Monday, January 27, 2020

Masters Runners Conquer Muddy Course at 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Champinshiops at Lehigh University-Part 3: Individual Races

01/27/2020---12/14/2019. BETHLEHEM, PA – Two earlier reports focused on Team Results. This post will focus on Individual Races---Overall, Age Division, and Overall Age Grading. This report will be more compressed than usual because of time constraints and because the essence of Club Cross is Team Competition. That said, a number of athletes enter unattached, presumably to test themselves against the best. Also a number of top runners for teams have a number of rivals, old and new, that they test themselves against while vying for their teams.

The course was damp from an inch of rain earlier in the week; light rain Friday afternoon and overnight added to the problem. The footing over most of the course was good; there were a few troublesome spots. Most runners agreed that it could have been worse and was, in many respects, a perfectly normal cross-country challenge. Admittedly the problem got worse with each batch of runners who traversed the course. A few slipped on some of the tight turns that were muddy; they bounced up again though and took off after their rivals! Everyone proved they were up to the challenge.

OVERALL There were three races, M60+, at 10 AM over 8 Km; Women, at 11 AM over 6 Km, and Men 40+ over 10 Km. Each has already been covered somewhat in the Team Recaps, but here there will be more focus on the individuals. There are three races; who came in at the front. We know that the top runners in 40+ will  (almost) all be under 50 and the top runners in 60+ will (almost) all, and so on. But we are human creatures. We see a race and we want to know who won it. The Age Division coverage is more balanced in that it breaks things down to 5-year age groups and the Age-Grading provides a way of comparing the level of individual performance across all age divisions.

Men 60+ Joe Sheeran is working on a '3-peat.' He won in Lexington and he won in Spokane. He is a 'beast' on the Cross Country turf, running with abandon. Some pretty strong runners tried to stick with him last year. Roger Sayre, who has beaten Sheeran on the roads, could not stay within a half minute of him, but he came the closest. Sayre is nursing an injury so his next attempt at a Club Cross victory will have to wait until next year. Mark Reeder and Daniel King have had big results on the Cross Country turf and would make their first try against Sheeran for the 60+ crown. Daniel Johnson, Doug Keller, and Ken Youngers, who finished in 6th, 7th, and 8th last year would give it another try. As usual, Sheeran took off like his life depended on getting to the 400 meter mark before anyone else, and dared everyone to stay with him. Like last year, no one would stay with him for more than the first 300 meters or so. Around the sports fields and up the long hill, he built his lead. No one stayed with him. By the time he had traversed the first loop and was heading out for the 2nd shorter loop, he had a hundred meters on his closest pursuer, Reeder. King was another 20 meters back, with Johnson and Keller  another 30 meters. Russell Blatt was a few strides behind in 6th. There was a 75 meter gap gap then to Chuck Shields and Timothy Conheady, trying desperately not to lose contact completely. By the end of the second loop at the 6.5 Km Mark Sheeran had 200 meters o Reeder. There was little doubt about who was going to win! What about the rest of the podium. King was still tracking Reeder about 20 meters back so there was still time if King could surge at the right time. Johnson was running alone now about 30 meters back from King. Blatt had moved up to 5th but was now 80 meters back from Johnson. And he had company, with Keller 15 meters back and Shields an equal amount further back. The last loop was 1.5 kilometers and not much changed. Sheeran grew his margin back to Reeder by another 30 meters. Reeder was able to shake King, enjoying a final gap of over 40 meters. Johnson came close but fell 4 seconds short of catching King for the final podium spot King definitely earned it! . Shields was able to move past Keller and Blatt into 5th place. It was a dominant display by Sheeran and gave him the '3-peat.' Is there anyone on the horizon who can challenge Sheeran at 60+. Next year he will be 63; it is tougher each year you go past the midpoint of a 5-year age division. None of the top 55-59 year olds are due to move up to 60+ for another 3 years. Sheeran seems a good bet for 2020.
Joe Sheeran 28:42   Mark Reeder 29:34   Daniel King 29:44
Joe Sheeran, winner of the Overall Men's 60+ Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA [Photo Credit for this and all others in thei article: Michael Scott]

