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