Tuesday, October 5, 2021

USATF Masters 12 km Championships-Recap of Teams

October 3, 2022. The prior recaps have focused on Individual results--American Records broken, National Championships won, whether Overall, Age Graded, or Age Division. Many of the runners who were highlighted there either for winning or making the podium, were there for their teams. They were at least as interested in the team outcome and often more so! There is a heavy flavor of New Jersey and surrounding areas in the competition lists. The race also served as a team championship for the USATF-NJ Grand Prix. The day started with a moment of silence for two athletes who passed before their time this year and were so integral to their teams, Matt Lalumia of the Clifton Road Runners and Nancy Thomas of the Impala Racing Team.Both squads gave a superb effort on this day! Here is how the races set up and how they came out.

Note:  Team scoring in road race national championships is simply the sum of the fastest three runners on each team with the low team time score winning. This is different from Cross Country scoring but it is rare when the two methods wind up with different orders of finish. 

And they're off!



40+ Eight teams were entered, including an 'A' and a 'B' team from Shore Athletic Club NJ. The rest had one team each: Freedom-Garmin Runners NJ, Garden State Track Club-New Balance NJ, Genesee Valley Harriers NY Niagara Assn, Greater Philadelphia Track Club PA Mid AtlanticAssn, Impala Racing CA Pacific Assn, Raritan Valley Road Runners NJ. For a race held on the Jersey Shore, you do not get any more local than the Shore AC. In this division they were also the favorites. Two years ago, Roberta Groner was running for Team USA in the World Championships at Doha; she was the top American woman in the Marathon, finishing 6th. She was expected to give Shore a big advantage right from the start and she did. Her 42:14 gave Shore a lead of almost 5:00 over the GPTC team, with Karen Dunn finishing in 47:04, and over the Impalas, with Flora Lai clocking 47:11. Garden State got on the board next with a 47:24 from Ciaomhe Kilroy. It looked like even if Shore won going away there might be a tight battle for the next three spots. But the GPTC athletes knew they would not likely be as competitive as the others. Their 3rd runner was recruited down from W55 s they did not have a third runner form the 40's or 45's. That would make it tough! Less than a minute after Kilroy finished, Karen dos Santos and Laurn Jackson wrapped it up for Shore with a 48:10 and 48:23. Had they been using XC scoring,m they would have had 12 points and been home free as well. They were #1 team with a total of 2:18:47. As well as the first place in this Championship that also gave them a hundred points in the 2021 Masters National Grand Prix contest. That moves them into contention for the podium with a good showing in Boston. If they win it, they can tie for first place with the Janes Elite of Southern California. A bit later another bunch came across; the Impala's Jodi Buyyounouski came 7th in 50:07, Allison Schwalm clocked 50:09 for GPTC, with Heather Webster 1st runner across for GVH at 50:14. When the Impala's Brooke Bray sped across the finish line in 50:24, that clinched their 2nd place finish at 2:27:4, and netted them 90 points in the Masters National Grand Prix contest. Those points were vital if they are to have a chance at the 2021 Grand Prix podium, to go with their 2019 Club Grand Prix win. Hortencia Aliaga and Jessica Byrnes did the same for GSTC when they finished in 50:35 and 50:47, guaranteeing them the third place finish and  80 Grand Prix points. Their total time was 2:28:46. The main suspense left was whether GVH could get all three of their runners over the line enough in front of GPTC's 3rd runner to claim 4th. GPTC was at 1:37:13 from their first two runners. When Heather Patterson finished at 54:13, and Murphee Hayes at 1:00:45, that gave GVH a total time of 2:45:12 from their top 3. GPTC's Mary Pat McFarland 57 needed to finish before the finish line clock hit 1:07:59. She finished with a minute to spare! Her 1:06:13 closed out the scoring for GPTC, giving them 4th place at 2:43:26, a minute and 46 seconds ahead of GVH.

Shore AC 2:18:47 46:16 average     Impala Racing 2:27:42 49:14     Garden State TC 2:28:46 49:35

2021 USATF Masters 12 km National 40+ Team Champions-Highlands NJ  Shore Athletic Club L to R-Roberta Groner, Karen dos Santos, Lauren Jackson FB post-L. DeLea


50+ Shore again had 2 teams entered. Other teams entered included: Garden State, Greater Philadelphia, Morris County Striders, and Raritan Valley. Shore again got on the scoreboard first, with Suzanne LaBurt at 49:38. There was no big early lead this time, though, as GSTC's Kim Aspholm crossed the line 21 seconds later. When Aspholm's teammate, Kathleen Beebe, came in next at 50:54, some may have wondered if GSTC had this one in the bag. Not so, as Greater Philly saw Doreen McCoubrie and Lorraine Jasper come across next two in 51:03 and 51:09! GSTC had 1:40:32 from their top 2 to GPTC's 1:42:12, less than 2 minutes difference. A minute later, Alexandra Marzulla reminded everyone that Shore was in the hunt, too. Her 51:48 moved Shore into 2nd behind GSTC on their top 2 with 1:41:26. It looked like Philly might have it when Mary Swan finished in 53:41. That gave them 2:35:53 for their top 3. GPTC would win unless either GSTC's 3rd runner finished in less than 55:31 or if Shore's 3rd runner finished in less than 54:27. Looking back up the road, there were no Garden State runners in sight, but there was a Shore runner heading for the finish, Laura Delea. She finished in 53:58, a half minute faster than needed. But that was close! Shore took the win in 2:35:24, less than 30 seconds ahead of GPTC. 


When GSTC's Sandy Kaspszyk finished in 1:02:51 that gave them 3rd place at 2:43:45, allowing them to keep the 4th place team, Raritan a half hour behind them.

Shore AC 2:35:24 51:48     Greater Philadelphia TC 2:35:53 51:58     Garden State TC 2:43:45 54:35

2021 USATF Masters 12 km National 50+ Champions-Highlands NJ Shore Athletic Club L to R Laura DeLea, Kerry Gaughan, Alexandra Marzulla, Suzanne LaBurt FB post-L. DeLea


60+ Impala and Shore renewed their rivalry in this division, along with a team from Fleet Feet/Essex Racing, Nora Cary opened the scoring for Shore with her 65-69 record-setting 51:09. But Impala answered in spades. Nancy Simmons finished 5 seconds behind Cary, and was followed a minute later by teammate Stella Gibbs. Another minute later, the team race was all over when Suzanne Cordes  added the third score for her Impala team, giving them a total of 2:36:39 and the win. Five minutes later, Fleet Feet's Candace Stanton came in at 56:18, signaling that Shore would not get the Silver Medal without a fight.Diane Rothman answered for Shore with a 1:00:58, but Fleet Feet's Dalva Santos came back with a 1:01:58. Three minutes later, Barabara Donelik 74, put an end to the suspense, clocking 1:05:01 to give Shore a total of 2:57:08, a total that Fleet Feet could not match. Susan Stirrat, who was in a support role for Shore today, came next in 1:07:26. Nine minutes later, Marta Kelly closed off the scoring for Fleet Feet.

Impala Racing 2:36:39 53:13     Shore AC 2:57:08 59:03     Fleet Feet/Essex 3:16:51 1:05:37 

70+ The Impalas and Raritan contested this division. It is a welcome development to have more than one team in Women's 70 and up! It was a good race. Raritan's lead runner was able to mix it up with the Impala's top two. Jo Anne Rowland came first in 1:03:59, but Joann Coffee from Raritan came 2nd in 1:06:36. But then it was all Impala as Irene Herman clocked 1:12:06. Three minutes later, Donna Chan topped off Impala's efforts with a 1:15:37. Raritan's Bonnie Brunish and Imme Dyson 84, the oldest woman competing in the 12 km, made sure Raritan got on the scoreboard with a complete team. They won the Team Silvers! 

