Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Atlanta vs. Garden State, Virtual Round 2-10K

June 22, 2020. On May 15th I reported on a 5K Virtual Race Competition, the first of a series of virtual races organized between the Garden State Track Club [GSTC] and the Atlanta Track Club [ATC]. The second event was at double the distance, with races to be run by June 21st. Garden State was still all in for the competition, but participation by Atlanta fell off, in part because some actual physical races opened up. Real races will dominate virtual races every time. It is also true that the ATC M60's are involved in a series of Virtual Multi-Team Races organized by the Boulder Road Runners. Regardless of the reasons, the second race was based on the M40's and M50's, as Atlanta did not field teams in the M60's or W40's.

M40+. You may recall that in scoring the top three finishers, the teams finished with exactly the same time in the 5K effort, 48:24, or an average of 16:08.  Not so this time. With Brian Sydow not available to lead the way, and with Aaron Totten-Lancaster apparently in rehab mode, it was up to Brent Fields and Jack Westrick to pave the way for ATC. That proved to be a tough order as GSTC ripped off an impressive set of times, led by Dave Ferrugia's 33:57. Wow! Where did that come from? A solid team member the last few years, he finished just inside the top 10 at the 2019 Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta last August, running 17:24. Neither a 38:33 at the 2017 Club XC Championship nor a 5:05 at the 2018 Masters Road Mile Championship gave a hint that Ferrugia had a sub 34-minute 10K coming up. Either an injury has been holding him back for the last couple of years or he is finding himself as a Masters runner. A terrific effort by Ferrugia led the way for GSTC.
Dave Ferrugia assumes the Official GSTC 'Attitude' Stance after ripping off a 33:57 10K to win the Virtual 10K Throwdown [This and all other GSTC photos provided by Jason Timochko, GSTC]

The next best time was raced by Jonathan Frieder, who has been getting solid work in since recovering from an injury that sidelined him last spring and summer. With heavy legs from a month of 70 mile per week workouts, Frieder was happy with the 34:38 effort.  
GSTC's Jonathan Frieder finished 2nd in the Virtual ATC/GSTC 10K Competition in 34:38

Shawn Williams and Elliott Frieder, both coming back from Covid infections, ran 35:08 and 35:29, to give GSTC the top 4 finishing times.

GSTC's Shawn Williams Far Left and Robert Riordan Far Right comparing their efforts and probably talking trash after competing their 35:08 and 36:55 10K's
Jack Westrick came across with the fastest time for ATC, cooking it for 5th in 35:33!   
ATC's Jack Westrick #494 far right battles with teammate, Gary Droze far left, and rivals, Ryan Shrum #139 Chattanooga Track Club, and Jeff Conston #174 Shore AC. Westrick pulled away on the last loop to finish in the top 25 overall in the Masters race at the 2019 USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee [Photo by Michael Scott]

Brent Fields, who finished 5th in the virtual 5K at 16:20, was ATC's 2nd fastest runner on an off day for him, running 37:09.
ATC's Brent Fields #135 takes the final turn on his way to a 16:29 5K and a Top Ten Overall Finish at the 2019 USATF Masters 5K Championship [Photo by Michael Scott]
ATC's 2nd runner saw GSTC's Chuck Schneekloth, Steve Bonica, Jason Timochko, and Robert Riordan finish ahead of him in 6th through 9th, with times of 35:42, 36:20, 36:34, and 36:55. Nathan Deeter ran 37:22 to close off the top-3 scoring for ATC.
ATC's Nathan Deeter rehydrates after his 37:22 10K; his niece, Emma Kate cheered him on!

Garden State Track Club 1:43:43   Atlanta Track Club 1:50:04

Top-5 Scoring. Scoring the top 5 involves including Elliott Frieder 35:29
GSTC's Elliott Frieder speeds to a 35:29 10K, helping GSTC to victory.

and Chuck Schneekloth 35:42 for GSTC, 
GSTC's Tim Kilroy and Chuck Schneekloth after their 10K's

to give them a total 5-runner time of 2:54:54. Kevin Gibson clocked a time less than 10 seconds behind Deeter's to give Atlanta their 4th scoring runner in 37:31. Mark Castleberry closed off the top-5 scoring for Atlanta with a 39:17. That left Atlanta's top-5 cumulative time at 3:06:52.
Garden State Track Club 2:54:54     Atlanta Track Club 3:06:52

Team Scoring. By agreement, the team score is found by adding up the times of the first n runners, where n is the highest number of entries attained by both teams. For the 40+ teams, n=7. This process adds Steve Bonica 36:20 and Jason Timochko 36:34 to GSTC's total, leaving them at 4:07:48. Sixth and seventh for Atlanta were Ben McLain 39:55 and Aaron Totten-Lancaster 41:55. For a reference point, Totten-Lancaster finished 8th at the 2019 USATF Masters 10K Championships in 34:13; two years earlier he clocked 33:24 at the same race! Atlanta's total was 4:28:42. In addition to Riordan in 9th place, GSTC enjoyed the contributions of Steven Segaloff 37:56, Daniel Reiser39:08, Matthew Leingang41:55, Tim Kilroy 42:43 and David Wise 47:22.

Garden State Track Club 4:07:48    Atlanta Track Club 4:28:42

M50+. Brad Slavens, Eric Stabb, and Mike Strickland shouldered the M50+ load for ATC. The top 3 for Garden State were Joe Hegge, Todd Wiley, and Mark Zamek. Hegge, Slavens, Strickland, and Zamek locked horns at the Masters 5K Championships in Atlanta last August. At that time, Zamek came out on top at 17:06, then Hegge at 17:27. Slavens came across the finish line in 17:40, with Mike Strickland a half minute back in 18:11. Hegge was still on his game as he clocked 55:34 to take 2nd in his Age Division at the Gasparilla 15K just a few weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down road racing. Strickland's 18:04 at the Hearts & Soles 5K near valentine's Day shows that he was in good form at that point. Zamek ran well through Club XC where he finished almost a minute and a half ahead of his teammate, Hegge. But he did not race after that, as far as I can tell. He is listed on the Official Summary as "coming back from injury." Wiley ran two 10K's last summer in 35:17 and 36:23, and ran 24 faster than Zamek at Club XC in December. Like Zamek, I find no race results after Club  XC. 

As with the M40's, Hegge, Wiley and Zamek were too hot to handle. Hegge clocked 35:05, 
Joseph Hegge winds it up as he heads into the final 150 meters of the 2019 USATF Masters  Km Championship where he ran 17:27 to land on the M50 Podium [Photo by Michael Scott]

followed by Zamek at 35:36 and Wiley at 35:44. Zamek's 35:36 at age 57 earns a National Class 89.65% age grade*. Slavens had the top time for Atlanta, just 7 seconds back from Wiley; 

Brad Slavens strides around the final turn looking to reel in a competitor or two as he clocked 17:40 at the 2019 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta [Photo by Michael Scott]

Stabb was next at 36:32, followed by Strickland in 37:19. Excellent times for the three Atlanta athletes but not fast enough to match GSTC. That gives GSTC 1:46:25 and Atlanta 1:50:42. As Atlanta just ran three athletes, the 5-person and team scoring results are the same as reported for top-3 scoring. John Hogan provided strong backup for GSTC, posting a time of 36:46, a half minute faster than ATC's Strickland, had it been needed.
Looks like GSTC's John Hogan may have run his 36:46 10K on the track!

 Harold Porcher 38:05, Rudi Trivigno 38:20, Stephen Katz 43:08, Dave LaCouture 43:53, and Karl Leitz 49:54 joined in the fun for GSTC!
Top-3 = Team Scoring
Garden State Track Club  1:46:25     Atlanta Track Club 1:50:42

The following two categories were uncontested by ATC. They are reported here as Intramural contests.

M60+. Dan Slesinger 64, a new member of GSTC, uncorked a 38:33 for an Age Graded score of 88.33%. He was followed by Gus Stanzione 45:48, Russ Forsythe 46:42, Peter Auteri 46:47, Francis Beideman 49:22, and John Bergacs 1:19:21

W40+. Not sure how it happened but Melissa Gacek 44 was not listed in the results I initially saw; that is now corrected. She ran a stellar 37:22, the fastest for the division and a National Class age grade of 86.04%!  
Melisssa Gacek must have run her 37:22 10K on a Sunny Day! Go Bears!

Olena Rozhko 47 zipped through her 10K in 37:38, earning the top Age Graded score of 87.95%. 
GSTC's Elena Rozhko standing in the shade after burning up the roads with a 37:38 10K that age-graded at 87.95%

Her teammates, Aya Leitz and Heather McDermott, clocked 43:04 and 43:16 respectively.
Age Grading. Mark Zamek 57 35:36 topped the age grading podium at 89.65%, followed by Dan Slesinger 64 38:33 at 88.33%, and Jonathan Frieder 49 34:38 for 86.0%. Joe Hegge 50 35:05, just off the podium, scored a National Class 85.65%. John Hogan 54 36:46 and Elliott Frieder 49 35:29 also achieved National Class status at 84.54% and 83.94% respectively. Among the W40 crew, Olena Rozhko 47 37:38 topped the age-grading at a National Class 87.95%. Aya Leitz and Heather McDermott achieved strong Regional Class scores in the 70's.

Mark 'Grampa' Zamek, as the Chief Organizer of the Competition, handed out additional awards: Most agressive runner

Overall Team Scoring. Who won the 10K competition? The intramural results for GSTC for Men 60+ and Women 40+ given above are ignored. As ATC entered no teams in those categories, the final tally for Overall Team scoring is the sum of M40+ and M50+. So GSTC takes the win by a wide margin.
Garden State Track Club 5:54:13     Atlanta Track Club 6:19:24

By the rules of the series, Garden State and Atlanta have one point each. Whichever team wins the 1 Mile Virtual Race will take the title in this Virtual Dual Meet duel. 

* Age-Grade scores reported by GSTC were slightly different. I used the Grubb calculator for 2015, using the road factors not the track. My assumption, given the lack of definitive information otherwise, is that most athletes will choose to run a 10K on roads, not the track. That calculator is linked to the tables produced by Alan Jones and adopted by both USATF and WMA. 


  1. As always, thanks for your tireless and thoughtful efforts to make running special in the masters scene, Paul.

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