Thursday, July 30, 2020

Genesee Valley Harriers IntraSquad Spring/Summer Challenge

July 30 2020. The Genesee Valley Harriers (GVH) are known as a Club that competes seriously in Masters Championships. How seriously? Between 2016 and 2020, each one of their Men's and Women's teams, from 40+ through 60+ on the Women's side, and from 40+ through 70+ on the Men's side, landed on the USATF Masters Club Grand Prix podium at least once. I doubt that another USATF Club can claim that accomplishment. So what is such a competitive group to do when there are no races on tap to compete in? GVH's answer was to concoct an Intra-Squad Spring/Summer Challenge. The goal, as always, was to have fun and run fast times!
  • Every athlete faced a time trial window of April 30 to July 12. 
  • During that time a runner could run any of 4 distances multiple times and select, in the end, the one best race time, on an age-graded basis. 
  • The 4 distances were: 1 Mile, 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon. Each time trial was submitted and age graded. When an athlete ran and submitted a new one, it supplanted the earlier one if the age grade was higher. The goal was to get the highest possible age grade. 
  • Both Individual and Intra-squad Team results were based on age grade.
  • The teams were M40+, M50+,...W40+...W60+. Open runner teams were allowed but, consistent with my focus on Masters LDR, will not be included in this recap. 
  • Team results were based on the top 4 age grade average if 4+ runners, or the age grade average of all runners if fewer than 4 runners. The organizers reported that the 4-runner requirement was added to provide incentive for greater participation. 
  • Age grades for the 1M, 5K and 10K were based on track age grades regardless of surface run; the HM was based on the 2015 road age grade tables. A maximum drop of 1% was allowed on road trials.
  • Awards went to the top Overall Men's/Women's Individual and to the top  Overall Men's/Women's Team 
    WOMEN Individual Two of the top 3 age-grades were turned in over the 1 Mile distance. Colleen Newman 60 (formerly Magnussen), who won the 2016 W55 Individual Masters Grand Prix (MGP) title, ran 7:09 for a 79.84%. Heather Patterson 45 broke 6! Her 5:58 graded at 78.52% to slide into 3rd, less than a percentage point out of 2nd. Sandra Gregorich 57 achieved her 2nd place finish via the 5K, which she covered in 23:09 for a 79.27%. Gregorich finished 5th in the 2019 W55 Individual MGP while helping Newman, among others, capture 2nd place in the Club W50+ MGP that year. Just off the podium was LeAnn Finnigan 57 whose 24:02 5K netted a 77.48% age grade.
    Colleen Newman 7:09 [1M] 79.84%   Sandra Gregorich   23:09 [5K] 79.27   Heather Patterson 5:58 [1M] 78.52%

    Teams Newman and Gregorich are used to competing on the same W50+ team in USATF Masters LDR. With Newman aging up to W60, they performed for different teams in this intrasquad contest. Newman competed for the SuperVets [60+] while Gregorich turned in her age grade for the Vets [50-59], and Patterson's score topped the Masters team scores. With Finnigan's 24:02 5K, the Vets took the early lead with 2 runners in and 78.38% average. The next two runners were Open, but then came Heather Webster 46 running a 6:17 mile for 75.46. She got the Vets back in the running; they had two in and 75.46%. But the contest was all over when Carol Bischoff 56 gave the Vets their 3rd score. She clocked a 1:50:11 Half Marathon for a 72.49%. That finished off the Vets scoring; they had an average of 76.41%. But the Masters were not far behind; their 3rd runner, Caroline Bucci 47 ran a 1:39:00 HM to net a 72.49% age grade. That gave them 3 to match the Vets, but with a 75.29% average. That would not be their final tally, though. With two additional runners, they needed a 4th score. Ann Martin 62 gave the SuperVets something to cheer about when her 1:59:49 HM, 72.24% age grade, made her the 2nd athlete in for that team; their average was now 76.04%. But with one additional runner to score, their average could yet fall below that of the Masters. Next in was Masters athlete, Josie Cancilla-Spadafora 48 whose 46:45 10K merited a 71.41%. That was their 4th and final score giving them a closing average of 74.43%. Darlene Saeva 61 gave the SuperVets the 3rd score they needed with a 68.56% from her 8:27 effort at the Mile. That gave them a final average of 73.55%. The Masters team took 2nd, with SuperVets 3rd. Olga Huber 49 closed out the scoring for the Masters with a 1:47:38 HM and an age grade of 68.07%.
    Veterans 76.41%   Masters 74.43%   SuperVets 73.55%
GVH Athletes after their 1 Mile Virtual Run/Time Trial on the Track. L to R: Mike Nier, Ven Tchamov, Mike Gardella, Dale Flanders,, Tim Rieth, and Colleen Newman (formerly Magnussen)

