Tuesday, May 30, 2023

2023 USATF Masters National Grand Prix Midyear Review-Men

May 26, 2023 This mid-year review of the 2023 USATF Masters National Grand Prix MNGP focuses on the Men's Individual Grand Prix. A previous article addressed the Women's Individual Grand Prix; a subsequent one will address the Team Grand Prix.

Background Info: The 2023 Masters National Grand Prix MNGP has two components, an Individual and a Team competition. Detailed scoring rules for Teams/Clubs are here; those for individual athletes are here. The basics are that whether team or individual, the scores from the best five events are added up to get a final score. Three is the minimum number of events to qualify for an end of year award. A team or an individual can compete in more than 5 events but only the best 5 scores are added up.

The 2023 schedule is comprised of the following events:

December 10, 2022 USATF Club Cross Country Championships, San Francisco, CA shortened names: Club XC, Clubs, San FranciscoJanuary 21, 2023   USATF Cross Country Championships, Richmond, VA   shortened names: Cross Nationals, Richmond; February 25, 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships, Atlanta, GA; March 26-April 1, 2023, WMA Indoor Championships - Non Stadia Events, Torun, Poland   shortened names: WMA, WMA Non-stadia, Poland; April 2, 2023 USATF Masters 10 Mile Championships, Sacramento, CA;  April 16, 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships, Syracuse, NY; April 30, 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships, Dedham, MA; June 24, 2023 USATF Masters 1 Mile Championships, Indianapolis, IN; September 17, 2023 USATF Masters 12 Km Championships, Highlands, NJ; October 7, 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships, Boca Raton, FL shortened names: 5 Km XC, Boca

The 1Mile, 5Km, 10Km, 12Km, 10 Mile, and Half Marathon Championships are road races; the other three are Cross Country. I refer to them sometimes as turf contests or on the turf. I refer to the road championships often by the distance run or by the city/town (or area) in which they are located.

The Masters National Grand Prix End-of-the-Year Awards Ceremony is scheduled for the 2023 Club Cross Country Championships on December 9th in Tallahassee, FL.

INDIVIDUALS: For individual athletes, 7 of the 10 scoring events have taken place. But 300 points, potentially, are still up for grabs.


40-44 184 competitors have scored points in the 40-44 division in 2023. Last year it was all about the Indiana Elite Athletic Club committing to take the 40+ Club Grand Prix title. Along the way, Jesse Davis and John Poray Indiana Elite Athletics Club Fishers, IN went 1-2 in the 40-44 division with Roosevelt Cook Cal Coast Track Club in third. 

It has been a different story this year. Davis and Poray competed at Clubs in San Francisco; Poray added a 5th place finish at Atlanta but that has been it. Davis is not contesting the Grand Prix this year. Poray could yet contend if he commits to running some of the final three events. After he spoke up to get Indianapolis to do the rescue effort for a 2023 Mile, he indicated he might not run as he would want to help out with the event in some capacity. If he does not compete at Indy, he still might factor into the 2023 Grand Prix podium race. The leader at present is Ben Bruce Naz Elite Flagstaff AZ, in his first year as a Masters Runner. He competed in the first three events of the year, Clubs at San Francisco, Cross Nationals at Richmond, and the 5 Km in Atlanta. The two wins in Richmond and Atlanta combined with Bruce's 4th at Clubs to give him 285 points from 3 events. 

Ben Bruce smashing the finishing tape at the 2023 USATF Masters 5 km Championships in Atlanta and gaining 100 Masters National Grand Prix MNGP points Photo by Joaquin Lara, courtesy of Atlanta Track Club

The win at Richmond also enabled him to compete in a Team USA singlet at the inaugural World Masters Athletics WMA Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, where he gained two Silver medals, one in the Mixed Relay and one in the 40-44 individual race. Whether he will compete in any additional Masters Championships is unclear. The only other athlete with three events is Charlie Ban Pacers Running/GRC  Georgetown Running Club Washington, DC, with 170 points from a 6th at Cross Nationals, a 3rd at the Half Marathon, and participation at Clubs. Malcolm Richards SRA Elite, Sacramento CA currently sits in 2nd, with 185 points from competing at Clubs where he took 3rd, one position ahead of Bruce, and Sacramento where he took 2nd in the 10 Mile Championships. The last three championship events are all in the Midwest or on the Eastern Seaboard; would Richards travel to one of those? If he did and if he won the 40-44 division and Bruce did not compete at any, that would propel Richards into a tie for first. With his 3rd place at Clubs ahead of Bruce, Richards owns the tie-breaker for 1st. If he does not compete in any of the three, Richards would only have two events, not enough to qualify for an award. Poray, as noted, has 100 points. If he competes in one more event and finishes 1st or 2nd, he could vault past Ban and Richards into 2nd place with 195 points or more. If he finished 3rd or below, he would still need one more event to move into 2nd place, only possible if Richards is standing pat at 185. Dickson Mercer Pacers Running/GRC Takoma Pk, MD, though currently 11th with 100 points, deserves mention because he has 2 events and has competed for the last two years in the 12 Km Championships on the Jersey Shore. He ran at Club Cross, but his main points come from the Half Marathon where he finished 2nd in the division for 95 points. Last year he earned 75 points at the 12 Km for 6th place; the year before he finished 4th, earning 85 points. If everyone who is even with him or ahead of him stands pat, and Mercer competes at Highlands, perhaps picking up 85 points, he moves into 3rd. He passes Ban on points and would supplant Richards, because Richards would still be at two events. If his teammate, Ban, competes there for the first time, that would complicate things. 

Dickson Mercer heading for his M40 Silver Medal at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships in Syracuse Photo courtesy of Syracuse Half Marathon 

Neil McDonagh Square S tate Striders Colorado Springs iscurrently in 4th with 170 points from a 7th place finish at Clubs and a 2nd place finish at Cross Nationals. He has now competed at the last three Cross Country national championships. If he continues in that vein, he will be at Boca Raton, where he could easily net another 95 or 100 points in the final event of the season. Depending on what others do, that could propel him onto the podium. He would have 265 or 270 points on three events, potentially in 2nd place. But McDonagh may not be planning on travel for the Masters 5 Km XC champs. He competed last year but it was at Boulder, not far from Colorado Springs. Given a lack of commitment to the Grand Prix evidenced so far, it seems safest to pick Bruce for the podium. After that it depends on who signs up for any of the last three races. Mercer seems most likely to get the 3rd event needed, so I put him on the podium as well. Poray also just needs one more event. Unless he is helping out the organizers, Indy would seem to be an easy choice for him to compete. And, should he skip Indy, he could return to the jersey Shore for the 12Km. He had an off day last year, but still finished 8th in 40-44. He would likely do better this year. If those do turn out to be the top three, Bruce is most likely for first, in part because he could run one more championship, just for the fun of competing. I would go for Poray in 2nd, because he can compete at Indy and has competed at the 12 Km. And then Mercer. But it is really a toss-up between the latter two.