Mark Reeder takes 2nd in the Overall Men's 60+ Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Dan King takes 3rd in the Overall Men's 60+ Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA
Women The winner at Spokane, Kate Landau, and the winner at the 5 Km Masters Cross County Championship in San Diego this past October, Meriah Earle, are focusing their prep for the Olympic Marathon Trials at the end of February in Atlanta. Sascha Scott, who won the 5 Km Road Championships a couple of years ago was a potential favorite, along with Margaret Brennan and Brennan Liming, who finished 2nd and 4th in Lexington in 2017.Nancy James-Klinger, who finished 5th in Spokane could also factor into the race for the top prize. Casey Hire, who bested Lorilyn Bloomer by a minute at the Stumptown XC Race #5, an 8K course. Bloomer finished 3rd in San Diego among some pretty fast company. Janet McDevitt who finished 6th at Club Cross in Lexington, Kelly Couch who finished 4th in San Diego and Kelly Griffin who clocked under 1:19 at the Richmond Half Marathon this year would also be in the mix.

The gun sounded and Hire moved immediately to the front and drove the pace through the first 400 meters. Scott tucked in behind her, biding her time. A Chase Pack consisting of Brennan, James-Klinger, McDevitt, Griffin, Couch, Liming and Sarah Dunham were content to let those two lead. By the time they reached the 3.5K split, Scott had moved to the front, and was running confidently. But she said later she was nervous as she had not expected to take the lead that early.  She hit the split in 13:17 and was now dictating the pace, with Hire right on her heels. Brennan had left the rest of the chase pack behind, but had also lost ground to the two leaders, falling in the wilderness 20 meters behind those two and 30 meters ahead of the next runner, Dunham. If the two in front did not start to come back to her, Brennan would have to go get them if she was to improve on her 2nd place in Lexington. Couch and James-Klinger were a few strides behind Dunham, with Griffin and Liming just back from them. Latchford was still in the mix but in danger of losing touch with the chase pack. McDevitt, now 40 meters back from Latchford, would not have her usual outing at Club Cross.

Scott, who has focused on Cyclo-Cross recently, stayed relaxed until a kilometer to go and made her move. She went from strength to strength as she pulled away, opening up a 40 meter lead on the field. Brennan was successful in catching Hire but, despite her best efforts, saw that she had no hope of closing on Scott today. Scott won the race in 22:26 with Brennan in 2nd 9 seconds back. James-Klinger finshed strong over the last 2.5 K, catching and passing Hire to claim the final podium spot. A 5th in Spokane and a Bronze Medal at Lehigh are nothing to sneeze at! Hire was 4 seconds back in 4th. Liming passed Couch but despite a fast last kilometer was not able to run Hire down, so took 5th in 22:49. Couch finished 6th, with Griffin 4 seconds back at 22:59, followed by Dunham and Latchford in 8th and 9th. McDevitt, still on the comeback trail, wound up in 11th. But watch out for her at Cross Country Nationals in San Diego if she enters. With a champion like McDevitt, even a few weeks of extra training can make a difference. Scott's success may lead others to consider Cyclo-Cross as a way of preparing for Cross Country Championships. As Scott said later, "My favorite race is the mile and milers are not usually as strong as long distance runners. Cross-country has long been my white whale-- something I could never quite get a handle on. I set my sights on this race in August. My coach, Roberta Anthes, and I formulated a plan that would focus on strength. That paid off."
Sascha Scott 22:26   Margaret Brennan 22:35   Nancy James-Klinger 22:45
Sascha Scott, winner of the Overall Women's Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Margaret Brennan takes 2nd in the Women's Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Nancy James-Klinger takes 3rd in the Women's Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Men 40+. The top finishers from last year’s race in Spokane were all back. In that race, Jorge Maravilla, pulled away from Eric Loeffler over the final kilometer to claim the victory. David Angell, who was in the 3-man lead pack for most of the race, took 3rd. After Angell, it was 25 seconds before the leading edge of the Chase Pack arrived but they definitely arrived in a pack, often side by side or with just a second of two between them: Neville Davey, John Howell, Jacques Sallberg, Gregory Mitchell, Steven Short, Jaime Heilpern, and John Gardiner streamed across the finish line in 4th through 10th.But they would also have new playmates on the turf. Peter Gilmore, Michael Gordon, Brad Poore, Dave Slavinski, and Lance Thompson were all worthy adversaries. Gilmore had taken the honors at the Pacific Association’s 8 Km XC Championship earlier this fall, finishing ten seconds ahead of Heilpern, and 20 ahead of Poore. Gordon was the top gun out of the New England Association 8 Km XC Championships, finishing a half minute ahead of David Bedoya who had finished just outside of the top 10 in Spokane. With a 16:04 5K and a recent 1:12 Half Marathon, Poore was clearly fit and, arguably, hungry for a better outing after finishing 3rd to Gilmore and Heilpern. Slavinski is mainly a tri-athlete who nonetheless cracked 34 minutes in the Giralda Farms 10K. Such athletes can be dangerous in XC. Thompson finished just outside the top 10 in both Lexington and Spokane. Perhaps this would be his year to move up. Others who would draw attention at the starting line included Brock Butler and Chris Naimoli who had finished just behind Angell in the Paul Short XC Championship held over these same grounds. Naimoli had later finished well ahead of Angell in the Masters 15 K Championship so he seemed primed for a good run. Spokane and Lexington were both colder, right around freezing, but the ground was hard. This year provided a different challenge, not so cold, but the turf was soft from rain earlier in the week and overnight and there were a few very muddy stretches and several other areas where it was somewhat muddy. That could make a difference as runners adapt differently to such conditions.