MEN Individual The top Masters runner was, not surprisingly, Mike Nier 55 the lynch pin of GVH's M50+ team. He has helped the M50+ team to a podium finish in the USATF MGP the last four years, with 2nd place finishes in 2016 and 2018. At the same time, he took 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the 2017 and 2019 Individual MGP contests. He won the M50 Half Marathon National Championship in 2018 with a 1:20:21 over the  Dexter-Ann Arbor course and its rolling hills. He is also 'good trouble' at the shorter distances; he took 2nd among Men 55 and up at the prestigious Hartshorne Memorial Mile this past January in 4:56. His best time trial in this Virtual event was the Mile; he broke 5:00 by a single second! That earned him an 88.70% and the top age grade! Next up was Joseph Mora 58; he finished 15 seconds behind Nier at the Hartshorne Memorial Mile. This time he closed the gap to 13 seconds. But that was not quite enough; he earned an 87.18%. He needed to get within 7 seconds to best Nier on age-grading! The 3rd finisher also chose the Mile. Gary Passamonte 63 clocked 5:32 to haul in an 85.58%. That was a nice improvement over the Road Miles he has run the last few years. Whether the Charlie McMullen Mile or the USATF 1 Mile Championship at Flint, Passamonte was stuck at 6:01. Smashing the 6-minute barrier by almost a half minute is a major accomplishment! Michael Gardella 57 was the top athlete at a distance other than the mile; his 17:52 merited an 85.54%, just four hundredths of a percentage point off the podium.
Mike Nier 4:59 [1M] 88.70%   Joseph Mora 5:12 [1M] 87.18   Gary Passamonte 5:32 [1M] 85.58

Teams. Nier, Mora, and Gardella led the way for the Vets [50-59] giving them three of the first 4 scores and an average of 87.14%. All they need is one more finisher. Passamonte got the SuperVets [60+] started at 85.58%, but their only chance to beat the Vets required them to pretty much take the next three spots. That didn't happen. In fact, when Dale Flanders  55 turned in a 5:10 mile for an 85.45%, that gave the Vets their 4th scoring runner and an average of 86.72%. No one could catch them! Doc Rappole 71was next up and the first of the UltraVets [70+] to score; his 6:01 mile rated an 85.29%. Like Passamonte, he improved his mark from Flint by about half a minute. His UltraVet teammate, Jim Glinsky 73, credited with a 21:43 5K, scored an 82.66%. that is his fastest 5K by far in recent years. SuperVet,Tim Riccardi 62 broke up the Ultravets party with his 5:42 mile and 82.37%. But Jim May 74, who took the National title in the 8K Road Championship in 2017,  got things going for the UltraVets again with his 22:11 5K. His 82.12% got the UltraVets to 3 runners in with an average of 83.36%. Right on his virtual age-graded heels was the 3rd man in for the SuperVets, Mark Rybinski 65 with a 6:00 mile for 80.43%. In 2018, Rybinski clocked 5:38 in Flint at the Masters Road Mile Championships, but by the time the Hartshorne Mile rolled around this past January, he could only muster a 5:59, similar to this effort. That tells me he is either running with pain, or running without enough training time to regain fitness. But he got it done and gave SuperVets their 3rd runner and an 82.79% average. It would come down to the wire between the Supers and the Utras for 2nd place! Bill Beyerbach 65 gave the Supervets a chance for the win by clocking a 43:15 10K for 79.50%, giving them a final average of 81.97%. But the UltraVets's Liam Finnigan 74 was close; his 48:07 10K graded at 79.04%. The UltraVets averaged out at 82.28%. In the end, the Ultras edged the Supers by 0.3% points! Although it did not affect the scoring, Theo Schnaufer 56 clocked a 39:57 10K for the Vets to slide in between the last two runners mentioned at 79.18%. Other runners who provided insurance for their teams but did not affect the final standings included: Carl Johnston 54 19:35-5K 76.09% Tim Riccardi 62 21:17-5K 75.02% Venelin (Ven) Tchamov 53 5:48-1M 74.94% Mitch Moore 66 22:25-5K 73.83% Mike Sayers 61 6:30-1M 71.59% Wayne Crandall 57 21:23-5K71.47% Gary Moore 64 6:46-1M 70.64% Rory Gumina 61 6:36 1M 70.51% David Blake 70 27:05 5K 63.63% Fred Richards 73 28:39-5K 62.65% Ric Bond 62 25:40-5K 62.21% Patrick Dwyer 73 31:02 5K 57.84% Bruce Wilkins 66 2:17:54 HM 54.86% James Brigden 59 2:09:24-HM 54.61%.
Vets 86.72%   UltraVets 82.28%   SuperVets 81.97%

Kudos to GVH for getting so  many age division teams involved!  As soon as some races appear on the horizon, their M50 through M70 and their W40 through W60 teams will be ready to roll!

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