USATF Cross Country Championships -- Tallahassee, FL
The USATF XC Championships in Tallahassee kicked off a Super Saturday of performances for BTC. Emily Infeld, Courtney Frerichs, and Evan Jager all finished in the top 4, with Emily taking home her first USATF national title.
Emily and Courtney entertained pre-race dreams of holding hands across the line, but those were foiled by the stiff competition in Tallahassee. Emily would need both hands to break the tape. The early pace was controlled by our two BTC athletes and former NCAA XC champion, Molly Siedel. The pack was slowly whittled down to 5 by 7k, when Courtney and Emily Durgin started to come under pressure and lost contact. Those two settled into their own private battle, which Courtney would go on to win, duplicating her 4th place finish from last year’s event.
Meanwhile, Emily pressed on at the front, trading surges with Siedel as the pair broke away from the field. With a kilometer to go Emily threw in another big move. At first Siedel appeared able to respond, but up a steep hill with 500 meters to go she eked out a 10 meter advantage. As she crested the hill and sprinted towards the finish line her margin widened. Five years after running her last cross country race, she claimed the national title. She has been on a bit of a different training cycle while at altitude camp, “focusing more on speed but keeping my miles at the highest they have ever been.” Clearly the new training plan worked.
On the men’s side, Evan proved that some Ferrari’s are able to drive on grass. In his first cross country race since high school (more than 10 years ago), Evan was in contention for the win nearly the whole race. He was in the lead pack through about 9k. Even with 1000 meters to go he was still only three seconds back of the two leaders. Although unable to close the gap, Evan closed hard, relying on his strength he has built up through years of steeplechasing, to finish fourth in 29:31.
For more coverage on the USATF XC Championships follow these links:
NYRR Millrose Games -- New York, NY
It may have been freezing outside in New York, but a heat wave swept through the Armory on Saturday. Ryan and Woody got the meet started for BTC by running in the Dr. Sanders 3k. The early pace was fast but settled into a tactical affair once the rabbit dropped off. Ryan ran aggressively for the win, coming up a couple of gears short in the sprint and finished third place in 7:46.65. Woody, in his first race in nearly a year, ran conservatively near the back until one lap to go. Always confident in his finish (some teammates have dared to call him a Sandbagger), he swung way wide to move around nearly the whole field and finish fourth in 7:47.19. Both men are excited to get back to training after hitting the World Indoor Qualifying mark.
The best was still to come at Millrose in the form of the Women’s Wanamaker Mile. It was a day of firsts. It was Colleen’s first time running in the Armory and Kate’s first time wearing a BTC kit. The race was well bunched and tactical until 400 meters to go. With a lap remaining Colleen, perfectly positioned, took the lead and did not look back, although perhaps she should have. Having never broken tape before Colleen said she “just got so excited that I did the one thing I know I’m not supposed to do,” which is to celebrate early. Colleen threw up her arms in celebration which nearly allowed Kate to claim victory. In the end Colleen broke the tape in 4:30.05 with Kate finishing second in 4:30.08.
Colleen, Kate, Ryan, and Woody will all be at the USATF Indoor Championships in two weeks time looking for spots on the World Indoor team.
For more coverage on the Millrose Games follow these links:
Bruce Lehane Scarlet & White Invite -- Boston, MA
Not too far away from the Armory in New York City, Shelby and Marielle had a record day…literally. Both women ran a 3k with the goal of getting the World Indoor qualifying standard. They ran the majority of the race behind a pacer at 8:45 pace, well below the 8:50 Worlds standard. After the pacer stepped off, Shelby put the pressed on with the pace and pulled away from the field to claim victory in 8:36.01, setting a 15 second personal best and becoming the second fastest American 3k runner in history (only behind teammate Shalane Flanagan). Marielle, dawning the BTC kit for the first time, finished second in 8:40.20, and also set a massive second personal best by 14 seconds.
After making the World Indoor time standard look like a walk in the park, both women will head back up to altitude to prepare for USA Indoor Nationals in two weeks. While Shelby claims “defending my Indoor National titles from last year and make the Indoor World Championship team” are the main goals for the remainder of the season, she admits that “seeing my name at the top of the American [3k] record board would be amazing; and I hope to get another chance to possibly go for that this season.”
With most athletes competing for the first time in 2018, this weekend was hopefully only a sneak peek of what is to come from BTC the remainder of the year. The athletes will do their best to catch their breath before heading back into thin air and altitude camp in preparation for USA Indoor Championships, February 16-18 in Albuquerque.