184 competitors have scored points in the 40-44 division.

Most likely 40-44 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Ben Bruce     Dickson Mercer     John Poray

45-49 In 2022 there was a decided West Coast accent to the 45-49 MNGP podium. Jacques Sallberg Cal Coast TC, Gregory Mitchell Bowerman TC, and Todd Rose West Valley TC were from Southern Cal, Oregon, and the San Francisco Bay area. Mitchell and Rose have not competed since Clubs in SF. Sallberg started this year the same as last, competing at Clubs and at Cross Nationals, even though he needed to travel to Richmond, VA for the latter. In 2022, Sallberg also traveled east to Atlanta, north to Sacramento and east to Rochester. Sallberg, who finished 2nd overall last year in the 1 Mile, may register for the 1 Mile in Indianapolis. It is still weeks away. David Angell, who won the 40-44 MNGP each year from 2017 through 2019, had ankle problems that kept him out of national championships for much of 2022. He started to compete again late in the year, winning his new 45-49 division at the 12 km championships. The new season started with an off day at Clubs but by January at Cross Nationals, Angell looked as good as he has in a while, losing to Sallberg just in the last loop of a 4-loop race. After a PRP treatment shortly following that race, Angell needed time to recover and then resume training. He decided to compete at Dedham in the 10K and again looked strong, capturing 3rd overall and 2nd in the division. His time of 33:15 was actually slightly faster than a 4-year age-grading adjustment for his 2019 2nd place overall finish. If Angell is back all the way, he is the odds-on favorite for the MNGP win. It will be interesting to see if Angell enters for the 1 Mile in Indy. If he competes in the three remaining events and scores as he usually does, no one will catch him. 

David Angell red singlet mixing it up with 40-44 year-olds on his way to the 45-49 silver medal at 2023 Cross Nationals in Richmond VA Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Sallberg and Brendan Prindiville are in 2nd at 190 points. Either could challenge Angell. But Prinidiville has, historically, not competed much outside of New England. His appearance at Atlanta was the rare exception. Perhaps we will see more of him; Prindiville certainly makes the division field more competitive. As noted, Sallberg has not competed in as many events as last year, so he is likely satisfied with his 2022 MNGP win and is not looking to score another. Mathew Di Pretore Greater Philadelphia TC and Randall Howard Genesee3 Valley Harriers GVH are also threats for the podium. They are tied for 2nd with 170 points on two events each. Di Pretore competed at the 5K and 10K, earning 85 points at both, while Howard competed at the Half Marathon and 10 Km, earning 90 at the Half and 80 at the 10 km. Both are likely to enter more events. In fact, Di Pretore has already entered the 1 Mile Championships. Howard is new to GVH, turning up for the first time on their roster at Syracuse. Given that he also competed at the 10 Km in Dedham, it seems likely we will see more of him. 

Randall Howard winning the duel with Tim Wilcox 40-44 on his way to a 45-49 Bronze Medal and 90 MNGP points at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships Photo courtesy of the Syracuse Half Marathon

Sallberg and/or Prindiville could become more active than seems likely. But right now, I put Angell, Di Pretore, and Howard as the likely 45-49 MNGP podium. Given the gaps between the three at Dedham, it makes sense that the likely final order would be Angell-Di Pretore-Howard.

131 competitors have scored points in the 45-49 division.

Most likely 45-49 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

David Angell     Mathew Di Pretore     Randall Howard

50-54 Ivan Lieben West Valley TC got out to an early lead last year with solid points from Clubs in Tallahassee and Cross Nationals in San Diego. But Gregory Putnam Central Mass Striders Stoneham MA roared back late in the year, coming in just ahead of Lieben at the 10 Km in Dedham and the 12 Km at Highlands NJ. Putnam also had 100 points from being the top American competitor and 6th in the World at the WMA Half Marathon race in Tampere Finland. In the end they had the same total points from 6 events each, but Putnam's 5 best totaled 465 to Lieben's 455. Last year the West Valley crew were out to prove they were the strongest M50+ team in the country. They took the team prize last year so are less active this year. 

Lieben has competed only at Clubs this year after competing in six last year. Third and fifth last year went to Lieben's West Valley teammates, Mark Callon and Mark Yuen. Callon has not competed at a national championship this year. Like Lieben, Yuen has restricted himself to Clubs. Jonathan Frieder Garden State TC who was 6th last year from competing in four events, has also not competed since doing well at Clubs in San Francisco. Atlanta Track Club teammates, Steve Bell Atlanta Track Club Kennesaw GA and Brent Fields Atlanta TC Covington GA, who were 7th and 8th last year with 245 and 240 points respectively, have stepped up this year. They are 1-2 currently. Bell has already exceeded his total from last year. He scored better at a more competitive Club Cross Country championship this year and followed that with a 5th place at Cross Nationals in Richmond and then 2nd place finishes at the 5 Km in Atlanta and the 10 km in Dedham. 

Steve Bell heading for the finish line and 2nd place in the 50-54 division, earning 95 MNGP points at the USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta Photo by Joaquin Lara, courtesy of Atlanta Track Club

Fields is ahead of where he was in 2022 because this year, he competed at Cross Nationals in Richmond VA as well as at Clubs, Atlanta, and Dedham. He competed at Highlands NJ last year in the 12 Km but skipped the 1 Mile in Rochester and the 5 Km XC in Boulder. This year the 5 Km X+C is closer to home at Boca Raton. It seems likely that both Bell and Fields will be there. It seems likely also that Fields would again compete at Highlands, but Bell has no history of competing there. If they both compete in Boca, skip Indy, and only Fields competes at Highlands, Fields could overtake Bell. And, of course, if Putnam competes in two of the final three, he is probably the favorite. But, at this stage, the order of finish depends on commitment to the MNGP and, perhaps, location convenience, which favors the Atlanta athletes over a New England runner. Is Putnam happy to have won last year so he can leave the field to others this year? Or would he like to make it two in a row? We shall soon find out. 