When the gun sounded, Naimoli led the charge up the middle and across the field. Once the field came together there was a solid pack up front. All around the first loop of the 10 Km race they drove, around the playing fields, up the long hill, crossing the two roads and then heading down toward the start, testing each other. When they hit the first timing mat at 3.5 Km, the first four crossed as one in 11:19-Gilmore, Gordon, Loeffler and Maravilla. Sallberg was 2 strides back, Another two seconds found Roosevelt Cook, Mike DiGennaro, Kevin Shirk, and then Naimoli, with Angell on his heels. The other contenders had gone out more conservatively; whether that was a winning strategy was yet to be revealed. Much resolved itself over the next 3.1 kilometers. Perhaps the steepest climb on the curse which began at about 4K, made a difference. At the second split there was a 3-man lead pack with Maravilla setting the pace, crossing the mat in 25:08, with Gilmore and Sallberg following shoulder to shoulder. Loeffler and Gordon were still in touch two seconds back. But the rest of the pack had let those 5 go. It was 50 meters back to Cook, slogging on in the loneliness of ‘No Man’s Land’, 50 meters back from the lead pack, but 100 meters ahead of Poore and the remaining chase pack. Slavinski and Heilpern were a few strides from Poore, with Thompson a couple of strides back from them.DiGennaro was next 4 seconds back with Tim Hardy on his heels, 5 seconds ahead of Shirk.

The final loop, which included the upper field for the second time, broke the field up to a greater extent. But Sallberg and Gilmore  were running together into the last kilometer, 30 meters ahead of Loeffler. It was a 2-runner race! Who would make the move to put the race away? One of the athletes that Sallberg used to Coach is now attending Lehigh and was spectating with a friend; they shouted '400 meters to go!' Sallberg used that for any motivation he needed to start his kick. Maybe he would have gone then anyway, but it happened that way and Sallberg was able to hold it all the way to the finish, winning in 32:55, five seconds ahead of Gilmore. He was spent, but happy! He has 4 wins at XC Nationals but this was his first Club Cross win! Sallberg summarized his experience after the race: "I think we got lucky because there was only a constant sprinkle of rain coming down and the race before ours didn't tear up the course too much. The extra muddy and slippery spots were pretty gnarly so taking the tightest turns and running the tangent wasn't always the safest route. There were way more uphills and downhills than I thought there would be, but I was okay with that.  I'm still amazed at how fast the college kids run on that course because it's not easy. This is definitely one of the most scenic cross country courses I've been at in a while. It makes me want to go back to Lehigh for the Paul Short Invitational next year." Gillmore could not stay with Sallberg at the end but he stretched his lead over Loeffler to 40 meters. It was not Maravilla's day this year; he finished 15 seconds later, 4th in 33:23. To finish 4th at Club Cross on what some would consider an off day for Maravilla is a tribute to his abilities.
Jacques Sallberg 32:55   Peter Gillmore 33:00    Eric Loeffler 33:08

Jacques Sallberg takes the title at the Men's 40+ Race at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Peter Gilmore takes 2nd in the Overall Men's 40+ Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Eric Loeffler takes 3rd in the Overall Men's 40+ Race  at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

