The Phil Widener Empire Runners XC meet in Santa Rosa was shuffled to the end of the year but that did not deter the Canyoneros from showing up and giving it a good shot on the challenging 3.43-mile course.
The women brought only five runners to the line and needed a really good race performance to stay in range of the West Valley Track Club, which had at the time a 1.5-point lead on our women’s team. The season’s dramatic build-up to the PA-USATF Cross Country Championships was coming to a head as the Canyoneras needed to nail down a “W” with a couple of their runners sitting this one out.
Tamma Carleton delivered a really strong effort despite dealing with some tendonitis in her foot, finishing in a prodigious 5th-place in a speedy 20:19. In 6th was the ever-impressive Olivia Hill who rolled through in 20:28. Following those two heavy hitters was Megan Gentes in 21:34 (13th-place), as she was starting to show a little fatigue from the long season. Megan was trailed by Jennifer Schick in 16th-place (21:44). Closing out the scoring team was Kimberly Sanchez, who knocked about two minutes off of her 2013 time in 22:18 (22nd place). That proved to be crucial as the final scoring came in four agonizing days later, confirming that the Berries had finished one point ahead of the Impalas. They opted for the masters money and hence the Berries beat West Valley and ended up in a tie with them going into the PA-USATF Championships in two weeks.
The open men managed third overall in this race as the Aggies and West Valley both brought some serious firepower. Jonathan McKinley was 7th (17:33), and he was followed by Sean McFarland (17:51 – 9th); Ryan Smith (17:51 – 10th); Ed Izaguirre (18:23 – 16th) and Jack Wallace (21st – 18:36) to round out the top five scorers. Also competing for the Berries was Bentley Regehr, a newcomer from Edmonton, in 18:42 (23rd), Colin Gannon – 18:43 (24th), Justin Huang 18:47 (26th), Stephen McKinley 18:54 (27th), Matt Weber 19:30 (32nd), and Daniel Anderson 21:05 (42nd).