Gregory Putnam with three miles to go before collecting 3rd place Overall, first place in 50-54 [for 100 MNGP points] at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships Photo Courtesy of the Syracuse Half Marathon

My guess is that Bell - Fields-Putnam is the more likely order. If Putnam should enter the 1 Mile at Indy that would be a strong signal that he is going for two in a row. But it has not happened yet.

149 competitors have scored points in the 50-54 division.

Most likely 50-54 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order:

Steve Bell    Brent Fields     Gregory Putnam

55-59 For the 2022 MNGP, Christian Cushing-Murray Cal Coast TC Orange, CA toiled most of the year in the 50-54 division, aging up to 55-59 at the 5 Km XC in Boulder, the last event of the Grand Prix. He was more active on the circuit than he had been recently. The highlight of his 6-event year was his 50-54 win in Atlanta. Helped along by third place finishes at Cross Nationals and Boulder, he came up just short, finishing 2nd to John McMahon Checkers AC Williamsville NY. They were tied on points, but McMahon had the better 5 event total, 425, to Cushing-Murray's 415. McMahon parlayed three 2nd place finishes, at the Half Marathon, the 12 Km and, in between, the 1 Mile. McMahon showed great range as well as quality in winning the Grand Prix. This year he has not competed in a single championship. Dale Flanders GVH Allegany NY edged his friend and rival, Francis Burdett Greater Springfield Worcester MA for 3rd, 395 to 390. Scott Siriano Atlanta TC Marietta GA, Scott Grandfield Central Mass Striders Rehoboth RI and Michael Strickland Atlanta GA Acworth GA claimed the next three spots in a tight contest, 340-335-330. Grandfield has only competed in a single event and Strickland, though he has competed, seems to be off his best, perhaps struggling with an injury, this year. It is Siriano out in front in the 2023 MNGP, with 365 points in his best 5 events. Siriano runs for team points but along the way, picks up plenty of individual Grand Prix points. His top finish was at Syracuse where he took 3rd. Adding together his points from 3 other championships with 100 from finishing as top American in the M55 Cross Country Championships at the WMA Championships in Poland, gives him 365 points and the lead. Cushing-Murray has not gone away though. He has 280 points on three events. If he competes in one more event and finishes at least third, he can move ahead of Siriano's current total. Siriano already has 5 events in his score, so he needs to enter an event and score more than 45 points to increase his cumulative score. Last year Cushing-Murray skipped the 1 Mile, his signature event on the track, but competed at the 12Km and the 5 Km XC. If he does the same this year, he will hope for cooler weather; the heat forced him to scale back his pace over the second half of the race last year. The good news is that the race will start a half hour earlier this year. With two more scores, Cushing-Murray could push his total well over 450. That would likely put him out of reach for Siriano. 

Christian Cushing-Murray kicks for the Finish Line and a first place finish in 55-59, earning 100 MNGP points-at the 2023 USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta Photo by Joaquin Lara, courtesy of Atlanta Track Club

Flanders is next at 235 points from 3 events. Like last year, Flanders brings home 100 points from WMA for being first American in the M55 10 K championship. Last year he paired his WMA hundred points with points from Clubs, Cross Nationals, the 5K and the Half Marathon. This year he paired his hundred points with points from just Cross Nationals and the 5Km. If he competes at the 1 Mile and 12 Km and skips Boca Raton, he could move his total points past Siriano's current total. But Siriano is likely to raise his total by at least 40-50 points. If Flanders wants to put himself in good position to move up from 3rd this year, he may need to enter all three remaining events. Scott Humphrey Syracuse Track Club Marcy NY has 200 points from the Half Marathon in Syracuse and the 10 Km in Dedham. Humphrey has the ability to add enough points to move ahead of Siriano's current total if he would compete in two more events. He could win it all if he enters all three remaining events. That assumes, of course, that he has the leg speed to do well in the 1 Mile. Humphrey has not competed in the Masters Grand prix recently. And his team, the Syracuse Track Club, unlike their area rivals, GVH, rarely compete much outside of New York except for Clubs. This year was an anomaly in that not only Humphrey but the STC M70's team competed at Dedham MA in the 10K. Does that mean Humphrey might compete at some of the three remaining championships in Indiana, New Jersey and Florida? It will be interesting to see. Jeffrey Conston Shore AC Hopewell Jct, NY has three events and 195 points. He runs for Shore and is likely to run at least two of the final three events. Last year he ran in the Mile and the 12Km and skipped the trip to Colorado for the 5 Km XC. This year the 5 km XC is in Florida and Conston could compete in all three. If he does, he too could be in the podium mix. The last two names to mention are Mike Nier GVH Rochester NY and Mark Hixson Greater Springfield Simsbury CT. Nier has 170 points on two events, a 2nd at the Half Marathon and a 6th at the 10Km; and Hixson has 165 from Cross Nationals and the 10K. Nier runs for GVH and GVH is likely to compete in at least two and perhaps all three of the last three events. That means there is a good chance Nier will have six events before he is done. He has the ability to raise his score above 400 points if he does so. It looks like 400 points or more will be needed for the podium. Hixson is in the same spot and has the ability; he came in ahead of Nier in Dedham. But it is less likely that his team will compete in all three remaining events. I expect Hixson to get at least one more event in. That would not get him enough points for a podium finish. If he competes in two, he is a threat for the podium. If he enters all three, he is definitely in contention. Siriano seems likely to finish on the MNGP podium. With 365 points and a strong likelihood of competing in additional events, it appears that his final total is likely to be over 400 points. Will Cushing-Murray compete in some more events? It is unclear. Cushing-Murray finished 2nd last year so there could be the motivation to win this year. But he has already won a Grand Prix. Eight years ago, in 2015, he won the 45-49 MNGP title. It might be nice to have another one in his 50's. Then he could coast into his 60's before he would have to focus on it again. If 'Cush' can find a way to travel to Indy and wins the Mile that would be very satisfying and would also set him up for a Grand Prix win if he wants it. Flanders, Conston and Nier are all likely to compete in more events. Flanders has the most points, so he starts with the advantage. I am not sure if Conston can catch him if both compete in the same number of remaining events. Nier has the advantage that when both are healthy, Nier will usually come in ahead of Flanders. 

