9/23 – Golden Gate XC

The Strawberry Canyoneros sent 11 rock-and-rollers to the Golden Gate Park cross country race where they encountered a deep field in all races. Mei Tung-Chen continued her Ms. Consistency streak with a solid 27:46 mark on the undulating 4.14-mile two-loop course in the women’s race.

The men’s masters race had two Berries, including new Canyonero Kevin Downie who hails from Scotland. He went out very hard but did not finish, and we’re still trying to sort out what happened to him (possible strain).

Bill Brusher hammered home as the 3rd (or thereabouts) 60-64 age grouper in about 29:00 and change.

The open men brought eight to the line and ended up 6th overall in a field that may have been more stacked than last year’s PA-USATF championships. Sean McFarland paced the men, and the men’s team took sixth. Ghiliat Ghebray won the overall race in 19:47.

Our open men’s results are below:

23. Sean McFarland (21:20)

31. Kyle Braam (21:50)

41. Tom Haxton (22:26)

42. Christoph Wanner (22:31)

46. Rory Runser (22:42)

47. Cameron Bronstein (22:43)

48. Dayu Tao (22:45)

51. Jack Wallace (22:56-ish)

67. Bernie Jones (24:17)

3/24 – SF State Johnny Mathis Results

A grim, wet day greeted the 11 rough and ready Canyoneros who descended upon the vaunted San Francisco State University’s track facility like a giant blue tsunami. For the most part, it was a very, very good day for us indeed, despite the steady, bone-chilling precipitation.

Matt Bogdanowicz lined up in the masters Mile against the formidable Rene Sepulveda of the ASICs Aggies as his main competition. A trio of runners ran the first lap in mid-74 and then Matt threw in a 34-second 200-meter surge and never looked back. Bogdanowicz powered his way through the rest of the mile relatively unchallenged in 4:53.06, winning by roughly 30 meters and thereby keeping Jeff Mann’s Johnny Mathis Masters Mile title within its rightful place in the Strawberry Canyon family.

We entered one open woman in the 1500-meter event, Mariel Gray, who had a tough day at the office. She succumbed to an untimely asthma attack and had to live to fight another day after two laps, jogging the rest of the way and finishing in 6:19.59.

Later in the morning, there were several open men’s 1500 heats. Ethan Mark ran his first 1500 of the season and threw down a decent time in the rain (4:06.76), and will improve upon that as the season wears on. Gene Burinsky sliced another second off of his fresh PR set recently at UC-Davis and came home with an impressive 4:10.44. Kai Proschan missed his PR by two seconds in his first 1500 of the year and rode home in 4:20.96.

After a hiatus for the Strawberries (much) later in the day was the open men’s 5000-meter event. The rain did not let up even a tiny bit and in fact it intensified. Most runners conceded that it would be a tough day to set a personal-best on such a wet and sloppy track. NOT SO said the almighty Strawberries!!

Six hardy Canyoneros lined up in the 40-person 5000-meter heat, combined due to the miserable weather as volunteer officials were literally leaving the track before the end of the meet. But neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor hypothermia would daunt the mighty Berries. Joseph Binder showed a little of the Barry Smith gene, blasting a solid tempo on Thursday with Tom haxton and coming back 46 hours later to race in the 5000. King Joe delivered a fantastic race and powered through lap after lap, moving and threading steadily up the field. Using his He-Man ultra-marathon strength he ended up clocking a VERY impressive time of 15:20.50, a four-second PR and took an amazing fifth place here! Next up in the PR department was the first of four PR’ing freshmen Rory Runser, the lanky one who raced yet again in training shoes aka “clunkers.” He too, went out like a seasoned veteran, threaded his way up through the field and smoked a fantastic 12-second PR in 15:44.34. Next across the line was a tiring Digger Lauter in 15:47.75. He felt “off” the whole race, and despite missing his PR by four seconds, he had expected to significantly eclipse that mark in this race.

And the Berries were not done PR’ing in the driving rain, not by a long shot, as Cameron Bronstein rumbled home in 16:08.72, which represented a nifty 11-second PR for the freshman. Mr. Consistency Jack Wallace came across next, and delivered a modest 2-second PR although he is just rounding back into fighting shape. Still, in this game, we have all learned to take any PRs, whether large or small, with utmost gratitude. Coming across next was an elated frosh in Irtaza Haider, who had all but given up on the season after a tough race at UC-Davis two weeks ago. But he stuck with it and dropped 32 seconds off of his Davis time and walloped his PR by 18 seconds, and sailed home with a very respectable mark of 16:25.65.

So in all there were five out of six PRs in the 5000, and another strong PR in the 1500. Great job everyone, for running in conditions rivaling the 2011 PA-USATF cross country championships. frankly I think we can’t wait to see what everyone does on a dry day.

.Here is a link to the 2011 SF State Johnny Mathis results: http://www.sfstategators.com/documents/2012/3/24/Mathis_Results_032412.htm?path=wtrack

2/20 – SCTC wins 2011 PAUSATF Club of the Year!!!

Hello Strawberries and friends-

Eight Strawberries in all attended this evening’s PA-USATF Awards Banquet at Scott’s Seafood in Oakland’s Jack London Square and we claimed some serious hardware. In attendance were: Club President Dan Duett, Kyle Braam, Greg Timblin, Sean McFarland, Tim Keenan, Jeff Teeters, Barry Smith and Carl Rose.

Greg Timblin was honored for his monstrous cross country season and received his award as the PA-USATF Open Men’s Cross Country Champion.

Jeff Teeters was honored for his gritty Pacific Association LDR long-distance road racing title as the seniors (50-59) PA-USATF Long Distance Road Race Grand Prix Champion.

The Open Men’s team was honored as the champion of the PA-USATF Open Men’s Cross Country Team Champion.

The Master’s Men’s team was honored as the PA-USATF Masters Men’s Road Race Team Champion.

And all of these awards led to … wait for it …

…wait for it…

…wait for it…

THE STRAWBERRY CANYON TRACK CLUB was named the PA-USATF CLUB OF THE YEAR FOR 2011!!!

That was a cherry on top of a … strawberry???

Congratulations are in order for the Strawberry Canyoneros. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for each and every one of you. And the Pacific Association salutes YOU for your efforts.

As do I…thank you all for making this such a terrific club to be involved with.

Best regards,

Carl

2/19 – Christine Bowlus Moonballs 2-Mile CR Into Narcoleptic Coma

Today was another good day at the Cal all-comers meet was pretty well-attended and today we saved the best for last.

Gene Burinsky ran a decent season-opening race in the 1500, with a 4:19.5, about four seconds off his PR. He spent a fair part of race in lane two and it looked like a few elbows were thrown in a rough-and tumble morning race. Steve Sodaro won the top heat in 3:49.9.

In the men’s 400 Niko Conner took a crack at a rust-buster after essentially a year-long hiatus from being able to really train with intensity until the past couple of months. His 54.52 didn’t satisfy him by any means, but it gives him an early season set-point and a time I thnk he can bring down considerably before all is said and done.

Master’s 400-meter ace Chris Dodge may have claimed the masters 400-meter record in a great time of 55.09, eclipsing his mid-55 mark set at the World Championships last spring.

In the 3200-meter event, for the first time it was divided into a boys and girls race. Hence, Christine Bowlus’s plans to pace off of Josh Seeherman and the high school boys were foiled. Leading the Strawberries in the men’s race was Rory Runser in 9:53. He was followed by Jack Wallace, who narrowly missed his PR with a strong mark of 9:55. Irtaza gamely led the other two berries and another high school runner for 6-and-a-half laps before fading. Still, Irtaza had an amazing breakthrough with a strong time of 10:05, which represents a 20-second PR for the Cal freshman. Joshua Seeherman finished in 10:47 or a tad under, and this is roughly equivalent to his 10:00-flat 3K PR.

In the women’s heat of the 3200, Christine was mixed in with some Stanford redshirt gals who were doing a tempo, after taking one of their teammates out hard who wanted to break 10:30. Christine came through in 80 seconds for the first lap and 2:41 at the 800, a very fast opening half for her, and yet she still trailed three other runners. After two laps a pair of the Stanford girls fell off the pace leaving their teammate out in front, aiming for a lofty mark. Christine surged past the other two Stanford women who were instructed to tempo the remaining portion of the race. The Stanford gal appeared to have an insurmountable lead on Christine, but Christine kep charging and charging along, hitting 81-82 second splits. The crows (and … well … me) started going nuts at that point as even the Cal kids were pulling for the underdog. Christine came through the 800-meter mark still about 100-meters behind the leader from Stanford but she was inexorably closing the gap on her during this rather breezy race. With a lap to go Christine had closed to within five seconds and kept battling all the way around the track. Christine couldn’t quite catch the Stanford girl at the line, but when the clock flashed, the Stanford girl had run 10:51 and Strawberry Canyon Track Club’s Christine Bowlus just destroyed her own 3200-meter PR and club record set two weeks ago by 11 seconds in 10:52.87!!!

For anyone who missed it the first time, this may bear repeating:

Strawberry Canyon Track Club’s Christine Bowlus just destroyed her own 3200-meter PR and club record set two weeks ago by 11 seconds in 10:52.87!!!

This was an incredible run for Christine, who all but assured herself of a walk-on spot with the Cal cross country and track team next fall with that remarkable performance,

What a joy that race was to watch–the crowd was going pretty crazy for her, myself included. Congratulations to Christine and Irtaza and Chris and the rest of the gang who showed up today. This was a pretty sweet performance, no doubt.

Best to all,

Carl

 

10/25 – Women’s Team Shines Brightly at Shoreline XC

The Strawberry Canyon Track Club sent its strongest ever open women’s team (and its motleyest ever open men’s team) to the Shoreline Challenge Cross Country race in Mountain View. The women’s race in particular, was a major barn-burner and a coming out party of sorts for the Strawberries.

The Pacific Association races are somewhat random affairs. For some races, a good number of the top runners stay home, while others are star-studded battles. This year’s Shoreline XC field was stacked almost beyond measure. Virtually all of the PA teams sent their top runners and it promised to be a thriller.

The women’s course was changed to a 3.0-mile cloverleaf-styled course on the dry gravel and choppy hills adjacent to Google’s offices and the Shoreline Amphitheater. Overall finishing results indicated times slightly were slower time than a track 5000.

In a dramatic see-saw affair, Carola Conces and Rebecca Eckland battled and pushed each other to arguably the best race of their lives, and in doing so burned off of a lot of their rivals. They both hit 5:36 at the mile, kind of looked at eachother and more or less thought to themselves: “WTH?? Oh well, let’s try to hang on.”

Going with their natural strengths, Rebecca would surge ahead on the downhills and Carola would surge past her on the uphills. Finally in the final 200 meters, Carola had opened up about three seconds on Rebecca and vanquished the cluster of four runners behind her. While Carola was clear of a lurking group of three other runners, Rebecca now had to pass two strong Impalas (including 1:19 half-marathoner Michelle Meyer), and also needed to fend off a challenge by the ever-dangerous speedster Nicole Campbell of West Valley Track Club.

While Carola sailed to the finish, leading a string of runners in her wake, Rebecca responded to the challenge, put her head down, and unleashed a sizzling final kick, outgunning the other three women for the finish, and fought back to within one second of her teammate, Carola (17:30-12th place), who placed just ahead of Rebecca (17:31-13th place).

Suffice it to say they had both just delivered an absolute monster of a race that even left the announcer a little baffled.

Debuting and finishing third across the line for the Strawberries was Maria Monks, the mighty MIT mathlete and graduate student at Cal. By her own admission, maria said she knew she had gone out a little hard, but she also attained her pre-race season-opening goal of (18:10 on the nose, 22nd place) which was a solid debut run for her. Maria beat some very good PA runners and she is only gong to get stronger and stronger, which will bode very well for the Strawberries in the future.

Next across the line for the Berries was the ever-reliable Cal sophomore Christine Bowlus, who despite missing out on a complete warm-up and coming into the race a bit fatigued this week, still was able to hammer home a strong run of 18:34 (34th place). The Berries fifth woman was Elizabeth Ottenheimer (19:41-58th place) who has been our most consistent participant in the PA fall cross country race circuit. The former teenage distance prodigy is making a good comeback after many years away from running with consistency, and it’s only a matter of time and hard work before she puts it all together.

Overall the impressive women’s team unquestionably turned some heads, and placed a convincing 4th behind the big three in the PA: the ASICs Aggies, New Balance Silicon Valley and the Impala Racing team. There is work to be done but this race instilled some confidence and demonstrated nicely how our women’s team could potentially close the gap on the established teams.

The “open” men’s team entered a hodge-podge crew in their race, but we put five brave (hapless?) souls on the line nonetheless (six if Irtaza is counted, but he was not a PA-affiliated member at the time of the race).

This combined open and masters men’s race took place on a new course of 4.0 miles, and featured a race field that was decidedly less competitive than the women’s race (other than the slew of ASICs Aggies top guns who represented their club at their home race). It was noted that we had the widest age-range spread of any open team (from Rory Runser and Irtaza Haider at age 18, to Bill Brusher at 60).

Joe Binder was motleyest crew runner numero uno for the Strawberry Canyon Track Club, and he utilized this race as a bit of a rust-buster and post-ultra-season-opener after nonchalantly scoring a team gold medal and lifetime achievement for the United States in the IAU World 100K championships in the Netherlands last September by taking 19th in the world. Ironman Joe rumbled home in 21:03-17th place, and will really help us out in the home stretch of the season.

Next across the line was Rory Runser, who ran a decent time of 21:46-31st place. Following Rory was (unscored) Irtaza Haider, who almost set a 4-mile PR on the choppy course with a time of 22:15-44th place.

Then it was up to the “old guys” to close out the scoring for the Strawberries. Seniors all-around MVP Barry Smith had yet another strong performance in the 50-54 age division and finished in 23:51-approx 5th senior. Cross Country masters MVP Daniel Sivolella came across next in 24:23, and super-seniors MVP William Brusher (age 60) closed out the scoring with his time of 28:47 and 12th in his age group.

The men’s team appeared to have finished 5th overall and will concentrate its efforts at future races. Such is the nature of the beast on the very crowded PA-USATF race docket.

9/24 – Garin XC Write-up

A baker’s dozen Strawberry Canyoneros rolled out to the hills of Hayward and took on Garin Park’s very challenging 3.15-mile course. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot trying to convert cross country courses to PRs, but finishing times were 1:15-1:45 off of track 5K PRs across the board, depending on the overall pace.

The masters men’s race was a decidedly mixed bag and the team finished fourth by a narrow 1 pt. margin behind the West Valley Joggers & Striders crew. The best masters news of the day was the electrifying performance of Nick Bingham, a fairly new Strawberry masters runner training with the Jeff Mann crew out of Reno. Nick drilled the course in 17 minutes, 10 seconds, and notched a rousing victory, also turning heads with a nine-second win over the formidable Jaime Heilpern of the ASICs Aggies.

Following Nick was Chris Dodge, who had his best race as a masters runner. His 18:51 mark was good for a strong 21st-place showing. Following Chris was an irked Jeff Mann (26th – 19:18), whose uncooperative back has been his long-term bane on these more jarring race courses. Dan (Mr. Consistency) Sivolella was next (28th) in 19:24. It should be noted here that he has shown up for the most cross country races of any of our masters runner this fall so great job Daniel! Coach Carl Rose jumped in so the club could field a scoring team but he didn’t help out much. He was way out in 64th in 21:56, representing a huge drop-off in fitness, something which was expected given he has not run a serious workout since last fall. (Thanks bum achilles!!).

The open men all ran very good to stellar races at Garin, though they were a bit undermanned and thus narrowly edged by the West Valley Track Club for second place by two points. Pacing them was the Strawberry Canyon juggernaut Greg Timblin, who continued his assault on the PA cross country grand prix. His time of 15:56 was just seven seconds off the old course record, a record which was broken as he pushed a resurgent Neville Davey to break it by nine seconds.

Fourth overall for the Berries in 16:08 was Tom Haxton, who may have run his best race yet for the Strawberry Canyon crew–he will be quite the sledgehammer in November. Behind Tom was Sean McFarland who ran a very solid 16:14 and appears to be coming back well from a bit of a general fatigue deficit. (This is good news for the Berries and bad news for the un-Berries). Dan Chebot (17:08-14th) is just coming back after missing a huge amount of training, and was satisfied with his effort, and Jack Wallace (17:27-16th) rounded out the scoring with a strong close at the end. It should also be mentioned this was a 21-second Garin Park PR for Jack, who’s been running on it since his days as a harrier at Albany High School.

Former Bates College decathlete Andrew Tibbetts was out of the scoring but not at all dissuaded as he continued to demonstrate great improvement as an endurance athlete. His time of 18:11 was good for 26th place. Following Andrew was former Swarthmore College sprinter Keith Gilmore in a strong race (18:38-30th-place). Joshua Seeherman, the former Penn University 800-meter runner, has shown good endurance improvement this fall, and sliced roughly 30 seconds off his former Garin XC course PR. He steamrolled across the line in 19:24 in 35th place.

Sadly, though three of the Strawberry Canyon women (Elizabeth Ottenheimer, Carola Conces, and Christine Bowlus) made the trip to the race, errant directions caused them to arrive only seconds before the start. They opted to salvage the morning with a scenic long run in the park.

9/13 – Golden Gate Park Cross Country Results

The “pre-season” is over and cross country is now in full swing as the Strawberry Canyon Track Club did battle in the fiercely competitive races at Golden Gate Park on 9/11. Most of the runners had very strong performances and there were a few off-days.

First was the women’s 4.14-mile race on a fairly dry course, and the Strawberries had two women entered in the very stiff field. Rebecca Eckland, who’s overcome a lengthy bout with and rehabilitation process from Achilles tendonitis, had a terrific opening race, placing 11th overall in an exceptional time of 24 minutes, 57 seconds. Cal sophomore and triathlon club transplant Christine Bowlus ran a very strong race herself, smoking the course in 26:30 and taking 24-place overall. Christine also won her 19-and-under age group at the prestigious race so great job Christine!

The men’s masters race was next and the Strawberry grays managed to field a full team, which apparently placed fifth or sixth overall. Dan Stefanisko paced the masters men with a solid 24:03 performance, good for 20th place overall in the stacked field. Barry Smith was the 5th senior (50-59) and snared 27th place in a time of 24:23 in a very good effort. Next for the Strawberries was Chris Dodge, who had a breakthrough race in 24:40 (33rd place). Dan Sivollella also had an impressive performance in 24:48 (36th place), which was well over two minutes faster than last year’s effort. Darrin Banks rounded out the team’s scoring but after returning from a work stint in Asia, he had a very tough day, straining his calf after the first lap, effectively taking him out of the race and forcing him to hobble in on the second lap (62nd, 26:21). To add insult to injury, he was listed as a Santa Cruz TC member! Bill Brusher finished in 31:34 in his first tour of GG Park as a 60-year-old, and he was 14th in his age group.

The open men’s race was even more stacked as perennial PA-USATF race winner Phil Reid of the Asics Aggies was relegated to an unaccustomed third-place finish behind Ghiliat Ghebray and Bolota Asmerom, both of whom were timed in one of the fastest times ever recorded on that course (19:54)

Greg Timblin continued his monster season with a 7th-place overall showing in a deep field with his blistering time of 20:43. He had to kick down the very talented WVTC runner Malcolm Richards to get 7th and the only thing I can say is the man is on fire. Next across was Tom Haxton, who has been overcoming TDF issues. He had a very good and tweak-free run in taking 15th-place overall, just behind Neville Davey in 21:09. Sean McFarland was understandably a little miffed at his 23rd-place time of 21:37. Dan Chebot, coming off a lengthy injury of his own and still somewhat off of form, was next for the Berries in 22:24 (36th place). Right on his heels and rounding out the scoring was the Swiss middle-distance wunderkind Christoph Wanner, who negotiated the lumpy course in 22:31 (39th). This rounded out the scoring team and the Strawberries appear to have taken 4th among the open men’s team spots.

The ne’er daunted Strawberries continued to pour it on as several other blue singlet clad harriers barreled across the finish line. George Torgun was 41st in 22:50 in his first race as a Berry; Gene Burinsky was next in 23:33 (51st), and Bernie Jones took 58th in 24:15. Remember Mr. Jones because he used to be very, very fast and he might be the guy who gets in shape and blows up next year. Right behind Bernie was Andrew Tibbetts, the former Bates College decathlete, who had a very good run in 24:17 (59th); Keith Gilmore was hot on his heels in 24:20 (60th-place), and was a little ambivalent about his race. Last but certainly not least was 800-meter specialist Joshua Seeherman, who sliced 37 seconds off of last year’s time in a great race, and he negotiated the course in a respectable time of 25:02 (66th overall).

8/31 – Strawberry Canyon TC 5k Time Trial

A fired up crew of Strawberry Canyon tracksters and friends showed up for the Strawberry Canyon Track Club’s 5000 and 3200-meter challenge on Wednesday, Aug. 31, which was graciously timed by University of California head track coach Tony Sandoval and assistant coach Ann Detmer and photographed by Tom Liu. Roughly 7-8 Cal runners came out to encourage the runners, and a strong sense of espirit de corps was established when two Cal guys each paced one mile of the first heat of the 5000.

There were several compelling storylines in both heats.

The fast heat was small but mighty. Sean McFarland rolled to a 14:59 effort, looking pretty comfortable the whole time. Kenny Rakestraw had fallen off his bike so he had missed a little bit of training, however he managed to notch a strong 9:37 mark at the 3200-meter mark, which stands as tied with David Yu for second on the club’s all-time list. At 11 laps, the throbbing in his deeply gashed (and healing) elbow was too disabling as Kenny fell off the pace and then dropped out, living to fight another day. Tom Haxton was cruising along but his “wonky” hamstring started to twinge at the 2K mark so he opted to pull off the track and save his ammo for a later date.

The real race was among three guys who were scrambling to break 16:00. Christoph Wanner managed to fight his way across the line in first with a time of 15:53, a PR. Next was Rory (no last name), in 15:54, also a PR. Kai Proschan had trained hard all summer for this and drilled a monster PR and scored a 15:58 in a very gutsy effort.

The second heat was very dramatic and 12 runners were entered based on the 16:30 cut-off time for heat one. One of the intriguing runners was Kathleen Uyttewaal, an incoming freshman who’d been working out with the Strawberries for a spell, and this time-trial was her one and only audition to make the Cal team. Despite the fact she went out a (cough) little hard, Kathleen settled down and thanks to excellent pacing work by Strawberry Canyon TC graduate student and orienteering god Jonas Kjall. Kathleeen closed very well and netted a roughly one-minute PR in 17:21! Needless to say the Cal coaches snatched her up as a walk-on for the Cal cross country team before she had even managed to cool down.

Eric Thomas and Darrin Banks went out hard in heat two, opening a gap on the rest of the field early. Eric was able to sustain his pace a little better and finished in 16:37, while Darrin Banks netted a masters PR of 16:50, a 45-49 age group time that should rank very highly on the Strawberry Canyon Track Club’s all-time list. Newcomer Chris Fuentes made his presence known with a solid 16:54 performance, and only looks to be getting faster. Not to be outdone, Tim Keenan, who just hit 50, recorded the fastest ever track 5000 in club history in 17:03, a time he was quite pleased with.

In tow was an even more remarkable performance turned in by NB Excelsior runner Tom Bernhard, who popped a 17:06 at the tender age of 60 years old!! This would be an American track record by 12 seconds if it were ratified. Hanging on to the Tim and Tom train was Keith Gilmore with a mark of 17:09, which he netted despite a very fast first half of the race.

Meanwhile, whipping down the straight-away with her long, powerful strides was Kathleen, the precocious Cal freshman, who had everyone yelling and cheering for her as she blitzed across the line in a sterling time of 17:21.

Grinding out a sub-18:00 on the heels of his 50K race last weekend was Barry Smith (17:58). Varun Pemmarju was next in 18:04, and he and Jeff Teeters (18:16) pulled Ethan Veneklasen (Asics Aggies masters runner) to a 12-second PR in 18:18. Elizabeth Ottenheimer turned in a strong performance in her comeback to running, netting a 19:18 and Steve (Sandal Man) Trutane, completed the race in 20:05.