Impala Racing 3:31:42 1:10:34     Raritan Valley 4:23:47 1:27:56


40+ Twelve teams contested the highly competitive 40+ division: Bellmore Striders, Central Jersey Road Runners, Central Park TC, Freedom Garmin, Garden State TC, Greater Philadelphia TC, Manchester Running Co, Morris County Striders, North Jersey Masters, Raritan Valley RR, Rose City Runners Club, Shore AC. Many of those teams were primarily entered because this race also counted in the USATF-NJ Grand Prix. My recap concentrates on the 6 teams that were most competitive for the national title. Anyone who saw my earlier posts knows already that the Greater Philadelphia team took this one in a walk! Brock Butler, Chris Naimoli, and Matthew Wagoner went 1-2-3. Whether you score by time or places, it doesn't get any more dominant than that. In the race for the other two podium spots, Manchester's James Osborn clocked 41:17, while Garden State's Dave Ferrugia answered a minute and change later with a 42:35. A minute later, the top runner for the Bellmore Striders, Keith Guilfoyle,  hit the finish line in 43:35, holding off Garden State's #2, Michael Anis in 43:45 and Manchester's #2, David Guzik, 43:48. At that point, Manchester was looking good in the race for the 2nd spot, leading Garden State by over a minute, 1:25:05 to 1:26:20, while none of the other contenders had two runners in. But a lot could still happen. Next in was the top runner for Freedom-Garmin, Mark Williams, in 45:35. A half minute later we saw Shore's first runner, Joseph Maranzani, clock a 46:04, followed shortly by Freedom-Garmin's 2nd runner, David Szostak in 46:17. Freedom-Garmin was at 1:31:52 for 2 runners, 6 minutes back from Manchester and 5 from Garden. But until the third runner came in for those teams, nothing was decided. And Manchester knew their third runner waas running to help the team, a 62-year-old who agreed to compete for them just so they could have a real team and score! To keep everyone guessing, Shore's #2, Joseph Gambescia hit the finish line in 48:07, giving Shore a 2-runner total of 1:34:11. Jason Ramirez gave Bellmore their 2nd finisher at 49:47, for a 2-runner total of 1:33:35, ahead of Shore, but behind Freedom-Garmin, not to mention Manchester and Garden State. But Ramirez had company when he crossed the line. Garden State's Dov Gertzulin also clocked 49:47 to give Garden state a complete team in and 2:16:07 total. Manchester's hopes rested on their #3 runner finishing in the next 1:15. When 51:03 came and went with no Manchester runner crossing the line, 2nd place was in Garden State's possession. When Freedom-Garmin's #3 runner, David Small finished in 51:00, the pressure was on. They had a 2:22:52 total. Shore added some pressure of their own on Manchester when their #3, Daniel Campbell, finished in 51:53 to give Shore a final total of 2:26:04. Manchester's 3rd runner needed to finish in 1:00:59 for Manchester to edge Shore; for them to also edge Freedom-Garmin, they needed a 57:47 or better. When the clock tipped past 56:00 with no Manchester runner is sight, it did not look good. But Kenneth Johnson 62, gave Manchester what they needed, crossing the line in 56:51---Manchester was on the podium at the National Championships--Hurray!

Greater Philadelphia TC 2:00:40 40:13     Garden State TC 2:16:07 45:22     Manchester 2:21:56 47:19

2021 USATF Masters 12 km National 40+ Champions-Highlands NJ   Greater Philadelphia Track Club L to R Chris Naimoli, Matthew Wagoner, Brock Butler FB post-GPTC

