7/9 – Coach’s Recap – 2017 Spring Season in Review

The Strawberry Canyon Track Club went on a furious tear during the 2017 spring racing season. Numerous club members dove into the record book, turning in shiny new PRs on the ovals and roads all over northern California and beyond. We started off innocuously enough at the Cal All-Comers meets held in late winter, and the season culminated at the prestigious track meets held at UC Berkeley and SF State. One of the biggest surprises of the year was the volume of PRs turned in at the low-key Cal State East Bay meet held at Chabot College in April. We also seem to have manifested a serious sprinting program! I am bound to miss a few results, but PRs and significant breakthroughs included:
  • Stephen Sloan 4:08.65 (1500 – a 3+ second PR),
  • Kyle Bystrom 4:05.49 (1500 – a six-second PR) and 1:55.72 (800 – 0.26-second PR)
  • Erik Stein 1:56.02 (800 – a high school junior – 4.89-second PR!) and dropped from a 4:35 to 4:27 in the high school distance of 1600  meters (8 seconds)
  • Megan Gentes 4:46.39 (1500 – ten second PR!)
  • Stephen Bailey, who set at least 10 PRs this spring – 25.14 (200 – a 0.36-second PR) 54:89 (400 – a 1.67-second PR) and 1:00.38 (400 hurdles – a 2.30-second PR)
  • Ben Harper 3:58.47 (1500 – a 6-second PR)
  • Paul Green, who dropped from 4:08 to 3:57.20 in the 1500
  • Colin Gannon  4:16.25 (1500 – a 2+ second PR) and 15:28.45 (5000 – a 2+ second PR)
  • Matt Bogdanowicz 58.08 (400 – age 45-49 age group PR
  • William (Sammy) Euerle 4:02.41 (1500 – a 3+ second PR)
  • Cielo Aguilar 4:16.81 (1500 a 4+ second PR)
  • Matt Weber 4:11.28 (a 12-second PR!) and 15:39.62 (5000 – a 22-second PR!)
  • Ed Hill 4:12.09 (a 3+ second 1500-meter PR at age 39!)
  • George Torgun 15:20.50 (5000 – a 3+ second PR at age 39!)
  • Eugene Yang 26.20 (200 – a 2+ second PR),Max Krall set a 7-second PR in the 800 (2:08), and small PRs 1500 and Mile
  • Matt Perez’s PR in the 1500 after many years
  • Jonathan Briskman dipped under the 15:00 barrier in the 5000 with a time of 14:56.66. Earlier in the season he also set a new club track record in the 10000-meter event with an impressive mark of 31:13.93
  • Kevin Petow dropped 22 seconds off of his 5000-meter PR with an impressive breakthrough time of 15:10
  • Regina Scarpin debuted in the 5000 turning in an 18:45.65 time in her first attempt at a track race

We also shined on the roads as elder statesmen John Hill, Chafik Azerki, Tommy Harp, Eric Gullikson, Rob Elia, Tim Keenan and Alan Dehlinger all made appearances at several PA-USATF races including the Redding John Frank Memorial 10-mile road race in March (which was held on a new and challenging course due to flooding), the SacTown Ten-Mile in April, the Stow Lake 5K also in April, and the Marin 10K on Memorial Day. Tom Harp finally broke 38 minutes at the Marin race, a huge run for him, while Eric Gullikson broke 40 minutes for the 10K at age 62, his first time under 40 in four years and a monumental feat at 60+. Meanwhile, in the East Bay, the women consisting of our dream team quartet of Megan Lang, Julia Sizek, Tamma Carleton and Megan Gentes crushed the Oakland Marathon relay in a 30-minute victory over second-place, while the open men took second in the relay. Also, Jen Sung did well in the half-marathon.Speaking of half-marathons, we can’t overlook Jonathan Briskman’s effort at the Phoenix Rock ‘n’ Roll Half and full Marathon, in which Jonathan took an impressive 4th overall in 1:07.42 on the half-marathon course which unfortunately had just enough downhill to render it ineligible for club record purposes.

And earlier in the winter, Ashley Lin PR’d by two minutes with a 1:26.42 effort at the SF Kaiser Half Marathon in February.
And we  also brought nearly 20 Strawberry Canyon TC runners to the Devil Mountain road races in Danville in early May. Megan Lang and Silvia Jebiwott went 1-2 in the women’s 10K, and Matt Weber and Mitch Negus went 2-3 in the men’s 10K. John Hill and Tim Keenan swept the top two spots in the 50-59 age group while Erik Gullikson claimed the 60-69 age group title, while shocking a very competitive local runner in that age group. In the day’s elite road mile, Megan Gentes PR’d with a marvelous 5:12 performance, a new club record. Paul Green took third in the road mile (4:24) and was followed by Cielo Aguilar (4:38 – also a PR), Ed Hill, Colin Gannon, Max Krall and so on.

In other venues, Ashley Lin ran a 3:08 marathon at Boston, missing her PR by one minute in sweltering conditions while Jack Wallace PR’d by five minutes in 2:47, and Sylvia Jebiwott went back East to snare an 80-second half-marathon 1:25.34 PR at the Brooklyn Half. Also in NYC, Regina Scarpin ran in the Mini-Marathon 10K in Central Park later that month ‘for fun’ in just under 41 minutes. That same day, Tamma Carleton threw down the gauntlet at the Sugarloaf 15K road race in Maine, blitzing the course in 55 minutes and 59 seconds, which is a club record or second behind Julia Sizek’s 59:04 10-mile time from 2015. Also in the month of May, we razzle-dazzled the crowds with the sharp-looking, all-white Peet’s Cold Brew-sponsored Centipede at the 2017 Bay to Breakers.

With 13 + two extra open men sporting a clean look in matching singlets and white/black ball caps, we put together an impressive crew. They overcame some choppy strategical nuances in their first go at the race, and the guys adapted well and clipped off a respectable 5:45 mile pace to finish third in its inaugural netting a time of 42 minutes and 45 seconds. Finally, a special congratulations can be sent to East Bay Triple Crown winner Ashley Lin, who cleaned up a prestigious early summer trail grand prix title with impressive races at the Tilden Tuff Ten Mile (2nd), Lake Chabot Half-Marathon (1st) and Woodmonster Hill trail run (3rd). And yes, we did have two runners competing at the DipSea for good measure (John Hill, George Torgun), as well as Colin Gannon replicating his 18th-place finish at the Litchfield Hills road race in his native state of Connecticut.

In winding down the first half of the year, at the One Mile Bang in Los Gatos, the irrepressible Chafik Azerki notched a 4:38 mile and he’s closing in on age 45, while Alan Dehlinger ran 5:31 at age 56. The same two Canyoneros competed well at the July 4th Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K, and Chafik was second masters runner with a fast time of 16:27, while Alan D. was exactly three minutes slower in 19:27. However some real fireworks were turned in at the Alameda 4th of July 5K race, in which the Canyon swept the 1-2 spots. Particularly impressive was the monstrous breakthrough turned in by Cielo Aguilar, who PR’d by over one minute and nearly skipped the 16s entirely with a speedy time of 16:01. Kyle Dunn, after missing the spring track season with an ankle injury sustained at the PA cross country championships in November, turned in a very solid 16:06. Ed Hill cruised to a 17:20 which was good for 7th place, his goal was to hit his planned Wharf to Wharf pace.

Overall it was a very exciting season for the Canyon with many more exciting seasons to follow.

Written by Coach Carl Rose

 

5/21 – Peet’s Cold Brew Centipede Runs Bay to Breakers

Peet’s Cold Brew Centipede in Golden Gate Park. Photo by Kim Sanchez.

Strawberry Canyon Track Club kicked off its new partnership with Peet’s Coffee at the 2017 Bay to Breakers this week, running as the Peet’s Cold Brew Centipede. 

15 Berries tied themselves together for the legendary 12km race across the city of San Francisco. With a time of 42:45, Peet’s Cold Brew Centipede finished 3rd in the centipede division.

Jonathan Briskman, Ryan Smith, Paul Green, Geoff Leonhardt, Dylan Verner-Crist, Dan Kramer, Colin Gannon, Matt Weber, Jack Wallace, Mitch Negus, Ed Hill, Chafik Azerki, Kevin Petow, Ryan Lok, and Kyle Dunn ran on the ‘pede.

