By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
Sunday, Sept. 7 marks the kickoff to the 2014 USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix series, with the Greater Boston Track Club XC Invitational in Wellesley, MA. An updated list of the series scoring rules and awards structure can be found here.
Before jumping into the upcoming series, let’s remind ourselves of the 2013 series results. Starting with the women’s side, GBTC pulled out a decisive victory at the final, championship meet in Franklin Park last November to break a tie with Western Mass Distance Project and take the series title. Millennium Running burst onto the scene halfway through the season and made a decisive run, finishing a strong third place with only three races under their belts (singlets?). WMDP ran uncontested in the masters division for much of the season but scored a convincing win over six other teams at the championship meet to take the series title. In the senior division, Greater Derry Track Club scored the series win despite losing the championship to Cambridge Sports Union. Liberty AC stood alone atop the 60+ podium. Individual series winners were Sydney Fitzpatrick of New Balance Boston in the open division, Dana Parrot of WMDP in masters and Anne Hird of Ronald McDonald House of Providence in the 50+ division.
Many of last year’s competitors will toe the line this Sunday, and we asked them for their thoughts on what makes cross country (and this series) so special. It’s generally not hard to convince distance runners of the joys of cross country, but Anne Hird put it both succinctly and artfully: “It is running in its purest form. Times don’t matter, because each course is different; it is all about head-to-head racing.” That head-to-head racing is enhanced by the series format; as Anne points out, there’s a certain “camaraderie that comes from running against the same group throughout the series.” (This writer can attest to the special camaraderie of being passed by Anne at about the 2-mile mark of almost every race.)
Dana Parrot probably speaks for many of us when she says that her favorite memory of last year’s season was the final, championship race: “I was terrified and thrilled to be at the starting line with some of my former teammates (when I lived in New England almost 20 years ago). My speed may be lacking compared to back then, but my heart is still in the game.”
If this still doesn’t have you digging through the mudroom for your spikes, GBTC would like to whet your appetite for cross country with. . . pie. That’s right, pie, at the first race of the series; not really much more to say. See you there!
Stay tuned for more updates and a men’s 2013 recap too!
it was started by Nich Haber in 2012. Nich is the club’s President of the Board (on a Board that includes American Record Holder Molly Huddle!), but also serves as an acting Executive Director, managing business issues, fundraising, grant writing and maintaining relationships with partners. On top of this, Nich manages travel and race entries for the athletes, helps them obtain part-time work with their after-school partners in Woonsocket and coordinates their youth program with the Woonsocket public school system.
As you can tell, Nich wears several hats and has been working hard since 2012 to get NE Distance off the ground and growing to compete at a highly competitive level. It appears that his work has paid off by looking at the club’s current roster, which includes:
- David Goodman— The 2012 NCAA DII National Champion in the Steeplechase and a three-time USATF-NE Champion
- Henry Sterling — NE Distance’s newest athlete, he’s a Dartmouth grad who sees his potential best in the Steeplechase, but is interested in staying a well-rounded runner by competing in the mile and 5k as well
- Katrina Spratford — The 8-time All American from Shippensburg, is a 10k runner that is focusing on Cross Country in the fall and may do some road races
- Lara Crofford — A Nebraska Cornhusker, has been a strong 10k runner but is looking to move up in distance and take to the roads
We caught up with Nich on how the club has grown, what they’ve been up to. To sum it up, Nich told us that “Every year has been better than the one before it, and I know that next year will be better than this one!” His optimism and excitement is great to hear. Check out our interview with Nich below to get up to speed on the community-based distance running project.
USATF-NE: How has NE Distance grown since its founding in 2012?
NH: We started with one athlete in 2012, added another at the beginning of 2013, two more in September of 2013 and we’re looking to have eight this fall. We’ve doubled every year! At this rate, in a few years everyone on earth will be an NE Distance athlete!
Seriously, it’s been a challenge to start a group like this from the ground up and the athletes that have joined us truly believe in our mission of blending athlete development with community building. We expanded this year to include athletes that are not full athlete-in-resident fellows. They are committed to train at a high level, but do not need housing from us. We are excited as the more athletes we have in our group, the more of a critical mass we hit and the better the program is for everyone involved – the other athletes, the community and our fans who are looking for more athletes to root for.
USATF-NE: Are you actively recruiting?
NH: We have three slots open for our non-resident members. We are looking for folks who want to live in the Woonsocket/Providence area who want to compete at a high level.
USATF-NE: We saw that your team recently signed up 145 kids for a new middle school program. This is great! Any specific plans for this new program or anything in particular you’d like to share about it?
NH: This is probably our proudest achievement and is truly a culmination of what we are trying to do with the NE Distance program. Woonsocket middle school sports were all but eliminated in 2009 due to budget cuts. Our athletes moved into town and started to get everyone’s notice. We were lucky to find Performance Physical Therapy of RI who was interested in sponsoring us to restart the middle school cross country team. As soon as we announced it, a reporter from the local paper called me up and we were literally front page news.
For the public school system, they were absolutely thrilled. They were getting high level athletes who had already spent at least a year working with Woonsocket youth to come in and coach the kids at the middle school. The NEDi athletes went into the schools to sign up kids and were overwhelmed; 145 kids signed up. Lara has already started weekly runs with the kids in town and everyone will be back in Woonsocket in August gearing up to kick off the team at the end of the summer.
We are seeking a sponsor to help us continue this program for the kids into the indoor and outdoor seasons, so if anyone is interested in helping our team help these young people, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
USATF-NE: Are any USATF-NE hosted races a part of NE Distance’s upcoming race schedule – and if so, which ones, and why?
NH: Our goal is to have our athletes compete on Team USA, so the USATF-NE races are great vehicles to get us to that level. We will definitely be at the Cross Country races this fall, especially the Boston Mayor Cup and the USATF-NE Championship. The CVS Downtown 5k is in our backyard, so we’ll be there. USATF-NE hosts some of the best indoor meets in the country, so look for us at the BU Terrier & Valentine meets as well as the USATF-NE Championships. Outdoors, we’re big fans of the NBB Twilight Meets.
And be sure to look for our middle school kids to open up their season at the Ocean State XC meet in Goddard Park in Rhode Island on Friday Sept 26.
By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
Summer’s heat has just started to creep over New England, but it’s not too early to start thinking about running during the crisp days of fall. The 2014 USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix series will again feature five races from September through November. The series, a mix of old favorites and a couple new races, is listed below and on the main cross country schedule page, where you can also find a rich array of other New England cross country races to choose from.
The 5000 meter race is a popular event for distance track and field athletes. However, for runners who keep to the roads and trails, many haven’t tested their strength on the flat oval. Now is their chance.
With the USATF-NE All Terrain Runner (ATR) series, distance runners test themselves on varying surfaces and distances, including the track. In fact, many athletes competing in the new series tried the distance at the recent New Balance Boston Twilight meet at Bentley University. New Balance Boston’s Marguerite Cramer took the women’s title in an impressive time of 17:49.01. But it was the men’s 5000 meter field that saw some serious depth. Twenty-eight competitors came through in under 18 minutes, with the winner Austin Gilbert crossing the finish line in 14:57.61.
If you’ve already completed your 5000 meter track race and are looking to score it in the ATR series, be sure to submit your time through our web form.
As a reminder, USATF-NE members may submit their own 5000 meter result from any USATF sanctioned track meet between May 5 and July 20. A competitor may complete several outdoor 5000 meter races. However, only the fastest time will count in the final scoring.
Today, USA Track & Field New England has announced All Terrain Runner (ATR), a new official series comprising races of varying distances, seasons and surfaces. The series kicks off just next month on May 4 with a 10k trail race, before competitors race on the track, mountains and roads, closing with a cross country event in the fall.
USATF-NE President Tom Derderian described the idea behind the series, explaining that “Some runners race best on the track, some on the roads, some up mountains and over trails, and others on broad cross country courses. You know how you rank in the discipline you race in, but how do you rank if you combine all of these? This is the running version of the decathlon.”
