Monday, January 3, 2022

2021 USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee-Recap #4-Final-Teams

December 30 2021 I have saved the best for last. This post will focus on the essential raison d'etre of Club Cross, the competition between teams for the top spots in each race. I will recap Women's races followed by Men both in age division order starting at 40+. In most cases, I focus entirely on the top 6 teams; otherwise the coverage gets unwieldy and overly complicated. In one case I added a 7th team because 6th and 7th differed by only 3 points.

WOMEN Scoring in the Women's race is based on 3-athlete scoring teams. Each runner is assigned a point total equal to their finishing place among all runners on complete teams. The teams with the lowest sum across their 3 scoring athletes. A sweep would be if the 3 runners from a team came in 1-2-3. If so, that 'sweep' team would have 6 points, the lowest possible score.

Front of the Pack-For Unattached Runners and Top Team Runners- Maggie Shearer #896 and Audrey Kroot #893for Cal Coast and Gwendolen Twist 5th from left #929 and Cambria Wu #931 are out early for their teams  All photos courtesy of Michael Scott


40+ The first real reading of how the team contests were unfolding came when runners passed the mat along the Shell Path 2.2 km into the race. At 1 km, runners are just starting to settle into their pace. At 2 km, 6 teams were battling for the podium: Boston Athletic Association, Cal Coast TC, Club NW, Garden State TC, Gulf Winds TC, and Moravian Alumni RC. For standings at Intermediate splits, I use place among all runners; the final scores are based on place among runners on complete teams. Team Red Lizard, the Janes Elite Racing, Atlanta TC, Sirius Athletics, the Greater Philadelphia TC, and the T.H.E. TC competed as well, finishing in that order, 7th through 12th.

An observer at the time would have picked out that the BAA, with Karolyn Bowley and Erika Holroyd in the top 10 overall, and Heather Capello in the top 20, was the leading team. Cal Coast, with Maggie Shearer up front, Audrey Kroot around 10th to 12th, and Carla McAlister in the top 30, was a clear 2nd. And their 4th runner, Laura Osman, was not far back from McAlister. Club Northwest, with Megan Heuer top 10 and Meghan Lyle top 20 but their 3rd runner perhaps out of the top 50, was far back. Garden State, with Caiomhe Kilroy in the top 10, Mary Babcock top 25, but their third runner also out of the top 50, looked to be well back from the top two but in a fight for third. Moravian's top 3 runners, Emily Shertzer, Erin Dewalt were both in the top 20 and Jennifer Perry was in the top 50. 

The Women, mostly on 40+ teams, race down-slope toward the first passing of the Jumbotron!


That put them 6th in this group but not far behind the group vying for third. Gulf Winds was just even or slightly ahead of Club Northwest and Moravian, despite having Maggie Sherron in 1st or 2nd, and Amy Hines near the top 10. Michelle Allen, running down from the 50's, had expected to be GW's #4 but one athlete could not make the trip after all. Kroot, McAlister or Osman would need to move up for Cal Coast to have a shot at the win. With just 3 runners each, Club Northwest and Garden State had no room for error. But there was plenty of time for things to change, as they always do.

Emily Shertzer Moravian, Izzy Gladstone Garden State, Cambria Wu Janes, and Amy Hines Gulf Winds sort it out in the trenches at the end of the first loop

By the time the runners had passed the Jumbotron and were coursing around the upper back field, the BAA's grip on 1st had tightened. The BAA was looking good in that Bowley appeared a solid 4th and Holroyd either 7th or 8th. Capello had slipped back to 21st. They needed her to stay strong and not let anyone else pass her. Sherron appeared to be gaining the upper hand over Shearer but that was just a one point swing for Cal Coast against their rivals. Kroot was in the middle of a group in 11th to 17th position, with McAlister in the middle of a group from 24th to 29 and Osman right on the back of that group. 

From Left: Carla McAlister Cal Coast, Hortencia Aliaga Garden State, Erin Dewalt Moravian, and Kristen Hetzel Janes battle for their teams at the end of the first loop.

Kroot would have to move to the front of her group, but even then McAlister would have to bridge a gap to Kroot's group for Cal Coast to catch the BAA. Moravian had improved, due primarily to Shertzer moving up to 9th place. With Dewalt and Perry holding their positions in the low to mid 30's, they were. arguably, at the head of the rest. Garden State with Kilroy in 7th or 8th, Babcock in a group from 18th to 20th, Gabrielle Panepinto in 50th, were right behind Moravian. Next was probably Gulf Winds with Sherron in 1st, Hines in 11th to 17th position, and Allen in 66th to 68th. Heuer of Club Northwest was still in 6th, but Lyle was in a group ranging from 11th to 17th; Saam was now in the low 60's.

From Left: Emily Shertzer Moravian, Izzy Gladstone Garden State, Cambria Wu Janes, and Amy Hines Gulf Winds getting things sorted out as they approach the 3 km mark.


That probably put them 6th but not far off 3rd; it was that tight. And the teams with a third runner over the mid-40's were probably more impacted by runners from other team divisions. Gulf Winds and Club Northwest were probably closer to Moravian and Garden State than it might appear. What would happen over the final two kilometers?

The BAA took first. Bowley held 4th, Holroyd 8th and Capello finished 18th, holding off Cal Coast's Osman, who was closing fast, coming from 20 seconds back at 4 km to just 5 at the finish. Cal Coast  had second with Shearer leading the way in 2nd, Kroot 13th, and Osman 19th, just ahead of McAlister. It was very close with the next four teams. Gulf Winds had Sherron, first, Hines 11th, and Allen 38th for 50 points. Club NW had Heuer 5th, Lyle 10th, and Saam 35th for 50 points. By the current tie-breaking rule, the team with the higher (better) finish for their third scoring runner wins the tie-breaker. That puts Club NW in 3rd and Gulf Winds in 4th. For Garden State, Kilroy finished 9th, with Babcock moving up to 14th, and Panepinto in 32nd. Their 55 points gave them 5th, two points ahead of Moravian. Shertzer of Moravian finished 7th, with Dewalt 22nd and Perry 28th, with Jennifer Hetrick, their 4th runner, just two spots behind Perry.

None of these teams appeared in the top 6 at either Lehigh of Spokane. Club Northwest finished 5th in Lexington. From New England, Southern Cal, and the Pacific Northwest, the B.A.A., Cal Coast, and Club Northwest enjoyed their rise to the top!

Boston Athletic Association 30 1:11:10     Karolyn Bowley, Erika Holroyd, Heather Capello, Amanda Watters  

Cal Coast Track Club 34 1:11:26      Maggie Shearer, Audrey Kroot, Laura Osman, Carla McAlister

Club Northwest 50 1:14:02    Megan Heuer, Meghan Lyle, Jennifer Saam

50+ At the 2 km mark, an observer would have seen the Garden State TC, The Janes Elite, and Sirius Athletics as the chief contenders for the win. In this race it is even harder to discern actual positions from the places within the race.  Runners from the 40's and the 60's mix in with the 50's runners. Again though, it is probably true that teams with third runners in higher positions are more affected by these outside runners than other teams. 