Mike Nier cruising through Mile 10 on his way to a silver medal at the USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships and 95 MNGP points Photo Courtesy of the Syracuse Half Marathon

The podium could be Siriano, Conston and Hixson, but let me go out on a limb and pick Cushing-Murray for the MNGP win, followed by Nier and Flanders.

129 competitors have scored points in the 55-59 division.

Most likely 55-59 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Christian Cushing-Murray     Dale Flanders     Mike Nier

60-64 2014 was the first year USATF had a Masters National Grand Prix. In that year, Nat Larson's Greater Springfield Amherst MA name did not appear. In the 2nd year it did not appear until the third event of the year. Larson totaled 460 points that year to finish second. Every year after that, from 2016 through 2019 and then again in 2021 right after Covid ended the drought of championships, Larson finished first in his division, starting with 50-54 and ending in 55-59. In 2022, Larson would start the season in 55-59 and finish in 60-64. No one doubted that Larson would finish strong once he crossed over to the 60-64 age division. But after the first two XC Championships, there was some doubt as to how many points he would bring with him from the first portion of the year. At Clubs, due mainly to heat issues, Larson did not score his usual 100 points. In fact he only scored 65 points for an 8th place finish. Larson did much better at Cross Nationals but was not able to beat one youngster, 56-year-old David White West Valley TC Santa Rosa, CA; still, 95 points was a big improvement over Clubs. It is good to remember, however, that even an athlete as dominant as Larson in his age division has to work for his points. Nothing is given; everything is earned. Once he hit the roads, the Larson of old surfaced as he took first in the 55-59 division at the Half Marathon, 10 Miler, 10 K, and 1 Mile. Even if he scored no points the rest of the year, he would have been almost unbeatable with 495 points. As it turned out, he added 100 points from being the top American and 2nd in the world at the 60-64 10 Km non stadia event at the WMA Outdoor Championships in Finland, and another 100 points from winning the 60-64 division at the 12 Km Championships. For the third time, Larson achieved a perfect 500-point score for the MNGP, adding 2022 to his perfect scores in 2017 and 2018.At the end of a terrifically competitive 60-64 division year, Tim De Grado Boulder Road Runners Arvada CO and Rick Lee Shore AC Bayville NJ tied for 2nd with 480 points each. De Grado's year was highlighted by wins at the Ten Mile and 10 Km. Lee's signature scores were the hundred points he brought back from Finland for winning the 60-64 Cross Country title, his win at the Half Marathon and silver medals at the 10 Km and the 1 Mile. They were followed by Joe Mora GVH Fayetteville NY and Dan King Athletics Boulder, Boulder CO in 4th and 5th. There was a three-way tie for 6th at 350 points between DeGrado's Boulder two teammates, Adam Feerst Boulder Road Runners Denver CO and Roger Sayre Boulder Road Runners Golden CO, along with GVH's John Kerkhove Genesee Valley Harriers Rochester NY. The year 2023 has belonged to Larson. He has not lost a race he has entered, despite there being a very strong 60-64 division. He took the first two wins on the turf. Skipping the 5 Km due to a conflict with an extended family event, Larson roared back with wins at the 10 Miler, the Half Marathon and the 10 Km Championships. Pending ratification, Larson broke American records at both the Ten Mile and 10 Km. He has 500 points with three events to go. With his 4th perfect MNGP score for 2023, he cannot be beaten or tied. No one else can get enough points in the final three events to total 500 points. Larson will likely compete in at least one or two more championships though. If the weather cooperates, Larson could certainly go after Tom McCormacks's 12 Km record of 42:50. Both Larson's 10 Km and 10 Mile record times are better than age grade equivalent to that 12 Km record. Similarly, the 1 Mile in Indianapolis could attract Larson's attention. The course is flat, fast, and record eligible. It is true he already has the record from his 4:49 at the Big Bang Mile but if his fitness is good, he may feel like he can push that down by a second or two. He may want to compete at Boca Raton as well. Larson has won Cross Country Harrier of the Year honors in the past and that honor for 2023 should be based on finishes in the 5 Km XC, Club Cross at Tallahassee and Cross Nationals at Richmond VA. And, of course, Larson's Greater Springfield M50+ team may also have ambitions that he can help along by dropping down in age to run with his teammates. Who else has been running well in 2023? John Van Danacker TC Running Rockford MN started with a 4th place at Clubs. Since then, he has been the silver medalist at Cross Nationals, the 5 Km, the 10 Mile, and 10 Km Championships. He has 465 points. That has sometimes been a winning total for the MNGP. Were Larson not in the division, Van Danacker would have a comfortable lead over some very strong 60-64 runners. As it is, he is in the driver's seat for the 2nd place MNGP finish. 

John Van Danacker leads 50-54 athletes on his way to the silver 60-64 medal, and 95 MNGP points, at the 2023 USATF Cross Country Championships in Richmond VA Photo Credit: Michael Scott

Still, Van Danacker has dangerous MNGP rivals in Steve Schmidt Ann Arbor TC Clarkston MI and Lee. Schmidt came in two places ahead of Van Danacker at Clubs. But Van Danacker was able to reverse that at the 5Km and 10 Km championships. With 95 points from his silver medal performance at the Half Marathon, Schmidt has 365 points from 4 events. If Schmidt ran and won one more event, he and Van Danacker would be tied. If he ran a 2nd one and Van Danacker did not, Schmidt would, almost surely move ahead of Van Danacker. Lee came in ahead of Van Danacker at Clubs and the 5 Km, with Van Danacker reversing the order of finish at Cross Nationals. Lee has 280 points on just 3 events. Lee has been less active on the circuit this year compared to last. He has been pulled to race the longer distances that he loves but has also competed on the track at shorter distances than his norm. He is signed up already for the 1 Mile in Indianapolis. He finished 2nd to Mora at Rochester last year. If he repeats that perf0formance, his total rises to 375. If he also repeats his performance from the 2021 12 Km championship where he took the win, his total will rise to 475; he would be ahead of Van Danacker and, likely, Schmidt. But, of course, he has to do it first. Lee has the ability to do it, but will he commit to it? I skipped over Lester Dragstedt Atlanta Track Club Atlanta GA who is in 3rd place with 405 points from his best 5 events. Dragstedt is a fine runner having a great season. It is only because this division is packed with talent right now that he is unlikely to remain tin the top three. If Schmidt runs one more event, he should move ahead of Dragstedt. If Lee runs two more, and he will, almost surely race at Indy (already entered) and at Highlands in his home state, he moves past Dragstedt as well. Dragstedt can raise his total from 405, but he needs to finish 4th or better to replace his current lowest event score of 70. Others who I have not mentioned include Larry Sak Ann Arbor TC Lake Orion MI, currently in 5th with 285 points. Sak is a strong runner but he can only improve his total over the next three events to the upper 300's. That would be enough to pass Schmidt's current total. But if Schmidt runs one more event, he is out of reach for Sak. And Lee is likely to pass him in the MNGP race. If Sak could stay in the top 5 it would be an amazing result! Casey Hannan Atlanta TC Atlanta GA is, like Dragstedt and Sak, a strong runner but not able to move up into the top three. Hannan will finish in the top ten, a major achievement in this division. Mark Zamek Shore AC Minneapolis MN, who scored 185 points on just two events, has MNGP podium talent but will not get there this year. Shortly after his impressive bronze medal 10 Km finish at Dedham, Zamek commenced his intensive training for the upcoming track season and aggravated some long-standing issues. He does not expect to compete in Indy. Any Grand Prix events beyond that are speculative.

