Thursday, May 12, 2022

2022 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships-Recap #2--Age Grade Champions and Teams

May 7, 2022 The first recap posted on Friday, May 6th, covered the Overall Masters Championship race and the many Age Division Championships decided. This one focuses on Age Grading and Teams. It is perhaps fitting because the initial Age Grading and Team results were  not correct. The Age Grading results were calculated off of Gun time instead of Chip time, and the Team Results were a hodgepodge of missing teams, incomplete teams and even teams mixed with both Men and Women. The results discussed below are based on the fixed and complete final results.

AGE GRADING The Prize  Purse at Dedham is currently the handsomest on the Masters National Grand Prix circuit. Martin Hanley, Director of the James Joyce Ramble, deserves credit for maintaining the prize purse in the face of increased costs race directors generally are facing from Medical support to awards. The Age Grading awards go to the top 3 Women and Men, but the cash prizes go 7-deep for both Women and Men.

WOMEN There were two World Class performances grading 90% or above and another thirteen at 85% or above. All told, 29 of the 89 women who finished the race turned in National Class or better 80% and above) performances. It is typically tough going for those in their 40's. Jessica Smith who took the overall win deserves kudos for also finishing in the top ten for age grading. Her 36:00 (net time) earned her, at age 41 an 86.30% score; that placed her 10th. The top age grading performances that just missed out on a cash prize were turned in by Cassandra Henkiel 51 39:18 86.68 and Mary Cass 60 43:48 86.68 who tied for 8th.  Seventh went to Karen Durante 71 50:46 86.90 who took the 70-74 division championship. Four of the top seven age grade scores were turned in by athletes in the 60-64 division. It is fitting that Mary Swan 60 43:36 87.11 who is thought of as the reliable #3 for the Greater Philadelphia TC 60-64 squad, turned in a sparkling time that earned her a 6th place finish. Fifth place went to Abby Dean 50 38:01 88.60 who finished 6th overall and took the 50-54 championship. Doreen McCoubrie 60 42:36 89.12 took 3rd in 60-64 and ran a time that surpassed the 89% mark in age grading. Lorraine Jasper 60 42:28 89.40 ran 8 seconds faster than her teammate, McCoubrie, which earned her an extra 0.28 percentage points, enough to claim third place and a spot on the Age Grading podium.

Women's Age Grading Winners- From Left: Abby Dean, Doreen McCoubrie, Stella Gibbs, Lorraine Jasper, Suzanne La Burt Photo By Author


Suzanne La Burt has had a fabulous year on the roads. Last September at the 12 Km National Championships, she finished 2nd  to Lisa Venziano's record-breaking 55-59 performance. But her time was world-class with her 49:38 12K at age 58 age grading at 90.43. After a break for some Cross Country action, La Burt returned to action on the roads at national championships. In Syracuse, La Burt again finished 2nd to Veneziano and but again had a world class time; her 1:29:15 at 58 graded at 91.89%. The 10 Km was her third successive national championship where she was in contention for both an age division win and a spot on the age-grading podium. Going into the event, the interested observer might have said, she is likely to have a good age grade again but I doubt it can continue going up! That observer would have been wrong. La Burt had the extra incentive of running for the 55-59 championship, which she nailed. Her 40:05 10 Km time at age 58 topped 92%,! Her 92.35% landed her in 2nd place and earned her a chunk of cash!

The same could be said of Stella Gibbs. who has been on the age division podium at every Championship this season. 

Stella Gibbs races to the Age Grading Championship at the 2022 USATF Masters National 10 Km Championship  Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


But Lorraine Jasper came in ahead of her at the XC Champs in San Diego and the 5 Km in Atlanta; Impala teammate, Nancy Simmons, had the edge at the 12 K Championships . Gibbs took the crown in Sacramento, but Dedham would be her chance to see if she could gain the edge over Jasper. Gibbs was up to the challenge. She came in ahead of Jasper by 4 seconds. At age 63, that racked up a 93.08 age grade percentage and put Gibbs atop the age grading podium.