40-44 Men/Women
See Overall recap immediately above as the top runners in this division were among the top in the Overall race. Peter Gilmore, who finished 2nd overall, took the honors in M40, followed by Eric Loeffler and Jorge Maravilla. Michael Gordon, in 4th, missed the podium by 4 seconds; Rosevelt Cook was another 6 seconds back in 5th.
Peter Gillmore 33:00    Eric Loeffler 33:08   Jorge Maravilla 33:23
Jorge Maravilla, Overall Club XC Champion in 2018, closes off the Men's 40-44 Podium at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

See Overall recap above as the top runners in 40-44 were the top 3 overall:  
Sascha Scott 22:26   Margaret Brennan 22:35   Nancy James-Klinger 22:45


Sallberg took 1st in 32:55. Jaime Heilpern and  battled the whole way; 2 seconds behind at the 1st split, even at the 2nd, Slavinski took 2nd by 3 seconds! Heilpern was still on the Club Cross podium in his last year in the Division, not bad! Julian Marsh finished 4th, 8 seconds back, with Todd Rose another 8 seconds back in 5th.
Jacques Sallberg 32:55   Dave Slavinski 34:01   Jaime Heilpern 34:04
Jaime Heilpern white cap and Dave Slavinski dark cap behind Heilpern heading for the 45-49 podium at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Janet McDevitt, may not be ready yet to contest at the front overall, but had no trouble in the division, moving to a 40-meter lead on the field by the first split; she won in 23:26. Grace Padilla, who won last year, and Cheryl Keller Capone were 2nd and 3rd. Two non-citizens, Olena Rozhko and Hortencia Aliaga, both of whom ran for Garden State, finished in 23:21 and 23:45 respectively but were barred from winning medals.
Janet McDevitt 23:26   Grace Padilla 23:50   Cheryl Keller Capone 24:30
Janet McDevitt won the 45-49 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Sandu Rebencuic stayed close over the first two loops but Peter Hammer kept the pressure up all the way, pulling away for an 8 second victory at the tape in 34:36. Rebencuic and Craig Godwin completed the podium. Ivan Lieben finished in 4th, 18 seconds back. That is Hammer’s 5th consecutive Club Cross division championship! Godwin adds this age division podium to the gold medal he won at the 15K in Tulsa. 
Peter Hammer 34:36   Sandu Rebencuic 34:44   Craig Godwin 35:08
Peter Hammer yellow singlet wins the 50-54 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Laura Latchford ran with the overall leaders, hitting the 1st split in 13:36, and taking the win in 23:17. Hronn Gudmundsdottir, Nancy Thomas, and Susan Empey went through the 1st split in 13:25 but Gudmundsdottir and her teammate, Thomas, pulled away on the 2nd loop to take 2nd and 3rd.
Laura Latchford 23:17   Hronn Gudmundsdottir 24:15   Nancy Thomas 24:28
Laura Latchford wins the 50-54 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA
Nat Larson went out at his usual killer pace, with Mark Zamek determined to hang on for the ride as long as he could and make a move if the opening arose. Zamek was right on Larson’s heels at the 1st split, but 5 seconds back at the 2nd. Larson continued to pull away, winning in 35:55 with a 12 second margin. Zamek took 2nd. Jeff Devlin finished 3rd, 41 seconds back, with Mike Barbee edging Mike Nier for 4th as both had the same 37:07 time. That was Larson’s 4th consecutive Club Cross division championship.  
Nat Larson 35:55   Mark Zamek 36:07   Jeff Devlin 36:48
Nat Larson white singlet #1552 wins the Men's 55-59 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Marisa Sutera Strange went out with the Overall leaders and was 15th overall at the 1st split; she led the division by over 250 meters. After winning  in 50-54 in 2015 and 2016, Strange skipped 2017 and 2018. In a new age division, now, Strange took her first Club Cross Championship as a 55-59 year old. Lorraine Jasper could not stay with Strange, but was able to put 20 seconds between her and Laura Bruess by the first split. Bruess is a tough runner though and kept it close, but could not catch Jasper, who took 2nd with a 28 second margin. Bruess had quite the battle with Mary Swan and Alyssa Tower to nai down the last podium spot. Tower hit the 3.5K split in 15:30, with Bruess 4 seconds back and Swan another 3. Both Bruess and Swan were able to pass Tower, but Bruess held her advantage over Swan to the very end. The final margin was 4 seconds!
Marisa Sutera Strange 23:54   Lorraine Jasper 25:48   Laura Bruess 26:16
Marisa Sutera Strange wins the Women's 55-59 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Joe Sheeran was going for his 4th consecutive Club Cross division championship; in 2015 Dan King finished 1st, with Sheeran 2nd, and King was in the field this year. Sheeran put all doubt to rest by running like a ‘madman’; he had 125 meters on King at the 1st split. Mark Reeder was closer, in 2nd place, but was still 100 meters behind. Sheeran took the win, his 4th in a row, in 28:42, with Reeder 2nd and King 3rd. Daniel Johnson was 30 meters behind King at the first and 2nd splits; he eventually closed to 20 meters but could get no closer.
Joe Sheeran 28:42   Mark Reeder 29:34   Dan King 29:44 