The complete 2014 ATR series includes:
- May 4 – Trail: Sleepy Hollow 10k
- May 5-July 20 – Outdoor Track: 5000 meters *(USATF-NE members can submit their own result from any 5000 meter race run in a USATF sanctioned meet through our web form during this time frame. A competitor may complete several outdoor 5000 meter races; however only the fastest time will count in the final scoring.)
- July 6 – Mountain: Loon Mountain
- September 14 – Road: Lone Gull 10k
- November 9 – Cross Country: USATF-NE New England Championships
With the Sleepy Hollow 10k just a couple of weeks away, those interested in participating in the ATR series can register for the first race here. Competitors can register on race-day; however the entry fee increases from $15 to $25 after May 2, and registration will close when the maximum capacity of 250 racers is reached.
With no team scoring component, the series offers scoring and prizes for individuals only. There will be a total of $5,000 available in awards. The prize structure, awarding monetary rewards to the top five male and female finishers, is as follows:
- First – $1,000
- Second – $500
- Third – $250
- Fourth – $100
- Fifth – $50
Cash prizes will also be awarded to age group winners in the following age divisions: 40-49, 50-59 and 60-69. To be considered for a place in the final standings, competitors must complete four out of the five races, and participants who complete all five events will receive a special series t-shirt.
More details on the ATR series, including a formal landing page, are coming soon.
As previously reported, USATF-NE awarded HFC Striders with a grant for the cross country season to assist the team in sending members to compete in the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon on December 14.
USATF-NE President Tom Derderian, who raced the masters 10k race at the championships, described the race course, noting that it “pushed the limits of cross-country racing right up to the edge of trail and mountain racing. Half the repeated 2km loop was up hill and half downhill with the downhill full of twists turns, rocks, reverse camber turns, snow, ice, and mud. It took strength and skill to race this course. It was vastly different from any road race or track race.”
Below, find a recap from HFC Striders Coach, Jimmy Fallon, where he details the process to physically and financially get the team to compete in the national championship.
“When we started thinking about our participation early in 2013, our vision was to field full teams in all divisions. However, since we started with two in 2010 and six in 2012, this was going to be a challenge. However, stocked with the grant awarded by USATF-NE, prize money won from the USATF-NE XC Grand Prix, and funding garnered from hosting the Wayland Grand Prix events, we felt confident on giving it a try.
As soon as we announced to our club members that we wanted to field teams in Bend, we received several strong commitments to compete, some were hesitant due to the expense (recent college grads), and others who would have made it if the event was closer to home. Charged with the positive response, the club focused our weekly sessions around XC and held specific XC training on several Saturdays.
After a successful XC season in New England, we fielded a Men’s open team in the National Club Championships for the first time ever. HFC also fielded a masters team for the first time ever. One of our masters drove nine hours each way from San Jose, CA where he currently works, demonstrating the commitment of our team.
You have probably all seen the results and noticed we did not win, but we were finally on the score board as a TEAM from New England. Despite the tough course and being beat up afterwards, the prominent theme in emails and club blogs in the days after focused on how members are looking forward to the event in 2014. There were at least five other athletes that did not compete this year that are on board to compete in Lehigh.
So, while we did not achieve our stretch goal of 26 members, thanks to the support from USATF-NE we were able to help cover the airfares of several members of our team, place us on the scoreboard, and generate excitement for 2014 where we will strive to field men’s and women’s open teams, men’s and women’s masters, and a senior men’s team.”
In addition to HFC Striders, several other New England clubs brought teams to compete. These results highlights are noted below.
12. 374 Boston Athletic Association ( 33:18 2:46:27)
================================================================= 1 24 Eric Ashe 25 28 32:09 2 36 Brian Harvey 26 43 32:32 3 69 Colman Hatton 26 79 33:11 4 99 Dan Harper 23 113 33:49 5 146 Ryan McCalmon 38 172 34:46
================================================================= 1 95 Andrew Combs 29 108 33:44 2 123 Stephen Polito 23 145 34:18 3 126 Daniel Kramer 24 148 34:20 4 136 Andrew Pitts 28 159 34:27 5 243 Chris McCann 27 288 36:31 6 (252) Max Jack 25 298 36:47 7 (283) John Drago 23 333 37:31 8 (291) Daniel Lounsbury 31 342 37:45
================================================================= 1 183 Ryan Irwin 29 215 35:21 2 189 Robert Espinosa 29 222 35:28 3 199 Anthony Gonsalves 23 234 35:34 4 218 Michael Carlone 22 259 36:05 5 225 Matthew Haringa 30 267 36:11 6 (310) Caleb Evanter 26 368 38:27 7 (316) Daniel Hall 30 381 39:40
48. 1394 HFC Striders ( 37:55 3:09:35) ================================================================= 1 241 Tj Unger 35 286 36:31 2 249 Mark McDermott 29 294 36:44 3 285 Christopher Lotsbom 23 336 37:34 4 299 Kenny Rayner 23 356 38:14 5 320 Chris Canning 24 388 40:32 5. 163 New Balance Boston ( 23:11 1:55:51) ================================================================= 1 16 Jillian King 23 20 22:36 2 17 Sydney Fitzpatrick 24 22 22:44 3 40 Erin Dromgoole 34 55 23:20 4 42 Joanna Murphy 29 59 23:31 5 48 Karen Roa 23 67 23:40 6 ( 63) Katie Dicamillo 27 86 23:56 7 ( 67) Alexandra Varanka 28 95 24:02 8 ( 75) Jessica Minty 29 104 24:12 19. 642 Greater Boston Track Club ( 25:49 2:09:04) ================================================================= 1 58 Kerri Leonhardt 24 81 23:52 2 93 Alyson Millett 25 126 24:42 3 147 Elizabeth Ryan 23 197 26:07 4 150 Alyse Rocco 24 201 26:13 5 194 Alee Rowley 25 251 28:10 20. 646 New Balance Boston B ( 25:38 2:08:08) ================================================================= 1 91 Diana Davis 28 123 24:35 2 94 Katherine Rosettie 22 127 24:43 3 136 Karina Johnson 30 181 25:40 4 152 Fiona Moriarty 25 205 26:16 5 173 Erin Ballard 29 228 26:54 6 (183) Sarah Brassard 26 239 27:26
The USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix series came to a close last month with the New England Championship race at Franklin Park in Boston. Throughout the five race series, we saw several strong performances, from individuals and teams in both the open and masters competition.
In final results, GBTC took the women’s open team competition, with WMDP and Millennium coming in second and third respectively. The GBTC men’s squad also came in first for their open competition. HFC was second, with BAA in third. Sean Duncan of WMDP was the individual winner in the men’s open series and NBB’s Sydney Fitzpatrick was the women’s open overall winner. Full results of the Grand Prix standings, including all team and individual scoring can be viewed here.
With all of this New England racing behind us, there is still one more cross country race on the horizon for many of these athletes – the USATF National Club XC Championships, which will be held on December 14th in Bend, Oregon at River’s Edge Golf Course. According to the USATF website, the championships “will feature the top clubs from across the United States as they vie for honors and bragging rights as the nation’s top cross country team. More than 100 teams and 1,200 competitors are expected to compete.” For a sense of the competition at these championships, the 2012 results are here.
A number of New England athletes are entered to compete, including those from GBTC, NBB, HFC Striders and Greater Springfield Harriers. Best of luck to these teams and runners as they prepare for their races next Saturday!
Local scholastic runners turned in impressive performances at the recent Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) Northeast Qualifier at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY. The meet was one of the eight qualifiers, and included the six New England states, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The top two teams and several at-large teams from around the country, plus the top five individuals from non-qualifying teams advance to the final on December 14th in Oregon.
Four top ten finishes in the girls race came from the following New Engalnders: Race runner-up Abbie McNulty (Bishop Feehan – Attleboro, MA), fourth place finisher Autumn Eastman (Champlain Valley Union HS, VT), Fifth-place Emma McMillan (Barrington, RI) and Hannah Parker who came in at 10th place (Coe-Brown – Northwood, NH). Additionally, three New England teams placed in the top five: Black Bear XC / Coe Brown Northwood, NH (3rd); Rocks XC / Bishop Feehan, Attleboro, MA (4th); and Eagles / Barrington, RI (5th).
The boys race saw Christian Stafford of Pembroke, MA come in 4th place and Nick Carleo of Newburyport, MA in 10th, with Titans of Pembroke being the top New England team in 7th place.
At the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Qualifier at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City, Anoush Shehadeh, a junior at Phillips Academy Andover, placed second — the sole New England association runner to advance as a top 10 finisher. Three runners each from Connecticut and Maine will also go to the 35th annual National meet in San Diego, CA on December 14.
For some cross country athletes in our association, their season still has some time to go, as many are planning to race at the USATF National Club XC Championships in Bend, Oregon next month. However, the USATF-NE Grand Prix series is coming to a close on Sunday at Franklin Park in Boston with the USATF-NE XC Championship race.
After four events, who is leading the series? Our highlights are below, but the full XC Grand Prix standings to date can be found on our website here. Join us on Sunday at Franklin Park to see how the series plays out. Looking at how close many of the individual/team competitions are in the standings, it should be an exciting race. More information on Sunday’s race can be found here.
The women’s open team competition shows the tightest race, where Greater Boston Track Club (GBTC) and Western Mass Distance Project (WMDP) are tied for first with 45 points each. Millennium Running, a club that just emerged for the last two races, is in third with 25 points.
While the competition isn’t quite as close in the men’s open team scoring, there are still just 15 points separating the first through third place teams. GBTC is in first with 42 points, HFC Striders is in second (32 points) and WMPD rounds out third place (27 points).
Masters – Age Group Teams
The 40+, 50+ and 60+ age group teams also have seen team scoring in the series. WMPD is leading the women’s 40+ teams with 57 points, with Greater Lowell Road Runners (GLRR) and Greater Derry Track Club trailing in second and third respectively. The men’s 40+ teams have a strong top three with HFC, GBTC and GLRR (in that order). Moving up to men’s 50+ teams, we see those same three teams yet again, but in a different order — GLRR leads, with GBTC and HFC trailing.
Looking at individual performers, GBTC’s Alyson Millett leads the open women competitors — but Caroline Bjune of Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A) is just 14 points behind, and Sydney Fitzpatrick of New Balance Boston (NBB) trails by just three points.
On the men’s open side, WMDP’s Sean Duncan leads with 295 points, despite missing the Mayor’s Cup race. He is followed by the only two male runners over 200 points, both of GBTC – Ryan Irwin and Jonathon Charlesworth.
Masters – Age Group Athletes
HFC Striders is dominating the men’s 40-49 age group athletes, with Jason Cakourus (also USATF-NE XC Chair) leading the group in 355 points. His teammates Phil Parks and Justin Renz follow in second and third in the standings.
The men’s 50-59 age group has three individuals between 300-345 points. While Bob Collins of B.A.A. is currently leading, Dan Verrington of Central Mass Striders (CMS) is on his heels just five points back. GLRR’s Mark Reeder stands strong in third place.
GBTC is claiming the top three spots in the men’s 60+ age group. Bruce Bond (395 points), USATF-NE President Tom Derderian (370 points) and Joel Bargmann (180 points) lead this group.
The women’s 40-49 group has a tight race to the top. Trish Bourne of GLRR and Dana Parrot of WMPD are currently tied for first with 290 points. Karin George of WMPD is in third, not far behind with 270 points.
Anne Hird has a significant lead in the women’s 50-59 age group, with 135 points separating her from the closest runner. GLRR’s Mary Casey-Gorman and WMDP’s Leann Cerpovicz round out the top three in this group.
Mary Sharkey of CMS is the lone 60+ participant, though she has completed all four races in the series thus far.
“After the recent Mayor’s Cup cross-country meet, several elected athletes representatives came to the monthly USATF-NE board meeting with observations and suggestions about what happened as the lead pack in the men’s championship race ran loops in a different order. The athletes reps had gathered information from participants about what had happened and their complaints and compliments. The rule book states that runners can be disqualified if they run short of the official course but nothing about mixing up the order of loops. For the future a decision process will be used that will include some of the provisions in the rule book such as a designated meet director, referee, course marshall, and games committee to adjudicate any unforeseen occurrences.” – Tom Derderian, USATF-NE President
Refer to page 148 of the rule book for the section mentioned above: