11/24 – McKinley Goes SACPOP On PA, Strawberries 9 Points Short

Individual Results

Team Results

Last Sunday was a major day for the fleet-footed Canyonists throughout the Bay Area. Fortunately for our stalwart competitors, the weather gods were most gracious as the day dawned with a light fog that burned off to crystal clear skies and virtually ideal conditions.  On center stage for our club was the heralded arrival of the PA-USATF cross country championships in Golden Gate Park, which delivered an ample supply of drama full measure.

First on the docket was the women’s 4.12-mile race, and the course was in perfect condition, compared to most years when things get sloppy due to the rains.Due to some last-minute obligations and obstacles, just two women made it to the start line. (Relatively) new mother Anne Ruminsky ran a solid 27:21, and she was followed by Kimberly Sanchez, whose 28:15 had to represent the most disappointing 53-second improvement over September’s identical race on record. She has been on fire lately and we were hoping for a sub-28:00. Next time for sure!

The master’s 6.19-mile race featured Coach Carl Rose, who was content to get in his daily exercise while doubling with coaching duties. He ran 45:14. Bill Brusher ran 49:18 to place fairly well in the seniors division.

The showcase event for the Strawberry Canyon Track Club was the open men’s race and it was an epic barn burner which netted an overall bittersweet result. From what we can delineate from the very murky overall team scoring we ended up taking 5th overall, a scant few points behind the strong New Balance Silicon Valley and Sacramento Racing Association Elite clubs.

We gave it our very best effort to beat these sponsored clubs, and came up a tiny bit shy, a net result which dropped the club into a tie with the potent West Valley Track Club for a share of the PA-USATF Grand Prix championship on total points. That being said, everyone showed up with their heart and mettle, and we delivered as well as we could on race day.

Special mention must be made of Jonathan McKinley, whose race explosion shocked the entire Pacific Association. Throughout the race I could hear spectators muttering things like: “Who the (expletive) is THAT guy?” Or “He’s going to blow up soon.” “I dunno about that, he looks awfully good.” Indeed Jonathan held on for a blistering 30:48 mark and 5th-place finish, an astounding performance which destroyed our existing club record.

He was followed by Dan Chebot, who’s quietly delivered a monster season, regaining and exceeding his old form from college. He pulled off a very remarkable 32:28, which is over 75 seconds better than his former PR on that course. Sean McFarland was our steady Eddie for the season, balancing a rigorous academic schedule with training and racing duties, notching a solid 32:39 performance.  Kris Brown (33:32) and Dan Duett (33:39), who closed with a hard-charging kick, rounded out the club’s scoring five.

Also in the mix were George Torgun (34:18), Rory Runser (34:46, almost a 3:00 PR on that course!), and Richard LeDonne (36:26).

Here are some tidbits about Jonathan’s monstrous race, which is destined to go down as one of the most uniquely astonishing and highest rated performances in club (and maybe Pacific Association) history.

1.       No one in our club has ever broker 32:00 on that course, let alone 31:00.

2.       Jonathan ran 2:00 (800); 4:22 (Mile); 9:51 (2-mile) in high school (Duxbury, MA).

3.       Jonathan is a Cal undergraduate, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. He is likely to walk on to the open arms of the Cal track team soon.

4.       Jonathan had not run any cross country races since high school until he opened up the season for us in November, and he’s never raced that far in his life.

5.       Jonathan’s favorite event is the 1500/Mile. He PR’d with a 3:58.45 last spring.

6.       Jonathan spent several weeks off of running earlier in the fall, pool running while recuperating from a bout of shin splints. He is effectively combining land running with pool running.

7.       Jonathan tangled with and convincingly defeated several notable US Olympic Trials qualifiers. If it was just one guy having an off day it is one thing, but this race was no fluke.

8.       The look of sheer shock and awe on the faces of people from other clubs (and spectators) coming over to check him out after the race was … priceless.

