SAN FRANCISCO - The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) unseated defending women's team Champions, See Jane Run, and the men of ZAP Fitness held off Team XO to win the open team titles at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships Saturday in San Francisco, Calif.
Intermittent rain and temperatures in the mid-fifties met the record field of nearly 1200 runners as America's top post-collegiate club teams came to Golden Gate Park for the eighth annual event, which featured open and masters races at 10-kilometers for men and 6-kilometers for women.
Amy Hastings from Tempe, Ariz., who represented Team USA at the 2003 World Junior Cross Country Championships, took command after the mile mark and gradually separated herself from the field as she went on to win the open women's title in 19:59, defeating Catherine Ferrell (Eugene, Ore.) by 16 seconds. 2003 USA Junior Cross Country Champion Clara Peterson (Runsom, New Jersey) -- a native of nearby Oakland, Calif -- finished third in 20:18.
The BAA women's team came to San Francisco with their minds set on winning their third team title since 1998 and after finishing second in two out of the previous three years they accomplished their mission, scoring 140 points to defeat the women of Wisconsin Runner RT by seven points. See Jane Run rounded out the top three, scoring 158 points.
In the open men's race, 1999 Big-Ten Cross Country Champion Matt Downin of Madison, Wis. (Wisconsin Runner RT), was content to sit behind Thomas Morgan of Blowing Rock, N.C. (ZAP Fitness), and Max King of Bend, Ore. (Team XO), until 8 km before making his move to pull away for a four second win over Morgan, running 30:13 to win his second individual title at USATF National Club Cross Country Championships.
Morgan's runner-up finish led ZAP Fitness to their first ever USATF National Team title, with 52 points for a 31 point win over Team XO. Host team, Asics Aggies finished third with 136 points.
The master's women's championship saw 1996 Olympian Linda Somers Smith of Arroyo Grande, Calif. (Asics Aggies) go directly to the front at the gun and build a seven second lead by 2 km. Somers Smith eased her way through the remaining 4 km, finishing in 22:15 for a ten second overall win and the 45-49 age group title ahead of Alysun Deckert (Seattle Running Club).
Somers Smith's win also led the Asics Aggies to the 40+ team title while The Impala Racing Team captured the 50+ crown and the Tamalpa Runners Inc. took the 60+ team title.
Additional individual national age group titles were won by; Alysun Deckert (40-44); Christine Kennedy (50-54); Kathryn Martin (55-59); Janet Bowman (60-64); Melody Anne Schultz (65-69); and Barbara Robben (70 and over).
In masters men's race Tracy Lokken of Marquette, Mich. (Front Line Racing Team), was the surprise winner of the 10-kilometer title, in a time of 32:44, upsetting defending champion Peter Magill of South Pasadena, Calif. (Team Runners High), who finished third in 32:52. Danny Martinez of Alhambra, Calif. (Run with Us) was runner-up in 32:51.
Lokken's overall win led the Front Line Racing Team to the 40+ team title as Club Northwest took the 50+ title; the Raritan Valley Road Runners won the 60+ division; and Snohomish Track Club won the 70+ team title.
Individual age group titles were also earned by; Lokken (40-44); Magill (45-49); Kenneth Leinbach (50-54); Joseph Schieffer (55-59); Chuck MacDonald (60-64); Hans Schmid (65-69); and Billy Iffrig (70+).
Amy Hastings (open women)–Clara turned to me after the mile and said 'let's take it out'. This was just like indoor track (Hastings won the NCAA indoor 5k; Horowitz was second) last season. We've been going back and forth throughout our college career (Hastings has indoor and outdoor track eligibility remaining at Arizona State University), and it looks like we'll be going back and forth as pros.
I came out here with a couple of guys from school to have a fun weekend. I really needed a break from finals. I'm familiar with this course, having raced the Pac-10 championships here two years ago. I really like this course. After I commited to going for it, my thought was to just hang on. The last 600 meters I was hurting.
Matt Downin (open men)–I knew I was ready to run decent. I had a little bit of a rough stretch training after my son was born in July, and I finally turned the corner in mid-September. There were about 4 or 5 guys grouped up at 8 km. I took the lead with about 1200 meters to go, and thought that I could run it in from there, and opened up a bit when we hit the horse track. I was really looking forward to this test today.
Linda Somers-Smith (women's masters)–I had bunion surgery in May, and I was told that I might not get to run again. The surgery actually fixed my stride. I ran the Pacific Association championships three weeks ago off three weeks of training. The plan was to get out fast. I went out too slow, and got boxed in. I wanted to go out hard even if I died. I felt great until about mile two, then it hit me.
Tracy Lokken (men's masters)–This is a great feeling winning my first national title. I felt pretty good. This is the second cross country race I've run in seventeen years.
I was patient after (defending champion) Pete Magill tried to pull away after four miles. I'm pretty strong on the hills. I knew that if I could get ahead with about a half mile to go, that I'd have an excellent shot at it.
The USATF National Club Cross Country Championships featured the elite clubs from across the United States vying for top honors and bragging rights as the nation's best cross country teams. Over 60 clubs and 1200 competitors took part in the event.
For more information about the 2006 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.