The national club championships are some of the most popular championships of the entire US schedule. Club championships give post-collegiate athletes who have not made the jump to elite an opportunity to compete. It also gives groups like McMillan Elite a major championship to focus on.
Look at the teams we now have, adidas Transport, Boulder Running company, Bowerman Athletic Club, ZAP Fitness, Hanson-Brooks all give young runners a chance to develop at their own pace. The challenge is, in this day and age, how to find sponsorship in such a tough economy. Major sponsors are cutting back on their athlete sponsorships in typical post Olympic fashion. The cut backs are exacerbated by the tough economic times we are experiencing.
One of the challenges over the next several years in our sport is to find new sponsors for sectors of the sport, such as club championships, without adding to the sponsorship burden that major sponsors have taken. The success and future growth of club championships will depend on USATF finding new sponsors who find the ability to develop a sector of championships where developing athletes get a chance to compete. Cross country needs to be sold as a sport by itself. We have to look outside the typical federation sponsors.
The key is, what benefits can be sold to new sponsors? That is our challenge.
Congratulations to all competitors who competed in the USATF Club XC Championships! And thanks to the sponsors and organizers of the Club
McMillan Elite takes men's team title; Boulder Running Co./adidas wins women's title at USATF National Club Cross Country Championships
Written by Jim Estes, USATF LDR
SPOKANE - McMillan Elite and Boulder Running Company/adidas easily took the respective men's and women's titles Saturday at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships at Plantes Ferry Recreation Park in Spokane, Wash.
Saturday's races were held under windy and blustery conditions, with a light dusting of snow that accumulated the night before. Temperatures were in the high 20s with the wind chill making it feel at least 10 degrees colder for the 900+ participants representing America's top post-collegiate club teams vying for top honors and bragging rights as the nation's top cross country team.
As the afternoon progressed, the wind picked up dramatically, and the temperature dropped to the mid-teens by the conclusion of the open men's 10-kilometer race.
Two-time NCAA Division II cross country champion Scott Bauhs, representing Transports adidas Racing Team eased his way into the lead in the open men's ten kilometer race, then held off a late challenge by Andrew Carlson of McMillan Elite to win his first national championship as a professional, clocking 30:47 to Carlson's 30:49.
Bauhs, an Olympic Trials qualifier this year at 10000 meters, and a member of this year's world cross country championships squad, took the lead shortly after the mile mark, while hotly pursued by several members of the winning McMillan Elite squad.
As the wind gusted up to speeds hovering around 30 miles per hour at times during the race, Bauhs began to extend his command over the rest of the field, except for Carlson, who hung on gamely to Bauhs through the final lap.
Carlson's runner-up finish, combined with Brett Gotcher and Gilliat Gebray's 4-5 finish led McMillan Elite to their first national title, as the Flagstaff-based squad scored 47 points, defeating the Bowerman Athletic Club by 17 points. Four-time men's team champions Hansons-Brooks finished third with 107 points.
In what can be best described as a race of attrition, Rebecca Donaghue survived the heavy winds and the early challenge of a group of four runners, including Toni Salucci, Kara June, Alisha Williams, and Jennifer Donovan to win the national title in a time of 21:38. The five women were the only ones to break 22 minutes for the 6-kilometer course.
Despite Donaghue's overall win, last year's third place team Boulder Running Company/adidas dominated the team competition with 69 points, defeating the women of New Balance Boston by 31 points. Three-time team champions Boston Athletic Association took third with 128 points.
In the day's opening race, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso of Austin, Texas, representing Rogue Running, won yet another masters championship, after taking an early lead over former Team USA cross country team member Liz Wilson of the Eastside Runners, extending the lead over the final lap.
Wilson won the individual age-group title in the 40-44 division. Other age-group winners included Regina Joyce (50-54); Suzanne Ray (55-59); and, Patty Foltz (60-64).
Team champions included Club Northwest (40-49) and the Impala Racing Team (50-59).
Simon Gutierrez of Alamosa, Colorado used a strong surge on the final lap of the race to break away from runner-up Dan Franek of the Dirigo RC to win his first national cross country title, running 33:50.
Gutierrez and 2006 champion Tracy Lokken were part of the lead group that broke away early from a chase pack that included the Fluffy Bunny TC trio of David Schumacher, last year's national champion Peter Magill, and Christian Cushing-Murray.
Other individual age-group titles went to Magill (45-49); Bob Winn (50-54); Mark Billett (55-59); Terry Delph (60-64); Doug Goodhue (65-69); Thom Weddle (70-74); and Mel Preedy (75-79).
Team titles were won by the Fluffy Bunny TC (40-49); Club Northwest (50-59); Boulder Road Runners (60-69); and the Snohomish TC (70+).
Clubs competed for a total prize purse of $24,000, with $19,000 going to the top open teams.
For more information about the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, please visit www.usatf.org.
Scott Bauhs: I ran in snow at the NCAA D-II meet a few weeks ago, but this was worse.
I wanted to get out reasonably hard, then take the lead and go from there. I thought that I could hold off Andrew Carlson (on the final stretch). I wasn't completely confident with the conditions, but I felt that I could hold him off at the end.
Rebecca Donaghue: Truthfully, these were the worst conditions I've ever run in. I can't feel my face; I can't feel my fingers. The wind blew me over at about a mile and a half. I drafted off of other people, as the wind was absolutely brutal.
I ran in the NCAA cross country championships a few years ago where it was this cold, but never that windy. This is real cross country weather.
Carmen Ayala-Troncoso: I knew I was in great shape going into today. Liz Wilson and I have raced against each other for a long time, and she just move up into the masters category, so I'm going to have to train harder to keep up with her.
I originally planned to wear half tights, but when I got here and felt the wind, I decided to change my mind and wear as much stuff as I can and feel comfortable, even if that were the difference between losing seconds during the race. The footing wasn't bad; it was the wind.
Simon Gutierrez: I thought I would make a hard push in the fifth mile. I threw a couple of surges in the middle of the race to see how everyone else was feeling. People warned me not to let guys like (former champions) Tracy Lokken and Peter Magill near me towards the end because they're such good kickers.
I live in Alamosa, Colorado, and so the conditions were not that bad. The cold didn't bother me, and I was used to the hard surface.
For more information on the meet, please click on http://www.usatf.org
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