If you attended the USATF East Region and New England Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships late last month, then you saw the crowd it drew. The meet actually had its largest entry list in the four years it’s been held at the Providence Career and Technical Academy track complex in Rhode Island.
The well-attended championship meet was a success, seeing a number of impressive marks from competitors, including two record-setting performances. Two throws records were broken on opposite ends of the age ranges. Gloria Krug of Philadelphia Masters TF Association threw the 16 lb weight an age 80-84 best distance of 6.16 meters/ 20’2.5″. Competing as a guest in the men’s weight throw, high school senior Gabriel Arcaro of Burlington, MA spun the 25 lb ball 20.17m / 66’2.25″ for a new Massachusetts state scholastic best. It bettered the 14 year-old previous mark by a foot and ranks in the top 10 nationwide for the year.
The Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame inducted their Class of 2014 this past Sunday, adding a stellar group to the hall. Athletes selected had impressive Massachusetts high school careers and earned honors beyond graduation.
The following names of recognition will be added to the wall at the Reggie Lewis Center this year:
- Ari Lambie, the NCAA all-American distance runner hailing from The Bromfield School in Harvard
- Melody Johnson of North Attleboro whose 28 year-old state shot put record still stands
- Joe LeMar, the Brockton middle distance athlete, who went on to win a Paralympic gold medal
- Paul Neves, Jim MacKinnon, Mike Suillivan and Dennis Doucette, all members of Brockton’s national record-setting 4×440 relay team in 1979
- Andy Powell and Maurica Carlucci Powell, middle distance runners from Oliver Ames and Franklin respectively, both now coaches at the University of Oregon
- Brooks Johnson, the Plymouth sprinter who earned a gold medal in the Pan American Games and has coached an Olympic athlete in every Olympic Games from 1972 through 2012
Congratulations to these newest additions to MSTCA’s Hall of Fame!
The USATF-NE Annual Awards Banquet was held this past Saturday at Montvale Plaza in Stoneham, MA. If you missed the event, here is recap, highlighting many of our well-deserved award winners.
Scott Mason received the Marja Bakker Volunteer Award for his photography work at New England-wide races, including our championship events.
The Youth Program Contributor Award went to Jim Clayton, founder of the Sugarloaf Mountain AC Youth Track and Field Program, which celebrated its 20 year anniversary in 2013.
Our much anticipated Athlete and Club of the Year Awards were also announced, following an open nomination and online voting process that took place earlier in the month — where more than 300 votes were cast in just three days.
The winners for each category were: Tim Ritchie, B.A.A. (Male Athlete of the Year), Stephanie Reilly, Team RUN (Female Athlete of the Year) and Greater Lowell Road Runners (Club of the Year). The complete list of nominees – with their key accomplishments in 2013 – included the following:
Male Athlete of the Year Nominees:
Sam Alexander – Boston Athletic Association, age 23: Finished 9th in 31:27 at the National Cross Country Championship in Oregon last month and was selected for the U.S. National team, representing the U.S. at the 25th Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country in Scotland.
Sean Duncan – Western Mass. Distance Project, age 24: Won the open male division of the Grand Prix by eight points over the next competitor, placed first at the Lone Gull 10 km in September 2013, and was 2013 USATF-NE Cross County Grand Prix winner in the open male division.
Andrew Junas – Eliot Track Club, age 45: National 400 m in 51.74 (3rd place), 51.97 in his first indoor meet at B.U. at the end of 2013.
Joe Navas – Whirlaway Racing Team, age 43: Finished in top three spots in age division in every Grand Prix race and was an Ironrunner in 2013, crushing his competition.
Tim Ritchie – Boston Athletic Association, age 26: 2:14 at the Twin Cities Marathon; top ten at Falmouth; winner, Hollis Fast 5km (13:48) and the Carver Cranberry 5 miler (23:59).
Female Athlete of the Year Nominees:
Christin Doneski – Whirlaway Racing Team, age 42: Not only a Grand Prix Ironrunner, winning three of the seven races and top finisher in all, she was also a Mountain series age group winner, completing five races to take the title there.
Sarah Prescott – Whirlaway Racing Team, age 47: An Ironrunner for the 14th consecutive year, Sarah has run every Grand Prix race since 1999 and races distances on roads, mountains and trails up to the 50 km.
Stephanie Reilly – Team RUN, age 35: Top USATF-NE finisher at the Jones 10 miler, New Bedford Half Marathon, Carver 5 miler and at the Lone Gull 10 km, clinching the open women’s division in the 2013 Grand Prix.
Club of the Year Nominees:
Cambridge Sports Union: CSU embarked on its 51st year in 2013, a unique club of runners, cross country skiiers and orienteers. In addition to supporting many top finishers in the Grand Prix and Mountain series, CSU is known for its volunteerism in the community and has assumed responsibility for the legendary Fresh Pond Races.
Gate City Striders: With over 600 members, GCS is a presence at all Grand Prix races and hosts the famous Mill Cities Relay as well as the Pack Monadnock 10 miler. They have been conducting Fitness University for children ages 3 -14 in the Nashua, NH area since 1989.
Greater Lowell Road Runners: The club with the most amount of participants (42) earning points in the 2013 Grand Prix, GLRR supports runners of all ages and abilities. Host club of the beloved Fudgcicle Series and the Bay State Marathon.
Nominations are now open for the 2013 Male Athlete of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year and Club of the Year. The deadline to submit nominations is this Friday, January 3, 2014. USATF-NE members may submit a nomination by email (Awards@usatfne.org) or by posting a comment on the USATF-NE Facebook page. Which USATF-NE athletes and clubs impressed you most in 2013? Let us know who you think is most deserving of these honors and why.
The top nominees for each category will be announced on January 4, when you will have the opportunity to vote for your athletes and club of choice. Stay tuned for more information in upcoming days, including a link to cast your votes.
Winners will be announced at our annual Awards Banquet on January 11 at Montvale Plaza in Stoneham, MA. If you haven’t already, be sure to purchase your ticket! The event will include a cocktail hour with passed appetizers, dinner, a featured guest speaker, awards presentation, and a night packed full of music and dancing.
In addition to the athletes and club of the year presentation, age group winners from the Grand Prix will also be recognized with a special gift.
Time to cast your nominations – and we look forward to seeing you at the banquet!
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
We’ve compiled the indoor track performances through 12/7. In addition to the college, open and unattached athletes, a number of USATF-NE club athletes have already kicked off their seasons with strong performances. Find yourself below in your respective event, and check back for updated lists.
Who, what, when, where:
While the USATF NE bylaws do not require the LDR Committee to involve the membership in decision making in regard to any event or activity it oversees, the Committee has chosen to invite input and voting from the LDR community in regard to the Road Race Grand Prix. The slate selection meeting for the 2014 USATF NE Grand Prix Road Race series date and time was announced at the bid presentation meeting on November 13, 2013 where over 60 people were in attendance. In addition, an ongoing LDR Committee of about 12 people meets sporadically through the year and had been meeting/emailing during the preceding months in regard to the bid solicitation process. At the presentation meeting, names were collected of those interested in attending the slate meeting. Those names combined with available LDR Committee members met on November 23rd in Waltham to review the bids and put together the slates for voting. A total of 11 people were present at the meeting. Clubs represented were: the BAA, CSU, GBTC, NSS, SISU Project, SRR, WRT, and WMDP. Transparency of the process includes: all meetings are open to all USATF members; voting privileges are extended to all club representatives (one vote per club); committee decisions are by consensus; bid and voting process guidelines are posted on the USATFNE website; and contact information including email addresses for the LDR Chairs is posted on the website. The road race Grand Prix is the only series that involves member input at USATF NE, all others such as Mountain, Track, and Cross Country are decided by Committees only.
High Street Mile:
After reviewing the bids and the Grand Prix survey results that had been collected after the bid presentation meeting and before the slate selections, the first topic was the High Street Mile. Ranked high in the survey and of interest to Committee members, we discussed our concerns about the High Street Mile event: 1) the USATF rule of scoring by gun time only and High Street’s use of chip timing to determine winners; 2) road-width start area and its effect on gun time; and 3) multiple heats/races at High Street and how we could score teams. We decided to offer a Showcase status to High Street in 2014 where we would promote the race, offer some incentive to USATF members to participate other than with points and see how an increased field in size and in top competitors would affect the race before making a decision for inclusion as a Grand Prix event if they bid in future years.
Putting together the slates, we listed the most popular races as determined by the survey results. Our immediate goals were to give the runners what they told us they wanted, avoid conflicts with religious holidays and local major races/nearby USATF national championships that would detract runners from Grand Prix races and make the schedule doable in regard to the typical training regimes of participants. There were several races that polled so strongly (or had a competing bid of the same distance which had time conflicts) it was clear they could be a core group and appear on all slates. We first organized a slate where races grouped themselves with a few early in the year, had a couple month gap and then resumed later in the year. We were able to get geographic diversity with the slate (another goal) and also switch out a couple of the distances/races and keep the format. We gave them a working title of 1a and b. We could also put in more bidding races that were popular and have them fall on an almost monthly basis. This format’s working title was 2 a and b. Representatives liked 1 a and b as the gap time off could support a spring marathon or rest time and liked 2 a and b as it spread out the races (and paying entry fees) over the year more consistently. The LDR Committee always wants every slate to be an effective Grand Prix so it does not ultimately matter to the Committee which one is elected, they are equally good.
At the slate selection meeting, we discussed offering just two slates: 1 a and 2 a with the b options as pull down menus within the slate. This presentation of the information would highlight the format as the primary element to vote on and the dominate slate in the pair would determine the final line up. We wanted to avoid a situation which came up a couple of years ago when a slate that had garnered 26% of votes was declared the winner. The Committee received criticism of that decision as over 70% of the respondents made it clear they had voted against the line-up. After the meeting, putting the slates in Survey Monkey (cheap version) proved a challenge as mixing question types (pull down within multiple choice) could not be managed and in the case of 1 a and b, if one did a pull down of the 5 mi for a choice between Carver and Ribfest and chose Ribfest, then An Ras Mor would be the only 5km choice because the Hollis 5km is three days before Ribfest. The Committee member putting the slates into Survey Monkey decided to list the slates in their entirety and informed the Committee. Since using numbers and “a” and “b” can imply value, the slates were named in honor of LDR pioneers: 1a became DeMar; 1b, Kelly; 2a, Kuscsik; and 2b, Gibb. We hoped that one slate/format would resonate with voters and a clear preference would emerge.
Voting cycle 1:
While the listing of the four slates appeared equally online, many representatives who attended the meeting urged their club mates to consider DeMar and Kelly (or Kuscsik and Gibb) a pair and vote for one or the other indiscriminately as discussed at the meeting prior to implementation. They championed the idea of format 1 or 2, and the dominate slate within the pair format becoming the Grand Prix lineup. Voting was nearly a week long to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday break and a blast email went out to USATF members noting LDR on their membership forms to open voting on Nov 26. Many participants commented on the formats and hundreds of votes were logged in just a few days.
At the conclusion of the first election cycle on December 9, a record 487 legitimate votes were cast. Names and USATF numbers were checked against the national database names of current members to determine legitimacy. Results: 2a: Kuscsik: 181 votes (37%); 1a: DeMar: 160 votes (32%), 1b: Kelly: 96 votes (20%); 2b: Gibb: 50 votes (11%). While Kuscsik (37%) had the most votes by 5% as an individual slate, going by format, slates 1a and 1b had 52% and slates 2 a and b 48%. The Committee split on whether to go with the format winner, DeMar or the popular vote winner, Kuscsik. Going with Kuscsik still meant that 63% of the respondents voted against it (and 68% against DeMar). The two dominate slates were close in percentage of the votes and declaring Kuscsik the individual winner was not fair to the groups who had been advised to vote for the 1 a or b or 2 a or b indiscriminately. Since the format vote was nearly same difference apart as the popular vote, essentially a tie between the two ways to view results, the Committee felt the best way to proceed was to put the dominate slate from both formats online for a run-off election based on the popular vote with a planned tiebreaker action if necessary. The slate selection process posted on the website stated “..Results will be announced at the conclusion of voting…” so no established rules were violated by the decision. Our political democratic process includes elections after a primary with two candidates emerging for final voting and the Committee thought the membership would understand this similarity and the close nature of the first vote.
The political analogy went way deeper than imagined. Inviting the membership to vote in the run-off was read by some people that there was something suspicious with the first vote and it spawned unfounded allegations of conspiracies, favoritism, and kickbacks to committee members as well as personal attacks on social media. Regardless, another voting participation record was set, nearly 500 people responded to the run-off vote invitation.
Run Off Vote:
The blast email to the membership went out December 12th and was voting was open for three days. The second round of voting had a definitive selection of the DeMar slate with 278 votes (57%) and Kuscsik received 213 votes (43%) for a total of 491 legitimate votes cast. It was easy to declare DeMar the winner and gratifying that it had a large margin of support.
The 2014 Grand Prix races:
D. H. Jones 10 miler, Amherst, MA, Feb. 23, 11 a.m.
New Bedford Half Marathon, New Bedford, MA Mar. 16, 11 a.m.
An Ras Mor 5 km, Cambridge, MA, Mar. 30, 10 a.m.
Ribfest 5 Miler, Merrimack, NH, Jun 15, 9:15 a.m.
GMAA Labor Day 15 km, South Burlington, VT, Aug. 31, 9 a.m.
Lone Gull 10 km, Gloucester, MA, Sept. 14, 9 a.m.
Manchester City Marathon, Manchester, NH, Nov 2, 8:50 a.m.
Join the LDR Committee:
While the membership is free to second guess the Committee, the meetings are open and those who attend try to make decisions that are fair to potential participants and the bidding races. We know we cannot please all members and the race directors that bid but we ask for respect for the volunteers who put in the time and energy to bring bids to the Grand Prix, make hard decisions and shepherd the process of voting to bring the best line up of races possible to those who want to compete. If you want your voice truly heard, join the LDR Committee.
Thank you to all who participated in the bid process and for attending meetings, voting and for putting these great races and the High Street Mile on your calendars to run them in 2014.
The LDR Committee recently set up a second round of voting as the first voting on four slates yielded results too close to declare a winner.
When the Committee met to form slates, we wanted to include the races that: 1) the runners had indicated as their favorites in the survey; 2) did not conflict with religious holidays; 3) did not conflict with major races that would detract numbers from Grand Prix races; and 4) would accommodate the average Grand Prix runner’s training plan.
In regard to slates, we have had voting in the past where multiple slates garnered almost equal amounts of votes. While this may be a tribute to the equality of the races on the slates, it resulted in a Grand Prix preferred by 26% of the runners voting. The Committee received criticism for declaring a winner with a 26% majority since it meant 74% of the runners were against the line-up but had spread their votes over three other choices. In an effort to have a more decisive slate, we discussed posting two slates with a core of races and variation within each grouping with races and distances the runners indicated they preferred. At first, we thought of a pull down menu within two separate slates so votes could be tallied for essentially two slates with the voters selecting the variable race(s). The two slate formats offered are popular races where one set of races group mostly into spring and fall dates, the other has races in almost every month beginning in March. We could not set up the survey site with pull down menus within the slates so listed all four slates thinking the runners would indicate through their voting the desired race groupings and a slate would emerge as the most preferred. A record 487 votes did not produce a favored slate or format: each format combination and dominate slate polled nearly the same as its competitor.
As indicated in our email asking for participation in the second round, the two formats represented were nearly equal in votes and the dominate slates were also nearly equal, though both had barely a third of the total amount of votes cast. While there is no written rule in our process as to how much of a percentage of a vote is necessary to indicate support, the Committee wants to ensure the races are chosen by the greatest number of responders. The best way to address the closeness of the first vote fairly and have a majority of respondents choosing the Grand Prix was to put the two dominate slates back before the runners for a more decisive vote and have a plan for a tie, which had not been discussed previously. We would rather break a 50%-50% tie from a second round of voting than a tie between slates in the first round which would have produced a winner that about 70% of the voters did not choose.
The record number of voters is a tribute to the quality of the races and either Grand Prix line up of races should be very well attended and contested by serious competitors.
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.