Team Nebraska returns victorious, nearly pulling off a complete sweep. As an appetizer York Thomas made his first race as a Good Mate a good one taking the 5K title in 16:13, he’s officially undefeated post collegiately. Salad course was Matt Schneider taking the 10K win in 33:22. Linda took 1st (46:28) 45-49 in the 10K, I mustered a 2nd (44:49) 50-54.
But it was the main course, of course, that was the meat and potatoes of the day. Ladies, first; Megan Zavorka made her half marathon debut finishing 7th overall in 1:23:31. Once this young lady hangs up her Steeple aspirations she has the talent and strength to become the best distance runner in Nebraska, you heard it here first. Our other steepler Amanda Lee was next for us, 13th in 1:28:57. Jen Viehrig carried a great big target on her back the entire way and was next in 16th in 1:29:24. Meghan Schneider came in 36th in 1:35:20 despite not being recovered from food poisoning earlier in the week. Our women took the Team title, besting the second place team by an amazing 21 minutes and 25 seconds. My only regret on the women’s side was not taking a B and C team down, a lot of cash that probably could have come to our gals.
The real heartbreak of the morning came in the men’s race. The vaunted Boulder Running Company was in town and I didn’t care. I liked our chances and let Race Director Beth Salinger and Elite Athlete Coordinator (and my old buddy) Mark Curp know as much. This was the strongest 3 person team we’ve ever assembled and I was sure we’d give BRC all they could handle and more. Matt Pohren showed he is perfectly suited to the hills running a lifetime pr of 1:09:21 (11th overall). Luka Thor didn’t exactly have the race he’d hoped for but still managed 16th in 1:10:14. Eric Rasmussen came home 19th in 1:10:53. Our 4th finisher had a monster day, Cory Logsdon just missed his lifetime pr coming in 23rd in 1:13:07. Lee Anderson rounded out the mates in 46th in 1:20:19.
The Boulder Running Co. put their first two runners under 1:08, their third was not so strong and came in 1:15:39.
After a lot of agonizing and correcting of the team scoring, BRC took the title by a scant 7 seconds. Worth $1250 by the way, ouch.
I could not have been more proud of our mates. I know it was tough to miss by such a slim margin, it matters not that BRC is billed as an Olympic Development Club, we wanted that title badly. But our guys were professional, courteous, and proud even after the outcome didn’t go our way. A lot of handshaking and congratulating each other for the spirited competition, something that speaks to the character of our club as well as BRC. You can imagine how happy the race organizers were to have such a heated battle, this was Real Racing as had not previously been seen in the Team Challenge component, and may never be duplicated. Exhilarating for everyone involved but only one can win. Hats off to Sean Brown, Mat Levassiur, and Jesse Chettle, you earned it the hard way!
A special nod to the Lincoln Running Company who also fielded a legitimate competitive team. Eric Noel (23rd, 1:13:29), Tom Nichols (26th, 1:13:54) and Logan Watley (30th, 1:15:36) did Nebraska proud by taking 4th in the Team Challenge. All in all a very good day for Nebraska’s best!
Just so you know how competitive the field was, the top 5 men & women:
Julius Koskei- 1:04:37
Benson Cheruiyot- 1:05:18
Nixon Kiplagat- 1:05:27
David Tuwei- 1:05:59
Bernard Langat- 1:06:08
Lauren Kleppin- 1:15:18
Brianne Nelson- 1:15:21
Kimi Reed- 1:17:18
Ann Marie Chappell- 1:18:09
Jackie Pirtle-Hall- 1:18:13
And a couple other superlative results from the women’s masters ranks: 47 year old Cindy Cameron won the 45-49 in a very fast 1:26:27, 51 year old Barb Rinne took the 50-54 in an amazing 1:28:42. Wow, that’s fast!
Megan, Jen, Amanda, Meghan, & Linda celebrate the $2500 payday!
Perhaps the single greatest day for Team Nebraska, as a team, in our history. I’m damned proud of that!