Ingrid Walters, for the Janes, Gwen Lapham from Club NW, and Rachel Hopkins from Sirius, in in 19th, 21st and 22nd were leading these rivals out. 

Ingrid Walters Janes at the head of the 50+ Team Athletes, leads out a Chasing Group (Overall) mostly from the 40's Teams


In addition to Hopkins, Sirius had Jill O'Grady in the mid 30's overall, and Melissa Landers-Potts just inside the top 50. They also had Julie Luft in the top 60. In addition to Walters, the Janes had Shannon Stryker in the mid 40's and Tania Fischer in the low 50's, with Mary Lynch not far back. In addition to Lapham, Northwest had Fletcher in the mid-20's but Judith Puzon, their 3rd scorer, was in the mid 70's. Garden State had Hortencia Aliaga in the low 30's, Kimberly Aspholm in the high 30's, and Kathleen Beebe in the upper 40's. That meant that Sirius, the Janes, and Garden State were in a dogfight for 1st, with Northwest a bit back, but ahead of the rest of the field. Shore AC had Suzanne La Burt just inside the top 30 overall, with Alexandra Marzulla around 40th and Kerry Gaughan in mid 80's. The Atlanta TC had Kelly Walsh low 50's overall, Kathleen Hayden high 50's, and Kris Huff low 60's. Impala Racing was off to a conservative start, with Suzanne Cordes upper 50's, Nancy Simmons, around 60th, and Teresa Quan 100th or so. 

From Left: Front Row: Laura Johnson Sirius, Shelly Allen Gulf Winds, Julie Luft Sirius. Next Row-From Right: Suzanne Cordes Impala, Nancy Simmons Impala, Kris Huff Atlanta, Ani Go Central Park


All three of Impala's runners are 60 or over; they must have been planning on running with a 50's runner who, in the end, was not able to compete. After the top three teams, it looked like Northwest in 4th but able to move up, with Shore a bit further back in 5th, but Gaughan's 85th probably means they are closer than they look. Atlanta is probably next, with a tightly packed bunch, bt some of them need to move up to put Atlanta in contention. One would expect Cordes and Simmons to move up, and Quan's final points should be much lower than a hundred, so that Impala might well improve. The Central Park TC, Genesee Valley Harriers, and Checkers AC also competed, finishing 8th, 9th and 10th. 

From left: Kathleen Hayden Atlanta, Julie Luft Sirius, Jennifer Saam Northwest, and Kathi Sleavin Northwest finish off the first of two loops vying with each other for their teams

By the 4k mark around the top, upper field on the 2nd loop, Walters continued to lead the group, with Lapham dogging her footsteps. O'Grady and Aspholm had passed Hopkins, but Hopkins was hanging on just in front of Landers-Pott who had also moved up.  The Janes had improved a bit as Stryker had moved up 4 spots, and were probably in the lead on paper. O'Grady of Sirius had slipped back a spot but that was outbalanced by Landers-Potts moving  up two spots, so they were giving no quarter. Aliaga of Garden State had also moved up one spot so Garden State  was hanging in. Fletcher of Northwesthad moved up a couple of spots and Puzon one, but that was just enough to keep them safely in 4th, no threat to the top 3 at the moment, but not vulnerable to the others either. The first three Shore runners all moved up a slot, except for Marzulla who moved up two. Still they were double-digit points behind Northwest, no doubt. Simmons of Impala moved up 7 places to bring them much closer to Atlanta. Exactly how close is tough  to say. For some reason the split at 4000 meters shows Walsh in 102nd place overall, after being in the low 50's for the first three splits (1170, 2170, 3000 meters). That is not impossible, but she is listed as finishing in the low 50's so it is highly implausible. Huff moved up a few spots, but Hayden moved back a couple. My best guess is that Atlanta was slightly ahead of Impala at that point but both were well behind Shore. The final two kilometers were decisive.

The Sirius athletes stayed strong the whole way, to claim the win, with Hopkins 3rd, Landers-Potts 7th and O'Grady 9th. Walters claimed the single point for the Janes and Stryker added 7 more but Fischer, despite her best efforts, was unable to hold off fast closing athletes from Atlanta and Impala. The Janes would have to be happy with a 2nd place effort at the National Championships! Garden State hung tough all the way to claim 3rd, with Aliaga 5th, Aspholm 10th and Beebe 16th. Northwest came next with Lapham 2nd, Fletcher 11th and Puzon 27th. Shore tried mightily to catch Northwest but had to settle for 5th place behind La Burt 4th, Marzulla 8th, and Gaughan 31st. 

Suzanne LaBurt Shore just holds off the furious kick of Hortencia Aliaga Garden State for 4th place and a 2 point swing in the race between in-state rivals

A single point separated Impala and Atlanta at the end. Simmons and Cordes finished 14th and 15th, and Quan added 23 points for 52 and 6th place. Walsh finished 13th, with Huff 19th and Hayden 21st, giving Atlanta 53 points and 7th place.

Sirius Athletics 19 1:15:18    Rachel Hopkins, Melissa Landers-Potts, Jill O'Grady, Julie Luft, Laura Johnson

Janes Elite Racing 24 1:15:41    Ingrid Walters, Shannon Stryker, Tania Fischer, Mary Lynch, Kirsten Leetch 

Garden State Track Club-NB 31  1:16:52    Hortencia Aliaga, Kimberly Aspholm, Kathleen Beebe

60+ Four teams opted to try for a National Title: Atlanta TC, Club Northwest, Genesee Valley Harriers, and Greater Philadelphia TC. Northwest and Atlanta went 1-2 at Lehigh. More recently Greater Philadelphia took the 5 km XC title at Boston, with Atlanta 3rd. The Athena TC which was very successful throughout the 2010's has disbanded and many of its members are now with GPTC. From the starting line, they surged down past the Jumbotron, up the hill and around the upper field, crossing the 1.17 km timing mat. They traced the long path that circles around that field and dropped down to the dirt trail leading to the Shell Path, where they passed a second timing mat at 2.17 km. If you could pick out the team competitors, it was clear that GPTC was headed to another big win, barring major disasters. 