50+  Garden State and Shore AC both brought two complete teams to the competition. They were joined by Oregon's Bowerman TC, Freedom-Garmin, Genesee Valley Harriers, Greater Philadelphia TC, Morris County Striders, Philadelphia Masters, Raritan ValleyRoad Runners. Craig Godwin, in his last year in the 50-54 division, got Bowerman on the books first with his sterling 41:24! A half minute later, though, Terry Davidson and Brian Crowley answered for Freedom-Garmin with 42:02 and 42:07. They were at 1:24:09 and counting. Garden State got on the board next with the twins, Elliott and Jonathan Frieder, clocking 42:53 and 43:15--1:26:08 with two of their three runners accounted for. A half minute later, Joe Hegge gave Garden State the honor of being first team in with a complete score. His 43:45 gave GSTC a total time of 2:09:53. But Freedom-Garmin could still claim the win if their 3rd runner clocked 45:44 or better. There was not much actual suspense though, because Freedom-Garmin's Gary Rosenberg was only 5 seconds back from Hegge. His time gave Freedom-Garmin a total time of 2:07:59 and the 50+ team win! Garden State would likely get 2nd but they could not relax yet. Kenneth Barbee, the first runner in for GPTC, was next at 43:59. Twenty seconds later, Matthew Farley gave Bowerman their 2nd finisher at 44:19, putting them at 1:25:43. Garden State could now celebrate their 2nd place finish; Bowerman would need their 3rd runner to finish at 44:10 to tie, which was no longer possible. Right behind Farley were 2 GVH runners, Mike Nier and Dale Flanders in 44:20 and 44:25, to give them 1:28:45, with one runner to go. Before one could even do the calculation, though, Bowerman's David Harkin closed off their scoring with a 44:49 to total out at 2:10:32, and GVH could not catch them. GVH's Alan Evans sped across the line 12 seconds later to close off GVH's scoring at 2:13:46. That gave GVH 4th, followed by GPTC in 5th and Shore in 6th.

Freedom-Garmin Runners 2:07:59 40:40     Garden State TC 2:09:53 43:18       Bowerman TC 2:10:32 43:31

60+ Shore AC fielded three complete teams in this division. They were joined by: Boulder Road Runners, Fleet Feet/Essex Racing, Garden State TC, Greater Philadelphia TC,  GVH, North Jersey Masters TFC. Shore's Rick Lee was first runner in at 44:16, giving Shore an initial cushion of a minute and a half. Roger Sayre outsprinted GVH's Joseph Mora by a single second, 45:51 to 45:52, to give Boulder their first runner in and the initial edge over GVH. Less than 2 minutes later, Shore had their 2nd runner, Michael Salamone, finish in 47:30, giving them a total of 1:31:46 on two runners. Robert Reynolds gave GPTC their first scoring runner at 48:59. Garden State's first runner, Gary Leaman finished at 50:01, and was immediately followed by GPTC's dynamic duo of Chuck Shields and Timothy Conheady, both at 50:11. That was a really tight 3-pack for GPTC, but would it be enough? Their total was 2:29:21. Shore could still win as long as their 3rd runner came in before the clock ticked over to 57:35.Boulder's Jack Pottle finished at 50:47 to give them a 2-runner total of 1:36:38. The next two runners in were both from Shore, Donald Schwartz and Kevin Dollard in 51:25 and 51:29. That gave Shore the win with a 3-runner total of 2:23:11!  

2021 USATF Masters 12 km National 60+ Champions-Highlands NJ  Shore AC L to R Michael Salamone, Kevin Dollard, Donald Schwartz, Reno Stirrat, Rick Lee Photo provided by M. Salamone


Timothy Riccardi's 51:58 gave GVH 1:37:50 on two runners, a little over a minute behind Boulder in the race for the final podium spot. Robert Hill's 54:53 gave  Garden State 1:44:54 with one more runner needed. A few years back at the 2016 Club Cross Country Championships at Tallahassee, Gary Radford was part of GVH's 1-2 punch, finishing 5th right behind Mark Rybinski's 4th, leading GVH to the 60+ team win. Slowed by injuries, Radford was still strong enough to run 55:09 and give GVH the third runner they needed to top out at 2:32:59. That would give GVH 3rd, behind Shore and Greater Philadelphia if Boulder's 3rd runner did not finish before 56:21. Garden State was out of the running as their 3rd runner could no longer break 48:05. They did not have long to wait. Boulder's Jeffery Barros clocked 55:22 to give them the 2:32:00 they needed to claim the final podium spot, a mere 59 seconds ahead of GVH, with Garden State 9 minutes further back in 5th.