9.       This was only the beginning as many seem to believe a star was born on Sunday. This massive performance got everyone’s attention. My sentiment, congratulate the man who ran 6.19 miles.

10.   The pizza after the race was pretty darn good too!

Golden Gate Park  PA-USATF results:

WOMEN (4.12 miles)
Anne Ruminsky 27:21
Kimberly Sanchez-Dias 28:15

MASTERS / SENIORS / SUPER SENIORS MEN (6.19 miles)
Carl Rose 45:14
Bill Brusher 49:18

OPEN MEN (6.19 miles)
5. Jonathan McKinley 30:48
24. Dan Chebot 32:28
28. Sean McFarland 32:39
35. Kris Brown 33:32
36. Dan Duett 33:39
40. George Torgun 34:18
45. Rory Runser 34:46
66. Richard Ledonne 36:26

8/24 – Oh Glorious, Victorious!

Hello Canyoneros-

The Strawberry Canyon contingent sent nine harriers to Santa Rosa for the Phil Widener Empire XC Challenge today. In the 3.43-mile race, Dan Duett WON the race outright, marking the first time in Canyonero history that a Strawberry Canyon TC runner has EVER won a PAUSATF race. There have been numerous seconds, thirds, fourths, but never a first. Congratulations Mr. Duett!

Dan was followed closely by a resurgent William Chen, who shook off a sub-par effort in Santa Cruz and took second. Sean McFarland was 3rd, and Kris Brown was 5th overall (yes, we almost completed a sweep!). Joe Binder, feeling a little tired from some mega-mileage was 11th, and Dan Chebot’s younger brother Ben Chebot was 12th. Following him was Jack Wallace and Dan Anderson, who also finished for the Canyoneros but I do not have their places.

In the women’s race, Anne Ruminsky took 25th and Kimberly Diaz-Sanchez took 33rd. So nice job there in what seemed to be a more competitive field.

PS: I have no times to report but someone may write up a more comprehensive report later.

Congratulations to everyone though.

Carl

8/17 – Strawberries Dominate Early Season XC

Taking advantage of the competition’s early season sleepiness, the Strawberries have come out in force for the 2013 cross country campaign, notching three big, fat Ws: two for the team, and one for Dan “hungry and foolish” Duett!

The Canyon opened up the season at the 13th Annual UC Santa Cruz Invite. The report from Sean “Scottish rallying cry” McFarland:

Hail Canyoneros!

This past weekend signaled the official kick-off of the season with a bucolic race among the upper forests of UC Santa Cruz’s campus. Seven athletes made the trip down, including a full open men’s squad of five, and lone female and senior warriors.

The female’s race marked Christy’s debut performance. Amidst an unexpectedly stacked field for this early in the season, she narrowly nicked the 26 minute mark, finishing 16th overall in a respectable 25:55.

Next up, the master’s race found Strawberry Stalwart Bill Brusher toeing the line. He battled through to an impressive 31:43, good for ~13th among the Super-senior crowd.

Finally, the open men’s race, a hastily slapped together affair, ironically witnessed the fielding of one of its strongest teams since 2011. Capitalizing on a sleepy field devoid of the stiff later-season competition, the group cruised to a relatively uncontested 1st place team finish. The effort was led by Dark Horse Dan Duett (4th, 21:20), who stepped up last minute to come out of hiding in San Francisco and dish out some serious smack-down. He was tailed by yours truly (6th, 21:29), the Clydesdale Joe Binder (7th, 21:43), the new and impactful Kris Brown (8th, 21:45),  and the wily Will Chen (12th, 22:17), who battled through cramps and a rough end to summer finals week to round out the scoring.

‘Twas a great initial showing for the Canyon after a somewhat downtrodden 2012 season. Much greater challenges await as the season heats up and the competition gets fierce, and I hope to see even more of you out there to share it with in the future! If you’re not yet on the open men’s/women’s competition e-mail list and want to be, please send me an e-mail so I can add you and keep you in the loop!

Congrats to all the early season racers!

David