Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hot High School Indoor Action

A little catch up on some high school action from this past weekend.  The Brooks PR Invitational meet took place in Seattle at the University of Washington indoor track this past Saturday.  There were a couple of Montana boys who took part in the elite 2-mile event.

With the win going to Bernie Montoya (Yuma, AZ) in 8:54.63 (which included a 50 second + last lap), Zach Perrin of Kalispell (Flathead HS) was 6th in 9:07.91.  Pretty impressive time indeed.  He spent most of the first 1,000 meters in the lead pack; but, fell back just a bit when the hammer dropped at about 1.5 miles.

Troy Fraley (Kalispell Glacier) was 12th in 9:16.01.  Troy ran a nice, even paced race and got an excellent time as a result.

You can watch the race via Flotrack @ http://www.flotrack.org/coverage/250021-2013-Brooks-PR-Invitational/video/696610-B-2-Mile-Montoya-Thomson-barnburner-Brooks-PR-2013

With just 10 days until the first official day of HS track practice, these two are clearly ready to crank it up in their senior seasons.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy  Buzzard

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Legend Passes

I would be remiss if I did not make mention of the passing of Kim Haines of Seeley Lake.  Kim passed away a couple of weeks ago.

Kim was unknown to many within the sport - even in his home state of Montana.  But, he was a vocal, powerful voice for track and field on the state, regional and national stage - especially for youth athletics.

Here's a link to a great piece by Bill Speltz of The Missoulian:  http://missoulian.com/sports/high-school/boys-basketball/speltz-haines-showed-us-all-how/article_667a3dde-7e55-11e2-b10f-001a4bcf887a.html

Kim, thanks for all that you did on behalf of the sport of track & field.

The Muddy Buzzard.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Montana Collegians at Big Sky Conference Championships

The Big Sky Indoor Track & Field Championships took place this weekend at Montana State University in Bozeman.  There were a number of Montana natives who competed in the distance events.  Those who scored in the meet (Top 8 finish) included:

Distance Medley Relay - Men
   Montana State - 1st
   University of Montana - 8th

Distance Medley Relay - Women
   Montana State - 1st
   University of Montana - 4th

Heather Haug (Livingston) - MSU
   Mile - 1st @ 4:47.06
   3,000 Meters - 1st @ 9:41.33

Chloe Palakovich (Whitehall) - Idaho State - 800 Meters - 1st @ 2:11.78

Heather Demorest (Darby) - MSU - 3,000 Meters - 7th @ 10:04.06

Seth Garbett (Darby) - MSU - 5,000 Meters - 8th @ 15:05.25

Great performances by these Montana kids.

Next weekend we see some athletes from Carroll and Rocky Mountain Colleges competing at the NAIA National Championships.  Good Luck Athletes.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Snow Joke - 2013

Well, for the first time in 5 years, the men's champion is someone other than Jimmy Grant.  High School Senior Adam Peterman (Missoula Hellgate) took the overall crown in nifty 1:13:00.  That's right around 5:35 pace - pretty solid effort.  But, that shouldn't come as a big suprise.  Adam just signed a letter of intent to run for the University of Colorado next year (joining a long line of stellar buffalo runners).  Plus, he's shown his 1/2-Marathon prowess over the last couple of years at the Missoula Marathon.

But, this was a big drop in time for Adam; and, he took the scalps of no less than Chris Kollar (1:13:50) and 4 time defending champ Jimmy Grant (1:18:23).  The day appeared to be a bit chilly; but, I did see photos of Adam in just a long sleeve and shorts - no hat, gloves or tights - so, it must not have been too bad.  Did have reports that the back side of the course (on the gravel road around the lake) was pretty soft and footing was not really great.  So, that makes a 1:13:00 even more impressive.

On the masters side, Matt Seeley of Polson took the win in 1:22:04.  He was followed by Missoulians Tim Mosbacher in 1:25:03, John Fiore in 1:26:21 and Brian Fruit in 1:28:30.

The big name women stayed away this year (i.e. Trish Drobek, Kara DeWalt, Jessica Johnson, etc.); but, that opened up the field to some new blood at the front of the field.  Top spot went to Hanah Riedle in 1:32:17; and, she was followed in by Emily Kipp (1:32:42) and Ashley Schroeder (1:33:40). 

The top masters woman was Kristina Smith in 1:40:53.

Full results can be found at http://competitivetiming.com/results/

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Racing Season Is About To Begin

The first significant race of the year is set for this Saturday - the 34th Annual Snow Joke Half Marathon in Seeley Lake.

Will Jimmy Grant of Missoula be back to try to secure his 5th consecutive title?

Can Trisha Drobek of Missoula make it 4 years out of the last 5?  Can she get the course record of Kara DeWalt?

Course records and fast times could be a tough sell.  Temps should be okay; but, snows are forecast for the next couple of days - so, the roads around the lake could be a bit sketchy.

Results from this race are notoriously slow; but, I'll do what I can to get info out as soon as I can.

See you on the roads tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Indoor Action

There's still a bit of the indoor season left; and, so far there have been some big performances by a number of Montana athletes.  Here's some of the highlights (keep in mind that this list is primarily relegated to Montana natives)

High School

Adam Peterman of Missoula Hellgate ran 9:23.97 to take 6th in the 3200 at the Simplot Games this past weekend.
Paige Gilchrist of Hellgate ran 11:15.84 to place 5th in the 3200 @ Simplot.
Also at Simplot, Chiara Warner of Townsend ran 5:08.47 for 3nd in the 1600.


Some big performances by a number of athletes.

Heather Haug (Montana State - Livingston native) has set 3 MSU records.  She has hit 4:39.87 in the mile, 2:09.37 in the 800 and was part of the record setting distance medley relay team.  She's also hit 10:05.62 for 3,000.

Dani Aragon (Notre Dame - Billings) has run under 2:10 on 3 occasions in the 800.  She placed 2nd in the 800 at the Big East Conference Championship; and, was part of the 2nd place 4X800 team.

Sister Alexa Aragon (also at ND) has run 4:49.34 for the mile and 9:33.60 for 3,000.  She was part of the 3rd place Conference Distance Medley Relay Team.

Anna Richter (Rocky Mountain - Bilings) has set a school record in the mile and qualified for the upcoming NAIA national championships.

The men's 4X800 and Distance Medley Relay team from Carroll have both qualified for NAIA nationals.

Easton Padden of Carroll (Laurel) has vaulted 17' 0.75" and leads the nation in the NAIA division.


Alan King has run 15:09.61 for 5K and a PR 8:51.74 for the 3,000.

John Ricardi (Gardiner native) ran 8:13.04 for 3,000 at the Husky Invite in Seattle.

That's some pretty impressive performances to date.  And, with the Big Sky Conference Championships still to come; and, with nationals still on the horizon, I would expect to see some more big performances.

The Muddy Buzzard

2012 Performances Of The Year

So, the Buzzard will finish up the 2012 rankings with his picks for the Performances Of The Year.

Starting with the Women's Masters...............how about Dani Shahan's 45:01 @ Bloomsday.  This run placed her in the top 25 overall (21st place) in a race where the top results are dominated by Ethiopians, Kenyans, Russians, Ukrainians and Polish.  That's right at 6:00 pace for a 42-year old; and, took the measure of Trisha Miller, Makena Morley and Nicole Hunt. 

Master's Men - Ray Hunt's sub-1:00 run at Wulfman.  This effort placed him 5th overall in a deep, competitive field ad was the #2 ever master's time (and #2 age-graded time) on the Homestake to Pipestone route.

Open Women - Trisha Miller's 2:51:00 @ the California International Marathon.  Yes, she ran faster at both Missoula and at PF Chang's.  And, Sarah Graves ran a bit faster at the Olympic Trials.  But, Trisha's CIM performance came in a torrential downpour; with a strong, blustery winds; and, areas of the course that were covered in water.

Open Men - Mike Wolfe's course record 3:00:24 @ The Bridger Ridge Run.  Scott Creel has been "the man" for years at the Ridge Run; and, he had one of the few sub-3:10 times on the course with his 3:06:30.  But, Wolfe smashed that time and came oh-so-close to the magic sub-3:00 barrier.  With this racing gaining more and more recognition; and, with guys like Wolfe, Foote and Kollar residing in the state, will a 2:50-something be the big story of 2013?

And, with that, the 2012 season is in the books and onward to 2013.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard.

Runner's Of The Year - Master's Women

The top spot was a lot closer than it would perhaps appear.  We had one master rank in the open category; and, you would think that would make her a clear choice for the master's runner.  But, we had a another master woman who had a stellar year and was just outside the open rankings.

It probably doesn't surprise anyone to see Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge at the top of the list.  Here's her performances (as outlined in the open rankings).

1st woman at Wulfman CDT-14K in 67:58 2nd woman @ Riverbank 5K in 17:38 1st woman @ AOH 3-Mile in 17:17 2nd woman @ Big Butte Challenge in 57:09 4th woman @ Ice Breaker 5-Mile in 32:32 5th woman in MT Cup in 26:03 4th MT woman @ Bloomsday in 45:46 1st woman at Governor's Cup 5K in 19:08 1st woman at Don't Fence Me In 12K Trail in 58:18 2nd woman at 11 Miles To Paradise Trail in  76:13

As noted in the open rankings, one of the most impressive things about her year is the fact that she had twin boys in November of 2011, with 4 months of no running before the c-section birth.  So, to be able to come back at age 42 and race at a high level throughout 2012 was impressive indeed. 

Just behind Nicole, the #2 spot goes to 41-year old Dani Shahan of Bozeman.  Her performances were limited; but, she made the most of her racing opportunities.  How about these:

1st MT woman @ Bloomsday in 45:01 
2nd overall and 2nd master @ Ice Breaker 5-Mile in 30:00
2nd overall and 1st master @ Bozeman Marathon 1/2-Marathon in 83:23
4th woman and 1st master @ Governor's Cup 1/2-Marathon in 85:53.

Although Dani had 2 wins over Nicole.............Nicole moved a notch ahead as her post-pregnancy fitness came around - as evidenced by her overall win at Wulfman and her overall performance (and masters win at MT Cup).

The rest of the top 5 go to Missoula area women.  First among them at #3 is Jenny Newton (42).  Jenny runs a bit of everything below the marathon distance; and, her range was shown by these performances.

1st overall @ Catch 'Em If You Can 5K in 19:01
3rd overall and 2nd master at Wulfman CDT 14-K Trail in 72:35
3rd overall and 1st master @ Riverbank Run Tri-Fecta with runs of:
   10K in 37:40 (2nd overall, 1st master)
     5K in 18:15
6th overall and 2nd master @ MT Cup in 26:12
5th MT woman and 3rd MT master @ Bloomsday in 47:35.     

We then have more of a short distance specialist @ #4Mary Thane (48) is better known for her track prowess at 800 and 1500 meters; but, her move up in race distances allowed her to return to the rankings after her #2 spot in 2010.

2nd overall and 1st master @ Missoula 5K in 19:30
2nd overall and 1st master @ Whitefish Lake Run 10K in 40:40
1st overall @ Run 4 The Luck Of It 5K in 18:55 (= Course Record)
1st master @ Roots Festival 4-Mile in 25:59
3rd master @ MT Cup in 27:06
4th MT master (1st in 45-49 age group) @ Bloomsday in 49:12

#5 goes to a distance specialist - 44-year old Julie Gilchrist.  

3rd woman and 1st master @ Resolution Run 10K in 43:09
Houston Marathon 1/2-Marathon in 1:29:10
5th woman and 2nd master @ Catch 'Em If You Can 5K in 21:22
3rd master @ Wulfman in 75:39
1st master @ Missoula Marathon 1/2-Marathon in 1:30:25

Julie tops off a solid list of women's masters.  But, it  would be great to see a few more of the 40+ crowd racing a bit more regularly.  

And, that concludes the 2012 Muddy Buzzard Runner Of The Year rankings.  

I'll be following up next with the performances of the year.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Master's Men ROY

Just like the open men, the top choice here was extremely difficult.  The master's ranks amongst the Montana men has gotten to be extremely deep and competitive.  The top 2 were especially hard to separate out.  Neither raced a lot.  And, they were 1-1 in their 2012 head to head match-ups.  But, in the end, the Buzzard made a hard call; and...............................................

#1, by the slimmest of margins goes to 44-year old Steve Morley of Bigfork.  (And, that makes a unique father-daughter ranking, with Makena getting the #3 spot on the open women's side.)  Again, Steve doesn't race a lot; but, when he does, he's ready to run fast; and, he's still able to be competitive on the open side.  Some of the top performances of his year were:

1st overall @ Roodell Run 5K in 16:44
1st overall @ Whitefish Legacy 11K in 40:51
1st overall @ Summit Classic 10K in 35:14
3rd overall & 1st master @ Boogie To The Bank 5K in 15:40
3rd overall & 1st master @ Whitefish Lake Run 5K in 16:44
4th overall & 1st master @ Huffing For Stuffing 5K in 18:21
3rd Montanan and 4th in the 40-44 Age Group @ Bloomsday in 40:51
12th overall and 2nd master at MT Cup in 22:12

Steve was 1-1 in head to head duels with Scott Creel of Bozeman.  Their wins were only on the order of a couple of seconds in each case.  The deciding factor was probably the Bloomsday performance and the number of overall wins that he scored.  And, his MT Cup performance was within a minute of the winner - showing that he's a solid performer regardless of the level of competition.

As suggested by the above comments, the #2 slot goes to 50-year old Scott Creel of Bozeman.  Due to some knee issues (aka lack of cartilage), Scott really reduced his racing last year.  But, when he was on, he still showed the signs of his brilliance, strength and determination.  Highlights for Scott included:

2nd @ Montana Men's Master's Mile (M4) @ 4:41.20
5th overall and 2nd Master @ Run To The Pub 1/2-Marathon in 76:59
2nd overall and 1st Master @ Wind Drinker Stampeded 10K in 35:27
2nd Master at Huffing For Stuffing 5K in 18:33
2nd overall and 1st Master @ Oktoberfest 8K in 27:00
9th overall and 1st Master @ Montana Cup in 22:07

At 47, Ray Hunt of Deer Lodge is no stranger to the rankings.  For 2012, he comes in at #3.  Ray races a bit selectively; but, he is one tough, gutsy competitor. 

4th overall and 1st master @ AOH 3mile in 15:40
9th @ M4 @ 4:55.46
2nd overall and 1st master @ Frigid Digger 5K in 17:46
3rd overall and 1st master @ Ice Breaker 3-Mile in 16:10
3rd overall and 1st master @ Governor's Cup 5K in 17:14
5th overall and 1st master @ Wulfman in 59:52
5th overall and 1st master @ Riverbank Run 5K in 15:57
3rd master @ Montana Cup in 23:07
5th overall and 2nd master @ 11 Miles To Paradise in 1:10

It was a pretty impressive year for Ray. But, he was 0-2 against Creel and 0-1 against Morley - so, he just couldn't quite get over the hump to make the top 2.

A guy who continues to run well as a master is 42-year old Pat Judge of Helena; and, he comes in at #4 for 2012.  He had some great performances; but, with a 0-2 record against Ray and 0-1 against Steve and Scott, he drops 2 places from his #2 ranking last year.

1st overall @ Roodell Run 10K in 35:17
5th overall and 2nd master @ AOH 3-Mile in 16:18
Mountain West Track Classic 1600 Meters in 4:46.84
4th @ M4 in 4:41.99
4th overall and 1st master @ Governor's Cup 10K in 36:23
4th master @ Montana Cup in 23:26

The big surprise on the master's men's side is @ #5 - that being 52-year old Marvin Speece of Butte.  Marvin doesn't get the respect that he probably deserves.  And, in spite of being the oldest of the rankers, he had a fantastic year.  How about these performances.

6th overall and 3rd master @ AOH 3-Mile in 16:37
6th overall and 2nd master @ Ice Breaker 3-Mile in 17:07
8th overall and 3rd master @ Governor's Cup 5K in 18:32
1st master @ Roots Festival 4-Mile in 23:08
3rd master @ Wulfman in 67:29
2nd master @ Riverbank Run 10K in 36:26
2nd overall and 1st master @ Portland Marathon Downhill Dash 10K in 36:25

Just outside of the top 5 were some impressive athletes, including the likes of Kyle Strode, Peter Dan Sullivan, Scott Gaiser, Ed Detzi and Scott Sneddon.  With the 2013 M4 already in the books, it's clear that this year is going to be equally competitive for the old farts.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Muddy Buzzard Open Men - Runner's Of The Year

This was perhaps the most challenging division of all.  The mixture of top candidates covered all aspects of the sport.  There was the track specialist, the roadie and the ultra-trail mudder.  On top of that - the top 3 candidates didn't cross really cross paths during the year.  So, making the top choices was a matter at looking at several variables, weighing the overall level of performances, and a couple rolls of the dice.

That being said, the #1 slot will come as a bit of a surprise to many.  While his road racing resume was limited, the overall level of his performances made it pretty clear that Lyle Weese of Bozeman was the cream of the crop for men in 2012.

On the roads, he went undefeated with wins at the Run To The Pub 10K in 29:45 (questionable course length); Bozeman Marathon 1/2 Marathon in 1:13:31; and, the Huffing For Stuffing 10K in 36:53.

But, it was on the track where he really excelled.  He kicked off the year with stellar indoor season.  He had meets where he ran 14:18.27 @ 5K, 8:20.75 in the 3,000 and had miles of 4:13.93, 4:12.11 and 4:01.61 (that's right - Four Oh One !!!!!).

Once he hit the outdoor season he really exploded.  He specialized in the 3,000 steeplechase and started the season with an 8:35.09 at the Payton Jordon Invitational @ Stanford University.  Then there was the Occidental High Performance Meet - that's where he ran 8:30.83 and got the Automatic, "A" Qualifier for the Olympic Trials.  And, that's where he was up next - the 2012 Olympic Trials in Track Town USA (aka Eugene, OR).  There he ran 8:38:55 in his heat.

With that full combination of performances; and, being the only Montana male in the Olympic Trials, it's hard to argue that Lyle wasn't the top of the heap in 2012.

The next choice was just too hard to come to a consensus.  I went back and forth on who should get the nod; and, I just could never come up with a consistent, clear favorite.  So, taking the easy way out, I went with a tie for the #2 slot.  This was the roadie versus the mudder between a couple of Zootown boys.  Jimmy Grant and his road prowess meets Mike Foote the trail master.

Let's start with Footie (F before G).  He made a presence on the statewide/regional scene on several occasions, including:

1st @ Bighorn Trail 100 Miler with a new course record time of 18:36
1st @ Catch Em If You Can 5K @ 16:29
4th overall (and 1st Montanan) @ Don't Fence Me In 30K in 2:18:05
13th @ MT Cup in 22:12 (which was only 1:00 off the lead)

But, it was at the ultra-trail stuff where Mike really hot.  On the Montana front, he was 3rd at the Ridge Run in 3:22:28.  And, that came at the end of a 40+ Mile day - in part he was using the race as a tune-up for the UTMB in France a few weeks later.

And, speaking of which- UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc) was clearly the highlight of his year.  Perhaps the most competitive ultra trail race in the world, Mike finished 3rd place and 1st American with his time of 11:19:00 over the dark, rainy, cold and muddy 103 Kilometers.

He also scored an international victory with his win over 80 Kilometers at Ultra Des Los Andes in Chile.  And, he had a top 10 finish (8th) at the competitive, early season Chuckanut 50K in 3:55:27.  An impressive season for the fastest trail running Yurt dweller in Missoula.

Jimmy is no stranger to the Buzzard Rankings, having gone 1-3-3 over the last 3 years.  This was another typical Grant season - high level of performances over a variety of distances, with wins at most of the major western Montana races.

1st @ Riverbank Run 10K in 31:29
1st @ Wulfman CDT 14K Trail Run in 57:27
1st @ Run 4 The Luck Of It 7-Mile in 36:04
1st @ Roots Festival 4-Miler in 19:49
1st @ Snow Joke 1/2-Marathon in 76:04
2nd @ Missoula Marathon in 2:33:24
2nd @ Top of Utah Marathon in 2:29:35 (his first sub-2:30)
4th @ Calgary Marathon in 2:31:30

That's 5 big wins and 3 marathons with an average of right around 2:31:30.  Not a bad season at all.

Alan King of Billings has been ranked #1 the last two seasons.  But, with the stellar seasons of Lyle, Mike and Jimmy Alan gets bumped back to #4.  His season saw performances like this:

1st @ Ice Breaker 5-Miler in 26:13
2nd @ Ice Breaker 3-Miler in 16:06
1st at Montana Marathon in 2:39:31 (29:00 win)
1st @ Big Sky State Games 1/2-Marathon in 75:36
3rd @ Montana Cup in 21:41
Wins at the Shamrock Run 5K (16:43), Purple 5K (16:19), Run Turkey Run 5K (16:19) and the Quality of Life Run 5-Miler (24:51)

It was a good solid season; and, Alan is considered a contender any time he lines up at a race in Montana.  But, his year was hampered a bit with some minor injuries and lack of racing outside of the Billings area.

The biggest surprise in the rankings is probably at position #5Andy Drobek is mostly known for his efforts around his hometown of Missoula.  But, he apparently decided it would be a good idea to have a husband and wife team (#1 Open Woman Trisha) in the open rankings this year.

1st @ Resolution Run 10K in 35:23
3rd in Riverbank Run Trifecta with the following
   4th in 10K at 33:00
   5th in 5K @ 15:39
   3rd in Mile @ 4:56
8th overall in PF Changs Rock N Roll Marathon in 2:33:16
25th in Ironman Texas 70.3 in 4:14:18
#2 Montana Male @ Bloomsday in 40:45
6th @ MT Cup in 22:01

And, how about this for a topper, with 50-pounds of gear, he set a new World Fire Fighting Stair Climb Record - scaling 69 stories and 1,311 steps in 10:38.2

A suprisingly solid year with top level performances across the board - married life seems to agree with the Drobeks.

