12/9 – Six Compete at USATF National Club XC Championships

Though most of the Strawberries closed the fall racing season out with the Pacific Association Cross Country Championships, several decided to stretch it a bit longer, and December saw some big races for the club. At the California International Marathon, Regina Scarpin, Silvio Temprana, and John Hill all performed impressively. Regina capped off a great cross country season with a huge 35 minute PR, finishing in 2:55:15, which ranks her as one of Argentina’s best marathoners in 2017. John, also coming off a season of consistently strong races on the cross country circuit, narrowly missed a club record in the 50-54 division with his time of 2:44:45. And Silvio made his marathon debut in 3:24:25, looking confident and smiling even in the last miles of the race.

The following week, a small band of Berries looking for just one more slice of cross country action headed to Club Nationals in Lexington, KY. The championship race is always a thrilling and humbling experience, as hundreds of top runners from around the country aim to make this the peak of their fall racing season. Individuals shined, but Strawberry Canyon did not field any full teams for this year’s installment, with Vanessa Lordi in the master’s race; Megan Gentes and Elizabeth Ordeman representing the open women; and Ben Harper, Matt Perez, and Ryan Smith in the open men’s race.

Strawberries in Lexington

A Friday evening arrival for most of the racers meant little time to explore Lexington, but Vanessa Lordi, who arrived a day earlier, toured the course at Masterson Station Park and gave the rest of us a report the day before. Grassy, with smooth rolling hills, the format was fairly straightforward: two 3k loops for the women, and the same route preceded by a 4k loop for the men.  There was an unpleasant steady climb at the end of each loop, including through the finish line, but it was widely agreed afterwards that this was some fun running.

The next morning, the team bundled up and gathered at the course, where the breeze helped the sub-freezing temperatures to penetrate our California-softened skin.  Vanessa Lordi was the first to take off, after her family made a surprise appearance at the start line. After the signature Berry cheer hit the national stage, she was off.  She started a bit fast, and faded later on, but she managed to regroup for a strong kick and crossed the line in 62nd place with a time of 27:20.

Megan Gentes, newly minted Cal alumnus, and Elizabeth Ordeman, Cal freshman, were off next. Both ran smart races. It was clear from the start that Megan was feeling strong, and her new 6K PR of 21:44 was a real highlight, earning her 92nd place in a field packed with seriously fast folks. The cold racing conditions were more familiar to Elizabeth the Ohioan than the rest of us, and her family came to support. She has turned in strong race after strong race in her first season with the club; Nationals was no exception as she crossed in 22:33.

Megan and Elizabeth lined up

Last to race were the open men. As they approached the 3K mark, white flakes began to drift down, increasing to a steady snowfall by the end of the race. Ben paced well, catching Ryan in the last few meters. He was happy with his new 10K PR of 32:13, proving that his talent extends over a wide range of distances. Without a full team scoring, Ryan decided to play things just a little bit riskier than usual. He paid for early moves with a feeble finish, but was able to hold on long enough for a decent race, finishing in 32:14 in 143rd place. Matt claimed a PR as well, running 38:45 and finishing in 401st place. After wrapping up a season of new bests, he is excited to hit the track in the spring.

Ryan, Ben and Matt before the start

With numb hands and faces, cool downs were cut in favor of warmth and food. After an Indian lunch, Megan and Ryan got ready to fly back home. Ben and Matt took a little more time to explore, enjoying breakfast and a hike before they headed back to Berkeley the next day. Now these Berries are in hibernation mode, before a gradual ramp up to the spring racing season.

Written by Ryan Smith and Megan Gentes.

11/19 – Berries Wrap-Up Pacific Association XC Season

On a cool November Sunday morning in Lindley Meadow, as the call for Strawberries to assemble echoed through Lindley Meadow, the Strawberry Canyon Track Club prepared to toe the line and conclude another successful cross country season at the PAUSATF Championships in Golden Gate Park.

Months earlier, the Senior’s (50+) Men opened the season up at the UC Santa Cruz XC Open on August 19th. Tom LeGan, still a month before running his awe-inspiring mile, won the Senior’s division with John Hill close behind in third, and Bill Brusher rounding out the team.

Kevin Petow at the Phil Widner Empire Open in August

A couple weeks later, the Open Women’s and Men’s teams joined the Senior’s team at the Phil Widener Empire Open in Santa Rosa. In the first race of the day, the women put a strong team together, finishing second as team behind a 3-4 finish from Julia Sizek and Megan Gentes. The Senior’s Men followed, scoring fourth place as a team. The Open Men also finished second, exhibiting their depth behind top 10 performances from Kevin Petow and Jonathan Briskman.

More Berries made their season debut in mid-September to test out a variation of the traditional championship course at the Golden Gate Park Open in San Francisco. The Open Women edged out the Aggies to take second place, with Tamma Carleton finishing in the top 10 individually. The Super Senior’s (60+) men scored their first race of the season, finishing fifth. The Open Men finished third as a team, with Ben Harper cracking the top 10.

