11/16 – Women Grab PA XC Season Title, Men 2nd!

A golden dawn sky was belied with a pesky, cold breeze that swept through Golden Gate Park preceding the morning start of the long-awaited PA-USATF Cross Country Championships. The Strawberry Canyon TC women’s team, now squarely on the radar, warmed up nervously and vigorously as mostly the men (who raced later) set up the tent. This was a “take no prisoners” kind of day.

A little back story is in order: This particular group of women constituted the most inspiring regional team of the decade. They went from zero to regional / national-class in a matter of months, putting together what had to be classified as a “dream season.” In the summer they were a no-name, small group with 500-to-1 odds to win the Pacific Association-USATF team grand prix cross country championships. This would be the talk of fools and delusional coaches. However, in a few short months, they became a very tightly knit, focused and well-respected team locking horns with the best clubs in the region for a fighting chance to claim our club’s first ever women’s title.

The race started with butterflies, as the Canyoneras had been battling since August. This effort had left them tied with the West Valley Track Club, and beating them was necessary to win the Grand Prix. But we wanted to do more. The mighty Impala Racing Team was within striking distance and they brought several 2012 Olympic Trials marathon qualifers to the starting line to try and grab that title from us and defend their eight-year grand prix winning streak, and the No. 18-ranked (2013) ASICs Aggies who’d improved a bit in 2014, and No. 8-ranked New Balance Silicon Valley (2015 – and without their No. 1 runner at Club Nationals) squads also brought their hammers to this championship race. The Strawberry Canyon women’s team had one more test, and they were going to have to punch way above their weight yet again to pass it.

But this had all started in June. At this point, too much work had been invested and our women were on a mission. They had one chance to make history, to claim their destiny, a chance to upend the regional hierarchy, and make it that much sweeter as an underdog, unsponsored club…all of this was at stake and more. So here was the moment, they had to line up and see where things stood. Coach Carl gave them a little pre-race encouragement at the start, but there wasn’t really much else to do than to let things unfold and trust that they had been sufficiently prepared for this massive test. And so with that…off they went.

The women went out prudently, according to plan. As their race unfolded, it was a thing of beauty as they all ran pretty evenly and shredded the field in a tight 50-second pack between the No. 1 and 6 runners. (I heard a few shocked exclamations among the spectators). This was no accident – it was a perfect storm. We didn’t just edge WVTC for the title, we also beat the Aggies, Impalas, and West Valley TC in that order, and grabbed the title in the way it should be won, head to head when it counted.

Everyone stepped up in their own way. Julia Sizek came on to the scene and started hammering people. This was no different as she blitzed through a very strong field and took 12 th. Second for the Berries scoring was Olivia Hill, who got better and better and better in every race and beat people she hadn’t ever beaten before at the championships – finishing with a strong kick. Tamma Carleton raced with painful tendonitis in her foot and we weren’t even sure if she was going to start. She gutted it out like a champion and ran an extremely gritty and courageous effort for 18th. Next there was the middle-distance specialist Rebecka Oberg (20 th), who was racing at a distance that was completely out of her comfort zone – finishing with a flash ahead of a couple of very strong runners, there was the team leader and women’s captain – our women’s team’s glue, Megan Lang (26 th), who also threw down a very impressive race. There was the ever dependable Megan Gentes (27 th), who never met a starting line she didn’t like and rounded out a very dangerous six-woman pack with another strong race performance. Next was the youngest was 17-year-old Jennifer Schick, who has a massive upside to develop. And the most improved of the bunch might be our club’s vice-president Kimberly Sanchez, who wrapped up the racing for the women.

When the dust had settled and the preliminary scores were posted – other team were genuinely stunned; some seemed upset, others were congratulatory and delighted for us. Our ecstatic SCTC women had pulled off the David vs. Goliath miracle finish – winning the grand prix title in a rather moving performance, and took second only to the elite development-based NBSV club. The rest of our club was glowing for them too –they knew that they had seen something special and this was a very proud moment for everyone in the club. To close – I quote Bill Brusher: “That has to be one of the coolest things that’s ever happened in the history of the club.” Yer damn right! 🙂

Their times and a video link to their historic finish is linked below:

Women’s 6K race

12. Julia Sizek – 21:30

14. Olivia Hill – 21:40

18. Tamma Carleton – 21:49

20. Rebecka Oberg – 21:55

26. Megan Lang – 22:15

27. Megan Gentes – 22:20

42. Jennifer Sc hick – 22:58

57. Kimberly Sanchez – 23:34


The masters and seniors-plus men dusted off a few hearty graybeards and put together a solid group of oldsters. Many were pleased both with their performance as well as the new 10K course, which will also be the site of the USATF Club National Cross Country Championships in 2015.

Rob Elia and Darrin Banks killed it, taking the first two spots. Tim Keenan had an excellent race and exorcised his ‘jinx’ races at Golden Gate Park – he too, loved the new course. Chris Dodge was next, and the quarter- and half-miler by trade ran an impressive effort. A legend in the making is Keith Duncan, who at 60 is shellacking our club records. He was 4 th senior overall. Next was the smiling patron saint of the club, Sir Erik Gullikson, who seemed to be only moderately pressed and content to soak up the moment. Coach Carl Rose continued his coming back ways (with a ways to go) came through with a good effort relative to his fitness and had his best race of the season. Paul Nolan missed the start (everyone has that ONE “bad dream” race), and throwing in the towel, ended up running a tempo of the course, tangled behind the slower runners. Bill Brusher debated running but still finished since he already had the grand prix points in his sights.

Both the masters men and seniors were 4 th overall, which was a pretty solid result considering we were missing a few of our hitters.

Master’s Men’s 10K race

20. Rob Elia – 36:21 (5 th 50-59)

21. Darrin Banks – 36:23

28. Tim Keenan – 36:50 (8 th 50-59)

47. Chris Dodge – 38:18

68. Keith Duncan – 40:34 (4th th 60-69)

79. Erik Gullikson – 41:17

82. Carl Rose – 41:39

119. Paul Nolan – 45:18 (missed start)

166. Bill Brusher – 55:51

The open men weren’t as fortunate as the open women, as the ASICs Aggies added lots of depth and decided to show up to enough races to accumulate the maximum five wins going into the championships. Jonathan McKinley was not where he was at last year, which was putting the fear of God in everyone in the PA, after a long stretch with injuries, but we were still in the hunt for a valiant second-place team finish. Most of the guys ran well and were feeling the effects of a very long race season, particularly the younger runners. So we were a little outmanned up front, but still packed up pretty well. Their efforts locked us solidly into 4 th-place team finish at the PA XC champs but this was still sufficient to keep our club in second. Despite that we’re primarily running with undergrads that never ran in college and a few graduate students from small-college programs, they still held their own against the heavyweight clubs.

Here below are their finishes in order.

Open Men’s 10K race

18. Jonathan McKinley – 31:54

31. Sean McFarland – 32:50

42. Ryan Smith – 33:21

46. Lauri Takacsi-Nagy – 33:29

52. Ryan Lok – 33:48

61. Colin Gannon – 34:18

62. Stephen McKinley – 34:23

64. Rory Runser – 34:40

69. Jack Wallace – 34:47

71. Brandon Kan – 34:50

73. Ed Izaguirre – 34:51

76. Dan Duett – 35:00

79. Justin Huang – 35:07

89. Bentley Regehr – 35:35

110. Stephen Granger-Bevan – 37:72

115. Matthew Berberick – 38:29

123. Kevin Hsu – 39:13

8/29 – SCTC Time Trial 2013

Below are the results from the time trial held yesterday at Edwards. There were some definite ups and downs with this, but everyone gave it a good, solid effort.

I want to express my gratitude to Carola Binder and Anthony Castro for helping with the pacing duties! Also, Carola, thank you for helping Christy out and taking her to clean up the wound when she got clipped in the race and fell.

I also want to express my great gratitude and say thank you to Sean McFarland, Kimberly Sanchez-Diaz, Nathan Leefer, David Yu and Dennis Roth for their invaluable assistance with the timing, placements and finish line duties in this event. We didn’t necessarily have a banner year with it, but we did what was important and kept this event going strong.

I’m also optimistic that we can build this up into a more significant event next year (within reason).

Results below:

Heat 1 (5:15):
1) Jonathan Nolasco 17:21
2) Steve Zirkelbach 17:40 (masters)
3) Alper 18:04
4) Brandon Brown 18:22
5) Megan Gentes 18:36
6) Naomi Cox 19:03

Carola Binder 11:42 (3200 time was the pacer)

Heat 2 (5:45):
1) Michael Coe 14:56
2) William Chen 15:25
3) Rory Runser 15:59
4) Cameron 16:06
5) Abraham 16:25
6) Ryan 16:35
7) Mike 16:39

Matt Bogdanowicz 4:54.6 (45-49 AG full mile)

Jack Wallace (10:06 3200)

*Brian Gillis 10:10 (3200) *I may be wrong on his time/place

Heat 3 (6:15):
1) Chikara Omine 16:38
2) Tim Keenan 17:24 (50-54 AG)
3) Lauren Schmidt 17:42 (PR)
4) Bill Salacuse 18:01 (45-49 AG)
5) Maria Monks 18:46
6) Tyrone C. 18:58
7) Jan Peters 19:21 (PR)
8) Mei Tung-Chen 19:33 (PR)
9) Steve Trutane 20:36
10) Sarah Syed 21:57


5/5 – Car(l) Trouble

Hi everyone,

I have a few messages to pass on from adventurer-Carl, who took his Mini on the road this weekend and ended up stranded in this terrible-sounding place called “Los Angeles.”

1. Congratulations to Jon McKinley for setting (another) club record in the 1500m! His 3:58.45 was good for eighth in his heat, and 38/80 overall at the ridiculously stacked Oxy Invite

I think this is the third occasion in a Bubka/Isinbayenva-esque season that the 1500m record has been broken, so way to milk it for all it’s worth, Will and Jon 🙂


2. Results from the Portola 5K are already up at http://www.sml1.com/norcalstat/Other/5k4play13_res.htm. Representing The Canyon in the valley were the usual army of masters, the stalwart Julia, and yours truly:

Name Overall Age Gun time Chip time Pace

Julia Gullikson 19 1 19:30 19:26 6:16


David Yu 12 8 15:52 15:51 5:07

Kevin Downie 28 3 17:05 17:04 5:30

Tim Keenan 38 1 17:29 — —

Dan Sivolella 58 8 18:13 — —

Bill Salacuse 68 9 18:39 — — (were none of you guys wearing chips??)

Thom Trimble 75 7 18:51 — —

Jeff Teeters 78 8 18:56 18:53 6:05

At first glance, it looks like the masters team finished 3rd behind the Aggies and Excelsior, edging out Pamakids.

3. Workouts for the week will be posted here by tomorrow. Carl probably won’t be back in Berkeley by tomorrow evening, so it’s up to your personal discretion how much suffering to inflict on yourself.

Nice work, everyone!


9/1/12 – SCTC Time Trial Of Glory

(Official results forthcoming)

There are time trials and then there are TIME trials. The Cal Cross Country/Strawberry Canyon TC time 2012 version was a rip-roaring TIME trial thanks in part to a steady drum-beat of promotional interest on its facebook page (fear of failure-induced, I might add). The turnout of nearly 60 athletes for a three-event hand-timed impromptu track meet was quite impressive. In fact, it kicked…tail.

There were some highs and lows on the newly resurfaced Edwards Track, but the majority of the response was overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the athletes, at least 150 people attended the meet to watch the fleet participants in the late-summer mini-meet, many repping the Cal cross country and track teams as well as the Cal Triathlon Club. There were also the hapless fitness and conditioning class participants, who probably came away a bit buffaloed by Coach Carl trying to clear the track for the next scheduled event.

By far the biggest contribution to the meet’s success was the hard work of the Strawberry Canyon finish chute volunteers (Sean McFarland, Eva Stuart, Bruce Thrupp, Cameron Bronstein, Erik Gullikson (primary timer), Joseph Doetsch, Carola Conces and Art Martin. Some excellent pictures were captured by the talented Ian MacLeod, along with some handy finish-line camera/timing work by Nathan Leefer.

The first race of the day was the first heat of the 400 meter event, made intriguing by the addition of three Oakland Tech high school runners. Newly minted (or is it berried?) Strawberry Canyon TC club member Justin Lee won the 400 pressing home in a strong time of 65.8 seconds at age 47. He was followed closely by Jessica T. from Oakland Tech in 66.8. The tenacious Carola Conces of Strawberry Canyon TC came in 3rd in her first 400 since middle school in 67.4. Maya Hinkston of Oakland Tech was 4th in 69.0-flat, while her teammate Kanukai Chigamba was 5th in 72.2.

The second heat of the 400 was for faster-seeded runners and former Brown University standout Matt Duffy ran 53.8 to claim the 400-meter event. He pulled Strawberry Canyon Track Club master’s ace Chris Dodge to a superb new master’s 400-meter record of 54.3, breaking his own record of 55.09 set last February on the same track. Chris was followed by a hard-charging Brian Gillis of Transports in 54.8, and Torrey Olson, also with Transports, who coasted in the last few meters in 60.7.

Next up was the first heat of the 5000-meter/3200-meter time-trial. It was a see-saw affair which turned into a spirited duel between Strawberry Canyon Track Club runner Jeff Teeters and former Cal runner (now masters runner) Steve Zirklebach (oh how they grow up so soon!). Zirklebach prevailed over Jeff with a very strong kick in 17:47.0 to 17:53.0, but Teeters was very happy to break 18:00. Following the two fast oldsters was a great run from Erika Erickson of the Cal Triathlon Club, who threw down a college-worthy time of 18:14.1. She pulled Alberto Bonda, an exchange student from Italy, to his time of 18:16.0. Kevin Jude was next at 6:00-flat pace in 18:37.2, and he was followed by Dan Riffe in 19:23.0.

New Strawberry Canyon TC member Mei Tung-Chen finished in a strong PR of 20:18.0. She was followed by SCTC masters runner and core guru Steve “Sandal Man” Trutane in 20:31.5, who edged out Jason Lowe (20:33). Kelsie Clausen, who runs for Tamalpa Racing, came in next in 21:24.2. New Strawberry Canyon TC member Katrin Cox came in after that in a 53-second 5K PR in a solid finishing time of 22:22.

In the 3200, Oakland Tech had two girls entered: Fiona Gregg (15:20.0), and Tiffany Huang (15:22.8). Chico TC masters runner Art Martin, who came to help out with the finish-line work, got through seven laps at about 6:10 / mile pace in his first hard run in many years.

The second heat of the 3200/5000 featured nothing but 5000-meter runners. It was still a little warm for a distance race but the bouncy, fresh gold track seemed to be agreeing with people. The first five runners were all Strawberry Canyon Track Club runners who tempo’d the race as a workout.  Kyle Braam (16:27.4), Dayo Tao (16:29.0), Jack Wallace (16:42.0), Irtaza Haider (16:48.8) and Chris Goioa (16:51.9) all enjoyed the experience, helping to pull the next three runners under their goal time of sub-17:00. Tim Comay (16:55.9), Jonathan Nolasco (16:59.4) and Strawberry Canyon TC runner and Swiss rock climber extraordinaire Thibault Hottelier (16:59.8) all dipped under 17:00.

Chris Everett (apparently not a famous tennis player) was next in 17:21.0, followed by Strawberry Canyon TC senior’s stud Tim Keenan, who missed some time with a stress fracturebut celebrated his 51st birthday with a strong time of 17:33.4. Strawberry Canyon TC master’s runner Bill Salacuse ran a 5000-meter PR in 17:44.3. Mr. Reliable Barry Smith, fresh off his Pike’s Peak double marathon and the 18:00-flat pacer, finished in 18:00.2.

Two women hoping to walk-on to the Cal track team faded a bit toward the last mile and fell just short. Both were understandably a little saddened, Kelly Garton (18:23.7) and Elizabeth Scott, a Cal senior who runs for the Impala Racing Team and held high 17:00s pace for nine laps (18:44.2).

A nervous energy swept over the crowd as the sun dipped behind the west stands for the third heat of the 3200/5000-meter event, which seemed to have a little bit of a magical quality to it. Its race field was impressively loaded as some very serious runners toed the line, including Cal volunteer assistant track coach Bolota Asmerom, a 2000 Olympian in the 5000-meters. The pace was quick from its outset as several runners blew through the 400 in 67 seconds and another pack trailed them in 71-72 seconds.

Six runners opted to run the 3200 in this particular race, allowing for a fast start for a bigger group of guys than normal. Matt Duffy gapped Bolota at 1.5 miles and added the 3200 title to his 400-meter title as he blazed across the line in 9:04.3, nearly breaking the 9:00-barrier. Following Matt was Brian Gillis of Transports who in his finishing kick, keyed off of former Harvard University standout Chas Gillespie who loomed just ahead of him, to finish in a very impressive 9:26.6. Chas was continuing the race and completing over four more laps. Nate Beach was close behind in the 3200 in a strong time of 932.9.

Torrey Olson (9:44.8) and Sam Robinson (9:47.9), both of Transports, rolled in next, and they were trailed by an unidentified New Balance Excelsior runner in 10:20.0.

Those finishing the 5000-meter event found the track clearing out in front of them as the 3200 runners stepped off. Bolota Asmeron cruised to an unchallenged 5K time of 14:25.6, while Chas Gillespie surprised himself with a very impressive 14:44.4 mark after a long lay-off from hard training or racing. Following Chas were three aspiring Cal walk-ons who had to attain the 15:00-flat standard. Seamus Land made good and battled across the line in 15:00.7, garnering himself a walk-on spot to the Cal track team. Andres Diaz (15:09.7), and William Chen (15:17.8) narrowly missed on the team, but posted impressive marks which put them on Cal’s radar in the future.

Francis Corrigan, a New York Athletic Club runner who recently moved back to the Bay Area, notched a time of 15:36.9. He was followed by Chikara (Chow Hound) Omine of New Balance Excelsior, who placed in 15:50.4. Cal Triathlon Club member Lauri Takasi (15:55.9) cracked the 16:00 barrier thanks to some fine pacing by Strawberry Canyon TC members Rory Runser (16:00.1) and Christoph Wanner (16:05.8). Shinji Nakadai, a Strawberry Canyon TC member who is also an ultra-runner from Japan, closed out the meet with his time of 16:12.3.