So, who missed "the cut".  How about Matt Shyrock - who was on his way to a top 5 ranking if he hadn't moved outside of the state mid-year.  Collin Fehr who won the Missoula Marathon.  Jacob Bradosky who had dual wins at the Governor's Cup 5K and 10K - but, who just didn't have enough of a racing resume' in 2012.  Ultra Trail studs Kris Kollar and Mike Wolfe.  Clint Choquette had some big races; but, just not quite enough to crack into the top.  And, Devan Cown had a few notable races.

It was an incredibly deep and competitive year on the open men's side.  Something that the Buzzard hopes carries into 2013.  It makes for some incredibly hard rankings; but, that's what makes the whole effort so enjoyable.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Friday, February 15, 2013

Open Women's Runner Of The Year

This year's #1 choice is best known in the northwest part of the state (being a Missoula resident); and, her specialty is the marathon distance.  But, trust me - she also has some short distance wheels as well - enough to have warranted a #2 ranking for 2011.  Newly married in 2012, she started the year as Trisha Miller and finished as Trisha Drobek.  But, regardless of the name, she had a top notch season from January through December - more than enough to allow her to move to the top slot as the Open Women's ROY.

She started the year with a big win at the PF Chang's Rock N' Roll Marathon in Phoenix at 2:49:12.  She ended the year battling through a torrential downpour to record a 2:51:00 at the California International Marathon (Sacramento).  In between she won the Missoula Marathon in a course record 2:49:32.  That's 3 marathons in one calendar year with an average time of 2:49:54 and two overall wins.  Impressive enough - but, that's not it.  She also picked up wins at:

Rattlesnake Resolution Run 10K, 39:34
Run For the Luck Of It 7-Mile, 42:21
Wheat Montana 5K, 19:11
Turkey Day 8K, 29:59
Snow Joke Half-Marathon, 1:25:45

She also had impressive performances at the following races:

River Roots Run 4-Mile, 2nd Woman, 8th Overall, 22:40
San Jose Rock N' Roll Half Marathon, 5th Woman, 1:20:12
Bloomsday 12K, 23rd Woman, 45:08
Governor's Cup 1/2 Marathon, 2nd Woman, 3rd Overall, 1:21:13
University of Montana Cross Country Invitational, 5K, 9th place, 18:15

It's hard to argue with an impressive set of credentials like that; and, clearly supports her top ranking.

Ranked #1 in 2010 and 2011, Sarah Graves of Ballantine (Billings area) drops down one spot to #2.  She didn't race as much in 2012 as she has in past years; but, she had one major, major ace in her pocket.  She was the one and only Montanan (man or woman) who competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon.  Just 5 weeks after setting her 2:44 PR at the California International Marathon (Dec. 2011) (which also secured her a qualifying spot in the trials) she toed the line with America's best in Houston.  And, in spite of the short turnaround after CIM, she still hit a stellar 2:50:16.  Competing and performing at the national pinnacle of marathoning is, by itself, probably enough to get Sarah a ranking.

But, on top of her trials performance, she also had a few other big races - how about these:

Wulfman CDT 14K Trail Race, 2nd Woman, 68:40
Heart and Sole 10K (Billings) 10K, 1st Woman, 38:49
MT Marathon 10K, 1st Woman, 2nd Overall, 36:44
Women's Run 2-Mile, 1st, 11:37   

Let's hope that Sarah returns to some more regular racing and we get to see some more of her on Montana's roads, tracks and trails.

Okay, here's the big surprise on the women's side.  At #3 is high school phenom Makena Morley of Bigfork.  Normally, you don't see high schooler's being able to be competitive against the post collegiate open runners.  But, Makena's no ordinary prepster.  First, let's look at her open competition record.

1st @ Whitefish Lake Run 5K in 18:04 (4th overall)
1st @ Boogie to the Bank 5K in 17:12 (5th overall)
1st at Roodell Run 5K in 17:53 (2nd Overall)
1st @ Huffing for Stuffing 5K in 19:27
2nd @ MT Cup (ahead of #1 ranked Trisha Drobek)
3rd Montana Woman and 1st in 13-15 age group at Bloomsday in 45:24.

That in and of itself is a pretty solid resume.  But, you also have to consider how impressive here times and performances were in the HS ranks.

State Champion in cross country and undefeated within the state in 2012 (her sophomore season).  In her freshman track season, she won state titles at 800 meters, 1600 meters and 3200 meters with season best times of 2:16, 5:01 and 10:44.  On top of that, she was 3rd in the West Region at the Foot Locker XC meet and was 24th at Foot Locker XC Nationals.

All total, her season wide performances showed that she could hold her own at any level of competition on the roads, tracks and xc courses - she deserved to be considered at the top of Montana's women.

Although she didn't race a lot, Missoula's Meg Brooker (nee Meg Lerch) showed she's still a force on the Montana scene.  Coming back from hip surgery in 2011, Meg's performances were enough to land her at #4 on the Buzzard list.  A past national level performer at 5,000 meters on the track, Meg looks to be rounding back into form and should have an exciting 2013.  Her top performances for the year include:

1st @ MT Cup in 24:15
1st @ 11 Miles to Paradise in a course record 74:56
3rd @ the UM Cross Country Invitational 5K in 18:12
3rd @ Catch 'Em if you Can 5K, 20:18
4th @ Missoula Marathon 1/2 Marathon in 1:2425

The Montana Cup race is what really made the difference for Meg making the list.  She had an impressive win over top ranked Trisha Drobek and 3rd-ranked Makena Morley.  With more racing, she would likely have ranked even higher on the list.

#5 takes us to a familiar face in the rankings, Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge- even if she has also moved into the masters ranks at 42.  Equally impressive is the fact that she had twin boys in November of 2011, with 4 months of no running before the c-section birth.  So, to be able to come back and race at a high level throughout 2012 was impressive indeed.  She also raced often; and, that certainly helped her ranking status.  How about the performances, in no particular order:

1st woman at Wulfman CDT-14K in 67:58
2nd woman @ Riverbank 5K in 17:38
1st woman @ AOH 3-Mile in 17:17
2nd woman @ Big Butte Challenge in 57:09
4th woman @ Ice Breaker 5-Mile in 32:32
5th woman in MT Cup in 26:03
4th MT woman @ Bloomsday in 45:46
1st woman at Governor's Cup 5K in 19:08
1st woman at Don't Fence Me In 12K Trail in 58:18
2nd woman at 11 Miles To Paradise Trail in  76:13

With a solid year of training behind her again, it will be exciting to see what the baby-momma can do in 2013.

Just misisng the list were Dani Shahan of Bozeman, Holly Orell of Bozeman, Jessica Johnson of Bigfork and Michelle Bazanella of Butte.

Next Up will be the Open Men.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

M4 2013 In The Books

Sorry for being a bit behind in getting out this race report.  Was able to attend the race in person (as a spectator), in addition to the post race celebration.  [BTW - both were epic.]  But, had been feeling a bit cruddy heading over the Bozeman on Friday..................then, as I was sitting at Colombo's post race and visiting with Chad Coley - the chills kicked in.  Spent a long, mostly sleepless night on Kelly & Liz Fulton's couch with chills and sweats.  Needless to say, the first few days of this past week found me feeling a bit marginal.  So, it's taken a few days to where I've had enough energy to sit down and put my thoughts down in bits and bytes.

The preliminary field included 15 entrants.  But, due to injury an illness 4 had to scratch - including Scott Creel and Pat Judge.  With Peter Dan Sullivan already out (due to business travel commitments) - it was pretty clear the race was a wide open affair and going to be a completely different event than the first 9 editions.

The Magnificent 11 @ The Start of M4 2013

At the gun,  Bryan Johnson of Helena took the lead and built a small gap over the first 400.  Johnson, who was participating in his first M4 is known more as an ultra-trail dude.  But, he just couldn't pass up the chance to hit the boards with the best old farts in Montana. Taking the field through 200m in 37 and 400m in 73, Johnson looked strong as a pacesetter, with Ray "The Sandbagger" Hunt nestled in right behind. A chase pack consisting of Matt Edwards, Chad Coley and Rob Walker was sitting about 5 meters back and holding.  

 Chad Coley leading Matt Edwards & Rob Walker in The Chase Back

Johnson hit the 800m in 2:28; and, that's when Ray Hunt decided that it was time to push the pace and commence the flames shooting out of rectum segment of the race.  At this point, Coley, Edwards and Walker had made contact and the pack was up to 5.

Here's Ray making the move on coming off the turn right after 800

This move speeds up the train and they hit 1000m @ 3:03 and 1200m @ 3:38 (a 70 second 3rd 400).  And, that when mayhem began to present itself.  Edwards made a big move coming around the corner and took command of the race.  He was looking strong as they came through 1400m.  But, then, Chad Coley decided to show that he had plenty of horsepower left.  He whipped around Edwards on the first curve and the fat lady started to sing.  

How about a 30 second last lap and a 64 second final 400.  2:28+ 1st half and close in 2:14+.  Coley picked up almost a full 2 seconds on the last 200.  Edwards held on for 2nd and Johnson came home in 3rd.  The top 5 were rounded out by Walker and Hunt.