Larson has won the division. 

Nat larson leads the M60+ field through the slop, in a torrential downpour, on the way to his first gold medal of the 2023 MNGP season along with 100 points-at the 2023 USATF Club Cross Country Championships in San Francisco Photo Credit: Pam Fales

The most likely candidates for the other two spots on the podium are Van Danacker, Schmidt and Lee. Van Danacker seems a pretty sure bet, perhaps for 2nd place. That is his current position and the other two have to catch him. He has shown that he is committed to the MNGP this year. It is unclear whether and when Schmidt will run again. This is his first year competing for a team in the MNGP series. If he competes again, it will be for his Ann Arbor team's benefit more than for his own position individually. The 1 Mile distance is probably less attractive to him than longer races. The 12 Km seems a good bet, but, on the other hand, Indy is a lot closer than Highlands, NJ. Lee is entered at Indy already, but Schmidt is not certain. The 12 Km race at Highlands is no more than an hour from Lee's home. Both are fabulous runners, and it will come down to who shows up and who does not. It's a 'no win' pick but I will go with Lee. He finished in a tie for 2nd place last year. So the most likely order is Larson-Van Danacker-Lee. Will I be surprised if Schmidt breaks up that threesome? Not at all.

174 competitors have scored points in the 60-64 division.

Most likely 60-64 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Nat Larson     Rick Lee     John Van Danacker

65-69 The 2022 MNGP year belonged to Kevin Dollard Shore AC Hopewell Junction NY; he started the season with a 3rd place finish at the highly competitive Club Cross Championships, added 2nd place finishes at the Half Mara9thon and 10Km championships and backed those up with a 3rd at Atlanta in the 5 Km and a 5th at the 1 Mile. At the end he had 450 points and a comfortable lead over his teammate, Reno Stirrat Shore AC Rockaway NY. That Stirrat could amass enough points for a 2nd place finish in the MNGP contest is a testament to his tenacity in the face of injury. Somehow, he put together five races where he finished between third and seventh, scoring 410 points for 2nd place in the MNGP. Jacob Nur SRA Elite Elk Grove CA., undoubtedly the fastest runner in the division, competed at the three races west of the Mississippi and added the 5 Km in Atlanta as part of a visit with expended family. He had 400 points and third place in the Grand Prix. Scott Lucking Atlanta TC Taylors SC, Tomas Rodriguez Cal Coast TC Laguna Beach CA and Scott Linnell Shore AC Colts Neck NJ captured 4th through 6th with 390, 360, and 310. Ken Youngers Atlanta TC Tucker GA scored 290 points on just three events in the spring, competed well in regional events through the summer. By the time the national championships started up in September, Youngers could no longer compete. It has been a different story in 2023. Dollard has been the runner with injury issues. After a solid outing at Clubs, Dollard scored just 40 points at Atlanta, and has not competed since then. The top three spots are held by athletes new to the division this MNGP season. After a slow start at Clubs, when he was still competing in 60-64, Roger Sayre Bouldeer Road Runners Golden CO came on strong, capturing the silver medal in Atlanta at the 5 Km. and adding golds at Sacramento and Syracuse in the ten mile and half marathon. That gave him 330 points and the lead. Sayre won the Champion's plaque in 2018. If he is to repeat, he will need two more solid outings. 

Roger Sayre on his way to a 65-69 win, and 100 MNGP points at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships Photo Courtesy of the Syracuse Half Marathon

David Westenberg Greater Lowell Road Runners Wellesley MA is not far back at 295 and that is on three events, Clubs, Cross Nationals and the 10 Km. Westenberg is entered for the 1 Mile at Indianapolis already, while Sayre is not. Westenberg is favored to win the Mile at Indy. If he does so, and Sayre does not compete there, Westenberg's 295 mounts to 395 and he would have a 65-point lead on Sayre. Timothy Riccardi GVH Marietta NY is only 5 points behind Westenberg. Technically, Riccardi has 4 events already but the 5 points from Clubs is essent1ailly irrelevant. He brought back a hundred points from Poland for being the top M65 American in the WMA Cross Country championships. He pairs those with silver medal points from the 10Km and bronze medal points from the Half Marathon to get to 285 points, with the points from Club Cross raising his total to 290. Stirrat has not gone away, significantly handicapped by injuries in the first part of the season, Stirrat has rallied for a 4th place finish in the Half Marathon and a 5th in the 10 Km to bring his 4th place MNGP total to 275. John Blaser Boulder RR Cedar Falls IA, who finished 8th in the MNGP last year, comes next in 5th with 245 points from a 9th at Atlanta, a second at the Half Marathon and a third at the 10Km. Last year Blaser finished off t0he season with the 12 Km, where he finished 4th, and the Masters 5 Km XC, where he finished 8th. If he could repeat the performance in the 12 Km and land a bit higher in the Masters 5 Km Championships his total could rise close to 400 points; he could be in the mix for a podium spot. Blaser is followed by John Barbour Greater Lowell RR West Roxbury MA in 6th, and Linnell in 7th. Barbour rarely competes outside of New England except for important Cross Country events. Barbour might be tempted by Boca Raton but it is far from New England. Linnell is headed for another solid MNGP year. He will score more points this year and, in the end, achieve another top ten finish for sure and, perhaps, top five. Tim Conheady Greater Philadelphia TC Elmhurst IL, currently in 9th with 190 points from two events, is already entered for Indy so his total will rise. If he does well there and opts to race in Highlands and Boca Raton, he can factor into the podium race for sure. Youngers surfaced briefly, taking a 2nd at Cross Nationals and a third in Atlanta but has not raced since then. Nur captured a full 100 points from his win at Clubs but has not competed on the circuit since then. It seems a tall order for him to compete for the 2023 Grand Prix podium. I hope he resumes racing this fall and is in top form for the 2024 season. Sayre has competed in the 12 Km each of the two years it has been a national championship. If he adds a third year, he could win it all. He will likely need to add either the 1 Mile in Indy or the 5 Km XC in Boca Raton. If his name appears on the entry list for Indy, we will know he is committed to the attempt at the 2023 65-69 MNGP win. But if he is already planning on the 12 Km, then Sayre might just wait to see if he needs points from the Masters 5 km XC Championships. Sayre vs. Westenberg is a toss-up. Westenberg is favored at the Mile where he is the American Record Holder Indoors. Sayre is probably a slight favorite over the 12 Km distance but Westenberg has improved his capacity a lot in the last two years, as evidenced by his solid win at the 10 Km Championships. The only race where they have met this year was at Club Cross where Sayre came in 6 seconds ahead of Westenberg. The shorter distance at Boca Raton would make that race more favorable to Westenberg than the 8 Km at Clubs. 

