. Based on last year, Butler's Marathon chops should put him in contention. 
Sprinting for the Finish at 2018 Club XC in Spokane Photo: Mike Scott

Howell has been focusing on Spartan Beast races. He showed up for the Stumptown XC Race #5 and was first Masters runner across the line. He is always dangerous in XC. Until someone beats the Champ, I have to go with him-Maravilla for the win. Angell has run well all year and seems prepped for a good XC race. Sallberg is on top of his XC game right now so I see him moving up. We will see how far.
Jorge Maravilla   David Angell   Jacques Sallberg

A new champion will be crowned in the Women’s race; last year’s winner, Kate Landau, is focusing on prep for the Olympic Trials Marathon. Another potential contender, Meriah Earle, who won the USATF 5 Km Masters Championship in San Diego, is doing the same. The top runners from 2017 in Lexington are not here. But there is no shortage of top athletes. Nancy James-Klinger, who finished 5th a year ago, along with Brennan Liming and Kelly Couch, who finished 4th and 5th the year before, are three of the favorites. 

Start of the 2018 Club XC Women's Race in Spokane Photo: Mike Scott

Ginna Reid, who took the Masters crown at the AJC Peachtree Run this year, and Laura Latchford, who just won the Rothman 8K at the Philadelphia Marathon, will try to parlay road running excellence into a cross country victory. Two veterans who cannot be ignored include Janet McDevitt, who finished 2nd in the 2016 Club Cross Championships, and Marisa Sutera Strange, a perennial contender who took the top spot this past winter at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee. Kelly Griffin, who just won the Masters title at the Richmond Half Marathon in 1:18:51, and cyclo-cross and mountain runner, Sascha Scott, who won the USATF Masters 5K Championship in 2017, could also make their presence felt at the front. McDevitt finished 2nd in 2016, with Strange 4th. 
Chase Pack at 2017 Club Cross in Lexington KY

It was Liming, Couch, McDevitt, and Strange in that order in 2017. On the road 5K, McDevitt came in ahead of Scott and Strange in 2016. As noted above, Scott came back to win in 2017, but McDevitt was not in that race. Things would point to McDevitt as favorite, but when I look at her recent efforts it is clear that she is either coming out of rehab or is training less intensely for some other reason. An 8K in 32:04 and 5K's in the upper 18 to lower 19 range is terrific, but a few years back, she was cracking 18 minutes for the 5k. So McDevitt's out in my mind. That leaves Scott as my favorite. 
Lead Pack at 2018 Club Cross Championships in Spokane Photo: Mike Scott

Couch has run some good races this year and has the 2017 Lexington result in her favor. Liming's road times are not spectacular; but she ran really well on the frozen turf at Lexington, KY. Strange has had a bit of an up and down year but she still ran well in San Diego, finishing just 20 seconds back from Couch.
Sascha Scott   Kelly Couch   Marisa Sutera Strange

Joe Sheeran, who took the Men’s 60+ crown the last two years, will go for 3 in a row. His top rival is John Barbour. Barbour finished 2nd in 2016 and 2017 before an injury sidelined him for the 2018 and 2019 events. He signaled he was back in the spring by taking 1st in his 65-69 division in 38:39. Of course that does not mean all the way back; two years earlier he won the 60-64 in 37:43. 
Brian Pilcher and John Barbour going head to head at the USATF 2016 Club Cross Championships in Tallahassee

Still, with another 6 months under his belt and the cross country turf he loves so well, Barbour should be primed to stick with Sheeran, if at all possible. He recently took the 2nd Masters spot, for 60+, at the New England Association 8K Cross Country Championships.  
Joe Sheeran leads out the Men's 60+ Race at the 2017 Club Cross Championships in Lexington KY

Mark Reeder, just turned 60, took the top spot. Reeder ran almost two minutes faster than Barbour at the road 10K in Dedham; his edge at the New England XC had shrunk to a half minute. On the other hand at this same Championship venue in 2014, Sheeran and Reeder went 1-2 in 55-59, with Youngers 4th behind Mike Smith

Run n Fun teammates, Daniel Johnson and Doug Keller, who finished 6th and 7th last year will give it another try, as will Daniel King, who finished 2nd to Sheeran, just 11 seconds back, at the recent 5 km Masters Cross Country Championships in San Diego. Back in 2015, King took top 55-59 honors at the USATF XC Championships in Boulder.  
M60+ Chase Pack at 2019 USATF Cross Country Championships at Tallahassee Photo: Mike Scott

