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Led by four top-10 finishes, including Sarah Pagano (2nd - 19:36), Emily Lipari (4th - 19:37), Elaina Balouris (6th - 19:52) and Emma Bates (7th - 19:59), the B.A.A. team scored an impressive 33 points to defend their 2014 and 2015 victories. Finishing just behind B.A.A., who had all five scorers finish in the top 15, were the women of High Performance West, led by top-10 finishes from USARC mainstays Tara Welling (5th - 19:43) and Kristen Findley (10th - 20:11) to score 87 points.
Individually, 2016 Rio Olympian Colleen Quigley (St. Louis, Missouri) won the individual women’s title with a bit of a home course advantage, returning to the course she competed on as a nine-time All-American at Florida State University. Quigley came through the line in 19:31 to finish out 2016 on a high note in front of a “hometown” crowd. Quigley’s finish aided her Bowerman Track Club teammates to bronze in the women’s team race, scoring 99 points.
Rivalries Renewed and Resolved at USATF Club Cross Country Championships
TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- It was a perfect day for racing over the hills and valleys on the dedicated Cross Country course of the Apalachee Regional Park. Participants were ecstatic about how much they enjoyed running on this gorgeous course.
The defending champions, Sonja Friend-Uhl, of the Atlanta Track Club, and Kevin Castille, unattached, repeated their feats of a year ago. Friend-Uhl again had to beat back a spirited challenge from Club Northwest’s Janet McDevitt. Stride for stride most of the way in their 6K contest, McDevitt tried to pull away from Friend-Uhl at the beginning of the last loop. By the top of the hill, Friend-Uhl had powered back next to McDevitt, and then passed her; with 1000 meters to go she had 6 seconds on McDevitt. From there Friend-Uhl was able to power up the last hill and spring down to the finish in 22:15, with 22 seconds to spare. Kevin Castille, the great Masters Runner from Lafayette, Louisiana, had no trouble in his 10K race. By the first timing mat, laid out at 1150 meters, Castille was already 11 seconds ahead of his closest pursuers. He added to that lead throughout the race, capturing the win by 1:14 in 31:29. Shoulder-to-shoulder for the first 5000 meters, the Bowerman Track Club’s Greg Mitchell, threw in a surge at that point, pulling away from Cal Coast’s john Gardiner steadily to claim second with an 11 second margin.
The much anticipated matchup between the two gold medalists from Perth, Sabra Harvey, unattached, and Kathy Martin, Northport Running Club, resulted in an unexpected victor in the Women’s 65-59 division. Although Martin has been virtually unbeatable on the Cross Country course over the last decade, Harvey was, nonetheless, able to claim victory. Martin went out faster, gradually building her lead up to 7 seconds by the 3000 meter mark. But Harvey gradually chipped away at the lead and was able to pull away from Martin to win by 16 seconds in 25:26. The Boston Athletic Association’s Peter Hammer had the advantage over the Atlanta Track Club’s Kristian Blaich in their first meeting in the 50-54 division. Blaich was able to stick with Hammer for the first 3000 meters but after that Hammer gradually pulled away to claim victory by over half a minute in 33:28. Nat Larson, Greater Springfield Harriers, dead even with Blaich for the last 5000 meters was able to claim second by 2 seconds!
Age-Grading honors went to the two rivals on the Women’s side, with Sabra Harvey in the top spot at 97.10%, with Kathy Martin in second at 93.53%. The Athena Track Club’s Marisa Sutera Strange took the bronze with a 90.08%. There was also an upset in the Men’s 8K age-grading contest. The tenacious John Barbour, Greater Lowell Track Club, just like last year, was able to hang on to a runner who was expected to beat him handily. Barbour is one tough runner on the cross country turf! Brian Pilcher prevailed to claim gold in the 60-64 division race with a 4 second victory in 29:37. But Barbour is two years older, so Barbour had the edge in age-grading, 89.38% to 87.99%, with the Boulder Road Runners Greg Bell third in 87.06%. As promised, Pete Magill, Cal Coast Track Club, came roaring back to claim a Men’s 55-59 division win in 34:13, and had the top 10K age grade at 91.66%. Nat Larson reached the age-grading podium again with a 91.21%, while the first runner across the line, Kevin Castille, took third in age-grading at 90.84%.
West Coast teams dominated the Masters results. Of the 7 team titles determined, only two were won by East Coast teams, the Men’s 50+ by the Greater Springfield Harriers out of Massachusetts, and the Men’s 60+ by the Genesee Valley Harriers, out of greater Rochester NY. The other Men’s titles went, in the 40+ race, to the Bowerman Track Club of Oregon, and, for 70+. Women’s team titles went to the Pacific Northwest’s Club Northwest, in the 40+ division, to Southern Cal’s Jane’s Elite in the 50+ group, and for the 60+ division, to the Bay Area’s Impala Racing Team.
Masters recap submitted by Paul Carlin, USATF Masters LDR Media Chair