Loraine Jasper GPTC #770 center leads out the 60+ Team runners in the midst of mostly 40+ and a few 50+ athletes


GPTC's Lorraine Jasper was around 50th Overall, leading the way, with her teammate, Mary Swan in the low 60's but 2nd among this group. Cheryl Bellaire provided strong support, running in the low 80's overall and 5th or 6th in this group. The only team that was at all close was Club Northwest, with Gail Hall and Kathi Sleavin running together in the low 60's, 3rd and 4th in this group. Kelly Kruell was slogging in the trenches, around 100th overall and 9th in this group. For Northwest to have a shot at the win, Kruell would have to close the gap up to Bellaire, a tall order indeed. Atlanta was probably 3rd. Mireille 'Mimi' Silva led the way, running stride for stride with GPTC's Bellaire in the low 80's, vying for 5th and 6th. Robin Tanner was in the upper 90's overall, and 8th in this group, with Cynthia Williams around 100th overall, 10th in the group. Margaret Taylor was just 2 spots back of Williams overall, with Terry Ozell another three. Atlanta would not have to worry about difficulties at the #3 position, should they arise.

From Left: Kathi Stewart Sirius, Shelly Allen Gulf Winds, Patti Shore Impala and Lesley Hinz T.H.E. TC vying for 40+ and 50+ Team Honors


By the time they were circling the upper field again at the 4 km split, Jasper was more indelibly the leader, having advanced 4 spots overall. Sleavin had moved even with Swan, and Bellaire and Silva were running in tandem in the low 80's overall. That meant that GPTC was still firmly in the driver's seat. With Hall running steady in the mid-60's overall and Kruell hanging in around 100, Northwest looked like they had 2nd place all but locked up. Tanner had moved up a few spots overall, but not within the group. Williams moved up 5 spots overall and 1 within this group. Moore, Saeva and Smith-Hanna were all plugging away. 

Jasper approached the finish line confident she was giving her team a single point, not more, to start with. Swan won her battle with Sleavin, taking 2nd by 5 seconds. Bellaire was not able to fight off Silva, but kept everyone else behind her, finishing 6th 29:15. That gave GPTC 9 points and the win! After Sleavin claimed 3rd for Northwest, Hall took 4th 27:05, and Kruell 10th for 17 points and a solid 2nd place. 

Mireille 'Mimi' Silva Atlanta L and Cheryl Bellaire GPTC matching each other stride for stride, neither giving an inch at the end of the first 3 km loop


Silva won the battle with Bellaire, taking 5th 29:05, and was followed in by Tanner in 8th 31:50, and Williams in 9th 32:03. Atlanta's 22 points left them 5 points back from Northwest in 3rd place. GVH finished just off the podium, led by Moore in 7th 31:42, with Saeva 12th 34:53, and Smith-Hanna 14th 37:09.

Greater Philadelphia TC 9 1:21:43      Lorraine Jasper, Mary Swan, Cheryl Bellaire

Club Northwest 17 1:26:34      Kathi Sleavin, Gail Hall, Kelly Kruell

Atlanta TC 22 1:32:57     Mireille Silva, Robin Tanner, Cindy Williams

70+ Atlanta won the participation prize, bringing both an 'A' and a 'B' team. That is impressive for this division. Team Red Lizard brought a very strong team that has won multiple national championships in the last few years. 

Red Lizard's Jeanette Groesz led the field out, followed by her teammate, Sharon Gerl. Atlanta's Norma 'Nonie' Hudnall broke up the Red Lizard train, at least for the first kilometer. But by the 2.2 kilometer mat at the Shell Path, Red Lizard #3, Cande Olsen had passed Hudnall and had a 15-meter lead. Except for a sole GVH runner, Carolyn Smith-Hanna being finally passed Between 2.2 and 4 km by Atlanta's Kathleen Allen, after a back and forth battle, there were no order changes. 

Kathleen AllenAtlanta, just ahead of Carolyn Smith-Hanna GVH at the end of the first 3 km Loop

At the finish it was Groesz, Gerl and Olsen going 1-2-3 for 6 points. The Atlanta 'A' team went 4-5-6 with Hudnall, Allen, and Marion Finley for 15 points. Their 'B' team took 3rd with 7-8-9 from Catherine Radle, Mary Reed, and Carol Patterson for 27 points. It was another triumph for Team Red Lizard!

Team Red Lizard 6 1:36:26    Jeanette Groesz, Sharon Gerl, Cande Olsen

Atlanta Track Club 'A' 15 1:56:52    Norma Hudnall, Kathleen Allen, Marion Finley, Myrna Barnett

Atlanta Track Club 'B' 27 2:20:40    Catherine Radle, Mary Reed, Carol Patterson



40+  On paper it appeared the 6 strongest teams would be: the Boston Athletic Association, Bowerman TC, Cal Coast TC, Greater Philadelphia TC, Indiana Elite, and West Valley TC. The favorite, based on recent history, was West Valley; they took the Club Cross titles at Lexington and Lehigh, and finished 3rd at Spokane. The B.A.A. had 2nd place finishes at Lexington and Spokane, but fell to 5th at Lehigh. Bowerman won at Spokane, finishing 3rd at Lehigh and Lexington; Cal Coast missed a couple of years but finished 2nd at Lehigh.  They were, if you will, the aristocracy of the race. There were two interlopers, Greater Philadelphia TC, which did not contest either Lexington or Spokane, but finished 7th at Lehigh, and the Indiana Elite Running Club, a newly formed team. GPTC took 1-2-3 at the 12 km Championships in New Jersey in September and, even with one of their top three, Brock Butler, a bit off his best and another, Chris Naimoli, not present, they still finished 3rd at Boston, not far back from the BAA and HFC, in 1st and 2nd respectively. The pe-race 'hype' was that the IERC was coming in loaded. One of their team, John Poray, had raced in Boston, finishing 2nd. Jesse Davis, who had qualified for the Olympic Marathon trials a couple of years ago and had a national championship at one of the Ultra marathons, would lead them. When we learned, the day before the race, that one of their team had not obtained a negative Covid test, and would not run, that added more suspense to the event! West Valley had a strong team but would not have Jorge Maravilla this go round. Maravilla finished in the top 4 overall at each of the last three Club Cross championships.

A reminder: The 40+ Men's race is over 10 km and involves the standard 5-athlete scoring, not 3, as in the Women's and Men 60+ races.

The B.A.A. started with the participation honors, the only Club to field an A and a complete B team. In addition to the 6 teams that are the main focus here the other teams competing finished in the following order from 7th to 20th: Pacers/GRC, HFC Striders, Garden State, Team Red Lizard, Club Northwest, Bull City, Atlanta, LRC Nebraska, Boise Betties & Billies, Philadelphia Runners, B.A.A. B Team, Checkers AC, Movin Shoes, Power Milers.

When the gun went off, the runners shot forward to gain any edge they could. 


The Opening Sprint across the Upper Field on the front part of the course-Every Runner tries for an early edge or at least to avoid others getting an edge on them!

By the time they passed the 1.2 kilometer mark it was a stream of dozens of athletes with no obvious break in the flow. 

Lead Group at 1.2 km-Peter Gilmore West Valley #1018, Eric Blake Central Mass Striders #649, Russell Cook Cal Coast #905, and Jesse DavisIndiana Elite #1130 and the rest of the lead pack strung out.

