Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Race Summaries - Catching Up - Part 3

The Kickin Assphault Runs took place in Great Falls on the 27th. The results are not very detailed; but, here is what I could decipher.

In the 1/2 Marathon, Joe Thronburg took the overall win in 1:23:42. Alison Fitzsimmons took the women's crown in 1:34:19.

On the 10K side, Jacquie Maillet took the overall win in 46:15. Jacquie has been fighting some injury issues in the last 12 to 18 months; so, it's good to see her back on the roads. 2nd overall and 1st male was Mark Barry in 46:23.

The trail circuit continued with the Lolo Pass Mountain To Meadow event (also on the 27th). The 5K event was won by Chris Jessop in 17:34 for a 3:00 + win. The women's title went to Katie Knotek in 22:15.

The longer race (results list it as a 14-mile) saw two of the better men and women runners in the state. One week after a strong run at the Wulfman CDT 14K, Nicole Hunt took the win in 1:36:22 finishing 5:41 ahead of 2nd place. Jimmy Grant continues to prep for the Missoula Marathon with a 1:20:34 performance. Dominating much like Nicole on the women's side, Jimmy's win differential was 5:43.

I'll post the Beartooth Run winner's as soon as they post some information on their website.

The Muddy Buzzard.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Race Summaries - Catching Up - Part 2

Still more racing from the weekend of the 13th (Big Weekend for Montana racing). Missoula hosted the Pengelley Double Dip, a 13-mile trail race up and around Mount Sentinel. Andrew Drobek scored a comfortable win in 1:46.26 for a 3 1/2 minute win. The top 6 were rounded out by Aaron Derry (1:49:53), Mike Foote (1:52:41), Hunter Nelson (1:56:40), Primo Latino (alias of ?????)(1:58:12) and Zack Strong (1:59:08).

The women's side also saw a comfortable winner as Kelly Peterson ran 2:01:24 to beat Jenny Newton by almost 4 minutes (2:05:11). Trisha Miller, who has ran strong on the roads this year ran 2:07.07.

The shorter single dip (5 miles +-) was won by Scott Marron in 43:29. Rye Palen was 2nd overall and first woman in 45:08.

A rare mid-week race had the ZPT Summer Stolstice Road Mile in Bozeman. Top Dog was Chris Baldus in 4:52.9. Adam Rick joined Baldus in the sub-5 category with a 4:57.3. They were followed by Matt Edwards in 5:00.1, Dewey Peacock in 5:02.1 and Kal Tucker in 5:17.1. 1st Master and 9th overall was Tim Dumas in 5:34.4.

The women's race was won by Holly Walker. Her 10th place overall time of 5:37.9 was a new age-group record.

Moving on to the weekend of the 20th. The Wulfman CDT 14K is detailed in it's own post elsewhere.

Also that weekend was the Herron Hustle 5.5 Mile trail race in Kalispell. Flathead High Schooler Leif Castron took the win in 35:45, for a 1:01 cushion over 2nd place. The women's race was close as Jenny Schon held off Tara Trotter, 49:41 to 49:42.

June 27th was another big weekend on the state racing circuit. But, so far the only race posting results has been the Whitefish Lake Run. The races men's races were quite competitive in both the 5K and the 10K events.

In the 5K, Seth Grossman won in 15:55, ahead of fellow Flathead HS alum Caleb Ambrose (16:12). The top 5 were rounded out by Zack Perrin (Lakeside - 14 years old) in 16:27, Doug Neil of Bozeman in 17:33 and Steve Mortley (Big Fork) (First Master) in 17:38.

The women's race was won by perennial Flathead top racer Vonda Garcia in 19:46.

The 5K was taken by Carl Nystuen in 32:27, with Northern Arizona alum Seth Watkins in 32:56. Scott Gaiser, 47, was 3rd overall and 1st master in 35:27.7, just holding off high school ace Leif Castren in 35:27.9. Ted Burnham wa 5th overall in 35:46.

