The Shoreline Cross Country race in Mountain View represented a departure from the grinding Pacific Association-USATF cross country courses the Strawberries have had to reckon with thus far this season. In fact this felt more like a road race with some rolling dirt hills to slow things down a bit. However the Strawberries refused to be duped by the comparatively easy course (as well as daunted by the slow lines at both registration and the porta-potties), and instead pushed themselves to very impressive performances across the board.
First up was the women’s race and the Strawberries were again able to field a complete team for the third cross country race this season, although overall team placings are unavailable at this time. Toeing the line was Anne Ruminski, a former UC-San Diego runner who is rounding back into shape. She ran a very swift 19:14 on the 5K course (advertised as slightly longer, but various reliable measurements have this as a true 5K). Anne was followed by the return of Linda Dix-Cooper, who flashed across the line in 20:20. Next across the line for the Berries was Ingvild Saksvik in 20:39. Sarah Syed, who netted a nice PR at the Humboldt Half Marathon six days prior, jumped in the help the team out and was rewarded with a nice 5K PR of 21:19. Rebecca Murphy graciously offered to tempo the race in 24:06 to allow the women’s team to score as a team.
The masters race was a barn-burner as the Strawberries managed to scrape together six runners to score as the (likely after scoring is in) third-place team behind the ASICs Aggies and a resurgent West Valley Joggers and Striders masters squad. Rob Elia paced the masters blasters in 24:50 on the 4.52-mile (average of three GPSs measurements and Google Earth), which was again shorter than the advertised distance. But hey—it’s cross country, line up, race hard and see who you can beat.
Tim Keenan had the masters race of the day, finishing just 26 seconds behind Elia in 25:16. John Foley, who felt a smidge off, was next in 25:38. Chatham Ross cracked the 26:00 barrier with a strong 25:59 which I believe placed him second or third in his 50-59 division. Coach Carl Rose, fresh off his solid half-marathon effort at Humboldt six days prior, managed to average a shade under 6:00-minutes per mile in 27:07. An inspiring Bill Brusher finished in 33:21, which represented a race-fitness improvement in his continued comeback from the ravages of chemotherapy.
The open men really tore into the top runners and marked themselves as serious competitors in the region as they brought 16 runners to the starting line. Although they settled for third overall among the teams behind the ASICs Aggies and Transports, these two teams brought everybody and were also top five teams at USATF Club Nationals in cross country last season, so there was no shame in finishing in arrears to either of these sponsored clubs.
Christopher Gerber struck the very deep and competitive field like a bolt of lightning and his 7th-place performance in 22:20 was his best performance of the year thus far. Sean McFarland went out a tad hard and fought his way him, almost catching Chris Chavez and settling for a great time of 22:40. Greg Timblin continues to impress and pulled off a superb race in 22:52, although he appears to just be rounding back into form! Joe Binder was next for the Strawberries scoring team in 23:26, while newcomer Tom Haxton placed fifth for the Berries in 23:27. Sam Mealy was the first 19-and-under runner and cranked out a 23:33, while Nathan Leefer was the seventh man in 23:39. For complete results on how all of the Berries fared, please see our results section.