The Kansas City Smoke took the overall at yesterday’s Shamrock Shuffle 8K.  Zach Zarda (5th-23:48) Joe Moore (6th-23:49) and Evan Landes (8th-23:51) leading the fellas to the title.  The first Major for one of our USATF Elite Development Clubs.  A long time in the  making.  I cracked the bottle of Oban that’s been saved for just this special occasion.

USATF Elite Development Clubs.  The very core of this column.  Its very easy for me  to celebrate with the Smoke and especially my  very good  friend Shawn Love.  Shawn was the original founder of the Smoke and I know his smile eclipses my own.  While no longer with the  club he remains their biggest fan.

Easy and hard at the same time.  Team Nebraska, KC Smoke, and Iowa RunAblaze.  Three USATF Elite Development Clubs that were among the very first designees.  RunAblaze finished 7th overall yesterday, led by Brogan Austin (7th, 23:50).

LRC Racing and Team Nebraska represented the Good Life.  LRC Blue finishing 11th, Team Nebraska 14th, and LRC Racing Yellow 22nd.  Best of ours was Johnny Rutford (LRC-24:35), Nolan Zimmer (LRC-24:42), Peter Falcon (Team Nebraska-24:49), Colin Morrissey (Team Nebraska-24:53) and Nolan Border (LRC-24:58).

Allow me a single puff of pride as Jay Welp led the RunAblaze “B” team with 24:31, good enough to finish 24th overall and lead all former Good LIfe competitors.  That’s my boy, or at least used to be!  Iowa City and RunAblaze lucky to have him now.

The LRC Women’s team performed with distinction.  Katie Wetzstein finished 13th overall in a fine 27:57 to lead her mates to a 6th overall in the Elite Club Competition.  Erica Doering (24th-28:53) and Hayley Sutter (28th-29:08) rounding out the top three.  Team Nebraska women were led by  Shannon Suing’s 29:52.

The Kansas City Smoke chose a rather appropriate backdrop for their team photo yesterday.

The only difference between the Smoke and Ablaze and our efforts here in Nebraska should be obvious.  They took the original Team Nebraska model One  Elite USATF Club In The State, For The State, and made it work.  If our efforts now appear fractured and scattered much of that responsibility lies at my feet.  My vision however remains that Nebraska, A True Team Nebraska, as it should be, as it once was, can again rise to meet the competition, the very best of the rest, of the entire Midwest and beyond.   Who or what could possibly want anything other for our athletes?  Hard question, easy answer.