Lonnie Hanson, Whitefish HS XC standout was first women in 41:31.

More on this past weekends races as soon as the sites post some results.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Race Summaries - Catching Up - Part 1

A little behind in summarizing some of the recent race results; so, thought I better get caught up.

First up - Heart and Sole Races in Billings, June 13th.

Men's 5K - Alan King continues his superb year with an easy win in 16:10, winning by 1:39. 16:10 solo race on a course that is notoriously a bit slow.

The women's 5K was a barn burner. Amber Watson, who runs for Alan on the Rocky Mountain College XC and distance track teams took the win in 19:52. She was followed by super master Karen Sanford Gall (49) in 20:04; and, it stayed close from thre - MacKenzie O'Dore (16 - from Joliet) was 3rd in 20:09, then Lisa Minnehan (an athlete of Dave Coppock's from MSU-Billings) in 20:12 and triathlete Jennifer Drinkwalter in 20:33. So, the top 5 women within 40 seconds of each other. Not something that you see on the roads in Montana very often.

In the 10K, Kurt Klevin was visiting from Oklahoma City and won in 35:15. On the women's side, Sarah Graves continues a solid year with a 38:28.

Jim Bridger Trail Run - also on 6/13/09 - Bozeman, 10 miles.

Dewey Peacock was right at home on the trails in his backyard and got a comfortable win in 1:18:30. Master Mike Telling was 2nd overall in 1:24:40, finishing a mere 10 seconds ahead of Justin Prigge. The women's race was super close with Lindsey Diefenderfer taking a 1 second win over Minde Erickson - 1:39:00 to 1:39:01.

More later

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thomas Jodoin - Wulfman Post Race

As with Nicole Hunt, I had the opportunity to get some comments from Thomas Jodoin after his Wulfman CDT 14K victory last weekend. Thomas gives some great insight into how the race unfolded and how he was able to get his long legs to turn over so quick on the trails.

Muddy Buzzard (MB): So, as the defending champion, how did it feel to be only seeded 3rd for this year's event? And, on a related note, do you think starting 3rd was an advantage or a disadvantage?

Thomas Jodoin (TJ): In the end, it was just exciting to see so many of the top runners from the state gathering in one place to race head to head; and, the inner kicker in me really enjoyes starting from behind and being the hunter. I really saw the 3rd seedd as an advantage. If you caught the guys ahead of you, it's then on their back to make a move to get the time back.

MB: How far up the trail were you when you made up the stagger on the second seed (Reynolds) and the first seed (Winter), respectively?

TJ: After about the first 2 minutes I could tell up made up a few seconds on Lynn. I told myself to keep it steady as there was no need to really push before the real climbing. At about 2k Lynn and I caught up to Matt and ran single file over the ups and downs before the big climb starting at the Beaver Ponds trail junction.

My plan was to really push the switchbacks after the Beaver Ponds trail. Lynn and I both passed Matt as the climbing started. After that I ran behind Lynn all the way up to the top. I was able to catch a glimpse of Keifer 2 switch backs down and he was really flying uphill. When you are running behind someone that is over 2 minutes faster than you over 8k (and Keifer hunting you down) and its only 5k into the race you get timid and wonder if you are in over your head. I was really in a bind because I am not a great downhill runner so I should have been trying to get as much gap as I could but didnt want to blow myself up (14k is the 3rd longest race I've ever done). At that point I was very happy to have maintained contact with someone of Lynn's caliber.

Lynn and I ran together on the blazing downhill. In fact a couple time he put a few second gap on me through the tight switchbacks. However I was able to get back in contact on any flat or uphill portion of trail. At about 7k I started to think about making a move and finally went by on the flat right before 8k.

MB: How much incentive did you feel to chase after the $100 winner's bonus for the sub-4 min/km pace and how did you balance that pursuit with your racing tactics among such a talented field of runners?

TJ: I figured the winner would be under 56 so it was just a matter of trying to stay with the leaders. I didn't start thinking of sub 56 until 2k to go when I saw that I was at roughly 50:00. I thought it would be pretty tough to run 3 min kilometers at that point but I kept thinking that someone would be flying downhill and catch me at any moment. So I tried to keep pushing. Someday I might be able to shake the sit and kick mentality!

MB: Will you be back again next year to go for the "three-peat," and if so, what are your ideas about eclipsing your standing course record for the N-S course?

TB: Its hard to predict for next year. I keep telling myself I want to do one last track season and improve some of my times from college. Its a great course with great people involved I cant imagine I'd really be able to resist. Can't predict any specific result but I think the 58:51 can be taken down easily. I'd imagine this race will start to attract some regional and national caliber trail running specialists and that would be great for some fast times.

MB: Do you prefer the Homestake to Pipestone route or the Pipestone - Homestake direction?

TJ: Leaning towards the Homestake to Pipestone route purely for the view of the Tobacco Roots, Highlands, and Pintlers.

MB: You height doesn't fit the typical build of a top end trail racer. What's your secret to running so well on the trails in spite of the long legs?

TJ: Anyone can be a trail runner provided you have the endurance to handle the distance. Plyometrics and agility drills to develop coordination and foot strength. Training day in and day out on the Helena South Hills trails doesn't hurt. I also just tell myself that Peter Dan Sullivan is chasing me downhill. Trust me its horrifying how he just barrels down with no concern of disaster.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nicole Hunt Wulfman Post Race

I had the chance to catch up with Nicole Hunt after her dominating win at the Wulfman CDT 14K Trail Race last weekend (6/20/09) in Butte.

Muddy Buzzard (MB): So, how did you feel about your performance?

Nicole (NH): I was really quite happy with the race. I had time trialed the course over the Memorial Day weekend (one of the advantages of the course being in your (almost) "backyard"). I ran 68:40 - so to run 4:30 faster in the race (finish time of 64:10) was a bit of a suprise. The performance really gives me a confidence boost as I get ready to compete for a spot on the US Mountain Running Team.

MB: Tell us some more about the Mountain Running Team.

NH: In 2006 I was 2nd overall and first American at the Mt. Washington race in New Hampshire. As a result of that performance I was selected for the US Team that competed in the Work Championhsips in Bursa, Turkey. In that race I was 9th overall and 1st American, Leading the US to the team championships. It was all such a great experience that I want to make another attempt at making the US team. The qualifying race will be July 26th in Colorado Springs.

MB: What were your primary goals for the race today?

NH: I wanted to run faster than the race's bonus time of 66:00 and to beat certain local male runners (she so politely refused to name the names of us unfortunate souls who were in her crosshairs :-) )

MB: Which was a bigger incentive for you - the sub-66:00 time or chasing the guys who started ahead of you? And, how many guys did you catch on the course?

NH: The bigger incentive was the time goal. But, I was motivated by running after the guys ahead of me on the trail. I think I got 6 to 8 men on the trail.

MB: What kind of advantage was it to be able to train on the trail prior to the event?

NH: The biggest advantage was knowing how long the initial climb should take. I knew that once I got to the top of the climb, I could then settle into my race and push for time.

MB: It's been about a year since Eon's birth. How close are you to your pre-maternity fitness?

NH: Well, I'm happy with my racing and I'm getting closer all the time; but, I still feel like I'm 15-20 seconds per mile slower than 2006. [MB editorial not - guys, when she really gets fit, you better watch out!!!!]

Thanks to Nicole for taking the time out to answer our questions today.

See you on the roads, tracks and trials -

The Muddy Buzzard

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MT Athlete Catch Up

Catching up on a few Montana and ex-Montana athletes.

Kelly Fulton ran the Dick Beardsley Half-Marathon at Grandma's last weekend. On a warm day (which seems to have become a bit of the norm in Duluth the last few years), Kelly ran 1:18:48 for 49th overall. Kelly's working this summer at an outdoor camp in Michigan running their canoe shop. Wife Liz is the camp cook.

Kalispell H.S. standout David Vidal has taken to coaching at his college alma mater Stanford. He had a solid career on The Farm; but, given the talent of some of his team mates, his performaces were often overhadowed by national champion types. None the less, he has stuck with the sport and is now being credited as the coaching guide behind some of Stanford's current starts such as Lauren Centrowitz and Chris Derrick.

For the old-timers, you may remember Grizzly great Dave Gordon. In the late '70's and very early '80's, he and Tom Raunig were perhaps the two best UM runners ever. Dave then went on to a 4th place finish at the 1984 Olympic Trials marathon as an Athletics West athlete. Due to a torn ACL, Dave has given up running as his primary sport and has turned to cycling (ala Renee' Coppock). See the attached link to a good story on Dave's current sport passion. http://www.theolympian.com/sports/highlight/story/887134.html

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wulfman Pix

Jeff Thomas Announcing @ Finish

The King Family

Sunshine - We Don't Need No Stinkin' Sunshine

The Awards Area (left) - The Nicole and her two kids (right)

The Top Women (below)

Wulman CDT 14K Awards

For the math geeks among us - The Prime Men
(1st, 3rd and 5th)

The Wulfman's Fur Gets Wet

The only thing hot about yesterdays Wulfman's CDT 14K in Butte was the racing. The day started out cool and misty............................and things deteriorated from there. When I got to the bus pick up point at Homestake Pass off I-90, the car thermometer read 49 degrees. Then, the steady, drizzling rain got started in earnest and the temp began to drop. On the up side, once it hit 45 degrees or so it pretty much held steady and we didn't see any snow. (Hey, don't laugh - snow on the first day of summer isn't such a rare thing in Butte or the surrounding mountains!!!) The race's namesake (I think that John "The Wulfman" Wulf would have loved the conditions - cause all of us that grew up running in Butte know that weather like this makes you "Strong Like Bull") (BTW - the ghost of Wulfman was present on the course as evidenced by the empty Miller Lite can sitting trail side at about 3K - he must have been out keeping an eye on his people :-)

The organizers (The Butte Piss and Moan Runners) did a great job of pulling off the race. And, when you consider the conditions, their efforts were monumental. Some of the people that I saw working hard on race day included Ray and Nicole Hunt (man, they looked tired at the end of the day), Ray Matteson, Don Sundberg, Jim Ryan, Bruce Robinson and Eddie Walker. And, my old friend Jeff Thomas did a great job getting running out of the gate and doing the announcing at the awards. I know that there had to be others; but, wanted to give you an idea of how much the local running community came together to put on a great event for the rest of us.

And, I would be remiss if I didn't thank the Homestake Lodge for opening up their facilities to a bunch of cold, wet running freaks. They have a great facility located in a wonderful setting. Make sure you think of them the next time you're looking for a place to XC ski or snowshoe in southwest Montana (find out more about them at www.homestakelodge.com). And, as several of us discussed, it would be an outstanding location for a summer XC or running camp.

And now, on to the racing. The course was run (as it will be in all odd number years) from Pipestone Pass to Homestake pass along 14 Kilometers (8.70 miles) of the Continental Divide Trail. The first several kilometers are primarily uphill; but, then you get into some serious downhill sections in the middle part of the course. With the race being along the top of the Continental Divide, elevation is an issue (6,300' +-) and the thin air made it's presence felt on the more serious inclines.

The wet weather made the course conditions a bit treacherous in spots. Even the decomposed granite of the Boulder Batholith (the geology geeks among us will know what I'm talking about) couldn't quite keep up with the persistent rain. And, in some of the low spots, the mud was a bit slimy. And, the cool (but not quite cold temps) made it a challenge to choose the right clothing. (The Buzzard himself was wishing that he had gone to heavier gloves and a long sleeve jersey.) And, it was interesting to see the footwear choices. There were trail specific racing shoes, trail trainers, XC spikes, road flats and road trainers. You name it, somebody was probably wearing it. All thing being equal - if I had a good pair of trail racing shoes, that's what I would have worn on this course.

Due to the narrow trail conditions, it's necessary that this race be held in a staged, time trial type of format. With runners going out every 10 seconds starting at 9:00, it's not quite as clear cut as to who is actually running the fastest. The only thing for certain is that you're always trying to stay ahead of the folks who started behind you and trying to catch the runners who started ahead of you. (And, an interesting note on the tight switchbacks. Several times I found myself thinking that "that runner's not too far ahead, there they are right below/above me. But, by the time that you hit the corner and turn the opposite direction, it turns out that they have more distance on you than you thought.)

There were very few places on the course where you could really keep and maintain a good rhythm. All the terrain changes were one thing; but, the tight corners and switchbacks were crazy. At times, it felt like kamikaze running as you tried to maintain some semblance of speed and momentum as you cranked the turns. But, it was a quintessential trail race. And, when you have people who know the sport putting on a top quality race on a fantastic venue, the runners will show.

On the overall side, they almost met their 240 runner quota - I believe that they had 235 register and there were 217 actual finishers. To only have 18 runners not show up on a day like this is a testament to the depths of our obsession of outdoing the postal service. 92% of the runners duly made their rounds today.

On the front end racing side, it was sort of like a mini Montana Cup. The open men's and women's races had some of the top competitors in the sport as did the master's men.

Let's start with the open men. Matt Winter, Lynn Reynolds, Thomas Jodoin, Alan King, Keifer Hahn, Quint Gidley, Austin Chapin, Brian Weick, Mike Asay and Jeremy Franks. Those were the top 10 guys line up in the starting chute. If we could have added a few more guys like Jimmy Grant, Dewey Peacock and the Neil and Wirth brothers, we would have pretty much filled out the who's who of 2009 Montana racing. The studs took it out hard. They were in search of the $100 prize for a sub 56:00 time (4:00 per K). Matt Winter had the pole position; but, he indicated that after the first 8 or 9K his legs were empty and he just didn't have it in him to close out the race. Alan King has had a solid year; but, he's a roadie and hasn't done much trail racing. And, in spite of his prowess over the steeple barriers, Lynn Reynold's youth had to give way to the experience of the post-collegians.

In the end, it came down to a battle between Jodoin (who has been on fire this year) and Hahn. And, Thomas was pretty much able to keep the gap consistent between he and Keifer (TJ was out 20 seconds ahead of KH) and got the win - 56:29 t0 56:24. Next up were King (57:37), Reynolds (58:22) and Winter (58:38). [Quint Gidley joined them in the sub-60:00 club wit his 59:47 6th place finish.]

For the women, Nicole Hunt was on a Mission. Run fast and get the sub-66:00 bonus of $100. She went out hard and fast and wasn't to be denied. She had recently time trialed the course and new exactly how long it was going to take to get up and over the high point of the course. And, when she hit her time goal, she knew that she could crank it on the 2nd half and get the $$'s. Here 64:10 got her the bonus, an 11th place overall finish and a 3:00 + win over Kristina Trygstad-Saari (67:25). They were followed in by Michelle Bazanella (69:27), Marta Fisher (75:05) and Debbie Gibson (and first master woman) in 75:27.

The master's men's field was also loaded. New master Mike Telling, ageless Kirk Keller, John Herring, Ray Hunt, Marvin Speece, Mark Slater, Mike Roberts, Tim Dumas and Tony Banovich. In the end, there were really 2 races. Mike running against the open guys and then there was the rest of us. (Now, we do have to give some leeway to Ray who was really busy with the race coordination and Marv who had to take his wife to the ED for kidney stones.) Telling was well clear of the next master ( + 3:22) as he finished 7th overall in 60:36.

Then, things tightened up a bit. Kirk Keller (at 50) was 9th overall and 2nd Master at 63:58 and was followed by Herring (64:43), Speece (65:51), Hunt (67:17), Banovich (67:45), Slater (69:26) and Roberts (70:04). Not a bad showing for the old guys.

My only regrets for the day are that it's such a fantastic course and you can't really appreciate the setting or some of Ray's course quirks when you're in racing mode. But, I did notice the aforementioned Miller Lite can/ghost of Wulman past marker at 3K, Diamond Jim said howdy from the warming hut just around 12K and Suzie Kaluza in a Tech cheer leading outfit with a mile to go was Classic. And, although I missed it, Alan King said he received a scare from the trail monster.

All in all, it was a great day to be a runner. You won't get any pissing and moaning from this old buzzard.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, June 15, 2009

Plains Day Follow Up

Just wanted to post the full results of the Plains Day 5K from June 6th.

June 6, 2009
Temp = 55ยบ, Overcast, Mild Breeze
Loop Course, Total Climb = 225', Total Descent = 225', Net Elevation Difference = 0'

Place Name City Sex Age Time

1 Dennis Brands Missoula M 22 17:09
2 Jacob Naegeli Trout Creek M 19 18:10
3 Tony Banovich Plains M 46 19:04
4 Carter Montgomery Plains M 15 19:32
5 Austin Pullan Thompson Falls M 14 20:18
6 Ryan Archibald Bigfork M 27 22:06
7 Lucas Grewell Thompson Falls M 13 22:47
8 Morgan Allgood "Colorado Springs, CO" M 14 22:57
9 Logan Naegeli Trout Creek M 13 26:10
10 Michelle Yoshinaga Clinton F 36 26:13
11 Shauna West Plains F 23 27:24
12 Randy West Plains M 33 27:25
13 Molly Tingley Plains F 30 31:15
14 Rhonda LeClair Plains F 53 32:10
15 Shailyne Ames Plains F 12 32:10
16 Sarah Naegeli Trout Creek F 45 32:59
17 Zoe Banovich Plains F 16 33:17
18 Rory Grant Plains M 10 33:25
19 Erin McCarthy Plains F 46 33:27
20 Meghan McCarthy-Grant Plains F 37 33:55
21 Tammy Smith Somers F 42 35:51
22 Cole McCrea Plains M 8 37:16
23 Jim LeClair Plains M 49 37:17
24 Andrew Portzen Plains M 15 44:06
25 Austin Bladwin "Urbana, IL" M 12 44:09
26 Shephanie Keeney Kalispell F 37 51:38
27 Robert Ames Plains M 9 52:53
28 Teresa Ames Plains F 10 57:38
29 Donna Weyers Plains F 68 60:02

USATF Officials Certification Clinic

For those of you who can make it to Missoula this week and who are interested in USATF Officials Certification.

USATF Officials Certification Clinic

When: Thursday, June 18th, 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Where: Sentinel High School, Missoula
Room: 227 (enter in front)
Cost: $15 plus USATF Membership fee
(if not already a member)

The Details:
Dennis Grue from Bozeman will be conducting the clinic to train Association and National level Officials for the current Olympiad through 2012. This is a great opportunity to learn the rules and regulations of the worlds greatest sport. Please call John Herring at 544-1742 to confirm your attendance or with any questions. You will need your USATF membership number prior to class.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Governor's Cup

The extravaganza known as the Governor's Cup took place this morning. New this year is that the events only included the 5K and 10K's. The 1/2 marathon, marathon and marathon relay will be held in conjunction with the Montana Marathon this September.

On the men's side, the race of the day was in the 10K. Thomas Jodoin continues his stellar season with a sub-33:00 10K. With his 32:53 he took a 9 second win over MSU Alum Kurt Michels. Just another 14 seconds back of Michels was Steve Hickman of Bozeman in 33:16 . 3 guys within 23 seconds of each other in a 10K in Montana - pretty exciting racing.

Then, there was a solid second-group race that was led by Greg Wirth of Helena in 36:07 followed by Brian Wieck in 36:29, and the Neil twins (Jake at 37:28 and Doug at 37:40).

9th overall was a Buzzard favorite and Montana Cup stud rick Judge in 37:54.

The men's masters race was tight with Chad Elkin (41) of Great Falls taking a 10 second win over 52-year old Kyle Kliker (P-burg) - 41:44 to 41:54.

The women's race was won by Genny Hanson of Helena in 40:38, getting the 20 second win over Kritina Trystad-Saari of Bozeman in 40:58.

Master's women winner was Debbie Gibson of Helena in 44:02.

In the 5K, Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge continues her return to top level racing after the birth of son Eon Journey. Her 19:00 gave her a 37 second win over Heidi Johnson Fry of Bozeman. To top off their performances, they finished 8th and 9th overall, taking the measure of most of the men in the field. The overall master's winner (and 4th overall women and 17th overall total) was the ageless Butte wonder woman - Suzie Kaluza (21:01).

On the men's side, Michael Fisher of Ronan just missed a sub-16:00 time. But, his 16:04 gave him a 56 second win over Forrest Lewton of Cardwell (Whitehall metopolitan area). Trail ace Dewey Peacock of Bozeman was a close 3rd (17:10) and then came master's ace Peter Dan Sullivan. In one of his few forays into racing this year, PDS came home in 17:24. Rounding out the top 5 was teenager Michael Barker of East Helena in 17:46.

Full results can be found at http://www.racecenter.com/

The Muddy Buzzard

Plains Day 5K - Saturday, June 6th

Rain Or Shine – The Running’s Fine

In spite of early morning showers, 29 hearty soles (pun intended) toed the starting line for the annual Plains Day 5K Run. The run, which kicked of the days’ celebration of all things Plains, was held on streets in town and on the roads along the base of the “P” Hill.

Although a steady rain made course set up and registration a bit of a challenge, the skies decided to turn off the tap just minutes before the start of the run. And, with cool temps, overcast cast and just the slightest of breezes, the conditions were almost ideal for distance running.

And, no one made more of the conditions than recent U of M grad Dennis Brands. In town to visit his classmate, Valley Press reporter Matt Unrau, Brands took the win in 17:09. It was an outstanding time, when one considers the almost 200’ of climbing along Highway 28 and Hillview Road in the 2nd mile. In those first two miles, Brands ran in step with Trout Creek’s Jacob Naegeli. Using the speed he honed as a miler on the Grizzly track team, Brands let loose on the downhill 3rd mile and pulled away from Naegleli, winning by a margin of just over 1 minute.

Naegeli, who just finished his freshman year as the number one runner on the cross-country and track squads at Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana), is still working back to full fitness after a hip injury this spring. In spite of his lack of race sharpness, Naegeli still was almost a minute faster than Plains resident Tony Banovich (18:10 to 19:04).

Close behind Banovich was Plains’ Carter Montgomery (19:32), who recently finished an outstanding freshman year at Plains High School. Just one week ago, Montgomery was competing in the Class B State Track Meet in Kalispell. Rounding out the top 5 overall was Austin Pullan of Thompson Falls (20:18).

On the female side, Michelle Yoshinaga of Dixon decided to take in the Plains Day activities while visiting her parents in Thompson Falls. Running 26:13, she took first place honors in front of Shauna West of Plains (27:24) and Molly Tingley of Plains (31:15).

In addition to runners from Plains, Thompson Falls and Trout Creek, athletes from Big Fork, Missoula, Dixon, Kalispell and Somers also came to town to take in the wonderful Clark Fork Valley hospitality that can be found on the Wild Horse Plains.

Race organizers would like to thank event sponsors Sanderson Stewart and Quality Landscape Seeding, Inc.; the resources of McGowan’s Grocery, The Runner’s Edge and the Brooker family; and, race volunteers Carol Brooker, Erin McCarthy, Peg McCarthy, Bill Naegeli, and David, Lisa and Jessica Read.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

State Track Highlights

Well, the state track meets have come and gone; and, as always there were some expected performances and some suprises.

Let me start with my vote for the Outstanding Performer.

It would have to go to Chris Wilson of CMR in Great Falls. He continued his hot sprinting and set all-class records in both the 100 and the 200 meters. His 10.67 took down the 10.74 of Steve Heberly of Havre. The race was run into a headwind; so, with a calm day or even a minor tailwind, he possibly could have been in the 10.5's.

But, I still have to say that his 21:06 All-State record in the 200 rates higher in my book. With that run, he won by almost 1 full second and took down a 28 year old record (Dan Hanley of Butte High ran 21:51 in 1981). 21:06 is smoking fast - especially for a sprinter from Montana who has a challenge with limited outdoor training and racing with the winter and spring weather taht sprinters in places like Texas, California and Florida don't have to content with.

Now then - what about the Outstanding Competiton?

As I had predicted - it was the Alexa, Keli and Dani show. The Aragon sisters (Junior Alexa and Freshman Dani) from Billings Senior and Junior Keli Dennehy of Butte High went head to head to head in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs.

Alexa took the 800 in 2:12.41 - followed by Keli in 2:13.04 and Dani in 2:16.25
Alexa took the 1600 in 5:04.84 - again followed by Keli (5:05.39) and Dani (5:05.88). 4th was Heidi Turner of Bozeman in 5:08.97.
The 3,200 saw a reversal of fortunes as Keli took the win in a near sub-11:00 time with a 11:06.68. Alexa was second in 11:22.55 and Turner took third in 11:31.5 (Dani skipped the 3200)

Outstanding races, fast time, great head to head competition. After a vote by the Muddy Buzzard panel of judges - the Buzzard Beak goes to Alexa. 2 out of 3 over Keli with the 2 fastest times in the events this year.

Not to be overlooked would be the solid performances of Aurlea Fain - a junior at Billings Senior was 6th in the 800 (2:23.01), 5th in the 1600 (5:20.73) and 4th in the 3200 (11:33.28). What a tough group to have to compete against. She had a great set of performances across the board; but, still could do no better than 4th.

After all of that indivdual racing, the Butte and Senior Girls went at it one more time in the final event of the meet - the 4 X 400 meter relay. And, the team title was on the line. Dennehy was on the Butte team and the Aragons and Fain were on the Senior team. In the end, Butte pulled out a 3rd place finish with Senior in 4th. That was enough for the Bulldogs to end up with a 2 point win and the State Championship trophy.

Now then, on to some other notable performances.

The Billings West boys 4 X 100 relay - setting a new all-class record of 41.48 (breaking the old record of 42.27 by over 3/4's of a second).

Drew Coco winning the Class A 800, 1600 and 3200 meters to add to his XC title from the fall and a great wrap to his senior season.

Mike Asay of Manhattan with the fastest 1600 and 3200 meter times of the year with a 4:21.01 and 9:45.36 (winning both races by about 7 seconds)

Dillon Fryxell from the small school of Plains with the highest HJ of the weekend at 6-8.

Alexa Aragon adding a 3rd in the PV to go along with the other 4 medal that she won over the weekend. 5 All-State Medals in one weekend. With the hauls that she has made in XC and track over the last 3 years, she is building quite a legacy of HS performances.

The Muddy Buzzard

Strode Keeps On Striding

Thanks to Thomas Jodoin for giving me the scoop on another great performance from Kyle Strode.

At the Coeur D'Alene Marathon on Sunday May 24th, Kyle finished 2nd overall and 1st Master at the Marathon in a stellar time of 2:49:41 (and only 2:17 out of first overall).

Kyle has had a great "run" since Montana Cup last year and has really stepped up his game in the last 6 to 8 months.

Congrats to Kyle on his great performance.

The Muddy Buzzard