Bill Brusher at the Phil Widener Empire Open in August

After sitting out the Rebels XC Open, the Berries returned to action at Hayward’s Garin Park XC Challenge in late September. The Open Men started off the action, narrowly finishing third with Ryan Smith leading the way with a sixth place finish. The Senior’s Men started to round into form, placing second with Rob Elia, John Hill, and Jeff Mann each finishing top 10 in the division. The Open Women also took third as a team, with Megan Gentes placing seventh individually.

In the highlight meet of the season, the early October Willow Hills XC Open in Folsom, saw team victories from the Open Women and Men. In the women’s race, Megan Gentes, Regina Scarpin, Elizabeth Ordeman, and Molly Schassberger all finished in the top 10, while Vanessa Lordi finished eighth in the Women’s Master’s division. The Senior’s Men again finished second, with John Hill, Jeff Mann, Tim Keenan, and Bill Reed finishing in the top 10 in the division. In the Open Men’s race, Ryan Smith took the win individually, and was followed closely by Kyle Dunn, Kevin Petow, and Harmen Hoek, each placing in the top 10. The Open Men also scored a “B” team, which took third as a team.

Tamma Carleton (right) in the lead pack at PAUSATF XC Championships

At the Aggies XC Open in Martinez, the Senior’s Men shined, winning their race as a team behind top 10 division runs from John Hill, Jeff Man, and Bill Reed. For the Open Men, Ryan Smith cracked the top 10 in the Aggie dominated race, pulling the Berries to a third place finish. The Open Women did not field a team, but Megan Gentes finished fifth overall individually.

In the final tune-up before championships at the John Lawson Tamalpa Challenge in San Rafael, the Open Women and Men both finished second as a team, with Tamma Carleton and Megan Gentes finishing the in the top 10 for the women, and Ben Harper and Ryan Smith in the top 10 for the men.

Open Women at the PAUSATF XC Championships

At the Association Championships, the Strawberries brought their A-game to take on  highly competitive and elite fields. In the Open Women’s race, Tamma Carleton led the way, finishing 11th overall. Megan Gentes, Regina Scarpin, Elizabeth Ordeman, and Sylvia Jebiwott (just 2 weeks after a strong run at the New York City Marathon), rounded off the scoring team with a fifth place team finish. In the Senior’s race, Rob Elia paced teammates John Hill, Tim Keenan, Carl Rose, and Bill Brusher, finishing third as a team. The Master’s (40+) Men did not score a team, but saw George Torgun make his Master’s debut by finishing ninth overall in the race. For the Open Men, Ryan Smith’s 19th place finish led the Berries to fourth place team finish, with Kevin Petow, Jonathan Briskman, Ben Harper, and Kyle Dunn making up the rest of the scoring team.

Open Men at the PAUSATF XC Championships

The season of steady, consistent performances was rewarded in the end-of-season PAUSATF Grand Prix Standings. For the Open Women, Megan Gentes (4th), Elizabeth Ordeman (10th), Regina Scarpin (12th), Tamma Carleton (16th), Megan Lang (20th) and Kim Sanchez (24th) all finished in the top 30 in the final standings, finishing second as a team on the year. The Senior’s Men finished tied for third, with John Hill (6th), Tim Keenan (18th), Jeff Mann (19th) and Rob Elia (23rd) achieving top 30 finishes. Additionally, Scott Strait (Super Seniors, 29th) finished in the top 30 in his division. Finally, the Open Men wrapped up at tied for second in the team standings with top 30 standings from Ryan Smith (3rd), Ben Harper (5th), Kevin Petow (6th), Jonathan Briskman (12th), Kyle Dunn (14th), Matt Weber (28th), and Kyle Bystrom (30th) over the course of the PAUSATF XC season.

A handful of Berries will make the trip Lexington, Kentucky for the USATF Club Cross Country Championships on December 9th, before attention turns towards the track and roads in 2018.

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

 

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.

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.

4/3 – PR Central at the Distance Carnival

Results

We seem to thrive at this meet every year.

Once again the Berries of the Canyon crushed many PRs at the SF State Distance Carnival on April 3rd and 4th. First off was the morning 10000, and Bentley Regehr ran 33:18.20 for a top five listing in the club as well as a nice PR.

In the 1500 and 800 we had two berries:

M1500

Jeff Schaefer 4:03.03 (No. 4 club all-time)

M800

Ed Hill 2:06.17

We had three women under 18:00 in the 5000 + two more under 19:00, and two men broke 15:00 and a number of them set PRs:

W5000

Olivia Hill 17:28.86 (72-second PR!!!) 2nd club all-time
Megan Gentes 17:57.63 (dental visit impacted form)
Megan Lang 17:59.83 (amazing last lap to snag a sub-18)
Irene Graham 18:50.42 (come back trail)
Kimberly Sanchez 18:56.74 (40-second PR!!!)

M5000

Jonathan McKinley 14:34.25 (PR, club record)
Ryan Smith 14:57.50 (PR)
Jonathan Briskman 15:26.90
Colin Gannon 15:30.60 (14-second PR)
Colin Briskman 15:31.26

 

The next day we had a few more events

W200

Alyssa Ortega 30:69.

Then we had the two-mile where Kate Ashley dazzled less than three weeks out from the Boston Marathon, and a couple of men in the mile.

W Two Mile

Kate Ashley 12:00.86 (30-second PR)
Shellin Chuong 12:28.65
Melissa Quintero 13:09.76

 

M Mile

Emilio Flamenco 5:09.26
Matthew Perez 5:12.19

3/22 – Women run from Oakland to Hawaii

We're going to Hawaii!

The winning Oakland marathon relay team!

On March 22, the Strawberry Canyon TC got wind of a rather tasty prize in the form of a plane ticket per athlete to Hawaii (and back I might add) for winning 4-person relay teams at the 2015 Oakland Marathon.

So the women brought some serious heat to this race as Megan (House of) Lang, Julia (sizzle and steak) Sizek, Olivia (undisputed Queen of the) Hill and Megan (Gonna run you into the ground and enjoy every second of it) Gentes lined up for what we expected would turn into a formidable nip-and-tuck battle with other clubs vying for the all-valuable plane tickets. Right? Errr….Wrong!

No one of note really showed up and the Fearsome Female Foursome beat all of the women’s teams, averaging about 6:10 pace on the hilly course. They also beat all of the men’s teams, much to the chagrin of the Strawberry Canyon men who stayed home (and will continue to do so as the women jet off to Hawaii).

So Aloha to the woman and Hasta Manana to the men, at least for this posting. 🙂

Results are at http://georesults.racemine.com/Corrigan-Sports-Enterprises/events/2015/Oakland-Running-Festival/results

3/21 – Johnny Mathis meet – barely over/under PRs

The Berries brought some talent on the men’s side to the Johnny Mathis meet at the speedy San Francisco State University’s Cox Stadium track facility. (The women were saving their ammo for the Oakland Marathon relay).

Opening up in the men’s 1500 was Jonathan McKinley (4:03.37) and Jeff Schaefer with a PR (4:03.45). In another 1500 section Emilio Flamenco PR’d in 4:44.36 and Matt Perez finished in 4:46.56.

Ryan Smith ran a very good 5000 in 14:59.34, a scant half-second or so over his PR, while Alex Battaglino scraped under his PR by a second (15:05.09). In a subsequent section, Ryan Lok ran 15:39.04, Colin Gannon PR’d by less than two seconds (15:44.98), and Bentley Regehr (now in Truckee) ran 16:07.15.

3/14 – Davis meet recap!

We had some strong performances at the UC Davis home opener track meet yesterday. Opening up was the women’s 5000, in which the weather was unusually cooperative, cloudy, windless with moderate temps. Megan Gentes was a machine and cranked out a 17:44,63, a PR by 12 seconds and improved her No. 3 on the club’s all-time list mark. She also finished third overall and beat some D1 runners. Megan Lang, despite working 60 hours last week and feeling its effects, hung on for a very solid early season 18:19.53.

The 1500s came up next for the Canyon and we had several runners. Jeff Schaefer debuted with a 4:06.72, and Alex Battaglino dipped under 4:10 in his heat with a 4:09.98. Ryan Smith went out a little hard (63s for three laps then hit the wall) and did most of the work. This caught up to him in the last 300 and he ran 4:13.07. Abraham Aldaraca had to hurdle a fallen runner and it threw his form off-kilter and he ended up running 4:17.03. Matt Perez improved on his CSU-Stanislaus time with a mark of 4:49 and Emilio Flamenco ran 4:51. Both of them went out a little hard and it caught up to them so there’s more upside.

Leonardo Valdez Ordonez was fighting something had an off-day in the 400, running 54.31. Ed Hill competed in the 800 finishing in 2:05.80 while Alex Battaglino ran 2:11 on tired legs from the 1500.

As the day wore on it climbed into the mid-80s, which presented a challenge on the shadeless Woody Wilson track facility. Olivia Hill ran the 3000 and cruised through it, unchallenged, in 10:37.85. Kimberly Sanchez ran a very gutsy and impressive race, the best of her life, literally battling with four other runners for the entire race, and pulled out a massive PR in 10:58.18. Great job, prez!

Colin Gannon competed in the men’s 3000 and the pace was sub-optimal for him – going out about ten seconds per mile faster than we would have liked. He hung in there and ran 9:19.85 in the muggy heat.

A good number of us also went down to the PA awards banquet in Los Gatos, namely Megan Lang, Kimberly Sanchez, Kate Ashley, Shellin Chuong, Naomi Wilcox, Julia Sizek, coach Carl and Keith Duncan. Members of the women’s team along with Keith claimed their well-earned and coveted awards.

 

On that topic – We may be asked to host that banquet next year so let’s keep that on our collective radar.