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Top Masters athletes vie for cross country titles in Tallahassee


TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Apalachee Regional Park welcomes back runners for their second consecutive USATF Cross Country Championships. Masters men toe the line first for their 8 km race at 9:15 AM.

Fans can watch on demand on USATF.TV+.

Based on David Angell’s podium performance at the 2018 USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Spokane, he enters as the favorite to finish first. John Gardiner, who raced to 3rd on this course in the 2016 Club Cross Country Championships over 10 Km will give chase, as will his teammate, Jacques Salberg. Salberg, who finished 28 seconds back from Angell in Spokane, took first at these Championships when they were in Boulder CO in 2015 and in Bend OR in 2016 and 2017. The Women’s race goes off an hour later. Jennifer Bayliss came in first last year in this 6 km race. Bayliss also won the 10K Masters Championships in April and finished on the podium at the Masters 5K in Atlanta. She had some slower races later in the year so may be focusing on just getting points for her team. Laura Bosley, Jill Braley, Jody Hawkins, and Marisa Sutera Strange will challenge for the win in any case. Bosley, a 3-time All American at UW-Parkside a few years back, returns to the national scene with some strong road races in her native Wisconsin this past year. Braley took 2nd at the Masters 5 Km Cross Country Championships last fall. Hawkins, who won this race in St. Louis in 2013, lit up the roads in Texas late in 2018, and will be looking for another dose of cross country magic. Some might think that Hawkins’s 52 years work against her, but Strange was 54 last year when she finished 4th in these championships.


Top prizes are awarded to runners with the highest age-grading scores. Age-Grading is a statistically based assessment of how a runner’s actual time compares to the projected ‘world’s best’ time for that runner’s age and gender. Sabra Harvey, 69, the 2017 Masters Road Runner of the Year and the 2018 Masters Harrier of the Year, returns to defend her Age-Grading title. She ran 26:32 for a comfortable win at 94.37% last year. Strange, 55, finished 2nd to Harvey in these Championships last year and at the 5 Km Masters Championships. Jeanette Groesz, 69, the Age-Grading champion at the 2017 Half Marathon Championships, has finished on the age-grading podium at each of the last two Club Cross Country Championships. The Men’s side features another battle between Nat Larson, 56, Joe Sheeran, 61, and Roger Sayre, 60. Larson, who had 3 age-grading wins on the road racing portion of the 2018 Masters Grand Prix circuit, was on the podium here last year with a 27:39 for a 90.23%. He took the Men’s 40-59 age grading title in Spokane with a 90.36% over 10 Km, while Sheeran scored 91.23% to Sayre’s 88.44% in the 8 Km race. They will all be in the same 8 Km race here; it should be quite a tussle.


Age Division National Championships will also be awarded. The Women’s favorites include: 40-44 Jill Braley 45-49 Jennifer Bayliss 50-54 Jody Hawkins 55-59 Marisa Sutera Strange 60-64 Susan ‘Lynn’ Cooke 65-69 Sabra Harvey 70-74 Terry Foody 75-79 Catherine Radle. Bosley should give Braley a battle in W40 and if Bayliss is off her game, Nancy Thomas, who was 2nd in Spokane and 4th here last year, should take the division. Carolyn Mather will be battling Foody all the way for the W70 title.

Men’s favorites include: 40-44 David Angell 45-49 John Gardiner 50-54 Christian Cushing-Murray 55-59 Nat Larson 60-64 Joe Sheeran 65-69 Chuck Smead 70-74 Rick Katz 75-79 David Turner 80-84 John Elliott. Angell will be pressed by Sallberg and Sayre will try to translate his recent road dominance into Cross Country parity with Sheeran. Kirk Larson finished 4 seconds behind Smead at last year’s race and they should battle to the finish line again this year. Katz has the recent edge over Lloyd Hansen, but only by 5 seconds at Spokane. Kent Lemme won the M50 division last year, with Cushing-Murray second, but Lemme had an off day in Spokane. If recovered, he will give Cushing-Murray a battle.


Team Championships: Women 40 and up-San Francisco Bay’s Impala Racing Team should have a slight edge over the Atlanta Track Club. Women 50+-The addition of Hawkins to the New Balance Tampa Masters should give them a good shot at ending the stranglehold the Athena Track Club has had on first place in this division; Women 60 and up-Oregon’s Team Red Lizard should repeat. Women 70+ Atlanta Track Club is unopposed. Men 40 and up-Cal Coast should be able to repel a strong challenge from the Atlanta Track Club and the Genesee Valley Harriers (GVH). Men 50+ -the Greater Springfield Harriers have dominated this division in recent years. In their absence, the Atlanta Track Club and GVH should battle to the wire. Men 60+-The Boulder Road Runners enter as slight favorites in the most competitive Masters division, but the Atlanta Track Club will be right there with them. Men 70+—the Atlanta Track Club should claim this win but will be pushed by GVH.


Northern runners, coaches and spectators will enjoy the 50-degree temperatures after surviving this week’s subzero ‘Polar Vortex’ temperatures; all runners will enjoy racing on the Apalachee course, with its spectator-friendly layout and the large screen showcasing the competition. Videos of the Masters races will be available on demand at after the races.


Submitted by

Paul Carlin

Masters LDR/Media Coordinator

Running Professor, LLC/

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