Posts tagged Cross Country
By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
As visions of turkey, a possible winter storm and Mass Pike traffic dance in the heads of runners across the region, New England’s harriers are gearing up for the final race in the 2014 Cross Country Grand Prix series, the Warrior Run on Sunday, Nov. 30 at Larz Anderson Park in Brookline, MA.
At the fourth race in the series, the USATF-NE Championships at Franklin Park on Nov. 9, the men and women of the BAA showed that unicorns aren’t afraid to get their hooves dirty. Team and individual results from this race are nicely summarized on the USATF-NE website.
A look at both team and individual standings in the Grand Prix shows that some races will indeed come down to this final contest—or, as Patty Smyth once put it, “And heart to heart you’ll win, if you survive the warrior.” On the men’s side, GBTC has a healthy lead, but should the unicorns or the team from New Balance Boston choose to race outside Franklin Park, things could get interesting. Right now 2nd through 6th places (BAA, SISU, NBB, WMDP and HFC) are each separated by 1 point. In the open women’s team competition, GBTC holds a healthy lead over 2nd place WMDP and 3rd place BAA. The women of GBTC have won every head-to-head contest with WMDP during the series, these two teams being the only ones to have scored in all 4 events so far.
At the masters level, both the men’s and women’s races are too close to call. The men of HFC hold a 2-point lead over the masters squad from GLRR, with BAA again making an appearance in the top 3 by virtue of only two (dominant) team performances at Mayor’s Cup and the New England Championships. On the women’s side, WMDP took the series lead after winning a squeaker over Liberty at the New England Championships, but both the Hot Flashes of GDTC and the masters women of GLRR are still in contention for the series. Both the 50+ (GLRR) and 60+ (GBTC) men’s team competitions appear to be settled already, and while GDTC leads the 50+ women’s competition, GLRR is still a serious contender in 2nd place. Individual leaders Mark Reeder (50-59) and Trish Bourne (50-59), both of GLRR, have sewn up their respective divisions and could choose to stay home Sunday, though we suspect they won’t. In all other divisions the title could come down to who chooses to stay safe and warm this Sunday, and who chooses to get up early and make the drive to Brookline, knowing that a trip home with a few thousand other Commonwealthers awaits.
If the prospect of forgoing other Turkey Trots and couch-dwelling doesn’t entice you, perhaps this description of the Larz Anderson course—courtesy of HFC’s Jason Cakouros, former XC Committee Chair—will:
“. . .brutally hilly. The grass always seems really high too. . . The first loop is rolling to fast. The other loop has a big grass uphill, grass downhill, an egregious hill around a row of trees and monument thingy seemingly run just to torture us and then a gradual grass climb back to the fun loop.”
If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, you’re reading the wrong blog. Happy Thanksgiving from the USATF-NE Cross Country committee, and we look forward to seeing you in Brookline, where unicorns, wolves, chickens and mascots of unknown identity will seek to answer Patty Smyth’s plaintive query: “Who’s the hunter, who’s the game?”
By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
Toilet paper was in short supply, but talent and motivation were not, as USATF-NE athletes took to the fields and woods of Franklin Park on October 26 to contest the 24th Mayor’s Cup, presented by the Boston Athletic Association and Adidas.
In the women’s 5K Championship race, Rachel Hannah of Toronto, running for New Balance, took top honors with a time of 16:36. Hannah finished clear of a close pack of the second through courth place runners, with Juliet Bottorf of BAA finishing just ahead of teammate (and first masters runner) Jen Rhines. This was the first cross country race since 2005 for Rhines, the newly-anointed American masters record holder in the road 10K — who used a strong second half of the race to catapult her into third place over the final 100 meters. In fourth was 2013 NCAA Division I Cross Country champion Abbey D’Agostino, making her professional debut. The top six BAA runners swept the team competition, finishing ahead of New Balance Boston (second) and Greater Boston Track Club (third). With their first appearance in this year’s Grand Prix series, BAA jumps into third place in the series standings, behind GBTC in first and the Western Mass Distance Project in second.
The men’s Championship 8K saw another close race, with Mitch Goose of The Manhattan Project finishing in 23:46, four seconds ahead of Robert Mack (Reebok). Ethan Shaw of the BAA took third to lead a victorious team effort, with BAA’s fourth and fifth scorers (Sam Alexander and Bo Waggoner) making the difference against the second place Manhattan Project. The BAA men also made their first mark on the Grand Prix series at their home event; their win vaulted them into fourth place in the standings, behind GBTC, SISU project and HFC Striders. Both the men’s and women’s championship races are covered in detail on the BAA website.
While top masters runners such as the BAA’s Rhines mixed it up with the younger generation in the open races, runners competing in the masters and seniors divisions of the USATF competition took on everyone from high school runners to novice harriers in the Franklin Park 5K. The race was won decisively by 22-year-old Bryan Marsh in 15:44, with top masters finisher Mike Galoob of the BAA taking third in 16:23, just ahead of his teammate and fellow masters runner Chris Magill. Galoob and Magill led a strong BAA contingent to both the first place masters team title and first place overall team title in the race, while GLRR held on to second place in the Grand Prix series with a second place team finish. The masters team from HFC Striders finished third to maintain their position on top of the Grand Prix masters leader-board. Mark Reeder continues to dominate the men’s 50+ competition, winning the individual title in that division and leading his GLRR senior team to first place as well.
On the women’s side, 26-year-old Ravenna Neville took top honors in the Franklin Park 5K with a time of 19:25. The top masters woman was also the top senior woman: Trish Bourne, 50, of Greater Lowell Road Runners was the ninth woman overall in 20:43, pacing her masters team to a second place finish. First place masters team honors went to Western Mass Distance Project, whose three scorers swept the next three places in the masters race, led by former high school state champion (1991, on the Franklin Park course) Maura McDonald. In a truly cross-generational clash, the masters women from WMDP finished second overall to the Phillips Exeter girls’ team in the Franklin Park race. WMDP moved into second place in the Grand Prix series with this win, just one point behind Greater Derry Track Club, whose members finished third in the masters team race with a split squad, as some team members competed in a NH Grand Prix event in the Granite State. GDTC still holds the lead in the 50+ women’s team competition, with GLRR right behind.
With two races left in the Grand Prix series, many team races are too close to call. Harriers in the hunt for individual and team glory will return to Franklin Park on November 9 for the USATF-NE Championship Race, with visions of emptied and restocked porta-potties in their heads.
By: Chris Canning, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
A late location change brought the second leg of the Cross Country Grand Prix series to the flat gravel paths around Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke, MA. While this course may not have had the same cross country feel as Stanley Park, it provided harriers with an opportunity to run fast times around a very scenic location.
The open men’s race saw David Wilson and Sam Alexander (BAA) renew their battle for Grand Prix supremacy with Wilson reversing the result from last month’s GBTC Invitational to tie up the series at 29 points each. HFC teammates and Milton neighbors Jason Cakouros and Justin Renz took the top two positions in the 40-49 men’s race, moving Renz (who ran 22 miles the day before the race) into the 40-49 men’s lead with 27 points. Mark Reeder (GLRR) continued to stretch his 50-59 men’s lead with 30 points after another first place finish hours before his 55th birthday and Bruce Bond (GBTC) became the 60+ men’s leader with 28 points.
The open women’s race was won by Kerri Leonhardt (GBTC) while Apryl Sabadosa (WMDP) placed second. A third place finish by Caroline Martin (GBTC) moved her into the open women’s lead with 27 points. Maura McDonald (WMDP) led six Lady Wolves finishers in the 40-49 women’s division, and teammate Dana Parrot continues to lead the series with 27 points. Trish Bourne (GLRR) was once again victorious in the 50-59 women’s division and leads that division with 30 points.
The hosts from WMDP won the open men’s team race while GBTC’s second place finish ensured they would maintain their overall series lead. GBTC’s 9 points lead both SISU and HFC who are tied for second with 6 points. WMDP’s win moves them to fourth in the series with 5 points. HFC’s first place finish in the 40+ men’s team division moved them into the series lead and GBTC’s 60+ men’s team gave that division its first score of the series.
The open women’s team race saw similar results as first Grand Prix series event with GBTC edging out WMDP. GBTC leads the overall series with 10 points while WMDP is in second with 8 points. SISU’s third place finish moves them into a tie with GLRR for 3rd in the series with 3 points each. WMDP won the women’s 40+ team competition to move into a tie with GLRR for second in that division. Greater Derry Track Club, whose “Hot Flashes” team of 50+ women finished a strong 2nd in the 40+ race and won the 50+ team race uncontested, leads both the 40+ and 50+ women’s team competitions in the overall series.
Thanks go out from the WMDP to all who made the trip west, and from your non-WMDP blogger to the Wolves of Western Mass for putting on a terrific race. The Grand Prix series resumes on October 26th with the Mayor’s Cup at Franklin Park.
To view the updated XC Grand Prix standings, visit the USATF-NE website here.
By: Kate Queeney, USATF-NE XC Committee Member
Your erstwhile cross country bloggers had to miss the opening race in the Grand Prix series due to family events both foreseen and unforeseen, but we were fortunate to get a recap from T. J. Unger of HFC Striders. T. J. had this to say about the GBTC Invitational on Sept. 7:
- “The GBTC race was a great start to the XC season. I think the real highlights were that the women’s race had 4 full scoring USATF teams and that SISU made their presence felt in the men’s Open race. . . . Mike Mahon gave a stunning rendition of the national anthem which was well received by the participants and Tom Derderian dazzled the crowds with his harmonica playing and ‘Call to the Post.’ Top runners and teams received pies that looked delicious (unfortunately can’t comment on the taste because neither I nor HFC got one).”
T.J. acknowledged that the host GBTC dominated the team competition, and he specifically called out Ethan Nedeau, Mark Reeder and John Barbour for strong performances in the men’s masters/seniors races (they won the 40+, 50+ and 60+ divisions, respectively). T. J. also made some pretty serious accusations about the pie-handling skills of the GBTC and potential Board of Health violations, but it’s possible his own pie-lessness influenced his reporting skills at this point.
The Grand Prix scoring following the meet can be viewed here. GBTC did indeed dominate the open team competition, but Greater Lowell swept both masters and seniors team competition on both the men’s and women’s side. Sam Alexander of BAA won the open men’s race, while Alyse Rocco of GBTC finished first among the women.
This coming weekend the Grand Prix series heads west of 495 (and in fact west of 84), out to the WMDP Cross Country Festival. This race has changed venues from the past few years—it will take place at the Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke, MA. Rumor has it the change has something to do with the availability of non-pie-related refreshments post-race, but for now the vital piece of information for all runners is that the terrain here is more carriage roads than cross country trails, so road racing flats are recommended rather than cross country spikes. Hope to see many of you out here in the wilds of Western MA!
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!
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.
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
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: