Erika Kemp was the top finisher for the B.A.A. in 7th place to lead the Women’s Open team to a podium 3rd place finish.
The USATF Club Cross Country Nationals returned to Bethlehem, PA this year hosted by Lehigh University. True and typical of late cross country season meets, a cold rain settled in over the Northeast on Friday before the Saturday meet dampening the race course. While the rain held off in the morning hours and the temps rose into the low 50’s, by the 2nd and 3rd race of the day the course had turned into a muddy trek across the wide grass fields. Despite the difficult racing conditions, the B.A.A. X-C athletes performed well and exceeded expectations in the final team scores. The B.A.A. sent several squads to compete including a Men’s Open, Women’s Open and Men’s Master teams with a total of 24 representing the B.A.A.
The B.A.A. Women returned to a podium position in the team scoring placing 3rd overall with B.A.A.’s High Performance athlete Erika Kemp netting a top ten place in 7th overall in the 6k race finishing in 20:20. Close behind was Elaina Tabb in 13th place in 20:28. Lauren Johnson was 38th overall in 21:20 followed by Laura Paulsen in 47th place finishing in 21:30 and Michaela Hackett in 52nd overall in 21:33 to close out the team scoring for the B.A.A. Women’s Open team giving them a top three finish in a field of 47 teams. Also competing for the B.A.A. was Allie Hackett (62nd, 21:42), Hannah Rowe (72nd, 21:50) and Nicole Borofski (92nd/22:06).
In the Men’s Open 10k race, 77 teams and 628 athletes toed the muddy line for the last race of the day. With drizzle changing to rain, the B.A.A. Men stepped up to the challenge and ran close to a podium finish placing 4th overall led by High Performance athlete Jacob Thompson in 27th place overall in 31:28. Paul Hogan was next in for the B.A.A. finishing 39th in 32:00. Eric Ashe took a break from the road racing and marathons to return to the grass placing 90th overall in 32:55 followed closely by Paul Aste in 33:01 in 95th and Brad Mish in 110th in 33:07 as the 5th and final scorer for the B.A.A. Men. Also competing for the B.A.A. Men were Phil Royer (127th/33:20), Peter Gilmore (254th/34:46) and Matthew Simonson (526th/38:56).
The B.A.A. Masters Men returned with high hopes of a podium finish after a runner-up finish in 2018 but the competition was steeper and deeper in 2019 with West Valley Track Club bringing over twenty athletes to the East Coast to dominate the Men’s Masters 40+ division with five finishers in the top 16. Two other West Coast teams finished on the podium with Cal Coast TC and Bowerman TC in 2nd and 3rd overall. The Masters Men placed 5th with Peter Hammer leading the charge for the B.A.A. finishing 18th overall in 34:36. Hammer was also the top 50+ finisher and 1st overall in the Masters age-graded awards. Chris Magill was the next finisher for the Masters Men finishing 31st overall in 35:13. Two new B.A.A. club members finished side-by-side at the finish with Dan Smith edging Donal O’Sullivan 36:19 to 36:20 in 65th and 66th respectively. Harry Stants was the fifth scorer for the B.A.A. in 93rd overall in 37:01. Also competing in the Masters 10k race were Chris Benestad (107th/37:25), Ryan Davenport (124th/37:48) and Chris Georgules (205th/39:40). In 2020, the competition moves back to the West Coast and San Francisco where the B.A.A. Masters Men hope to return to the podium.
The USATF X-C Club Nationals capped off an excellent year of team racing and individual athlete performances. Congrats to all of the athletes who competed in the Club Cross Country Championships!
Click here for complete USATF Club X-C Nationals results.