David Westenberg bringing it home as he wins the 65-69 division and collects 100 MNGP points at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Photo Posted on Facebook-D Westenberg

Would it be enough? It would be fun to see. Riccardi seems a solid bet for 3rd place. I need to choose an order--Westenberg-Sayre-Riccardi and let Sayre prove me wrong.

96 competitors have scored points in the 65-69 division.

Most likely 65-69 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Timothy Riccardi     Roger Sayre     David Westenberg

70-74 Last year Jerry Learned competed in every MNGP event and never finihsed lower than 5th. It was an incredible year. After the first 5 events, Clubs, Cross Nationals, 5 Km, HM and 10 Mi, Learned was in first place with 440 points. Nonetheless, many expected the eventual winner to be Gene Dykes. He recovered from injury and took 2nd at the 5 km and followed that with wins at the Half Marathon and Ten Mile championships with very good times. It looked like he was on his way to several national championship wins. This, despite the MNGP being a sideline for Dykes. His specialty is Marathons and Ultra Marathons. But he also enjoys running in shorter races that catch his fancy for some reason or another. In any case, he skipped the next two championships. He was entered at the WMA Outdoor championships in Poland but had to withdraw due to injuries sustained in an ultra-trail race in Norway that he raced the week before. He had been counting on a hundred points from the WMA event. When Dykes finished 2nd at Highlands in the 12 Km, picking up another 95 points and entered the 5 Km XC Championships in Boulder CO, it seemed he could still win. All he needed was a 6th placce finish which seemed almost a sure thing. But Dykes confided to me before the race that he was hopeful but not certain of getting it. Racing at altitude was not one of Dykes's strong points. In any case, not only did he finish behind learned, he finished behind several other athletes and only picked up 55 of the 75 point she needed. learned had the win 460 to 445. Doug Bell Boulder RR Greeley CO, who finished 2nd at that race, got the 95 points he needed to tie Dykes for 2nd at the final MNGP event of the season. Robert Qualls River City Rebels Reno NV was fully fit after some up and down years. He turned 70 right before the 1 Mile Championships. He finished 2nd in that event to the track legend, Nolan Shaheed, but would not be denied in the final 3 events of the year. He brought back a pile of medals from WMA outdoor, and 100 MNGP points and then came in ahead of Dykes at the 12 km to capture gold and had no trouble winning handily at Boulder. But he had started late. His 395 points left him in 4th place. Qualls was followed by Eugene Myers Potomac Valley TC Columbia MD in 5th with 365 points. 

This year it has been all Qualls. He continued where he left off at the end of the 2022 MNGP season. He has been winning everything he has entered. He won at Clubs, Cross Nationals and Atlanta before again bringing back many medals and a hundred MNGP points from WMA Indoors Non Stadia events. He skipped the 10 Mile and the Half Marathon but won the 10 Km at Dedham at the end of April. By the beginning of May, Qualls had 500 points and a perfect score. No one else in the division can match that, even if they would win out the rest of the way. Myers is the closest with 425 points from his best 5 events. If Myers could win out, his total would be 495 points, 5 short of Qualls. Even though Myers cannot win, he may well take 2nd. But he is not home free yet. Bell is in 3rd with 275 points from his best 3 events. Bell typically competes in the 1 Mile Championships. If he does and if he scores at least as many points as he did last year, 80, his total rises to 355 from his best 4 events. He could then roll the dice at Boca to see if he could pass Myers, or at least tie him, at the final event of the season. An equally severe threat comes from Douglas Chesnut, new to the MNGP this year. A new teammate of Bell's, he has come in ahead of Bell on the roads at 5K and 10 Miles, while Bell came in ahead of Chesnut at Cross Nationals. Chesnut has 280 points on his best three events and will likely compete at the same two events I am expecting Bell to enter. He, too, could pass Myers at the end of the season. Both Bell and Chesnut beat Myers at Cross Nationals and the 5 Km. 

Doug Bell #601 leads some younger competitors on his way to the silver medal, and 95 MNGP points, at the at the 2023 USATF Cross Country Championships in Richmond VA Photo Credit: Michael Scott

But they have to enter two events and come in ahead of Myers if he is entered. Learned has struggled with health-related issues this year and has 260 points on his best 5 events. Learned's teammate, Kirk Larson, who only raced the 10 Km championships last year, has been more active. He has 245 points from his best three events and is entered for the 1 Mile at Indy. If he scores good points there and then enters and does well at either Highlands or Boca, he could approach or surpass Myers's point total. Larson is in the mix. The easiest part of the pick is the winner. Qualls has won the 70-74 MNGP. 

Robert Qualls USA singlet battles younger competitors on his way to the gold medal and 100 MNGP points at the 2023 USATF Cross Country Championships in Richmond VA Photo Credit: Michael Scott

After that the crystal ball is murkier. If I knew the plans of the Boulder Road Runners, it would be easier. It seems likely to me that Boulder will have a team for Indy and a team for Boca. If so, I think it likely, but not certain that Chesnut and Bell will both edge Myers. But Myers is a solid runner; he could keep his 2nd place in the MNGP. It will be a fun competition to keep an eye on.

82 competitors have scored points in the 70-74 division.

