Girl Power rules at Golden Gate Park XC with 2nd-place effort; Open Men snag 2nd; Oldies…finished
The blue-collar and blue singlet-clad Strawberry Canyon Track Club brought their hammer and tongs to the no-holds-barred, 4.12-mile Golden Gate Park XC Open meet held on Sunday, Sept. 7th. We fielded full teams for the open women, senior men’s (50+), and open men’s races, but the clear highlight of the day was the race day shocker delivered by women’s team, which had never competed (as a group) in a race of this magnitude.
The SCTC women had been kept on the down-low for a few months, allowing them time to train together, build up a summer base, and to establish a mutual bond. The group’s emergence has been compelling to witness as they all trained in a speedy, tight pack, but would this translate to a strong race-day performance? They had yet to really test their mettle in the heat of competition. This race represented that test as they ended up in a hard-fought battle with four teams vying for second place.
Most of us would have been cool with a solid 4th-place team finish in what was a loaded women’s field, and ecstatic with a third-place finish. But these women, quite frankly, delivered one of the finest team performances in club history, setting the Pacific Association on its collective ear by upsetting three nationally regarded teams, West Valley Track Club, the Impala Racing Team and the ASICs Aggies to take second-place honors behind last year’s 9th-place team at USATF Club Nationals – New Balance Silicon Valley.
Rebecka Oberg went out leading the chase pack for about three miles and had a moment of doubt, but she rallied at the three-mile mark as teammate Tamma Carleton passed her, encouraging her to keep at it. Tamma ended up taking top spot for the Berries, rolling to an outstanding 9th-place overall finish in 25 minutes, six seconds, with Rebecka a slim six seconds behind her in 11th-place. Right behind Rebecka was a very impressive performance from Olivia Hill, who nailed down a sterling 14th-place finish.
Rounding out the scoring team was the Force of Megan as both Megan Gentes (18th) and Megan Lang (19th) finished in an identical time of 25:37.
These women had been so closely matched in workouts we sensed they would finish somewhat close to one another. But they slashed the field with an almost unheard-of 31-second “pack time” (differential between first and fifth scoring runners) an accomplishment which elevated them to an improbable second-place team finish.
Behind the scorers, Camille Plantier had a great breakthrough race in 27:32. Kimberly Sanchez had to work with a sore foot and finish in 28:39. Naomi Wilcox was next for us and finished in 29:39.
The seniors men (50-plus for you whippersnappers) did manage to bring four runners to the line and we seem to have been the 5th-place overall team. Scott Strait finished just ahead of Paul Nolan. Coach Carl crossed the line in 28:31, and 60+ Bill Brusher ended up just running to finish with a time of 36:08.
What is interesting about Scott is he and Eric Gullikson (who ran a road race, see below) are 59. Keith Duncan is currently 60 and crushing the PA circuit. Only three super seniors are required to score at PA meets. Needless to say this will be an indomitable trio of oldsters for 2015 Club USATF XC Nationals which will be held in San Francisco!
Last but not least the open men ran a smart race. A few teams were no-shows or watered down so they were able to eke out a much-needed second-place team finish to assist their Grand Prix title hopes. Sean McFarland is starting to come back after a summer of foot tendonitis, and he paced the Canyoneros with a good performance of 21:36. Not too far back was newcomer Ed Izaguirre, a strong runner who recently moved here from San Luis Obispo after training as part of the Cal Poly Distance Project. Ryan Smith followed him a few ticks back. Greg Timblin and promising freshman Brandon Kan closed out the scoring for the Berries.
In the next wave, Alex Battaglino seemed to be rounding into form a little bit and he was next. In the chase pack, Stephen Granger-Bevan had a really solid race as did Justin Huang.
Here are the individual results for the racers:
9. Tamma Carleton 25:05
11. Rebecka Oberg 25:12
14. Olivia Hill 25:22
18. Megan Gentes 25:37
19. Megan Lang 25:37
Camille Plantier 27:32
Kimberly Sanchez 28:39
Naomi Wilcox 29:39
66. (23rd 50+) Scott Strait 27:09
69. (25th 50+) Paul Nolan 27:14
Carl Rose 28:31
Bill Brusher 36:08
16. Sean McFarland 21:36
19. Ed Izaguirre 21:47
20. Ryan Smith 21:50
27. Greg Timblin 22:13
28. Brandon Kan 22:17
31. Alex Battaglino 22:26
35. Stephen Granger-Bevan 22:40
Justin Huang 23:01
Edward Hill 23:09
Kevin Hsu 24:40
Joshua Seeherman 27:29
There is also a brief recap from the Walnut Festival 5K and 10K from Tim Keenan:
At the Walnut run, I did a 35:51, neither fast nor slow, but considering there are two 180-degree
turns on the course, and my age, I’ll still take the overall win (edit, he has tried to win this race for 22 years, so congrats to Tim, he can chalk that one off the list).
The rest of the group also turned in stellar individual performances, and though his time was nowhere near what he is capable of when fit, it was a pleasant surprise to see original Pacific Striders club founder Thom Trimble back in a race after a lengthy hiatus. (History lesson, we combined the 1983-2009 Striders aka older guys like me, Tim, and Thom, with SCTC aka new blood in 2009).
The 5K race results:
Eric Gullikson – 18:51 – top 55-59
Keith Duncan – 18:57 – top 60-69
Kate Ashley – 20:22 – 3rd female
Thom Trimble – 22:28 – 3rd 55-59