Hall of Famer, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, Club Cross Division Champion 3 of the last 4 years, sprinted away from the starting line and had a 100-meter lead by the time she hit the first timing mat. She kept that lead to the end, winning the 6 Km contest in 25:19. Beth Stalker finished 2nd. Kathi Sleavin stayed with Nora Cary for the first loop; she was just 3 seconds back. Cary pulled away to claim the final podium spot by 10 seconds.
Carmen Ayala-Troncoso 25:19   Beth Stalker 25:53   Nora Cary 26:09
Carmen Ayala-Troncoso red singlet wins the Women's 60-64 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

John Barbour, who finished 2nd in the M60+ Overall Championship in 2015 and 2016, ended a couple of years of injury rehab with a return to the top. Barbour led the division by 150 meters after the 1st loop and built the lead to 250 meters by the time he crossed the finish line in 1st clocking 30:43. Joe Reda had beaten George Braun three times on the road this year at the 5K, 8K, and 10K Championships, but a tour over the Cross Country conditions with some muddy spots migth prove a different story. Reda took it out strong as he typically does, clocking 13:57 at the 3.5K split, with Braun 15 meters back. But Braun would give no quarter today; by the 6.5K split, he had 30 meters on Reda and, despite Reda's best efforts, kept him at bay all the way to the finish line. Robert Qualls was another 60 meters back in 4th.
John Barbour 30:43   George Braun 31:46   Joe Reda 31:57
John Barbour wins the Men's 65-69 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Lorraine McPhillips created a 12-second gap on the field on the first loop and grew the margin, taking the tape in 32:00, 46 minutes ahead of the field. Mary Ann Gurka and Sandra Rinderer took 2nd and 3rd. Gurka had almost 2 minutes on Rinderer, who has a much tougher job to stay ahead of the 4th place finisher, Catherine Akridge, who was only 11 seconds back.
Lorraine McPhillips 32:00   Mary Ann Gurka 32:46   Sandra Rinderer 34:40

Terry McCluskey would have to beat 41 competitors to take his 2nd straight Club Cross Division championship. In particular, he had to beat two guys who had faster times at the San Diego 5 Km Masters XC, Rick Katz and David Dunbar, not to mention Gene Dykes, who had the edge when they met at the 2018 5 Km Masters XC Championship. No problem, replied McCluskey with his actions, as he pushed hard from the gun, opened up a 100-meter lead by the 3.5K split. McCluskey was able to stretch it over the final two loops, winning by over a half minute it to the tape, winning in 34:13. Dykes and Katz battled shoulder-to-shoulder for the first two loops; Dykes pulled away to take 2nd, with Katz third, 8 seconds back. A minute later David Dunbar claimed 4th, 10 seconds ahead of Hank Schiffman.
Terry McCluskey 34:13   Gene Dykes 34:48   Rick Katz 34:56
Terry McCluskey navigates a tight turn on his way to the Men's 70-74 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Kathleen Allen was only 20 meters ahead of Irene Herman after the 1st of 2 loops, but pulled away to win by over 60 meters in 36:27. Herman took 2nd, with Deborah Barchat 3 minutes back in 3rd. A minute and 21 seconds later, Judith Tripp took 4th.
Kathleen Allen 36:27   Irene Herman 36:51   Deborah Barchat 39:48
Kathleen Allen skirts the muddiest section of the track on her way to the Women's 70-74 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Tony Marshall, a British ex-pat whose US citizenship came through this year, burst onto the scene at San Diego 5XC. A triathlete cross-over to XC, Marshall took the honors over a field including Hall-of-Famer Doug Goodhue. Despite the presence of Goodhue and Jan Frisby, 2015 Masters Grand Prix winner, Marshall took care of business on this 8 Km XC course. Marshall got out so fast that Goodhue, a very fast starter, never saw him. Marshall had 25 meters on Goodhue at the end of the first loop and built the lead to nearly 150 meters at the finish in a time of 35:28. Goodhue ran a heck of a race, beating all but 5 of the fastest 70-74-year old’s in the country. What an accomplishment for Marshall to win! Frisby had been able to beat Goodhue by a lean at the 1 Mile Championships, but was no match this time. A minute and change back at the first split, Frisby encountered a mechanical problem in the 2nd loop, perhaps a calf muscle, that slowed him down further. He still had enough to hang on for 3rd, though, 18 seconds ahead of Tom Jennings.
Tony Marshall 35:28   Doug Goodhue 36:18   Jan Frisby 39:45

Tony Marshall white singlet, middle background #1761 on his way to winning the Men's 75-79 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Last year in Spokane, Catherine Radle had to beat off a challenge from Virginia Lopez to take the 75-79 crown; she had the division to herself this year, clocking 44:57 for the win.
Catherine Radle 44:57
 Catherine Radle wins the Women's 75-79 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

The outcome of the Men’s race in this division hinged on a misdirection by a course marshal. John Elliott had won the 8K and 5K Championships on the road earlier in the year, but was edged by Elmo Shropshire at the 5 Km XC Championships in San Diego. He took the Club Cross title in 2016. He had been hoping to regain his winning ways at Lehigh, but ran into a buzzsaw named David Turner. A newcomer to the 80-84 division, Turner went hard from the gun and had a 250-meter lead over John Elliott by the 3.5K timing mat. By the end of the 2nd loop, Turner’s lead was well over 400 meters; he appeared unstoppable. A few hundred meters later, a marshal directed Turner, running alone at the time, to go straight, rather than turn left for the final 500 meters to the finish. His teammate, Andrew Sherwood, observed from afar but was too far away to shout a warning, about 600 meters at the time. Turner ran an extra 3 kilometers as a result and fell from 1st to last. Turner was philosophical. “It just means I will need to work harder over the rest of the year to win the Grand Prix; I expected a hundred points for a win. To only get 65 for an 8th place is a disappointment.” Elliott took the win by over a minute; he ran very well and had no control over what happened to Turner. Roland Ratmeyer came from 15 meters back at the end of the 2nd loop to edge Andrew Sherwood for 2nd place by a single second! A minute and 25 seconds later, Jim Leitz and Matt Lalumia came across the line, also separated by one second.
John Elliott 50:08    Roland Ratmeyer 51:34   Andrew Sherwood 51:35
 John Elliott o his way to winning the Men's 80-84 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

David Turner, minutes ahead in the Men's 80-84 division before a Misdirection on the Course forced him to run an extra 3 kilometers, costing him the lead at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA
The Women’s race had the celebrated Heide Moebius, multiple Gold Medal winner at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Torun Poland in 2018; Tami Graf, the 2017 Club Cross Champion in this division, and Ms. Masters Grand Prix, Madeline Bost, who has won the Individual Masters Grand Prix in her age division every year since the award was established for the 2014 year. Moebius made short work of the competition, establishing a 750-meter lead over the first loop, and stretching the lead over the final loop. She won in 39:31. Bost had a similar lead over Graf, taking 2nd by over 600 yards.
Heide Moebius 39:31   Madeline Bost 51:35   Tami Graf 57:27
Heide Modebius wins the Women's 80-84 National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA
 Sid Davis built up a lead of over 300 meters in the first loop but saw it all dissolve and switch to a 300-meter deficit to Warren Seamans by the end of the 2nd loop. Davis took 40 meters out of that lead on the last short loop, but Seamans had the win in 1:21:26. Davis had to settle for 2nd, but he was happy to improve over his 4th place finish in the 80-84 division in 2018.
Warren Seaman 1:21:26   Sid Davis 1:24:10 


This calculated figure is a measure of how close each runner is to being the world’s fastest for their age and sex. A 100% means you ran a time statistically equivalent to a projected world’s best, with lower percentages indicating how far off the athlete was. It is not a percentile; far fewer than 10 % of elite Masters runners can achieve a 90% age grade. Comparing age-grading scores allows an assessment of who ran fastest for their age. In principle, a runner of any age can win the age-grading contest. The winner of a 40+ race is almost always from the 40-49 age group; the winner of a 60+ race almost always from the 60-64 age division. Often the winner of the age grading was a winner of an age division contest also, but it is not always true. Speedy runners in their 4th or 5th year in a given age division can be the fastest by this measure. There were three races so three age-grade podiums.

Men 60+
Joe Sheeran, 62, had a big win in 60-64, 52 seconds over a speedy Mark Reeder. But would that be fast enough to win age-grading too? He had to worry about challenges from  John Barbour, 65, and the two 75-79 whiz kids, Tony Marshall,75, and Doug Goodhue, 77. Terry McCluskey, 71, had a big enough win in 70-74 that he might factor in as well. Once the calculations were done and result posted, Sheeran had a handsome win with a 3 point margin. Surprisingly the 2nd place finisher came from the same division, Daniel Johnson, 62, who finished 4th. He was just 0.2% points ahead of John Barbour. Reeder and Goodhue finished 4th and 5th, both within a percentage point of Barbour.  
Joe Sheeran 62 92.44   Daniel Johnson 62 88.98    John Barbour 65 88.78
Joe Sheeran orange singlet, #1334 took it out hard from the start and never looked back on his way to the Overall M60+ Age Grading National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Marisa Sutera Strange, 56, won her division by almost two minutes and finished in the top 15 overall. She won age-grading at the most recent XC contest, the 5 Km Masters XC Championship at San Diego in October. Hall-of-Famer, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, 60, who finished 3rd at San Diego, had her usual age-division win, and should factor into this race. But Ayala-Troncoso had won by over two minutes in San Diego; in this race, Beth Stalker, 60, finished just over a half minute behind Ayala-Troncoso. The surprise winner was the third place finisher in 60-64, Nora Cary. In her last year in the division, she ran fast enough to age grade at 90.70, nearly a full percentage point over Strange. Ayala-Troncoso was third, earning yet another age grade podium. Stalker was 4th and Laura Latchford, 51, 5th.
Nora Cary 64 90.70   Marisa Sutera Strange 56 89.78   Carmen Ayala-Troncoso 60 89.00
Nora Cary blue singlet #2084 runs hard to the finish to win the Overall Age-Grading National Championship in the Women's Race at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

Men 40+
Jacques Sallberg, 45, had another strong kick at the finish to win the race overall. Would he have a fast enough time to repeat the double he earned at San Diego, winning both the overall race and the age-grading contest. Nat Larson, 57, who has often won the 50+ age grading, did not race in San Diego and would be in the mix. Although, as noted above, Larson had to overcome some injuries earlier in the year and might not be quite as strong as the previous year, when he won in Spokane. Mark Zamek, 56, who edged Larson at the Mile Championships, could also play a role, as he was only 12 seconds back in this race. Peter Hammer, 53, who finished 2nd to Larson at the Club Cross age-grading in Spokane, is only 4 years younger than Larson and ran a minute and 19 seconds faster. Would it be enough? The answer is yes! Hammer took the crown with an 89.07, just 0.19 percentage points ahead of Larson. Zamek stayed close enough to Larson to edge Sallberg for 3rd; they were separated by three one hundredths of a percentage point. Jaime Heilpern, 49, was another 0.13 percentage points back in 5th.
Peter Hammer 53 89.07   Nat Larson 57 88.88   Mark Zamek 56 87.61 

Peter Hammer yellow singlet #1214 navigates a muddy turn on the 2nd loop; he would finish strong, leaving these three runners in his wake, as he captured the Men's 40+ Overall Age-Grading National Championship at the 2019 USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Lehigh University in Bethlehem PA

I salute the National Champions, the other podium finishers, who made them earn it, and the hundreds of runners who battled in the trenches for their teams and to their own individual glory at the 2019 edition of the Masters races at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships!

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