Second Wave of Runners Passing 1.2 km-From Left: Thomas Burns Indiana Elite, David Wertz Pacers/GRC, Konrad Knutsen West Valley, Benjamin Koss West Valley, Chris Naimoli Greater Philadelphia, John Poray Indiana Elite, Joe Borg Pacers/GRC, Matthew Waggoner Greater Philadelphia, and Chris Garvin HFC Striders

Third Wave of Runners passing 1.2 km-From Left: Brendan Prindiville B.A.A., Orrin Schumacher Bowerman, #1121, John Gardiner Cal Coast, Aaron Totten-Lancaster Atlanta, Mike Cole Indiana, Ahrlin Baumin Bowerman


Even by the 2.2 km mark at the Shell path, one could simply identify  where in the stream runners and teams seemed to be. The B.A.A. had Alexander Taylor among the leaders, Brendan Prindiville just outside the top 20,, Dan Smith around 30th, Aaron Price, Matthew Carter and Peter Hammer  all in the low 40's, with Jason Holroyd and Mark Carroll in the upper 40's. Bowerman had Peter Bromka in the top 20, John Howell just outside the first 20; Gregory Mitchell and Ahrlin Bauman in the 2nd 20; Orrin Schumacher in the 50's and Nick Martin  in the 60's. Cal Coast had Roosevelt Cook among the leaders, John Gardiner, Jacques Sallberg and Philip Gonzalez in the second 20, Matt Yacoub in the upper 40's and Richard Jennings in the 60's or 70's. GPTC had their trusty trio, Brock Butle, Chris Naimoli, and Matt Waggoner, just outside the first 20, along with Scott Burns. Tim Harte was around 40th and Reza Manavi around 60th. Indiana had Jesse Davis among the leaders and John Poray solidly in the top 20; Bryan Lindsay was right around 20th, with Thomas Burns a few spots back, Jasen Ritter and Mike Cole in the top 40. They also had Jeff Zeha around 60th and Robb Awe in mid-60's or so. West Valley had Peter Gilmore among the leaders, with Todd Rose and Konrad Knutsen in the top 20. Benjamin Koss was just outside the top 20, with Julian Marsh in the mid-40's, John Montgomery around 50th, and Jamey Gifford and Jose Anguiano in the mid 50's. So far Indiana was looking good with 4 runners in the top 30 and 2 more in the top 40. They were the only team with 6 runners in the top 40. GPTC had 4 runners in the top 25 or so and 5 in the top 40. Cal Coast had 5 runners in the top 40 as well as one of the leaders.  West Valley had 4 runners in th etop 25 or so, but they needed at least one more runner in the top 40. Marsh or Montgomery needed to move up to give West Valley a chance to repeat at the top. Bowerman had a runner in the top 20 and one just outside, plus two more runners in the top 40 and one more in the top 50. The B.A.A. had three runners in the top 30, and two more in the mid-40's.Things would be clearer, no doubt, at the 4 km mark.

At the 4K mark, Davis, Gilmore, Cook, and Taylor were leading, with Bromka within a shout. Indiana's grip on 1st was slightly firmer. With Davis top 4, they had Lindsay at the head of the second ten, with T. Burns and Poray both in the mid teens.Ritter was around 25th with Cole around 30th, and Zeha around 40th. That gave Indiana  a notional score somewhere in the 70's perhaps. West Valley had Gilmore in the top 4, Rose just inside the top 20, Koss and Knutsen in 20th and  and 21t, and Marsh in the upper 30's, for a score somewhere around a hundred or  so. Bowerman, with Bromka around 8th, Mitchell and Howell in the low 20's and Schumacher and Bauman in the upper 20's, they were probably in  the low 100's. Cal Coast and GPTC must have been right there too. Cook, for  Cal Coast, was top 4, with Sallberg just inside the top 20, on an offday that might not see him in the top ten Overall at the end of the race. Still, with Gonzalez in the mid-20's, Gardiner in the upper 20's, Agricola in th elow 30's, and Yacoub mid-30's, they had something like 115 points and a possibility of moving up. The same could be said of GPYC, with Waggoner and Nimoli in the mid-teens, Butler the low 20's, Burns around 30th and Harte mid-30's. The B.A.A. needed someone to get up closer to Taylor who was in 5th. Their 2nd runner, Prindiville, was in the upper 20's, with Smith, Carter, Price and Holroyd from the low to the mid-30's. The B.A.A. was probably up in the 130-140 range on paper.


The next 2000 meters were not good for Cal Coast. John Gardiner, who had been their 4th scoring runner, was forced to withdraw, perhaps due to heat related issues. In any case, that meant that Agricola and Yacoub would have to fill in as best they could.  If we just focus on these 6 rival teams now, Indiana had three runners in the top10, a fourth midway through the 2nd 10, and their 5th runner around 20th.

At 5.7 km: Jesse Davis Indiana leads Eric Blake Central Mass and Peter Gilmore West Valley, with Roosevelt Cook lime singlet in the background


They had two 'aces in the hole, with runners in the mid 20's and low 30's. 

At 5.7 km Greg Mitchell Bowerman leading Benjamin Koss West Valley, with Brock Butler  Greater Philadelphia and Thomas Burns Indiana in the background.

West Valley had 2 in the top ten and two in the next five, but their 5th runner was behind Indiana's #6 runner. 

At 5.7 km chasing the leaders--Todd Rose West Valley, leading John Poray Indiana, Jacques Sallberg Cal Coast, Fabian Eduardo Daza Garden State, and in the next 'row' from left: David Wertz Pacers/GRC white singlet, Chris Naimoli Greater Philadelphia white cap, and Matthew Waggoner Greater Philadelphia

Bowerman was probably still in 3rd, with a 5th place, three in the second 10, and two in the mid-20's.

At 5.7 km-From Left: Jasen Ritter Indiana, Dan Smith B.A.A., Ahrlin Bauman Bowerman, with Scott Burns Greater Philadelphia and Jason Holroyd B.A.A. in the background.

The B.A.A., GPTC, and Cal Coast were tight for the next three spots but, arguably, in that order. 

At 5.7 km-Mark Carroll B.A.A., Brantley Lutz Dukes TC, and Julian Marsh West Valley, pushing hard to drop their rivals and avoid being caught from behind by any of the long stream trailing out behind.


The splits for 8000 meters are missing many runners, so let's go to the finish to see how the final 4 km of the race worked out.  Davis pulled away steadily for an Indiana win, Gilmore took 2nd for West Valley and Cook 3rd for Cal Coast. 

Jeese Davis approaching the finish line-It does not get any sweeter, taking the win and leading your team to victory!


West Valley did pour it on as a team over those last 4 km. Rose was able to get past Indiana's Poray, and Koss also passed Lindsay. But both the Indiana runners hung tough, not giving up any more positions than they were forced to. Still, with each team's top 3 runners in, West Valley was ahead by 5 points. Knutsen came in 22nd, two positions ahead of T. Burns to raise West Valley's lead to 7 points. But Indiana's Ritter and Cole came across in 34th and 35th. Ritter's 34th capped Indiana's scoring at 85. With West Valley at 44, they needed their 5th runner to finish 40th or better. When Bowerman's 4th runner, Bauman, finished 40th, that put an end to West Valley's hopes. It was very close though. Marsh finished 44th for West Valley so Indiana won 85 to 88! It was even closer for the final podium spot between the B.A.A. and Bowerman, where the final margin was a single point. Bowerman's top 3 runners, Bromka, Mitchell and Schumacher finished 7th, 13th and 19th for 39 points. 

A Few Meters from the Finish-All Out Sprint- Gregory Mitchell Bowerman knows every point counts and, at the line, just edges David Wertz Pacers/GRC

The B.A.A.'s top 3, Taylor, Prindiville, and Smith took 5th, 26th and 28th for 59 points. Bowerman had what looked like a comfortable lead of 20 points. Not necessarily so in large XC meets. Boston came roaring back, placing Price, Carter, and Hammer in 31st to 33rd. The 63 points from Price and Carter capped the B.A.A.'s scoring at 122. Hammer pushed Bowerman's #4 runner further back and when Holroyd came across 37th for Boston, that made it even more likely Bowerman's 4th and 5th runners would not arrive in time. Their total had to be 82 or less. Ten seconds after Holroyd crossed the line, Bauman gave Bowerman its 4th set of points at 40th, giving them 79. They needed their 5th runner in a hurry and 15 seconds later, Howell brought home the goods with his 42nd place finish. That gave them 121 points and third place with a one-point margin-Wow, that was close!

And if you think it couldn't get any closer between 5th and 6th, think again! Cook and Sallberg claimed 3rd and 9th for Cal Coast, giving them an initial 20 point edge over GPTC's 32 points from Butler and Naimoli. But then their GPTC teammate, Waggoner, was only 6 places back from Naimoli, giving them 55 points from their top 3. When Gonzalez finished 39th for Cal Coast, their lead was down to 4 points. S. Burns got back two of those points by finishing 15 seconds and two places ahead of Cal Coast's Agricola. Harte got the last two points back by coming across the line 7 seconds and two places ahead of Cal Coast's Yacoub. That tied it up at 151 points each! The current tie-breaker procedure gives the better team place to the team whose last scoring runner has the better finishing place. GPTC got 5th and Cal Coast 6th. As it happens, the old head-to-head tie-breaking procedure would also have given the 5th place to GPTC

Indiana Elite had a successful debut, winning their first ever attempt at a Club Cross Masters win! Now we will see if they can stay at the top. It is always tough with a target on your back. The last time a Club won back to back M40+ Championships at Club Cross was Bowerman with 3 consecutive wins from 2014 through 2016. I understandthe Indiana Elite might be entering a few more Championships this year and may try to make a run at the 2022 Masters National M40+ Club Grand Prix Championship! West Valley showed surprising resilience, replacing a runner of Maravilla's stature and coming within 4 points of a win! Bowerman and Boston enjoyed an epic battle for 3rd and 4th. And the same was true for GPTC and Cal Coast. With the double whammy of an off day for Sallberg and a withdrawal from Gardiner, it is a tribute to the team that they were in the top 5 but for the tie-breaker! I look for Cal Coast to bounce back; they will be tough to beat at Mission Bay!

Indiana Elite 85 2:53:27    Jesse Davis, John Poray, Bryan Lindsay, Thomas Burns, Jasen Ritter, Mike Cole, Jeff Zeha, Robb Awe

West Valley 88 2:53:55    Peter Gilmore, Todd Rose, Benjamin Koss, Konrad Knutsen, Julian Marsh, Jamey Gifford, John Montgomery, Jose Anguiano, Mario Cadete

Bowerman121 2:56:35    Peter Bromka, Gregory Mitchell, Orrin Schumacher, John Howell, Nick Martin


50+ Again the focus will be on the top 6 teams: Bowerman, Central Mass Striders, Club Northwest, Garden State, TC Running Co., and West Valley. The historically dominant team in this division has been the Greater Soringfield Harriers; they have won the last three Club Cross Championships in this division. But the last two years have not been kind to them in terms of injuries. Still, they would have been securely  in the top 4, at least, this year, had their ace, Nat Larson, not had to withdraw from the race in the last kilometer (for heat/humidity related concerns)  after sticking like glue to the M55-59 leader, Peter Hammer, for most of the race. I look for Larson to be pushing the pace again in San Diego. Bowerman finished 2nd at Spokane but has not otherwise prioritized this event. Central Mass has not previously placed in the top 6 at Club Cross, but they won the 5 km Masters M50+ XC Championships at Boston in October ahead of Greater Springfield. Northwest finished 4th at Lexington, 3rd at Spokane, and 2nd at Lehigh. Would this be their year to move to the top? Garden State made their top 6 debut at Lehigh, finishing 5th athough this team had almost entirely different personnel from that team, with 4 of their top 5 aging up to 50+ since Lehigh. TC Running made their debut in the top 6 at Lehigh, finishing 3rd. West Valley has not attained top 6 at any recent Club Cross events. It is fair to say that the core of their 50+ team in 2021 included several individuals who were important contributors to the 40+ team success from 2017-19. Now they get to run as a 50+ team. No doubt West Valley was loaded. Garden State lacked a strong front-runner but had a very solid core. If they could run together as a pack, they felt they had a good shot at the podium. The other teams all had a top 10 runner and one or two strong support runners; whether they had depth all the way to a strong 5th runner was uncertain. The story below relies on places within this group of six teams for intermediate splits, but on all scoring runners for the finishing places.

The gun sounded, runners reacted and shot forward. Most of the 50's runners were in the middle of the 2nd chasing group but a few were in the lead pack. When they coursed up the slope and around the back upper field, they crossed the 1.2 km mark. At that point it was clear that short of disaster, West Valley  would win the division. Mark Yuen and Ivan Lieben  were 1-2 among these six teams, with Charles Mullane 4th, David White 6th,  and Mark Callon tied for 7th. 

At 1.2 km-Mark Yuen seemingly all alone-In fact he is cruising just behnd the main chase pack of M40+ and ahead of the 2nd M40+ Chase Pack. He has already left the field of M50+ well behind.


Who else was looking good? Central Mass had Greg Putnam in 5th, with Tim Van Orden and Steve Brightman just outside the top ten.Todd Callaghan was in a group stretching from 13-18, and Joe Shairs5-10 meters behind the group. The black and gold of Garden State also stood out where it counted. Not only did they have Todd Wiley inside the top 10, they had four of the six runners from 13th through 18th. Richard Falcone was leading the group and three of his GSTC teammates, Elliott Frieder, Jonathan Frieder, and Joe Hegge, were also in there. With five athletes in the top 20, Garden State was  ahead of the rest. 

At 1.2 km--Tim Van Orden CMS just ahead of a portion of the Garden State pack, from left, Joseph Hegge, Jonathan Frieder, Elliott Frieder. In the next row back is Rick Herr Cal Coast and to the far left in the background in red and black, Mike Nier GVH


If they could keep all five in that group, they would not catch West Valley, but they would be battling Central Mass for the final two podium spots. Northwest had Emmet Hogan in the top ten and had a nice pack of six other runners together, but they were all in the 20's, about 50 meters back from the GSTC pack. Some of those six, Ben Brauer, Blair Cossey, Jeff Hashimoto, Ben Sauvage, Carl Weissman, and Carl Winter needed to move up for Northwest to have a shot at the podium. Bowerman had Craig Godwin around 10th but then, like Northwest, had their next four runners in that big group of runners ranging from around 20th through 30th or so. TC Running had Kelly Mortenson in 3rd, but their 2nd and 3rd runners, Matthew Waite and John Van Danacker were in the 20's group, and their next two, Allan Severude and Robert Economy in the high 30's. 

By the 4 km mark along the upper back field, West Valley was still firing on all cylinders, with four runners in the top 7, led by Yuen and Lieben, and a fifth, Callon, just outside that group. Central Mass and Garden State were still in a battle. CMS had Putnam in 3rd, 3 others, Brightman, Callaghan, and Van Orden in a group from 11th -16th , but their pack had broken up; Shairs was now about 40 meters back from that group, albeit still inside the top 20. GSTC had no one to match Putnam, but had two runners ahead of the 11th - 16th group, Wiley and Falcone, and 3 runners in that pack, the Frieder twins and Hegge. Garden State was arguably ahead at that point but Central Mass was within striking distance, just a couple of points back. It was looking increasingly like the two teams from the Pacific Northwest, Bowerman and Club Northwest were dueling for 4th and 5th. But there is always a little extra on the line when you are battling a regional rival at a National Championship. For Bowerman, Godwin was in a group of four back from the top 3, with Farley inside the top 20, and Hartmann and Smith in a group ranging from the low to upper 20's. Their 5th and 6th runners were together, about a hundred meters back from the Hartmann/Smith group. Twin Cities had Mortenson in the top ten, Van Danacker running with Farley and Waite with the Hartmann/Smith group.. Their #'s 4-6 runners were in the upper 30's. 

At 5.7Km-Ivan Lieben West Valley courses the upper field, with 40+ runners, David Angell Roanoke Vallley and Philip Gonzalez Cal Coast in the background; David Simmons Northwest #938


The following 2 km that brought the runners past the Jumbotron again did not see dramatic changes but a continuation of the earlier trends. West Valley  was having no trouble keeping their top five runners either solidly inside or just outside the top 10 runners in the 50+ team group. Garden State had Falcone vying with Mortenson for 8th or 9th and Wiley in 10th. The Frieder twins were running in 12th and 13th, with Hegge part of a 6 runner group 35 meters back from the Frieder's. Central Mass still had Putnam in the top 5, vying with Bowerman's Godwin for 3rd or 4th; CMS's next three were in the 6-runner group with Hegge, from 14th to 19th place, and their 5th runner about 35 meters behind that group. Bowerman was now a little ahead of Northwest because both Godwin and Farley had continued to move up. As noted, Godwin was now in a duel with Putnam for 3rd and 4th, while Farley had joined the 6-runner group referred to above. Hogan, of Northwest, was about 30 meters back from Putnam and Godwin now, with the rest of their runners in the mid or upper 20's.

At 5.7Km-Gregory Putnam Central Mass, with John Howell #974 and Craig Godwin, both Bowerman, just behind, with Mike Cole Indiana Elite, Peter Hammer Boston, and, looking over Hammer's left shoulder, Nat Larson Greater Springfield


As with the earlier groups, the 8000 and 9000 meter splits are missing the leading runners, so let us look at the finish. Yuen and Lieben remained in the top two slots all the way to the finish. Those 3 points combined with a 6th and 7th from White and Mullane, plus a 9th from Callon to give West Valley 25 points and a resounding win! Their teammates, Edward Randolph, Ben Turman, and Ahmet Gokcek had provided help if needed and were happy to celebrate the win. It is great to have depth you can count on. Garden State did a masterful job of keeping their 5-runner pack together. 

At 5.7Km-Charles Mullane West Valley leads Mike Nahom West Valley, with Tim Harte Greater Philadelphia next

At the finish they had Falcone, E. Frieder, Wiley, J. Frieder, and Hegge finish in 10th - 12th, 14th and 15th, all crossing the finish line in a span of just 40 seconds! That is cohesive! 

At 5.7 Km - Richard Falcone Garden State leads M40+ runners, John Markell West Valley and Jeff Zeha Indiana Elite, along with his M50+ Garden State teammate, Todd Wiley; with Matt Yacoub, looking over Markell's left shoulder


The promise seen at the earlier checkpoints was fully realized. GSTC's 62 points gave them a gap of over 30 points back to CMS. Putnam, of Central Mass, had been able to pull away from Godwin, finishing 3rd. Shairs moved up, but, along with Brightman, was just behind the GSTC pack, in 16th and 17th. Van Orden added a 24th place and Callaghan 33rd to give CMS a final total of 93 points and a firm hold on the final podium position! Northwest came back to push Bowerman  over the final two loops and make it too close to call as they were heading along the Shell Path and up and over the upper field. Hogan had closed with Putnam and Godwin. Putnam, as noted, had left those two behind, and now Hogan was sprinting ahead of Godwin, 20 meters to the good as he crossed the line in 4th, Godwin 5th. 

At 5.7 Km - from left Carl Weissman and Ben Brauer, both Bowerman

A minute and a half later, Farley and Hartmann came across the line in 19th and 21st to give Bowerman 45 points and reason to hope they would take 4th ahead of Northwest. The next two runners for Northwest came in a pair, with Sauvage and Cossey netting 25th and 26th and keeping the score close at 45-54. Fourteen seconds later, Hashimoto of Northwest sped across the finish line, to flip expectations. Northwest had 4 runners in; if their 5th runner could finish before Bowerman's they might well edge their Oregon rivals. It is rarely that easy at Club Cross though; Bowerman's Smith was only 4 seconds and three places behind Hashimoto, holding the losss to three points. With four runners in for both squads, the score was Bowerman 79 -- Northwest 86. But Northwest's Weissman was right on Smith's heels, handing Northwest its 5th team score, 35, for a total of 121. Would Bowerman's5th runner score ahead of 42nd place? That is what they needed for  an outirght win. Thirteen seconds later, Berman answered by finishing 42nd, giving Bowerman the exact same score as Northwest; it was tied at 121. As noted earlier, ties are now resolved by the contest between the 5th scoring runner. Since Northwest's 5th runner came in ahead of Bowerman's 5th runner, they get 4th place and Bowerman 5th. A head-to-head tie breaker would have had the same result. The TC Running Company had 153 points with Mortenson 8th; Waite and Van Danacker 22nd & 23rd; Severude 47th and Larranaga 53rd. Larranaga's teammate, Economy, finished 2 seconds and 1 spot back.