Stella Gibbs 63 42:24  93.08%      Suzanne La Burt 58 40:05 92.35%     Lorraine Jasper 60 42:28 89.40%    

MEN Four men turned in World Class performances rated at 90% or above; 65 others earned national class recognition by scoring 80% or above. Eighteen of those were at or above 85%, qualifying for a Silver Age Grade medal. Richard Larsen, who won the 70-74 division, rounded out the top ten with his 40:31, rated at 88.27%. The 9th, 8th and 7th place finishers were all from the 50-54 division: Mark Carroll 50 33:38 88.35; Gregory Putnam 52 34:08 88.53; and Richard Falcone 51 33:38 89.10. Rick Lee 61 36:40 89.36 turned in a world class performance at the Half Marathon in Syracuse; he just missed this time and landed just outside the top 5. Paul McGovern 62 36:50 89.73 his fine race effort was 10 seconds slower than Lee but his extra year of age gave him a higher age grade, which landed him in the top five. The 4th age grade position went to Ken Youngers 65 37;46 90.07 who set the course record for 65-69 with his World Class effort. Youngers was at the top of his game when he broke the 12 Km American Record at the Masters Championships in New Jersey. He was also at the top of the podium. This effort signals his return to very near peak fitness. Brian Crowley 57 35:02 90.15 finished 4th behind Youngers at the 12 Km Championships, but finished just ahead of him this time,his world class effort landing him on the podium! Tim DeGrado ran a terrific race to take the 60-64 title free and clear at 35:58! At age 62, he broke the course record and landed 2nd in age grading overall with a 91.93%! 

Men's Age Grading Winners- From Left: Tim DeGrado, Brian Crowley, Ken Youngers, Paul McGovern, Rick Lee Photo By Author


Nat Larson, age 59, turned in a sterling 34:20 to land atop the age grading podium, repeating the feat he achieved in Syracuse at the Half Marathon Championships with a speedy 1:16:30. 

Nat larson crusies to the Men's Age Grading Championship at the 2022 USATF Masters National 10 Km Championship Photo courtesy of Michael Scott


Larson added a 2nd place Age Grade finish at Sacramento behind Jacob Nur's American record performance. This win gives Larson a podium Age Grade finish at each of the National Road Championships he has entered in 2022.

Nat Larson 59 34:20 93.64     Tim DeGrado 62 35:58 91.93     Brian Crowley 57 35:02 90.15

TEAMS Team prizes go three deep in each division at Dedham. The runners on the top three teams also receive team medals. The local teams from New England show up in force to try to deny victories to some of the juggernauts that enter from far-flung regions. How did it turn out?

WOMEN  40+ This division saw the HFC Striders and Tracksmith Boston Hares mobilizing to repel the Impala Racing team from the San Francisco Bay area and the Atlanta Track Club. With the Impala's  Jessica Smith and Kelly Couch coming in 1-2 in the team contest with a 36:01 and a 37:20 respectively, the New England teams had a rough row to hoe. Christina Campbell stemmed the tide for a bit with her 38:59 for HFC. But 20 seconds later, Katie Famous sped across the finish line to close off the Impala scoring. With a three-runner total of 1:52:40, no other team could touch them. 


Impala 40+ Gold Medal Team-From Left: Jessica Smith, Brooke Bray, Kelly Couch...Katie Famous missing   Photo by Author

How would 2nd through 4th turn out? Jody Dushay gave Tracksmith its first core at 41:28. A half minute later, HFC had an answer when Erin Brown posted a 42:07. That gave HFC 1:21:06 from their top two runners. After Brooke Bray, Impala's 4th runner scored at 43:14, Kris Huff gave Atlanta their first score at 43:39. She was joined on the score board a half minute later by her teammate, Kathy Wiegand. Her 44:10 gave Atlanta a two-runner score of 1:27:49 and put them ahead of Tracksmith, at lest temporarily. A half minute later Amanda Reich answered for Tracksith, with her 44:43 putting Tracksmith back into 3rd place, 5 minutes behind HFC but a minute and a half ahead of Atlanta. Hiroko Guarneri put Atlanta in the lead for the 2nd spot when she finished at 48:04 to give Atlanta a complete score at 1:35:53. Tracksmith needed their 3rd runner to score in the next minute and a half to get them back ahead of Atlanta. Sure enough, with 26 seconds to spare, Robin Reilly finished at 49:16. HFC's 3rd runner came next as Lauren Fitzpatrick clocked 50:23 to close off their scoring. HFC captured 2nd almost four minutes ahead of Tracksmith. Note: For the uninitiated, HFC stands for 'Hurtin for Certain'

Impala Racing  1:52:40 37:33 average per runner     HFC Striders 2:11:29 43:49.7 average     Tracksmith Boston Hares 2:15:27 45:09

50+ Two teams from the Greater Lowell Road Runners and three other New England teams, the HFC Striders, Liberty AC, and the Tri-Valley Front Runners tried to outpace the Shore AC team from New Jersey. Suzanne La Burt drew first blood for Shore with her 40:06. Two minutes later, Mimi Fallon's 42:26 put HFC on the board. A half minute later, Alexandra Marzulla gave Shore their 2nd scoring runner at 42:58. Would it be a rout? Trish Bourne answered for Lowell's 'A' team at 43:32. But when Laura Delea capped Shore's scoring at 45:09, that did it. They had a complete scoring team and the win at 2:08:13. 

Shore AC 50+ Gold Medal Team-From Left: Suzanne LaBurt, Leslie Nowicki, Kerry Gaughan, Alexandra Marzulla, Laura Delea  Photo by Author


The others would battle for New England Grand Prix points. Lowell's Bourne was joined by Estelle McCormack at 46:01 and Jill Lohmeier at 49:08, giving them a complete scoring team at 2:18:41 and 2nd place. HFC could not catch them even if HFC's 2nd and 3rd runners finished in the next few seconds. It took a little longer but HFC's Mary McNulty did come in a half minute later. After Ann Zehr's 49:43 gave Liberty their first score, Carmen Alfonzo gave HFC the third score they needed, a 50:24 to give them a total of 2:22:28 and third place. Liberty, with Shadokt Reeder and Melanie MacFarlane scoring after Zehr, finished 4th, with Tri-Valley 5th and Lowell 'B' sixth.

Shore Athletic Club 2:08:13 42:44.3      Greater Lowell Road Runners 2:18:41 46:13.7     HFC Striders 2:22:28 47:29.3

60+ This division featured the Greater Philadelphia Track Club and the Genesee Valley Harriers from upstate New York taking on New England's Greater Lowell and Liberty AC teams. This was the biggest blowout of the day; Greater Philadelphia went 1-2-3 in the team contest with Lorraine Jasper, Doreen McCoubrie and Mary Swan at 42:32, 42:39.and 43:39 respectively. 

Greater Philadelphia Track Club-60+ Gold Medal Team From Left: Lorraine Jasper, Doreen McCoubrie, Mary Swan Photo By Author


Thirteen seconds after Swan closed off Philadelphia's scoring, Mary Cass opened up the scoring for Liberty at 43:52. Two and a half minutes later, Sally Reiley answered for Lowell at 46:20. After waiting almost another two minutes, Liberty had their 2nd athlete score at 48:12, Victoria Bok. When Alda Cossi finished at 49:38, Liberty had three runers in, a score of 2:21:42 and 2nd place. Liane Pancoast was Lowell's 2nd runner to score at 51:19. After Liberty's 4th runner, Anne Shreffler scored at 51;37, GVH took the next three spots with Leann Finnigan 54:32, Sharon Moore 54:36, and Wende Rieck 56:05. That gave them 3 runners in and a score of 2:45:13. Once Lowell's Julie Haynes scored at 59:23 that gave Lowell a 2:37:02 total and 3rd place.

Greater Philadelphia Track Club 2:08:50 42:57     Liberty Athletic Club 2:21:42 47:14     Greater Lowell Road Runners 2:37:02 52:20.66

70+ The Central Mass Striders were ambitious enough to try for a National title. No one else was. 

From Left: Linda Usher, Monica Luchini, and Mary Sharkey claimed the Women's 70+ Team Championship at the 2022 USATF Masters 10 Km National Championships Photo courtesy of Central Mass Striders

They take the division by default in a fine 2:59:00. Mary Sharkey 53:01, Monica Luchini 1:01:56, and Linda Usher 1:04:03 combined for the win.