Shore AC 2:23:11 47:44     Greater Philadelphia TC 2:29:2  49:47     Boulder Road Runners 2:32:00 50:40


2021 USATF Masters 12 km National 60+ Team Silver Medalists - Highlands NJ Greater Philadelphia Track Club L to R Chuck Shields, Bob Reynolds, Tim Conheady FB post GPTC

70+ Contesting this division were: the Atlanta TC, Clifton Road Runners, Fleet Feet/Essex Racing, Shore AC. The Greater Philadelphia TC had a team entered; that was the only reason Gene Dykes went ahead with the race despite a gimpy hamstring. Unfortunately they did not get the three finishers they needed for  a complete team and a team score. It was a disappointing day for GPTC's 70+ team. The main battle was between Atlanta and Clifton. The top two runners on both teams were competing for the podium. Then they had to wait for their third runner to come in. Don Morrison of GPTC was the first runner in but, as noted, they would not get a team score. After Morrison, Jerry Learned broke the ice for Atlanta with a 55:36, followed 40 seconds later by his teammate, Dave Glass. That gave Atlanta two runners in and a time score of 1:51:52. Less than a minute later, Clifton answered with Ezequiel Garcia and Julio Aguirre clocking 57:02 and 58:34. Clifton sat at 1:55:36, almost four minutes behind. But it became clear that the four minutes difference was much less important than who got the next runner in. The Finish Line clock kept ticking off the minutes; seven minutes passed by before the next runner, Fleet Feet's Hugo Del Bove, contributed the team's first score at 1:05:43. Less than two more minutes went by before there were cheers for Atlanta as Vasan 'Pooh' Neovakul finished in 1:07:09 to give Atlanta a cumulative time of 2:59:01 and the win! Would any team be able to edge Clifton out of second? We needed more runners to finish before knowing. Przemek Nowicki and Marc Bloom came next, in 1:07:22 and 1:08:26, giving Shore 2:15:48, twenty minutes higher than Clifton's total but both had to wait for their 3rd runner. Sam Benedict of Atlanta came next in 1:11:24, but did not affect the scores as Atlanta had already won. Five minutes later, Fleet Feet got their 2nd runner in, Michael Close in 1:16:20.  Fleet Feet's total time on two runners was 2:22:03. A minute later when Roland Cormier 80 finished in 1:17:11, Shore had their 3rd runner and a guaranteed spot on the podium. The only question now was whether it would be 2nd or 3rd. Their total was 3:32:59. That meant if Clifton's 3rd runner finished before the clock registered 1:37:23, they would take 2nd; otherwise 2nd went to Shore. All eyes were looking out for Clifton's third runner, even when Fleet Feet's 3rd runner, Thomas Kelly 80 finished in 1:22:35. Clifton cheers rang out when they saw William Ash approaching the finish line. For a bit it looked like he might crack 1:30:00. That was not to be but he was not far off. His 1:30:29 was well under the 1:37:23 needed. Ash gave Clifton the score they needed to total 3:26:05 and claim 2nd place!

Atlanta Track Club 2:59:01 59:40     Clifton Road Runners 3:26:05 1:08:42     Shore AC 3:32:59 1:11:00

Among the home course defenders, it was a good day for Shore--3 Golds, a Silver, and a Bronze set of team medals! Garden State racked up 2 Silvers and 2 Bronzes. Greater Philly, technically an  outsider,copped a Gold and 2 Silvers.  The best showing by outside competitors was the Impala team that competed only on the Women's side and still took home 2 Golds and a Silver. It was a terrific competition with everyone giving all they had and more for their team and to do themselves and the race proud!

 That's it for recaps of the first USATF Masters National Championship on the roads since October 2019. Hats off to USATF-New Jersey, their Championships Committee and their Managing Director, Terry Mullane! The athletes loved getting back out to compete with some of their toughest rivals from across the country!

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