It was a great day for West Valley; they dominated the cometition. Garden State showed once again that you do not have to have the fastest runner to do well at these competitons. Their strategy of focusing on keeping a very strong pack together rewarded them with the runner-up spot! CMS finished off a very successful fall seaso-2nd place at the Masters 5 km National Championships in Boston and a podium finish at Club Cross, the toughest of them all.

West Valley 29 3:00:25    Mark Yuen, Ivan Lieben, David White, Charles Mullane, Mark Callon, Edward Randolph, Ben Turman, Ahmet Gokcek, Jon Erskine   

Garden State 62 3:05:59    Richard Falcone, Elliott Frieder, Todd Wiley, Jonathan Frieder, Joseph Hegge, Harold Porcher, John Hogan, Steven Segaloff

Central Mass Striders 93 3:08:14    Gregory Putnam, Joseph Shairs, Steve Brightman, Tim Van Orden, Todd Callaghan

The remaining Championships were conducted in a single Men's 60+ race over 8 km; the first three finishers for each team score, with the lower score receiving the better finishing position. 

60+ The top 6 teams considered are: Athletics Boulder, Boulder Road Runners, Genesee Valley Harriers, Hoka Aggie RC, Shore AC, TC Running Company. In this division, recent Club Cross history offers no clear guide. AB competed at Lehigh, finishing 4th; BRR finished 5th at Spokane; neither GVH nor Hoka Aggies have finished in the top 6 at the most recent 3 Club Cross events; Shore finished 3rd at Lexington but has not made the top 6 since. One of the TC Running Company's athletes competed for Run N Fun, another Minnesota team, that finished 2nd at Lehigh. At the most recent XC national championship, the Masters 5 km XC at Boston, it was AB and Shore finishing 1-2, with GVH 4th.

It always takes a while for the athletes to find their rhythm. By the time they hit the Shell Path on the back portion of the course, at 2.2 km, it was clear that, barring surprises, Dan King would give AB a 1 point score. 

Dan King Athletics Boulder, along with Rick Lee Shore out of picture to right, leads out Rob Class TC Running, Paul Abdalla Northwest, Philip Garland F & M TC, Joseph Mora GVH, and teammate,  David Litoff

The winnner at Boston, he was already 30 meters ahead of the field. AB also had David Litoff in the 4-runner chase group  thirty meters back from King. 

Start- From Thom Hunt far right to Keith Witthauer far left the M60+ Athletes stream down the hill chasing the leaders


The Aggies' Kevin Ostenberg, Shore's Rick Lee, and TC Running's Rob Class were the other athletes in that group. AB's 3rd runner, Jay Littlepage, was around 20th, with Rick Bruess a few positions back. TC Running may have been in first at that point. In addition to Class in the first chase group, TC had Peter Kessler and Dan Johnson in a group of 5 runners between 7th and 11th. Boulder was close to AB; they had Tim DeGrado, Roger Sayre, and Mark Tatum in that same group with Kessler and Johnson. The Aggies were a bit off that pace. Besides Ostenberg, they had Leo Leniting running in 12th and 13th with the BRR's Adam Feerst; and  Bobby Hastings running in 14th and 15th with Shore's Michael Salamone. In addition to Lee, Shore had Salamone in 14th or 15th, and Donald Schwartz in 16th. GVHhad Joseph Mora in 6th; Tim Riccardi running in 18th and 19th with Shore's Reno Stirrat; and Gary Radford running in 22nd and 23rd with Shore's Scott Linnell. 

At 2.7K - David Litoff Athletics Boulder leads Kevin Ostenberg Aggies, Rick Lee Shore with the Tim DeGrado and Roger Sayre, both Boulder Road Runners in the background, with Mark Tatum out of sight but right behind


At the 4 km mark, after passing the Jumbotron for the first time and climbing up to the upper back field, things were a bit clearer. By keeping their 3-runner pack together and towards the front, DeGrado, Sayre and Tatum were keeping pressure on the others and were probably in first place as a team. AB's King was far away in first and unaware; Litoff was only 15 meters or so ahead of the Boulder trio, but there was not much he could do about it, except try to stay ahead of them. Littlepage was giving it his all and had moved up inside the top 20, but that might not be enough. TC and the Aggies were still in a tight battle for the last podium spot. TC had Class in 8th or 9th, Johnson in 10th and Kessler 11th, another pretty tight pack. Aggieshad Ostenberg in 2nd or 3rd; Hastings in 13th and Lenting running with Shore's Salamone and GVH's Riccardi in 14th through 16th positions. Shore  was a bit back from those two but had a solid edge on GVH. Shore had Lee in with the BRR trio, Salamone running  with Hastings in 14th or 15th, and Kevin Dollard, running in 18th or 19th with the Aggies' Thomas Cushman.  

At 2.7 Km - Jay Littlepage Athletics Boulder, Kevin Dollard and Donald Schwartz, both of Shore AC

GVH had Mora in 8th or 9th, Riccardi around 15th, and Radford and Rybinski in 25th and 26th.


The last half of the 8 km race was much like the first half. King ran away with the win for AB. But the big news was that DeGrado and Sayre were able to push forward and take 2nd and 3rd. 

At 7.7 Km -Tim DeGrado Center and Roger Sayre righr, both of Boulder RR, bearing down on Kevin Ostenberg Aggies


With their teammate, Tatum, a half minute back, but only 3 places, that gave the Boulder RR team 11 points and a fine win!  

At 7.7 Km - David Litoff Athletics Boulder, hanging tough, as Mark Tatum Boulder RR, Hugh Enicks So Cal, and Rick Lee Shore bear down on him


AB's Litoff was not able to maintain the torrid pace he set over the first  kmm, but he hung on for 8th. Along with Littlepage's  20th place, AB had 29 points and a strong 2nd place showing. TC Running had the tighest pack in terms of finishing positions, although not by time, as Johnson, Class and Kessler took 11th, 12th and 14th, for 37 points and a clear edge over the Aggies for third place. 

The Sprint to the Finish-Every Point Counts!-- Kevin Ostenberg Aggies, Paul Abdalla Northwest, Rick Lee Shore 5-6 and 7!

The Aggiesfinished 4th with 43 points from Ostenberg, Hastings and Cushman claiming 4th, 17th and 22nd. Shore took 5th with 52 points from Lee, Salamone, and Dollard's 7th, 18th, and 27th. GVH rounded out the top 6, scoring 66 points from Mora, Riccardi and Rybinski's 10th, 21st and 35th.

It was a great day for Boulder; the Road Runners took first off a great team effort and the Athletics Boulder squad ran superbly to finish 2nd. Like those tow teams, the TC Running Company team had a long haul back home but had a lot to celebrate!

Boulder Road Runners 11 1:32:45    Tim DeGrado, Roger Sayre, Mark Tatum, Adam Feerst, Bruce Kirschner

Athletics Boulder 29 1:35:24    Dan King, David Litoff, Jay Littlepage, Rick Bruess

TC Running Company 37 1:36:22    Dan Johnson, Rob Class, Peter Kessler, Carston Wagner

70+ The top 6 teams were: Atlanta TC, Boulder RR, Genesee Valley Harriers, Piedmont Pacers, San Diego Striders, and Syracuse TC. Atlanta also entered a 'B' team. The top team from the last two Club Cross events at Spokane and Lehigh, the Ann Arbor TC, was so banged up they did not even enter a team. Perhaps things will look better later in the Grand Prix year for my squad. Boulder and San Diego have had the most recent success amog these 6. BRR finshed 4th at Lexington and 3rd at Spokane. San Diego finished 2nd at Lexington. Atlanta finished 5th at Lexington and 6th at Spokane and Lehigh. Atlanta, Boulder, and GVH finished 1-2-3 at Boston. As always some runners had suffered some setbacks between Boston and Tallahassee and others were coming on strong, recovering from other injuries or events that hampered or interrupted training. One would have anticipated a fight between Atlanta, Boulder and San Diego for the win.

At the Start--Doug Bell Center-white singlet, blue shorts Boulder RR, and James Foster on Bell's immediate left lead out the M70+ field, along with many M60+ runners


Taking a first look at the 2.2 km mark on the back portion of the course is not useful because, the times for the 75-79 group, which had several runners in important scoring positions, were wrong; they were actually the splits for 4000 meters, and that carried through to the 6000 meter splits which matched the final 8 km times. So using the 2.2 km splits for the 70-74 groups and the 4 km splits for the 75-79 group gives us a glimpse of where both groups of athletes were, halfway through the race.

At that point, BRR was having a good day. Doug Bell, who finished 2nd to Atlanta's Kirk Larson in Boston, was leading. 

At the Start--Dave Glass right, black kit, #1031 gets the Atlanta M70+ train going, with Kirk Larson just behind Glass, and Jerry Learned background center


With their new recruit, Mike Wien running 3rd and Rick Katz, coming back from injury in 6th or 7th, Boulder was the team to beat. Atlantawas solid at that point. Larson was coming in with some quad issues but at that point was still competitive, thirty meters behind Wien in 4th. Jerry Learned was in 6th or 7th and Dave Glass was 8th. They were probably in 2nd at that point. San Diego was perhaps in 3rd, with Rick Pfeiffer in 2nd, Ron Wells 5th, and Steve Doyle 14th. Syracuse was not having the day many thought they would. 

At 2.7 Km - David Dunbar and Greg WagnerM60+ both of Jamul Toads, with Rick Pfeiffer San Diego Striders in background

Their top runner, James Foster, who just turned 70, had outpaced Larson and Bell at the Boston 5 km XC Championships by over 40 seconds. Today he was running in 5th, behind both Bell and Larson. With Doug Wood in 11th or 12th and Patrick Riccardi in 16th, their chances fo r the podium did not look good. Still, they were solid in 4th, ahead of GVH which had Jim May and Keith Yeates in 9th and 10th and Liam Finnigan in 17th. The Piedmont Pacers were in 6th, with Bob Albritton in 11th or 12th, David Stauffer in 15th and Dixon Cook in 18th. 

At 2.7 km -- Ron Wells San Diego Striders leading M60+ runners, Aaron Pratt Ann Arbor and Mitch Moore GVH, with Ezequiel Garcia Clifton black t-shirt and Rick Katz Boulder white singlet in background


By the time they crossed the timing mats at 6000 meters near the Jumbotron with just a short 2 km loop to go, there had been some changes. Bell had stretched his lead; Pfeiffer was comfortably in 2nd, with Larson in 3rd and Wien 4th. Katz was in 6th so Boulder had a big lead. With Larson 3rd, Learned 7th and Glass 8th, Atlanta was in 2nd at that point; the only worry was whether Larson's quads were getting  some damage. Their points would rise substantially if he could not finish. With Pfeiffer in 2nd, Wells in 5th, and Doyle in 13th, San Diego was right behind Atlanta. Foster had an injury of some sort and was running just to finish, falling from 4th to 23rd. Syracuse would have to settle for 6th. By virtue of that change, GVH and Piedmont moved up to 4th and 5th.

Jim May GVH center, front leads Gary Patton SoCal white t-shirt and his GVHteammate, Keith Yeates; alongside M65 Patrick Lafferty F&M TC


The final loop brought disaster for Atlanta. As some had feared, Larson's quads did take some damage; he had to drop out with a kilometer to go. Boulder took the win, as they would have had Larson been able to finish. Their 11 points from Bell, Wien and Katz gave them a fine win. Rather than a nail-biter to the end, San Diego took 2nd by 9 points, with Pfeiffer, Wells and Doyle amassing 18 points. With Larson out of the mix, Atlanta took 3rd. Glass and Learned finished strong, taking 5th and 6th. Allen Joyce moved up for Atlanta when Larson went down, finishing 16th. That gave Atlanta 27 points and an 8 point margin over GVH, which finished just off the podium. Their 35 points came from Yeates 10th, May 11th, and Finnigan 14th. Even without Foster at their head, Syracuse came back at Piedmont  and finished within 3 points of them.Albritton, Stuffer and Cook managed 49 points and held off a charge from Syracuse's Wood, Kevin Kelly and James Miner.

Boulder Road Runners 11 1:51:32    Doug Bell, Mike Wien, Rick Katz, Jan Frisby, Raymond Eck

San Diego Striders 18 1:57:36    Rick Pfeiffer, Ron Wells, Steve Doyle, Dan Diehr

Atlanta Track Club 27 2:01:32    Dave Glass, Jerry Learned, Allen Joyce [Kirk Larson]

 80+ Atlantawas the sole entry; they took the title by storm. Three of their four athletes finished within the time allotted. A fourth, Sid Davis, received the notation, NT = No Time, but he may have finished the race outside of those parameters. In the team race, Andrew Sherwood, David Turner, and Adrian Craven swept to the victory with 6 points!

Atlanta Track Club 6 2:59:27   Andrew Sherwood, David Turner, Adrian Craven, Sid Davis NT 

And that winds up the coverage of the 'Big Kahuna' of Cross Country, the National Club Cross Championships of 2021.

Hail to all of the new Champions, both teams and individuals! We shall all gather again in San Francisco, joined by, if projections are right, an additional 200 or more Masters athletes.

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