Central Mass Striders 2:59:00 59:40  

MEN  40+ The Greater Lowell Road Runners and the HFC Striders entered both an 'A' and a 'B' team. The Boston Athletic Association BAA, Tracksmith Boston Hares, and the Tri-Valley Front Runners sent single teams against the Garden State Track Club and the Indiana Elite Athletic Club. The Indiana Elite have been on  a roll. They won at Club Cross in Tallahassee, defeating a strong West Valley TC team on the way to victory. They subsequently took wins at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta and the Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse. The BAA finished 4th at Club Cross. Would they be able to stay closer or even win on the roads? And what about HFC? They took the measure of the BAA at the Masters 5Km XC Championships in Boston but then finished behind them at Club Cross. With two of their strongest runners, Jesse Davis and John Poray, entered, the New England teams had a tall order in front of them. For the first time this season, the Indiana Elite had no insurance. Davis and Poray were joined by Mike Cole who took 2nd at the 2019 Masters 8 Km Championships in Virginia Beach. All three had to be on their game. Davis took off at the gun and Poray joined him soon after showing they would be a formidable 1-2 punch. As in previous races, Davis was able to pull away and finish alone with a big lead in 32:08. Poray did not break away totally until the final stretch. But he took 2nd just under a minute behind Davis. Cole ran with the grou of BAA and a Whirlaway runner. He was a bit worried when the BAA runners pulled ahead of him ont he final stretch. He could see three BAA runners ahead of him and hoped he was close enough to keep Indiana in the lead. But one of the three, Mark Carroll, was running as an individual, not part of the BAA's declared team. So the BAA had Dan Smith 3rd in 33:17, followed by HFC's Chris Garvin, 4th at 33:30. Seven seconds later, Jason Holroyd gave the BAA their 2nd scoring runner. Carroll came in right behind Holroyd but did not count. Dusty Lopez gave Tracksmith their 1st scorer at 33:49 and 7 seconds later Cole closed off Indiana's scoring with a fine 33:56 that gave Indiana an unbeatable 1:39:09 total. TJ Unger finished next in 34:13 for HFC. Aaron Price gave the BAA their third scoring runnerat 34:17 for a total time of 1:41:11, two minutes over the Indiana total. In case anyone is wondering, had Carroll been a declared BAA team member, Indiana would still have won, by almost a minute and a half. So the juggernaut keeps on keeping on, as the Indiana Elite claim their 4th title in 4 tries. 

Indiana Elite AC 40+ Men's Gold Medal Team-From Left: Jesse Davis, John Poray  Missing: Mike Cole  Photo By Author


The BAA took 2nd. A half minute after Price closed off the BAAs scoring, Lee Danforth sped across the finish line for 34:50, giving HFC a total of 1:42:33 and the final spot on the podium. Tracksmith's Lopez was joined by Shamus Brady and Erik Richards in 4th, followed by Garden State in 5th with David Ferrugia, Shawn Williams, and Robert Riordan. Greater Lowell 'A' finished 6th, followed by Greater Lowell 'B', Tri-Valley, and HFC 'B'.

Indiana Elite Athletic Club 1:39:09 33:03     Boston Athletic Association 1:41:11 33:43.66      HFC Striders 1:42:33 34:11