Heading into the summer, Strawberry Canyon will have a strong presence at the upcoming local road race classics, including the Marin Memorial Day 10k and Wharf to Wharf.

1/16 – Spring Season Begins for SCTC

As Cal students head back to class this week, track season kicks into full swing for Strawberry Canyon Track Club.

The spring season features a full docket of track and road races. Strawberry Canyon is one of the few public running clubs in the region in which many runners focus the season on track races – it is an excellent opportunity to get in some speed work and work towards lifetime PRs. The racing season officially kicks off January 16th at our home track with the first of three Cal All-Comers Meets. The season will continue with meets nearly every weekend all the way through mid-May, concluding with the USF West Coast Last Chance Meet. See our calendar for the full list of meets we will be attending.

The coming months will also feature a slew of road races which are well attended by SCTC runners. Club favorites including the Kaiser Permanente SF Half Marathon, Oakland Running Festival, and Bay to Breakers headline the spring road race season. The Pacific Association Road Race Grand Prix for 2017 will also start in early March at the NorCal John Frank Memorial 10-Mile. A select list of key road races can also be found on our calendar.

If you are new to the area or are local and looking for a friendly and dedicated group to train with, feel free to come out to any of our practices! Track workouts take place every Monday and Thursday at Cal’s Edwards Track in Berkeley. We meet at the steeplechase pit on the north end of the track, arrive around 5:45 to warm up, and start workouts promptly at 6pm. We also regularly meet for long runs on the weekends, and as the weather warms, we will find our way to the most beautiful trails and running routes the Bay Area has to offer. Contact us directly if you would like to learn more, be added to our email list, or have any additional questions!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and on our NEW Instagram account to stay up to date with our latest adventures.

See you out there.

 

 

9/5 – SCTC Opens XC Season, Hosts Time Trial

As August drew to a close, the Strawberry Canyon teams opened their cross country seasons on a cloudy but humid day in Santa Rosa at the Phil Widener Open. All three teams scoring – the open women, Master’s men, and open men, landed with second place finishes in the 3.43 mile race at Spring Lake Park.

The open women put three in the top 15, led by Julia Sizek and followed closely by Megan Gentes and Megan Lang. Naomi Wilcox and Kim Sanchez rounded out the quintet.

Women at the start of Phil Widener in Santa Rosa. Photo by Colin Gannon.

Women at the start of Phil Widener in Santa Rosa. Photo by Colin Gannon.

In the Master’s men race, Darrin Banks achieved a top 10 finish, coming in at 8th place. Tim Keenan, Dan Sivolella, and Carl Rose comprised the remaining scorers.

In the final race of the day, the open men showcased their depth, scoring two full teams which finished 2nd and 3rd in the team classifications. In the end, the Canyon put 8 in the top 10, with Dan Kramer, Ryan Smith, Dylan Verner-Crist, Jonathan Briskman, and Geoff Leonhardt scoring the points.

Several days later, Strawberry Canyon hosted it’s annual Fall Time Trial on August 31st. Conditions were moderately favorable, if not slightly warm, as the field ran one heat of the 600, and three heats of the 5000m on Cal’s Edwards Track.

600m:
  1. Kyle Bystrom: 1:27.83
  2. Stephen Bailey: 1:33.95

    Stephen Bailey and Matt Bogdanowicz compete in the 600m time trial. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

    Stephen Bailey and Matt Bogdanowicz compete in the 600m time trial. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

5000m Heat 1:
  1. Max Krall: 17:57.55
  2. Ed Hill: 18:03.04
  3. Mitch Negus: 18:24.01
  4. Megan Lang: 19:08.56
  5. Erin Hagan: 19:21.45
  6. Julia Lipson: 19:34.28
  7. Asha Culhane and Julia Sizek: 22:56.75
Several laps into heat 1 of the 5000m time trial. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

Several laps into heat 1 of the 5000m time trial. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

5000m Heat 2:
  1. Ben Harper: 15:24.96
  2. Geoff Leonhardt: 15:32.69
  3. Sam Euerle: 15:38.83
  4. Chikara Omine: 15:44.33
  5. George Torgun: 15:46.50
  6. Christian Choi: 16:23.08
  7. Erik Stein: 16:30.64
George Togun leads a pack in Heat 2 of the 5000m time trial. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

George Togun leads a pack in heat 2 of the 5000m time trial. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

5000m Heat 3:
  1. Jonathan Briskman: 15:36.37
  2. Sloan Cook: 16:50.83
  3. Ed Hill: 17:20.74
  4. Tim Keenan: 18:08.81
  5. John Spriggs: 21:34.40
Jonathan Briskman, Matt Weber, and Cielo Aguilar at the start of heat 3 of the 5000m. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

Jonathan Briskman, Matt Weber, and Cielo Aguilar at the start of heat 3 of the 5000m. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

The cross country season will continue on September 11th at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

8/23 – Open Time Trial to be held August 31st

On Wednesday, Aug. 31st starting at 5:15, the Strawberry Canyon Track Club will host three sections of its well-regarded 5000-meter time trial as well as a 600-meter event. This is open to the public, plus runners from other clubs.

This fun and high-energy event brings the club together as well as runners from around the community. We are going to try and bring in both a massage therapist with a chair or table as well as a yoga instructor to keep people engaged. We will also have timers and possibly someone on hand to film this event. (Drone footage not ruled out)!

Runners may opt to run the 3200 meter distance in lieu of a 5000 and pull off the track after 8 laps. There will also be a 600-meter event for aspring middle-distance runers..

Schedule of events is as follows:

5:15 p.m.: 600-meters – open to all, one section

5:20 p.m. Section 1: A sub-19:00 section designed for the women attempting to walk on which will also have similarly paced men and masters runners, probably topping out at the sub-17:00 range..

5:45 p.m. Section 2: We’ll probably cap it at a low-16:00 benchmark, and we expect a few guys will be in the hunt to break 15:00.

6:10 p.m. Section 3: Open race for people at all ranges of ability. Some relatively fast people enter this and it normally spreads out a bit and ranges from 16-22 minutes.

Parking is a little iffy but Edwards track is two blocks from downtown Berkeley BART. Its entrance is about 150 meters up Schlessinger Rd. off of Oxford St., and its access point is just past the tennis courts. Do not park on campus, you’ll pay a pretty penny there. Parking meters run till 6:00 p.m. and you do want to plug those. Water fountain and restroom is available, gear storage is not.

Any further questions, contact Strawberry Canyon TC coach Carl Rose at coachcarlrose AT gmail DOT com.

5/30 – Spring racing brings victories, club records, and PRs

Spring 2016 was yet another successful racing season for the Strawberry Canyon Track Club, as records were set and stunning performances run in nearly every event from the 100 meter dash to the marathon.*

On the Track…

The Berries, one of the only USATF Pacific Association clubs to regularly compete in track meets, took advantage of some competitive fields and ideal conditions to set a slew of top marks and personal bests from January through May.

Among the most impressive performances was Geoff Leonhardt’s establishing of a new club record in the 1500m, with a time of 3:54.71 at the West Coast Last Chance Open, despite battling minor injuries throughout the season.

Geoff Leonhardt toes the line before his club record 1500m. Photo: Carl Rose.

Geoff Leonhardt toes the line before his club record 1500m. Photo: Carl Rose.

The 5000m, the club’s unofficial favorite event, saw several top 5 club all-time performances for both men and women. Megan Gentes’ running of 17:26.01 at the SF State Distance Carnival was good for #2 in the club record books, while Julia Sizek’s 17:30.69 at the brutally windy UC Davis Aggie Open landed at #4 all-time. On the men’s side, Yohannis Estifanos and Ryan Smith ran fast times consistently all year, steadily improving all the while. In the end, Yohannis’s season best came in at #3 on the club lists at 14:43.33 from the SF State Distance Carnival, while Ryan Smith pulled his personal best down to 14:46.50 at Cal’s Brutus Hamilton Invitation, good for #4 all-time.

The Berries also showcased their burgeoning middle-distance and sprints divisions. Stephen Sloan, a high school senior, ran a 1:57.35 800m at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions, the club’s #2 fastest time. A few weeks prior, Geoff Leonhardt, in his second race of the day, recorded the club’s #5 record with a 1:58.7 at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational. And all the way back to early February, Kyle Bystrom ran the #3 all-time 400m record with a 54.28. Stephen Bailey established club records in the 110m high hurdles and 400 hurdles, while Laura Cummins wrote fresh records in the 100m and 200m hurdles.

Not to be forgotten, there were dozens of additional new PRs run from some truly gutsy races. Kyle Bystrom and Erik Stein in the 800m; Megan Gentes, Ryan Smith, Kyle Bystrom, Cielo Aguilar, and Matt Perez in the 1500m; Geoff Leonhardt, George Torgun, Kyle Dunn, and Matt Weber in the 5000m (George and Kyle both PR’ing for the first time in 9 years!); Mike McKinley in the 3000m steeplechase; and Colin Gannon and Kyle Dunn in the 10000m.

On the roads…

The roads were equally kind to The Canyon this past spring season. In one of the most memorable moments, Alex Battaglino took home the win at the Oakland Running Festival’s open marathon with a time of 2:34:51 on the hilly course. Possibly more impressively, Alex rebounded to record a #4 time on the club’s all-time list with a 53:00 in the SacTown 10 Mile just two weeks later.

Alex Battaglino pleases the crowd as he finishes first overall in the Oakland Running Festival Marathon

Alex Battaglino pleases the crowd as he finishes first overall in the Oakland Running Festival Marathon. Photo: Mercury News.

Also at Oakland, affiliate member Holly McIlvaine won the women’s marathon with a time of 2:58:25. Thomas Harp scored 2nd in his age division in the half marathon with a time of 1:24:43, while in the 5k Ed Hill and Ashley Lin took 3rd in the men’s and women’s open races with times of 17:02 and 20:22, respectively.

Strawberry Canyon was also very well represented at the Boston Marathon, sending five women and three men. Warm weather hit the entire field hard, and some unfortunate circumstances plagued the Berries, but some solid performances were turned in nonetheless. Ashley Lin ran the club’s #7 all-time mark at 3:07:56, Christine Arnerich ran a 3:18:11, and Katie Ellgass a 3:24:52. On the men’s side, Jonathan Briskman ran an impressive 2:34:46, and brother Colin was a few minutes back at 2:42:46. Kevin O’Neill, Kate Ashley, and Meredith Lansdown trained hard and put it all on the line for the world’s most famous race, but fell victim to various non-ideal and uncontrollable circumstances.

In the half marathon, Julia Sizek set the #2 club record for roads, except she did it on the tough, hilly trails at Wild Boar, running a 1:22:52 to win the race outright.

The Berries also dabbled in some unique relays and team races. At the Oakland Running Festival, the open men’s (Matt Weber, Colin Gannon, Kyle Dunn, Ryan Smith) and open women’s (Megan Lang, Megan Gentes, Olivia Hill, Tamma Carleton) teams fielded marathon relay squads which both finished 3rd in their divisions, with times of 2:25:27 and 2:59:21, respectively.

The icing on the cake was the team’s centipede entry at the famous Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. Here, 14 runners tied themselves together and braved the crowds of 60,000+, running a very solid 48:12 for 12k. In the end, the team finished as the 4th overall centipede. The team consisted of: Colin Gannon, Justin Huang, Matt Weber, Matt Perez, Jack Wallace, Andrew Willis, Tim Keenan, Megan Lang, Julia Sizek, Rob Elia, Elizabeth Stephens, Lucas Wojciechowski, Mike McKinley, and Jonathan McKinley.

SCTC Centipede approaches the finish at Bay to Breakers

SCTC Centipede approaches the finish at Bay to Breakers. Photo: Spire.

The spring racing season came to an unofficial close with the Marin Memorial Day 10k. SCTC was well represented, fielding both open and masters men’s teams, achieving a few fresh PRs and age-division bests. Ryan Smith finished 8th overall with a 31:40, landing him at #4 on the club’s prestigious road 10k all-time list. The open men’s field was rounded out by Kyle Dunn, Colin Gannon, Ed Hill, Matt Weber, Daniel Anderson, and Matt Perez. For the masters, Chafik Azerki and Rob Elia both took 1st place in their age divisions, running 34:10 and 35:58 respectively. Tim Keenan took 3rd in his age division, and Tommy Harp, Bill Salacuse, and Richard Sloan, also ran strong races on the warm day in Kentfield.

Looking forward…

Summer means quieter times at weekly practices, but a steadfast contingent will be working out every Monday and Thursday. From June until August, The Canyon will enter it’s only quasi-”off season” with the exception of a few races. Many Berries have their calendars marked for the Wharf to Wharf 6-miler in July, which is just one week before the San Francisco Marathon, in which several runners will compete in the 2nd Half Marathon. After that, things will begin gearing up for the club’s biggest season… cross country.

See you out there.

The Bay to Breakers Centipede post-race. Photo: Kim Sanchez.

SCTC Bay to Breakers Centipede post-race. Photo: Kim Sanchez.

*Note: Results and club records are crowd-sourced and prone to errors. If you would like to make a correction or addition to this post, or submit a result for the club records page, please email colin.s.gannon@gmail.com. If submitting a record, please provide a link to results and note that you must have been an active dues-paying member at the time of running the race.

11/22 – Open Women and Masters Men Claim XC Grand Prix Titles; Strawberries Ready for Nationals

For the second straight year, the Lady Berries stand atop the Pacific Association Cross Country Grand Prix standings.

After claiming their first ever Grand Prix Championship in 2014, Strawberry Canyon’s Open Women returned to Berkeley in August ready for another big year. The Berries’ historic season began with a win at the Phil Widener Empire Open in Santa Rosa. They then went on to take first place four more times, ultimately securing the Grand Prix title with a second place finish the PA Cross Country Championships.

In the Grand Prix individual, season-long standings, the women placed an association-leading five women in the top 10. Co-captains Julia Sizek (who established an astounding three course records during the season) and Tamma Carleton went 1-2, with Megan Gentes close behind in 4th. Megan Lang, Jen Schick, and Olivia Hill were 7th, 10th, and 18th, respectively, giving the Berries six in the top 20.

Open Women take first place at the Garin Park XC Challenge in September. Photo by Kim Sanchez.

But the Open Women’s victory wasn’t the only Berry Grand Prix title in 2015. The 50+ men, who fielded a team at nearly every race this season, had a resurgent year. With four first place regular season team wins and a second place finish as the PA Cross Country Championships, the Master’s Men can expect a big finish at Nationals in San Francisco.

Individually, Tim Keenan locked in a 5th place finish overall in the Grand Prix standings. Rob Elia (14th), Dan Sivolella (18th), Richard Sloan (22nd), and Coach Carl Rose (28th) gave the Master’s Men five runners in the top 30 in the popular division.

The Masters Men at the start of the 2015 PA XC Championships. Photo by Eric Gullikson.

The Open Men earned their third straight top three Grand Prix finish, after finishing with a win at Willow Hills and a pair of second place finishes throughout the regular season. A banged up squad at Regionals pulled in a 5th place finish in a stacked race.

Rising stars, Ryan Smith (3rd) and frosh Geoff Leonhardt (4th) both secured impressive top five finishes in the Grand Prix standings. Alex Battaglino, despite missing Regionals with injury, finished 15th in the standings, and captain Sean McFarland, after suffering a gruesome off-season injury, rallied amazingly, and finished off in the top 30 for the season.

Open Men Alex Battaglino and Geoff Leonhardt at the Aggies Open in October. Photo by Jack Wallace.

But the Berries’ season is not over just yet. The Pacific Association has the honor of hosting the USATF Club Cross Country National Championships for 2015. On December 12th, roughly 2,000 runners will descend upon San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and the Berries will be running a strong contingent. This is a can’t miss race – so whether you’re running or spectating, join the Canyon in the final race of a historic 2015 cross country season!

Don't miss the final unfurling at Club Nationals, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, December 12th, 2015.

Don’t miss the final unfurling at Club Nationals in Golden Gate Park, Saturday, December 12th.