11/2 – Berries @ Santa Rosa XC – Women take close WIN

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).

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