50+ Ten clubs entered teams in this division championship. In past years, the division has been dominated by the Greater Springfield Harriers. Nat Larson still leads the way for the team but their ranks have been thinned by injury and possibly other difficulties. Kent Lemme has not run for them since national championships started up after the pandemic. It seemed that Mark Hixson might be returning to top form, but he has not run in recent championships. The West Valley Track Club dominated on the turf in December and January, and sent a winning team to the 10 Miler in Sacramento. But they have not sent a complete team of their top runners east yet for a road race. Garden State has developed a very strong 50+ team. With a tight pack of 5 runners they were able to finish 2nd to West Valley at Club Cross, ahead of the Central Mass Striders who took 3rd. Garden State took top honors at the Half Marathon championships in Syracuse. A rejuvenated Atlanta Track Club 50+ team took top honors at the 5 Km Championships in Atlanta and would, no doubt, have a strong team for the 10 Km. Richard Falcone led the way fro Garden State, finishing 8th overall and first in this team division with a 33:39. A half minute later, Gregory Putnam gave Central Mass their first scoring runner at 34:09. Atlanta was not far behind; Steve Bell finished at 34:19, followed 3 seconds later by Springfield's Nat Larson, who was, in turn, followed three seconds later by Ivan Lieben of West Valley. Five teams had a single runner in and there was less than a minute separating them. It was anyone's iwn at that point. Jonathan Frieder gave GSTC their 2nd scorer at 35:10, putting them in the driver's seat. After Mark Andrews gave GVH their first score at 35:48, Atlanta's Brent Fields finished in 35:56. They were 1:26 behind GSTC but had a shot. Scott Grandfield  crossed the finish line in 36:21 to give Central Mass their 2nd scorer. At that pint, they were only 15 seconds behind Atlanta. Twenty-seven seconds later, Joseph Shairs made Central Mas the first team to get three runners in. His 36:48 gave Central Mass a total score of 1:47:18. Atlanta needed someone to score in the next 15 seconds or Central Mass would hve the edge. Brad Slavens was not far away from that  but he could not quite get there. Still, his fine 37:17 effort gave Atlanta three runners in and a total of 1:47:32. That assured them of a spot on the podium. When John Hogan finished at 37:57, Garden State was alone at the top of the podium. Hogan's 37:57, coupled withthhe times of Falcone and Frieder gave Garden State a winning time of 1:46:46. It was tight but Garden State enjoyed their 2nd victory of the 2022 Grand Prix season. 

Richard Falcone leads GSTC to the 50+ Team Gold Medal Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Jonathan Frieder scores big for GSTC's Gold Medal 50+ Team Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

John Hogan closed off the scoring for GSTCs Go;d Medal 50+ Team Photo courtesy of Michael Scott

Greater Springfield, with Alejandro Heuck and Francis Burdett combining with Larson for 1:50:56, took 4th, followed by GVH, with Mike Nier and Theodor Schnaufer joining Andrews for 5th place in 1:53:56. They were followed by West Valley, HFC Striders, Shore AC, Tri-Valley Front Runners, and Greater Lowell Road Runners.

Garden State Track Club 1:46:46 35:35.33     Central Mass Striders  1:47:18 35:42.66     Atlanta Track Club 1:47:32 35:50.66

60+ Seven teams contested this division. In terms of New England teams, the Greater Lowell Road Runners entered an 'A' team and a 'B' team, while HFC Striders were also in. They would defend against the Atlanta Track Club, the Boulder Road Runners, Genesee Valley Harriers, and the Shore Athletic Club. In 2018 and 2019 Atlanta and Boulder battled for top honors in this division. This year Shore has fielded a strong team. They finished 5th of 15 teams at Club Cross, and then finished a close second at the 5 Km Championships, won by Atlanta, and the Half Marathon Championships, won by Boulder. No one ran away with this one; it was a dogfight from start to finish. Boulder got the first score with Tim DeGrado's masterful run, 35:59, but ti would be a while before their 2nd runner came in. Rick Lee got Shore on the board with a 36:41. The next minute and a half saw the first runners in for GVH, Joe Mora 36:59; HFC Robert McCormack 37:40; Atlanta Ken Youngers 37:48; and Greater Lowell David Westenberg 38:14. When Casey Hannan  crossed the finish line at 38:39, Atlanta had 2 runners and total time at 1:16:27. Michael Salamone gave Shore its 2nd runner at 39:20, giving them a total time on 2 runners of 1:16:01, and a 26 second advantage on Atlanta. John Van Kerkhove kept GVH in contention with a 40:06, giving them 1:17:07, a minute plus behind Shore but just 40 seconds behind Atlanta. When Tim Riccardi zipped across the line just 24 seconds behind Van Kerkhove, that immediately raised GVH's stock. They were the first team to get all three scoring runners across the finish line. Their total of 1:57:35 put a lot of pressure on Atlanta. Their 3rd runner had to cross the line in the next 37 seconds or GVH would have them beat! Shore had over a minute to play with. The next runner is was HFC's #2, Chris Kelly at 40:39. Shore fans started to cheer, no doubt, when they saw Kevin Dollard headed to the finish line well under the 41:34 needed to seal the victory. 

Shore AC 60+ Gold Medal Team-From Left: Michael Salamone, Kevin Dollard, Reno Stirrat, Rick Lee, Donald Schwartz Photo By Author


With his time, Shore had a cumulative total of 1:57:08 and were 27 seconds in front of GVH. When Scott Lucking closed off Atlanta's scoring they had 1:58:45 and third place, their 2nd 2022 National Championships (road) podium! HFC finished just off the podium in 4th at 2:02:06 when Paul Corcoran added his 43:47 to the times turned in by McCormack and Kelly. With Kevin Christie 42:27 and Peter Lagoy 43:06, combining their times with Westenberg's reported above, Greater Lowell managed a 5th place finish. They were followed by Boulder and the Greater Lowell 'B team in 6th and 7th.

Shore Athletic Club 1:57:08 39:02.66     Genesee Valley Harriers 1:57:35 39:11.66     Atlanta Track Club 1:58:45 39:35 

70+  Greater Lowell and the New England 65 Plus Runners Club defended the home roads in this division against the Atlanta Track Club, Genesee Valley Harriers, and Clifton Road Runners. With Kirk Larson returned to the top of his game after a fluke injury over the winter, Atlanta looked strong. Even without Larson, Atlanta was strong, taking 3rd at Club Cross, and seconds at Atlanta in the 5 Km and in Syracuse at the Half Marathon. Like Women's 60+ this was not close. Atlanta took 1-2-3 in the space of 40 seconds! Kirk Larson 44:02, Jerry Learned 44:34, and Dave Glass 44:42 combined for 2:13:18 and made it look easy!  

Atlanta Men's 70+ Gold Medal Team--From Left: Jerry Learned, Dave Glass,  Allen Joyce, Kirk Larson Photo By Author


Greater Lowell had the next two runners to finish; Walter Mann and Glenn Stewart came in two secon  But GVH had other ideas. First Jim May sped across the finish line in 48:45 as #1. Then Liam Finnigan gave them #2 at 50:05. At 1:38:50, they were still 4 minutes off. But now they had a fighting chance! They had to wait for a Clifton runner, Ezequiel Garcia, and two NE 65 Plus athletes, Stephen Viegas and Clayton 'Zeke' Zucker to cross the finish line before their teammate, David Blake clocked 57:23 to give GVH a total time of 2:36:13. The clock was now ticking. Would Greater Lowell's 3rd runner finish in the next 4 minutes? Denny LeBlanc, 80, was running with the  70+ Lowell guys to help them score some points. He ran well enough to finish 5th in his division but not fast enough to get the 2nd place finish for his team. Still, a Bronze Medal at a National Championship is sweet enough! GVH took the Silver Medals! Once David Pember, at 58:52, had his time added to the times of his teammates Viegas and Zucker, New England 65 Plus had a 2:49:39 total time and 4th place. Clifton took 5th with William Ash and Al Swan joining their finishing times with Garcia's.

Atlanta Track Club  2:13:18 44:26     Genesee Valley Harriers 2:36:13 51:24.33     Greater Lowell Road Runners 2:41:16 53:45

80+ Unlike the other divisions, this one was straightforward. The New England 65 Plus Runners entered a team and no one else did. Hal Bennett won the 80-84 division crown in a sterling 54:16 and led his team to victory. Every bit as important were Ram Satyaprasad and Jerry Levasseur who provided the necessary 2nd and 3rd scoring runners. 

New England 65 Plus RC 80+ Men's Gold Medal Team-From Left: Jerry Levasseur, Ran Satyaprasad, Hal Bennett Photo By Author


If either had not completed his task, the team would not have won, nor even gotten participation points in the Grand Prix. Hurray for the winners of the oldest age division!

New England 65 Plus Runners Club 3:48:37 1:16:12 


It was another superlative morning of racing and competition. As noted, four Masters course records were broken. Runners overcame ijuries and other hurdles to compete at the highest level and take home, when possible, a National Championship!

There is one last Masters National Championship this spring, the One Mile Road Championships in Rochester NY. Part of a USA Cycling 'Crit' Weekend, the Masters Championship races will be the feature event on Saturday evening with the Women racing at 5:45 pm and the Men at 6:05 pm--One and a half loops around the same layout the bike riders use! Excitement gets a new definition!

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