Tag: New England Championships

King is Queen, Ashe is Back

By Jim Dandeneau

On a spectacular November day fit for cross-country, Eric Ashe and Jillian King both won their first USATF New England Cross-Country title at historic Franklin Park in Boston. After a one year hiatus due to course renovations, with last year’s championships held at Stanley Park Westfield, MA, the racing returned in the 100th year since cross-country began in 1914 (at Franklin field).

King, 23, a 2013 Boston College graduate, dominated the USATF-NE 6K championship winning in a time of 20:48.84, leading her New Balance Boston team to victory. King, who took a lengthy break from racing following the outdoor track season, broke away from a tight pack going up famed Bear Cage Hill, prior to 1.5 miles, coasting to victory by 15 seconds over Katrina Spratford, 23, of NE Distance, with Joanna Murphy, 29, and Sydney Fitzpatrick, 24, both of New Balance Boston in 3rd and 4th respectively. “The first mile (completed in 5:24) felt like a hard tempo. I decided to make a move going up Bear Cage hill…I love hills. I do alot of hill work on Heartbreak. This is only my 2nd post-collegiate cross country race,” said the Scotia, NY native who is back to running “in the 50′s” for mileage with workouts split between her alma mater’s cross country team (where she is a volunteer coach), and her New Balance Boston team. King, who is presently applying to medical and grad schools, stated she is planning on running the the USATF National Club Country Championships at River’s Edge Golf Course in Bend, OR scheduled for December 14th prior to hitting the indoor track circuit. The New Balance Boston women’s team scored a nearly perfect 17 points with the Boston Athletic Association (62 points) finishing second and Greater Boston Track Club (70 points) finishing 3rd.

Ashe, a 2011 Boston University graduate, broke away from a pack of 8 runners just after 4 miles running to a somewhat surprising victory in 30:49.99, for the 10K distance. Ashe, a Boston Athletic Association member who is only in his 8th week of running following a serious heel injury likely caused by high arches, won by a comfortable 7 second margin over teammate Sam Alexander. In fact, the B.A.A. showed its incredible depth by also taking spots 3-4 with Dan Harper and Brian Harvey just over 1 and 4 seconds behind Alexander, 23, who was running at the front of the pack prior to Ashe making his move, with Colman Hatton rounding out the BAA scoring in 10th, leading to a dominating victory of just 18 points. New Balance Boston (with 56 points) was runner up while Western Mass Distance project, aided by the 7th place finisher Kevin Johnson, finished 3rd in the team standings with 72 points.

Ashe, 25, a Hanson, MA native, who has tremendous range (PR’s include a 4:03 mile and 2:26 marathon on the challenging Cape Cod course), decided to put the foot on the accelerator following relatively slow splits of 4:55 (mile), 10:02 (2 miles) and 15:48 (5K). When Ashe surged no one could go with him “I could sense the guys around me getting a bit tired. I pressed it a bit up Bear Cage and continued to keep a gap,” stated Ashe, the UMass Boston assistant track and field coach. “I was able to cross-train in the summer riding a bike for 1 hour a day as hard as a could and 1 hour and 30 minutes on the weekends. When I got back running I started on a treadmill however I had to place it on an incline to get a good effort in. I also did alot of workouts for my core.” Ashe also plans on competing at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships and possibly the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in January 2014.

In the men’s master’s division Sandu Rebenciuc, 44, of the Greater Springfield Harriers cruised to victory in 26:44 for the 8K distance. In 2000, he had also won the New England Open men’s title, becoming just the second male athlete to win the USATF NE Open and Master’s division (Mark Coogan 1991 and 1997). Rebenciuc, a Romania native, and Augustana College (Rock Island, IL) graduate where he was the 1991 National Division III cross-country champion, made a break in the second wilderness loop from a pack that included Amherst College men’s track and country country coach Erik Nedeau, Peter Hammer (47, of Needham, MA), Chris Magill (40, Cumberland, RI), Greg Putnam (44, Stoneham, MA), Harry Stants (40, Needham, MA), and Binney Mitchell (44 Burlington, VT).

Rebenciuc, the owner of a 23:29 8k best at Franklin Park stated, “I’m just coming back to racing again. When Erik Nedeau started to press I went with him and I pressed it a little. I’m only running about 50 miles a week…I’ve had some stomach problems lately…I might be a bit anemic…I’m not sure about club nationals yet…it depends on the team. I’d like to take a shot at the over 45 American record in the steeple (9:17) next year.” In the men’s team race, the Boston Athletic Association, with Hammer and Magill finishing 2-3, Stants 5th and O’Neil 10th, easily claimed the New England title.

In the women’s master’s race (combined with he open race) Diana Bowser, (40, Needham, MA and spouse of Peter Hammer), racing back into shape after the birth of her second child, won the New England Master’s title in 22:57 over Mimi Fallon, 48, Walpole, MA by 29 seconds.

Wrapping Up At the New England XC Championships

The premise was simple: get as many people on camera with one or two consistent questions. It’s always more fun with more people involved and we thought it would be interesting to see how the responses varied. Here’s how it turned out:


– I couldn’t resist mashing up the Regnier scream (from Monday’s ‘One Word Or Less’ segment) with footage of his kick. So, in case you’re wondering, he doesn’t actually yell like that when running

Kevin Johnson‘s six course pre-race breakfast, and he’s eating an apple while telling us about it.

– Did Joanna Murphy know about Victoria Barnaby‘s fall when she said that her personal highlight was not falling on the downhills? Too soon, Joanna, too soon.

I was surprised at the number of times eggs came up as part of a pre-race breakfast. I always figured they’d be too heavy and/or greasy so pretty much stuck to lighter stuff. Looking at the finishing times of these people makes me think I should try eating more eggs before I run. Or during? Raw eggs at the water stations, anyone? Anyone?

Being out of competition mode for over a year now has helped me forget the insane quantities of food that runners consume. Although Brielle Chabot wasn’t asked that question as part of her interview, she did tell us that she was headed home after the race for an early Thanksgiving celebration with her friends. Come to find out later that she stopped at McD’s on the way and got herself a double cheeseburger and fries, then had herself a Thanksgiving feast when she got home (and again at 1 am). At first I was surprised when I heard that, but then it seemed about right after going back and listening to some of the other pre-race meal responses.

It’s okay though. When one works as hard as the good people of Level Legion do, you need all the fuel to keep the furnace burning.

One last thing before we wrap up our coverage of this event. Check out what our friends over at the Central Park Track Club had so say about the race. Let’s get some friendly rivalries built up here! We’ve already received a challenge from Dirigo RC:

No reason why we can’t extend the competition further south, right?

Women’s 6k XC Championship

Sandwiched between the men’s masters and open 8k races on Sunday was the ladies 6k championship. The ladies of the Central Park Track Club made the long trek out to Westfield, and they came prepared. They went toe to toe with the likes of New Balance Boston and the GBTC and emerged victorious.

The New Yorkers took three of the top five spots and put seven in the top twenty. The only thing missing was the individual crown, which Mary Kate Champagne (NBB) was able to nab by holding off Rolanda Bell (CPTC) on the final loop of the field.

When the ladies passed by after initially looping the field on the way to the woods, it looked to be anybodies race. The lead pack was big and diverse and it was very difficult to call. Although with Champagne and Krystal Douglas leading the charge, NBB certainly looked poised to take it all.

Here are some race highlights and quick interviews with a couple of speedy Level regulars (Kyle Linn Feldman and Brielle Chabot):

As we alluded to earlier, how about that kick by Victoria Barnaby? Hilary Dionne is no slouch and Victoria was able to reel her in down the home stretch. What makes it even more impressive is that she did it after taking a bit of a tumble in the last half mile or so.

Victoria’s bloody knees (courtesy of Joe Navas…the pic, not the bloodied knees)

And even more impressive is that after she picked herself up and finished the race strong, she got to work covering the race for The Level. Now that’s the type of effort we applaud here.

We just might still have some stuff up our sleeve from this race, so stay tuned.

Cover shot is courtesy of Scott Mason Photography.

New England XC Championships: Men’s Races

Presented by Sigvaris performance and recovery compression gear.

Three races out in Westfield yesterday. That’s a lot to cover, but The Level is up to the challenge. How would we describe our performance in one word or less? I’ll have to defer to Jesse Regnier on this one.

First up in our coverage was the Men’s Masters 8k. The story here is the Greater Springfield Harriers. They swept the top three spots, four of the top six and all five in the top 23. Nahom, Lemme, Burdett…they just kept coming. Could anyone stop them? Greg Putnam (CMS) and Binney Mitchell (GMAA) broke up the GSH party, but then Sandu Rebenciuc was there to pick up the slack.

Here’s some finish line video including interviews with Kent Lemme (GSH)and Michael McGrane (BAA).

After watching the masters have the run of the course, it was time for the youngsters to have at it. This field was deep, with quite a few runners in it that we’ve featured here before for individual wins of their own. The stage was set for the GBTC (featuring Ruben Sança in his first race back since competing in the London Olympics) and the a deep BAA team (led by Brian Harvey) to head to head. Of course, Sean Duncan and the WMDP boys weren’t going to be left out of this one.

There was a good, strong pack up front that covered ground effortlessly as the runners passed by the finish area, looping the fields before disappearing into the woods to battle it out. Ruben was up there, but in the midst of a strong BAA pack. Laying just off the pack was Sean Duncan, a lone wolf waiting for his chance to strike.

The BAA appeared to be cruising towards the team title, but with the likes of GBTC, Central Park Track Club, CMS, and New Balance Boston lurking, who was to say how it’d look once they emerged from the woods for the final push to the line?

As you can see in the video, the BAA closed it out strong and locked down the championship. Ruben Sança did something that you don’t see too often: he out-kicked Brian Harvey. Seeing it happen live, it appeared that Ruben’s final margin of victory was much larger than the one second that shows up in the results. That is a testament to just how much ground those guys can cover in one measly second.

Need to also mention the finish by one Colman Hatton of the BAA. He kept pushing and pushing, using every last inch of real estate to just sneak by Paul Rupprecht (New Balance Boston). It just might’ve been the finish of the day. But I have a feeling you might see a kick by Victoria Barnaby in our coverage of the women’s race that will challenge Colman for that honor.

But that’s coming later, so stay tuned…

Cover shot courtesy of Joe Navas.

You may have noticed the big Sigvaris ad on the right side of the homepage. Sigvaris supports the Level so please consider checking them out. The more business we bring to our sponsors, the better free coverage we can bring to Level Legion.

One Word Or Less on XC…

While the meat of the USATF-NE New England XC Championships coverage is being worked on, we were able to put together this entertaining montage of interview clips. The premise was simple: sum up your performance in one word or less.

As you know, there’s a ton of hard work that not only goes into the race, but into the preparation leading up to it. The races themselves go by fast and then the atmosphere afterwards is usually pretty loose and fun. This is a just an example of us having a little fun with some good people (and fast runners) after the work for the day was done. You gotta let your hair down and have some fun, otherwise the hard work will wear on you! Between this and the $1 draft specials at Whip City, I think plenty of fun was had.

The more serious stuff is on the way.

Home page cover shot courtesy of Joe Navas.

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