It was a great event with over half the field breaking 5:00; and, SMP just missing sub-5 @ 51.  Official results are:

1  1.   Chad Coley, 38, Bozeman   4:43.11
2  2.   Matt Edwards, 35, Bozeman  4:45.01
3  3.   Bryan Johnson, 36, Helena,  4:45.88
4  4.   Rob Walker, 44, Bozeman   4:46.71
5  5.   Ray Hunt, 47, Deer Lodge  4:50.36
6  6.   Clint May, 42, Bozeman   4:57.10
7  7.   Shawn Marshall-Pryde, 51,  Bozeman  5:00.87
8  8.   Russ Skelton, 40, Kalispell  5:01.88
9  9.   Kyle Strode, 48, Helena  5:02.54
1 10. Dean Lipp, 51, Missoula  5:03.36
1 11. Steve Gideon, 49, Darby  5:18.78

 The crew (with race committee and sponsors) post event

A great video, courtesy of Chad Coley's wife can be found here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNSZ3zAyq6E

Until next year, and the amazing 10-year anniversary of the glorious M4..............

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

M4 Time

This Friday in Bozeman, as part of the Bozeman Running Company Invitational, the old guys get their annual indoor track glory in the Montana Men's Masters Mile.  Taking place immediately following the national anthem, it's a chance for over-35 crowd to shine on the indoor circuit.

The brain child of John Zombro of Bozeman (and owner of Zombro Physical Therapy), this will be the 9th edition of the event.  And, as Zombro would say, it's turned into a full out rock and roll performance of great Montana stallions.

This year's field will be comprised of:

Patrick Judge
Rob Walker
Bryan Johnson
Matt Edwards
Kyle Strode
Chad Coley
Shaun Marshall-Pryde
Ray Hunt
Clint May
Dean Lipp
Steve Gideon
Russ Skelton

They will be chasing the meet record set last year by Jesse Zentz of Helena @ 4:29.62.

Last year there were a total of 12 runners who broke the 5:00 barrier - including 2 over 50 runners.  

My prediction for 2012 - Pat Judge finally gets the win in 4:43.  Ray Hunt 2nd.  Kyle Strode 3rd.  SMP pulls off another 50+ sub-5:00 race.

The Buzzard will be making the trek to Bozeman to partake in the mayhem.  Will give a full report of the race as soon as I can this weekend.

Until then, see you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Friday, February 01, 2013

Runner Of The Year Announcements Coming Soon

The Muddy Buzzard is diligently working on compiling the ROY selections.  But, thought that I would give you a little insight into the selection process.

First off, I look at a number of races from around the state.  These are races that cover all regions of the state and include:

Snow Joke – Seeley Lake
Shamrock Run - Billings
Run 4 The Luck of It – Msla
AOH St. Pat’s Run – Anaconda
Run To The Pub - Bozeman
Ice Breaker – Great Falls
Governor’s Cup - Helena
Wulfman CDT Trail Race – Butte
Roots Festival - Missoula
Whitefish Lake Run – Whitefish
Riverbank Runs - Missoula
MT Cup – Various
Wind Drinkers Stampede (aka Bozeman Classic) – Bozeman
Bozeman Marathon – Bozeman
Don’t Fence Me In Series - Helena

Missoula Marathon – Missoula

With some limited exceptions, to make "the cut" I would expect that a runner would have competed in at least one of these events (and, preferably multiple events).  These traditionally represent the deepest, most competitive events in the state - and, it would seem that you need to participate in these races to truly show how you "stack up". 

Second - I look at the results of head-to-head match-ups.  Unfortunately, the size of the state dilutes this head-to-head competition to some degree; but, you usually have enough places where runners get together to make some reasonable evaluation of how they rate against one another.

Next - consistency of performances and overall performance record.  Were wins and top performances a regular occurrence?  Or, was every up followed by down?  Was there lots of racing at high quality events?  Or, did the wins come at the local PTA fun runs?

Then comes quality of performance - or................time, time, time.  In the end, you still have to be prepared to run fast.

While the first focus comes on races in Montana, consideration is given to top performances at regional, national and international events.

I also give consideration to runners who show the ability to cross between roads and/or trails and/or track.

All that is put into a blender and then the Buzzard does his best to bring it together into a the most objective rating possible.

That being said - the Buzzard is also open to input from all of you out there to give me your thoughts on who deserves to make the list.  Feel free to drop me your thoughts.

Until then.........................see you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard