Photo Credit: Lindsay Smith
Jacob Thomson won the USATF-NE 5k Title to lead the B.A.A. Men’s Open team to a tie for first place with WMDP.
When some of the fastest New England men show up at a USATF Grand Prix road race on a perfect late spring day for racing, results are guaranteed to be quick and close. B.A.A.’s High Performance athlete Jacob Thomson showed up in Westfield, MA after a couple weeks of racing on the tracks in California and cruised to a win on a fast net downhill 5k course to win the USATF New England 5K title in 14:09. With talent and fast times rolling into the historic downtown Westfield finish, every second and place would decide the Men’s Open team title with the B.A.A. and Western Mass Distance Project scoring the exact same finish time for the top five scores both finishing in 1:13:21. Per USATF team scoring rules, the tie-breaker would be the higher place of each team’s fifth runner giving the nod to WMDP for the team title. It doesn’t get closer than that! B.A.A.’s trackster Connor Reck netted a new PB finishing 5th overall in 14:30 with Eric Ashe on his heals to the finish in 6th place in 14:36. John Murray was 13th overall in 14:49 with Alex Fitzgerald 5th for the B.A.A. in 21st place in 15:12.
The B.A.A. Women had a much more comfortable margin of victory winning the USATF-NE 5K team title ahead of rival Whirlaway Racing Team winning by over 3 minutes. Allie and Michaela Hackett stretched the lead with a 3rd and 6th place finish in 16:38 and 17:00 respectively, each setting new personal bests on the road. Rachel Coogan was gunning for a new personal best as well after a stunning PR performance at the Boston Marathon. Tripped up early in the first quarter mile, Coogan lost her shoe and needed a 10 second pit stop to put her treads back on. The unfortunate incident may have cost her a few seconds early on in the race but fired her up to finish fast placing 9th overall in 17:32, still hitting a new 5k PB! Karolyn Bowley also netted a new PB dipping below 18 min for the first time as a Master finishing in 11th overall in 17:43 and once again dominating the Women’s Masters division. Michelle McKinney was the fifth scorer for the B.A.A. finishing in 18:02 and 15th overall to secure the team win for the B.A.A. women.
The B.A.A. Masters Men were not at full strength but had some shining performances with new B.A.A. member Donal O’Sullivan topping the 45-49 age category and placing 3rd in the Masters placing 39th overall in 15:52. Other Masters men competing were Michael McGrane finishing 86th in 17:29, Michael Paulin in 88th in 17:31. Veteran ace Jack Vercollone finished in 20:36 to place 3rd in the 65-69 age division and the seasoned Harry Carter was first in the 80+ age category finishing in 26:14. The Masters Men finished 8th in the team competition.
The Westfield 5K was the third race in the USATF New England Grand Prix Road Race Series. After three races, B.A.A.’s Eric Ashe and Rachel Coogan are at the top of the individual open standings with Karolyn Bowley and Harry Carter tops in their respective age divisions. Several other B.A.A. athletes are in the hunt for finishing at the top of their categories. The B.A.A. Women’s Open and Men’s Open teams remain in first place in the overall standings while the B.A.A. Women’s Masters are now in 3rd place after landing a goose egg in the 5k team scoring. The B.A.A. Men’s Masters (40+) team drops to 4th place while the Men’s Seniors (50+) team holds the 8th spot in the standings.
Next on the calendar for many of the B.A.A. athletes will be the B.A.A. 10K on Sunday, June 23rd. The fourth race in the USATF-NE GP road series will be as the summer winds down on August 10 at the Bridge of Flowers 8K in Shelburne Falls, MA.
Click here for the complete Westfield 5K results.