Ken Youngers, who finished 3rd in 2017, also gives chase. Youngers has had a good year on the roads, winning the 60-64 group in 36:19; he also finished 3rd in Tallahassee, beating everyone except Sheeran and Roger Sayre who is rehabbing an injury. Sheeran seems too strong to doubt he will make it three in a row. It will be interesting to see whether Barbour, Reed, or Youngers can stay close.
Joe Sheeran   Dan King   Mark Reeder

Age-Grading determines the top performance overall across age divisions. Last year’s top 3 in the 40+ division were Nat Larson, followed by B.A.A. teammates, Peter Hammer and Andy Gardiner; two of the three Massachusetts residents return this year-Gardiner is out. Sallberg, who took the honors at the 5 km Masters Championships could also be a factor; he will need to find the rhythm of the course and pop one! Jaime Heilpern and Mark Zamek finished 6th and 7th. If Davey runs as well as he did in San Diego, or better, he could factor into age-grading as well.
Nat Larson   Peter Hammer   Jacques Sallberg
For the 60+ race, Sheeran, Rick Becker, and Youngers went 1-2-3 in Lexington in 2018; Becker topped Sheeran last year. With Becker absent, Sheeran is the favorite to return to the top spot. Doug Goodhue and Gene Dykes could also factor in the age-grading contest. At the 2018 Masters 5 km Cross Country Championship they went 1-2 in 60+. John Barbour could certainly crack the podium; he took top 60+ age-grading honors in 2016 when he finished 2nd to Brian Pilcher. If Tony Marshall, Dan King, or Mark Reeder are the ones to have a good day, look for their names towards the top of the Age-Grading list. have a good day, they could move up from their age-grading position in San Diego behind Sheeran and Goodhue.
Joe Sheeran   Doug Goodhue   John Barbour

Marisa Sutera Strange is the favorite in the Women’s race. She did not run Club Cross last year but age-graded over 90% at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee. Carmen Ayala-Troncoso had the top age grade at Spokane, but Strange finished 1st and Ayala-Troncoso 3rd in age-grading at the recent Masters 5 Km XC Championships. Nora Cary, Patrice Combs, Hronn Gudmundsdottir, and Regina Joyce are also in the hunt for a podium finish. Joyce finished 5th in Spokane. Cary finished 3rd in age grading at the 10K road championships in Dedham. Combs is always in the top tier of age-graders, and Gudmundsdottir finished 7th at Dedham and 6th at the 5Km XC at San Diego.
Marisa Sutera Strange   Carmen Ayala-Troncoso   Regina Joyce

Team contests are the focal point at Club Cross.  
Men 40+ The Bowerman Track Club, the Boston Athletic Association, and the West Valley Track Club went 1-2-3 last year, with Minnesota’s Run N Fun a close 4th. The year before it was West Valley, the B.A.A. and Bowerman taking the top 3 spots in that order. Those four teams are all entered again; it should be the same dogfight.  

Men 50+ The Greater Springfield Harriers have ruled the roost for the past two years, taking the title by a wide margin in 2017 but pressed more closely last year by Bowerman. West Valley brings a strong team that will make a run for the win. The Central Park Track Club, Club Northwest and the Greater Philadelphia Track Club could be factors.  

Men 60+ In 2017 it was Club Northwest, the Atlanta Track Club and the Shore Athletic Club going 1-2-3, with the Syracuse Track Club just off the podium. Club Northwest took top honors last year too; Run N Fun and the Green Mountain Athletic Association rounded out the podium.  Club Northwest, short-handed this year, will be pressed to repeat. Atlanta, Run N Fun, Greater Lowell, and the HOKA Aggies are threats for the podium.  

Men 70+ Ann Arbor took the title last year but are not at full strength. The San Diego Striders, who took top honors at the Masters 5Km XC Championships on their home turf, enter as the favorite. Ann Arbor should maintain a spot on the podium. The Eastside Runners, who took top honors in 2017, will battle Ann Arbor for the podium. The Genesee Valley Harriers and Atlanta are always a threat. Gene Dykes gives the Greater Philadelphia Track Club a top finisher; they could also contend.  

Men 80+ The San Diego Striders, Atlanta, and the Clifton Road Runners will vie for the crown. Clifton, the hometown heroes, may well get the win. Second place could go either way, with Atlanta a slight favorite.

Women 40+ The Jane’s Elite Racing goes for their third straight win. Team Red Lizard, who finished 5th last year, has added two fast runners. They will force the Jane’s to earn the win. The Bull City Track Club, Club Northwest, and Impala Racing are not far off. This should be a very close race for 1st through 5th.  

Women 50+ The Jane’s took their 2nd consecutive title in 2018 but are not at full strength this year. The Athena Track Club and Club Northwest, who finished 2nd and 3rd to the Jane’s in 2017, will push them for the win this time. Other likely contenders include the Impalas and the Western Mass Distance project.  

Women 60+ Team Red Lizard, who took top honors the last two years, is not entered. Patrice Combs will lead the way for Atlanta, but Club Northwest brings a strong, evenly matched team that may get the win. Nora Cary leads her North Jersey Masters team; she could pull the team to a podium finish.  
Women 70+ Atlanta and the San Diego Track Club duked it out last year; Atlanta took the win 10-11. The Impalas entered a team, but one runner was forced to scratch; Atlanta will take the division unopposed.

Individual Age Division Champions will also be crowned. Most races are almost too close to call, but there will be stirring competition for each divisional win.

 Men 40-44 See above for Maravilla and Angell to go 1-2 overall in Men's 40+ and hence 1-2 in 40-44. It is very tough to choose between Butler, Loeffler, and Naimoli. Using similar logic as before, I will give the edge to Loeffler on the grounds that he's been here before and delivered.
Jorge Maravilla   David Angell   Eric Loeffler

Women 40-44 See above for Scott and Couch to go 1-2 overall and hence 1-2 in 40-44. It is tough to choose between Liming and James-Klinger, but I will go with the latter, in part, because she won the Masters title at the Southern Cal Association Cross Country race. I could find no XC races for Liming since the last Club Cross she ran in 2017.
Sascha Scott   Kelly Couch   Nancy James-Klinger

Men 45-49 I have picked Sallberg for the podium behind two 40-44 year olds. If that turns out right, he gets 1st in this division. But he will have to beat a really tough field. John Gardiner, John Howell, and Greg Mitchell. As noted, Mitchell won overall in Bethlehem in 2014, so he knows the course and how to run on it. Howell finished 2nd in Lexington and was 4th last year, just ahead of Sallberg. Gardiner has always finished in the top ten at Club Cross and he, like Mitchell, knows this course. But Gardiner's result at San Diego suggests he may be a bit off the top of his form.
Jacques Sallberg   John Howell   Greg Mitchell

Women 45-49 No one from this age division was picked for the overall podium, but Janet McDevitt would normally have been highly considered for that. Even if she is primarily running for her team's benefit, it would certainly be a mistake to leave her off the age division podium. Others who merit consideration include: Hortencia Aliaga who was first Masters runner at the USATF-New Jersey 5 Km XC Championships in 19:12; Dianne DeOliveira, who has a 19:15 5K and a 31:58 5 Miler to her credit this year on the roads; Brenda Hodge, who just ran 1:28:01 in the Philly Half Marathon; Grace Padilla, who won the division last year in 22:56, but is listed for the Janes 'B' team this year.
I worry that the B team listing for Padilla is a signal that she is not ready to race at full speed; otherwise I might pick her to repeat. As is, I will go with McDevitt for the division win, with Padilla for 2nd and Aliaga for 3rd.
Janet McDevitt   Grace Padilla   Hortencia Aliaga

Men 50-54 Three of the top 5 from last year are back, Peter Hammer, Michael Nahom and Christian Cushing-Murray. I would add Kent Lemme, who was rehabbing and just running for the team last year; he finished 3rd in 2017. But the results of the USATF-NE Cross Country Championship suggest Lemme may still have lingering issues from his Boston Marathon experience this year. The 1-2-3 from San Diego, Ivan Lieben, Matt Farley, and Charles Mullane could make an impact too. But Farley was over a minute behind Cushing-Murray at Tallahassee this year, and I have heard he has an issue keeping him from his best efforts. Lieben is, no doubt, the most likely to break up the top 3. The only race I find for Nahom this fall is a 1:25 Half Marathon in mid-October. I would expect a faster time from him, although he did still win his age division. Cushing-Murray had an off day in San Diego, finishing 5th in the Division. But he turned in a 33:58 TPS Dino Dash 10K in early November so there is no reason to ignore him for a podium run. Hammer, based on his 2714 for 6th place overall in the Masters portion of the USATFNE XC Champs, seems poised for his usual dominant run at the front of the division.
Peter Hammer   Ivan Lieben   Christian Cushing-Murray

Women 50-54 Nancy Thomas, who finished 2nd in the 45-49 last year appears poised to run to the front of this year's 50-54 division. Except for Tania Fischer, the top finishers from this division last year are absent.  Amy Fakterowitz took top honors in Tallahassee this year, and has run well all year. In 2017 in Lexington, Aeron Arlin Genet took top honors ahead of Kirsten Leetch, who won last year. Christine Crowley took top W50 honors at the usatfne cross country championhips in 22:17, finishing 27 seconds ahead of Mimi Fallon. Dana Parrot, ho finished 3 seconds behind Fallon will try to reverse the tables. Genet ran a faster time than Thomas in 2017. That is their last meeting, I give the edge to Genet. But I find no results for Genet other than a 5:06 State Street Mile this year.
Aeron Arlin Genet     Nancy Thomas   Christine Crowley

Men 55-59 Nat Larson has dominated his age division since he started showing up at Masters Championships a few years back. Last year was no exception as Larson took the title in Spokane with a minute to spare. Mark Zamek and Alan Evans, who finished 3rd and 4th are back to challenge. Zamek defeated Larson for the first time, at least in my memory, at the USATF Masters Mile Championships. But Larson has had another four months to recover from any lingering issues that led to a short absence from the circuit this spring. He ran only a few seconds slower this year than last at the Manchester run in Connecticut. Neither Mike Blackmore nor Mark Tatum, who were in sight of Larson in Tallahassee, have made the trip. None of the top 3 from San Diego are here. But Mike Nier and Richard Osifchin, who finished in 18th and 21st last year in M50 at Spokane. Evans appears to have been somewhat less active with his racing this fall compared to past years. Both Nier and Osifchin have good results from XC races this fall.
Nat Larson   Mark Zamek   Mike Nier

Women 55-59 The list of runners at the top of this division has to start with Marisa Sutera Strange. If I am right that she is likely to take the age-grading win, or if I am just a little bit wrong and she only winds up on the podium, she should take the division crown again. She won the Overall race at Tallahassee this past winter. She took the division crown in San Diego, and the last time she ran Club Cross, in 2017 at Lexington she took the 50-54 honors. Who else? Laura Bruess, Trish Butler, Kris Huff, Lorraine Jasper, and Mary Swan are all worthy of mention. Bruess is always a division threat. She took 2nd to Strange in San Diego, albeit two minutes back. It has been a while since Butler was injury free. Her most recent XC efforts were at Lexington where she finished 4th in the division and at Tallahassee this past February where she ran after surgery and finished 6th in the division. The last time she was anywhere near healthy, she finished 11th overall at Club Cross in 2016. But it does not appear she is healthy enough to challenge this year. Huff finished 5th at Tallahassee this year. Jasper's primary focus is on the track, but she has enjoyed success on the turf as well. She finished 3rd in 55-59 at Tallahassee this year, and finished 2nd in 55-59 in the 2016 Club Cross Championships at Tallahassee. She also took 3rd at the 2017 Club Cross at Lexington. Swan is very consistent and is running well. She finished 4th in the division at Tallahassee this past February and 7th in Spokane. In 2016 she captured a Club Cross 5th in Tallahassee, while 7th was her position at Lexington. She took the age division title this fall at both of the Pete Glavin XC Championships. Perhaps this will be her year to crack the podium?
Marisa Sutera Strange   Lorraine Jasper   Mary Swan

Men 60-64 This was laid out in the Overall Men 60+ section.
Joe Sheeran   Dan King   Mark Reeder

Women 60-64  Carmen Ayala-Troncoso is a Hall of Famer who excels on the Cross Country turf. She took the 60-64 crown at San Diego and 55-59 titles 2015 and in Lexington in 2017. It's another odd year so it seems likely that Ayala-Troncoso will get the win this year too. Nora Cary, Suzanne Cordes, Regina Joyce, Patrice Combs, and Kathi Sleavin will slug it out for the remaining podium spots. Joyce finished 3rd in Spokane, running 20 seconds faster than Cordes. Cary took the division title at the 5K USATF-NJ XC Championships in 22:16. That suggests she will be quite competitive at the 6K distance. I find no recent XC results for Sleavin but she appears to be in a class on the roads with Combs. Both have run recent 5K's in under 21:30 and have Half Marathons in the mid 1:30's. But neither has shown yet they can be a factor on the Cross Country turf.
Carmen Ayala-Troncoso   Regina Joyce   Suzanne Cordes

Men 65-69 As noted above, if John Barbour can successfully challenge for the 60+ podium, he is a shoo-in for the 65-69 crown. Joseph Reda and Reno Stirrat have been battling for 65-69 wins all year on the roads and that should continue on the turf. Stirrat did not make the trip to San Diego where Reda took the honors over Chuck Smead who will not be at Lehigh, and Robert Qualls, who will. In the meantime, Stirrat took care of cross country business in New Jersey, recently winning the 65-69 8K Championship in 33:06. If Stirrat's hip behaves, he should wind up on the podium, but nothing is guaranteed. Bob Deak has been chasing Reda and Stirrat since the 5K championship in Atlanta. He topped off a good year with a nifty 1:26+ Half marathon at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, but tweaked his hamstring. Whether he has recovered enough to have a good effort in Lehigh is an open question. James Foster took 2nd in the division last year in 33:22, but that was a half minute slower than Stirrat ran in 60-64. That means his work is cut out for him but he is a strong XC runner and could well work his way onto the podium. If any of those falter, Kirk Larson, who took the 65-69 Masters Grand Prix title last year, is in a position to move up onto the podium.
John Barbour   Joseph Reda   James Foster

Women 65-69 This division is a mystery. None of the runners from the last several cross country national championships from 2016 in Tallahassee to Spokane, Tallahassee, and San Diego this year are entered. Maybe I should use the dartboard approach? Nope! The most impressive runner in this new (to me) group appears to be almost local, Lorraine McPhillips from the Raritan Valley Club across the border in NJ. She has a 24:40 5K and a 41:18 5 Miler to her credit. The only downside is that I could not find any recent XC races, trail runs or triathlons. Many of her competitors have those other kinds of experiences in addition to the roads. Mary Ann Gurka has a 53:32 Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge 10K mark and also has a 10 Mile Trail Run under her belt, age-grade equivalent to a 25:20. Patrice Hancock has a 1:38:58 10 Miler, age grade equivalent to a 1:00:22 10K, so not as fast as Gurka, but she also has a 30:16 in the USATF-NJ 5K Championship. Sherrol Harmon has similar marks with a 1:32:04 in the Ted Corbitt 15K and a 30:42 in the Fred Lebow 5K XC race. Isabel Bentz appears to be primarily a road racer with marks similar to Gurka's best recent 5K, with a 27:28 and a 5 Miler not far off of McPhillips's with a 44:40, but like Phillips lacks any recent off-road experience. McPhillips seems to be enough faster on the roads to make up for any lack of XC experience. Gurka doies not have wuite the road speed of McPhillips but has some trail running experience which is useful in XC. In whatt might be a very close race for the final podium spot, I will opt for Hancock over Harmon. [Is that because I went to Hancock Elementary School in my youth?]
Lorraine McPhillips   Mary Ann Gurka   Patrice Hancock

Men 70-74 Last year it was Terry McCluskey, Rick Katz, Lloyd Hansen, and David Longmuir, the 2017 winner in Lexington, claiming 1 through 5. Hansen is not making the trip this year and Longmuir showed up at San Diego in the midst of rehab from a spring surgery. Longmuir will be fruther along in his recovery but it may still be too early for him to be competitive for the podium. David Dunbar has moved up from 65-69. He was one of two runners who passed McCluskey when he went down just before the finish line at San Diego. That race wound up with Dunbar at 21:48, Katz 21:53, and McCluskey 21:54. My guess is that McCluskey is motivated for the win in Lehigh. But he is also stronger at longer distances. Last year in Spokane McCluskey clocked 34:27 to Katz's 35:23 and Dunbar's 35:47. Gene Dykes is hopping back into the Championship circuit. On his last xc appearance in Buffalo in 2018, he took first, defeating McCluskey and the rest of the field by almost a minute. There is reason to think Dykes might not be quite as strong this year; he broke his clavicle on one of his many ultra trail runs and that threw his training off for a bit. He has mostly recovered but it would not be impossible for McCluskey to run with him if he has a good day.
Gene Dykes   Terry McCluskey   Rick Katz

Women 70-74 Irene Herman finished 6th in San Diego. Terry Foody finished 3rd in the Division at the 5 Km XC Championships in Buffalo and at the USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee this past February. Kathleen Allen took 5th last year in Spokane. Jo Ann Rowland, who ran 28:01 at the 5km XC in San Diego might well have won had she not had a complication to a medical procedure; the doctor ordered her not to run for a few weeks. As is, it appears that Herman is the favoriute, Followed by Allen and Foody.
Irene Herman   Kathleen Allen   Terry Foody

Men 75-79 This year started out as the victory tour for Hall of Famer Doug Goodhue. At age 77, he won the 8K Championship in 34:22, and the 5K in 21:28, winning each event b y two minutes or more. That got interrupted when another of our storied lions, Jan Frisby, shook off old injuries, got back into condition and let out a roar in Flint, edging Goodhue by a lean at the tape. But the interruption was short-lived. At the 5K XC Championships in San Diego, it seemed like it would be back to business as usual. In a sense it was, in that Goodhue came in almost a minute and a half head of Frisby. But as often happens, there was a 'new kid' on the block. Tony Marshall, a British tri-athlete from the San Diego area, finally got his citizenship, joined the striders and there's been no holding him back since he clocked almost 20 flat at Carlsbad at the age of 74. By the time the 5 Km XC rolled around, he was 75, entered the Goodhue-Frisby age division and took the win, a half minute ahead of Goodhue. No one can catch those three. Goodhue will have a certain edge because this is over an extra 3K compared to San Diego. That should make it closer but it seems likely Marshall will have just enough to eke out the victory.
Tony Marshall   Doug Goodhue   Jan Frisby

Women 75-79 Margaret Hoey and Catherine Radle will go toe to toe in this division. Hoey has a 1:14:20 in the Cooper Norcross Bridge 10K, and a 1:00:23 in the Rothman Institute 8K at the Philly Marathon. The former is age-grade equivalent to a 34:33 5K, and the latter to a 35:57 5K equivalent. In September 2018, Radle ran a 38:27 to take the division title at the 5 Km XC Championships in Buffalo. She also landed on the podium at the 5K Championship in Atlanta this past August in 34:32. Hoey's comparative lack of recent experience on the turf, combined with Radle having equivalent road times makes her the favorite over Hoey, but it is a close call.
Catherine Radle   Margaret Hoey

Men 80-84 David Turner turned 80 this year. Just before he turned, he ran a 26:35 5K; just after, he ran a 1:29:36 15K. In February 2018, he finished 3rd at the USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee in a time of 43:50. John Elliott is likely his closest competition and Elliott took 2nd place at the 5Km XC in San Diego. Scaling that up to 8K results in a 48 minute 8Km XC and it would most likely be slower because of the longer distance's pace effect. Andrew Sherwood ran 53:04 last year to take 6th in 75-79, but that was 7 seconds faster than the winning 80-84 time of Richard Williams. Williams will no doubt take more notice of Sherwood, now that he has an M80 on his back. But he may not be close enough when it counts; Sherwood ran a minute and a half faster than Williams in San Diego. James Leitz could also make a run for the podium; at the 2018 USATF-NJ XC 5K Championships, he ran 31:17.
David Turner   John Elliott   Andrew Sherwood

Men 85-89 Warren Seamans won his division at the USATF-NJ 5K XC Championships in 47:23. That is age-grade equivalent to a 1:17:53 8km XC effort. As Warren Osborn finished 2nd in 80-84 last year in Spokane with a 54:57, he seems a safe bet for the 1st place medal. It will be closer for 2nd place, as Sid Davis took 3rd in 80-84 in 1:16:49. The race for 2nd is probably too close to call, but I will opt for the lower figure and give the edge to Davis. Having two fellows on the 85-89 podium with the first name, 'Warren' speaks well for the moniker. Perhaps it will make a comeback and vie for the most popular baby name of 2020...or maybe it will take a few years?!
Warren Osborn  Sid Davis Warren Seamans   

Men 90-94 Should Nathan Finestone show up and compete for  a 90-94 Cross Country title on this slightly soft and muddy course on Saturday, it would be a first, at least in my memory.
Nathan Finestone

It should be a killer event on Saturday--We shall see, among other things, who copes well with a rain-soaked cross country course! Best of luck to all--Run hard, run well and emerge unscathed!

No comments:

Post a Comment