Most likely 70-74 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Doug Bell     Douglas Chesnut     Robert Qualls     

75-79 Last year Dave Glass was strongly challenged by Ron Wells and Gary Patton at the start of the season. Wells won at Clubs and Cross Nationals and finished 2nd to Patton at the 5 km in Atlanta. Patton not only won at Atlanta, he finished ahead of Glass at Cross Nationals, while ceding ten points to Glass at Clubs. At the end of the first three events, it was Wells at 295, followed by Patton at 270, and Glass at 265. I do not know if Wells had ever intended to compete for the MNGP championship, but he did not enter any races after Atlanta. Most observers would have thought that if Patton could win the 1 Mile race and finish close to Glas at Dedham, he would win the MNGP. Patton did both of those things, winning the 1 Mile ahead of Glass and finishing 2nd to Glass at Dedham. Patton wound up with 475 points from his best 5 events, but he did not win the MNGP. Glass did. After the MNGP got into the longer races on the roads, no one could stay with Glass. He won at the Half Marathon, 10 Mile and 10 Km Championships. He went over Finland and came back with WMA medals and 100 MNGP points, coming in just ahead of Patton in Cross Country. Even if he had not it turned out that he won not only at the 12 km but went up to altitude and won at the Masters 5 Km XC, surprising even himself. By the end of the season, Glass had amassed a perfect1 500 points on his best five events, winning the MNGP by 25 points. Patton, as noted, was 2nd with 475 points. Gary Ostwald was a solid performer all year, finishing on the podium in every race he entered except Atlanta where he finished 4th. Third at Richmond and New Jersey, Ostwald took 2nds at Sacramento and Boulder to finish with 455 points, a massive total for a 3rd place in the MNGP. Ezequiel Garcia was also steady but just a notch below Ostwald. He finished 5th at the 5K and the 10K but finished 3rd at Clubs and earned two fine silver medals at the Half Marathon and 12K. Garcia wound up in 4th place with 440 points. After missing six months of actual running while rehabbing an Achilles tendon, Paul Carlin (That's me!) started slowly with an 8th place finish in Atlanta. Fourth place finishes at the Half Marathon and 12K paired with 5th places at the 10 Mile and 1 Mile to leave me at 400 points and fifth place in the MNGP. Przemek Nowicki followed in 6th with Jim May 7th at 340. 

This year the MNGP has belonged to Ostwald. Whether he got a taste of it in 2022 and became highly motivated for 2023, I cannot say. But he has been unstoppable this year. He nipped Wells at the finish line at Clubs, kicked away from Glass at Cross Nationals, and at the Ten Mile championships was able to leave Glass behind with a few miles to go, although he could not match Glass's winning 2022 time. At the 10 Km, May got out early, Glass caught up to him around Mile 4, with Ostwald catching u to both at the same time. They ran together for a bit. But once Ostwald kicked it into overdrive, he had his fourth win of the season. 

Gary Ostwald crosses the finish line as he racks up another 100 MNGP points for a win at the 2023 USATF Masters 10 Km Championships Photo Credit-Pam Fales 

Glass has competed more regularly than Ostwald so is, at present, ahead on points.  Glass has 485 points! In any ordinary year that would be enough for a win. Glass won the 5K and Half Marathon events that Ostwald skipped and finished 2nd to Ostwald at Cross Nationals, the 10 Mile and 10 Km events. If Ostwwald enters one more event and wins it, the contest is over. Ostwald would have 500 points and the best Glass could do would be 495. But there are no guarantees. Neither is entered yet for the 1 Mile or the 12 Km. One would expect Ostwald to come in ahead of Glass at a 1 Mile Run. But Ostwald did not contest the mile last year. It is not certain he will enter. Glass can still reach 500 points by winning the last three events. If he does that, he denies Ostwald the chance to close out at 500. One of them will be a great champion and the other will be a disappointed athlete with a ton of MNGP points! The contest for the final MNGP podium spot is between Jan Frisby, May, Keith Yeates and me. I am currently in 2nd place. Two bronze medals, at 5K and the Half Marathon, along with 4ths at Ten Miles and the 10K, and a 5th at Cross Nationals, give me 430 points from my best 5 events. But it is a precarious 2nd place at best. If Ostwald completes one more race, he will pass me by several dozen points. I cannot catch Glass and Ostwald is almost certain to pass me. Does that mean I get third? No. Both Yeates and May have fewer events and have me in their sights. Yeats has 350 points from 4 events, a 7th at Clubs, but a third at Cross Nationals, and 2nd place finishes at the 5 Km and Half Marathon. In each of those events he finished ahead of me, in 2nd place to my third or, in two cases, with May finishing behind Yeates and ahead of me. Yeates needs a 4th place finish or better to move ahead of me; a 5th place is sufficient to tie. If I enter the same races he does and come in ahead, he cannot catch me. May is further back at 175 points on two events. If May competes in all three remaining events and scores 260 points, he moves ahead of me. But May has not yet competed at the 12 km in the two years it has been run as a national championship. Historically he has confined his racing to cross country and the roads from a mile to the 10K. It seems unlikely he would change his tactics at this point. The other runner whose MNGP podium hopes are still alive is Frisby. A two-time Masters Age Division Runner of the Year in his fifties, Frisby is always a tough competitor. He has 310 points from 4 events and sits currently in 5th place. Frisby started the season in rehab, skipping Clubs and finishing 7th at Cross Nationals. His conditioning was starting to come around by Atlanta where he finished 4th. But then he had a covid episode that played havoc with his training. He had hoped to move up at the Ten Mile championships, but, instead, finished 5th. Frisby felt he was ready at Dedham, attacked the hills in the first half of the race and paid the price in the last third; he finished 6th. If Frisby has had no new injury or health issues, he could run up quite a few points over the last three events. Going back to high school, the Mile is Frisby's event. He surprised many by claiming the 2019 M75 1 Mile gold medal at Flint with a 6:18. Frisby is 79 now; a 6:18 is not within his reach, but a 6:45 might be. And that would raise his totals to the upper 300's. Frisby may have to compete in all three of the final events to make the MNGP podium, assuming Ostwald runs a fifth event. If he runs two and finishes 2nd or higher in both, he moves ahead of me, assuming I do not finish ahead of him in either. Whether he also moves ahead of Yeates is another question. Three third places would give him a best 5 total of 435, enough to move him past my current total.  It probably makes sense for Frisby to plan on running all three and then see how the chips fall. The smart money, as they say, is on Ostwald to win one more event and take the MGGP title this year. But never count Glass out until he is out! 

Dave Glass closes in on the finish line, his 2nd win of the season and 100 MNGP points--at the 2023 USATF Masters Half Marathon Championships Photo Courtesy of the Syracuse Half Marathon 

Glass is the favorite for 2nd, if he does not win it. And Yeates is currently in the best spot to take the final MNGP podium spot.

28 competitors have scored points in the 75-79 division.

Most likely 75-79 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Dave Glass     Gary Ostwald     Keith Yeates

80-84 In 2022 Andrew Sherwood Atlanta TC Atlanta GA claimed the title with 5 events, the only competitor in the 80-84 division to do so. He took Gold at the Ten Mile and bronze medals at Club Cross, the Mile, and the 5 km XC championships. Add in a 5th place finish at the 5K and you have a winning MNGP total of 450 points. John Elliott Potomac Valley TC Columbia MD had hoped to keep pace with Sherwood, but it did not work out that way. He won at Clubs, took 4th at the 10K and then 2nd at the 1 Mile. With 290 points from three events, it seemed he could win it all with two good events. But it was not to be. He ran at the 12 Km in Highlands but on an overly warm, sunny day, Elliott got dehydrated and had to mix in longer and longer walking intervals to avoid more serious difficulties. His hoped for 90 points or more turned out too be just 75. That meant he had to compete at the final event of the year and win it to finish ahead of Sherwood. As it turned out, his wife's health took a hit and Elliott had to withdraw from the race to be her caregiver. Stan Edelson Shore AC Sarasota FL competed in three events, winning the 1 Mile and finishing 2nd at the 5K in Atlanta and the 5 Km XC in Boulder. Those three events gave him a cumulative score of 290 points and third place in the MNGP.

In 2023, Sherwood is still gathering steam. He picked up 50 points at a highly competitive Club Cross competition in San Francisco and added 90 for a third-place finish in Atlanta. With 140 points and 2 events, he is well positioned to run one or two events more if he wishes. He has a good chance of finishing on the MNGP podium again this year. He cannot match his 2022 total of 450 points, but he is likely to get the minimum of three events and wind up on the podium. His teammate, Ed Bligh is well positioned to take the MNGP win. 

The Atlanta Track Club's M80+ Team-From Left: Ed Bligh, Sid Davis, Andrew Sherwood at the USATF Masters 5 Km Championships in Atlanta Photo Credit: Creagh Cross -courtesy of Atlanta Track Club

He has a win at Cross Nationals, 2nd place finishes at the 5K and 10K, and a third at Club Cross, for 39 points and the lead. The only athlete who could catch him is Masters Hall of famer, Doug Goodhue. Rehabbing his way back from knee surgery, Goodhue was still able to come in ahead of Bligh at Club Cross and win the division at the 5 k championships in Atlanta. Those 195 points could be the basis for Goodhue to overtake Bligh. But Goodhue is picking his races on the basis of teammate interest. He is not focused on individual grand prix points at all. But it looks like the Ann Arbor 70's team will compete in Indy, so Goodhue will probably run that race. Any others are speculative at this point. Like Sherwood, George Gilder Tyringham MA and James Metts Florida West TC San diego CA have two events. Metts finished 7th at Clubs in San Francisco and won the Ten Mile Championship in Sacramento. He will probably not compete at the upcoming races east of the Mississippi. Gilder's events were the 10 Km in his home state of Massachusetts and the WMA Championships in Poland. He will probably not compete in additional road races. Given Goodhue's lack of interest in the Grand Prix except as a side issue, I view Bligh as the more likely MNGP winner. If Goodhue runs in Indy, as currently planned, and wins it, his point total rises to 295. Sherwood would need 160 points even if Goodhue stops after Indy. That means Sherwood would probably need to compete in the final 3 events of the year. Sherwood could do it, but will he be interested? I will opt for Bligh-Goodhue-Sherwood as the likely order of MNGP finish. But Goodhue could easily move up or down depending on which races he and his teammates choose to run.

16 competitors have scored points in the 80-84 division.

Most likely 80-84 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Ed Bligh     Doug Goodhue     Andrew Sherwood

85-89 Last year Adrian Craven and his teammate, Sid Davis competed in three events each. Craven won Club Cross, the 1 Mile and the 12 Km championships. Davis finished 2nd at Club Cross, the 5K and the 1 Mile. Craven finished 1st in the MNGP with 300 points; Davis claimed 2nd with 285 points.

Adrian Craven finishing off his 85-89 win and collecting 100 MNGP points at the 2022 USATF Masters 12 Km Championships in Highlands NJ Photo Credit: Jason Timochko

This year Craven again won at Club Cross. He was leading Davis in Atlanta by a considerable amount when a very young bystander wandered out of the reach of his parents onto the course, and Craven fell trying to avoid the child. He was assisted to his feet and, according to race officials, was also helped in crossing the finish line, not completing the race under his own power. Based on that, the Referee disqualified Craven. Craven disputes the last detail, contending that no material assistance was given.  But he was taken off to the medical tent immediately after finishing and was not released until well after the protest period had closed. Once he learned of the DQ he could not protest it. In any case, Craven is entered in the 1 Mile. If he completes that successfully and runs in either the 12 Km in Highlands NJ as he did last year or the Masters 5 Km XC in Boca Raton, Craven will likely be atop the standings again. Davis is tied for the lead with 100 points from his win at Atlanta. Whether he will compete at two more events seems less likely than for Craven, but time will tell. Jerry LeVasseur won the division at the 10 km Championships in Massachusetts. But LeVasseur has rarely competed outside New England in recent years. Craven is likely to win again, even without a 5 Km result. Davis shooulld either finiish second or lack the required minimum of 3 events. Last year Davis competed at the 1 Mile, but not the 12Km nor the Masters 5 Km. The Masters 5 Km XC is at Boca Raton FL this year, not as far away as Boulder CO, nor with the altitude challenge. So perhaps Davis will compete at the 1 Mile in Indy and at Boca. That would give him 2nd place in the MNGP for 85-89. I doubt anyone else will compete in three events or more.

6 competitors have scored points in the 85-89 division.

Most likely 85-89 Men's Individual Grand Prix podium, in alphabetical order

Adrian Craven     Sid Davis

All the best to the competitors over the remaining three events of the 2023 Masters Individual Grand Prix. May everyone run their best and score as many points as possible!

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