Mark Rybinski , Carolyn Smith-Hanna and the Genesee Valley Harriers (GVH) masters women’s 60+ team each won bronze medals on Saturday at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships but there were many other outstanding performances sprinkled amongst the 63 area runners that competed in perfect “cross country” weather. The championships were held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid fifties. One thousand seven hundred fifty two (1752) athletes and 217 teams competed in the championships - making it the second largest field in history (Bethlehem, Pa. had 1765 finishers in 2014).
The championships consisted of five separate races at varying distances based on age - Open Women (6 km), Open Men (10 km), Masters Women (6 km), Masters Men 40-59 yrs (10 km) and Masters Men 50+ yrs. (8 km). Within the masters races individual athletes were competing in 5-year age divisions (40-44, 45-49, 50-54, etc.) and clubs were competing in 10-year divisions (40+, 50+, 60+, 70+) for national titles.
GVH Hauls in the Bronze X 3
Rybinski, 60, (Manlius / GVH) finished third in the highly competitive 60-64 division running 30:17 over the 8 km course. Rybinski trailed division winner Rick Becker of Washington and runner-up John Barbour of Massachusetts. His 86.05% age graded score was the best of all Niagara athletes and 39th out of the 606 masters men that competed.
Smith-Hanna, 65, (Pittsford / GVH), finished third in the women’s 65-69 division running 30:19 on the 6 km course. Her younger sexagenarian teammates - Sharon Moore, Belinda O’Brien, and Cindy Ingalls - combined to score 24 points to finish third in the women’s 60+ team standings; the best team finish on the day for all Niagara squads. Moore, 61, of Rochester finished eighth in the 60-64 division with O’Brien, 63 of Fairport and Ingalls, 64, of Pittsford following in 13th place.
Chichester & Brenon Lead the Youngsters
Tim Chichester, 27, of Mount Morris and Danielle Brenon, 26, of Rochester; both running for GVH, were the top finishers in the Open men’s and women’s races. In the men’s race Chichester finished 69th in an extremely deep field. His time was 31:12 over the rolling 10 km course. His GVH teammate Matthew Pierce (Webster) finished 134th in 32:11. The remaining team scorers were; Christopher Mateer (226th), Austin Groff (343rd), and Maurice Clark(354th). The GVH men’s team placed 36th out of 59 teams.
In the women’s race Brenon finished 83rd to lead the GVH women to a 22nd place finish out of 41 teams. Her time was 21:45 on the 6 km course. She was closely followed by her GVH teammate Ashley Nevol, 25, of Andover who finished 86th in 21:54. Kathryn Potter (121st), Donna Langerfeld (200th), and Allison Sawyer (213th) rounded out the scorers for the team.
Sorting Out The Masters Individual Performances
The top (age-graded) performance by a Niagara masters woman was turned in by Kathleen Hayden, 50, of Rochester. Hayden finished sixth in the 50-54 division running 24:10 for an age-graded score of 82.41%. She was followed by O’Brien (81.65%), Ingalls (81.41%), Moore (80.67%) and Heather Webster (80.36%). Webster, 41, of Honeoye Falls finished eighth in the 40-44 division running 22:68.
On the men’s side the top masters men’s performances, after Rybinsk, were Mike Nier(85.47%), Alan Evans (84.73%), Charlie Andrews(83.44%), James Foster (82.34%), Tim Dwyer(82.25%), Brian Cummins (82.21%), David Bischoff(81.67%), Doc Rappole (80.68%), Theodor Schnaufer (80.30%), Frank Gioia (80.27%), and Carl Johnston (80.04%). Nier (Rochester) and Evans (Beaver Dams) finished 10th and 19th, respectively, in the 50-54 division. Dwyer (Rochester) and Andrews finished 15th and 16th, respectively, in the 60-64 division.
In the men’s 65-69 division Rappole (Bemus / GVH) and Douglas Wood (Sylvan Beach / Syracuse Track Club) finished placed fourth and fifth, just missing trips to the awards podium.
Strong Masters Team Finishes
The ladies of the GVH women’s 40+ and 50+ teams each placed fifth in their races. The 40+ team scorers were Webster, Melissa Senall (Fairport), and Wakenda Tyler (Rochester). The 50+ team scorers were Hayden, Robin Lorenzo (Rochester), and Carol Bischoff (Macedon). The The Fingers Lake Running Club finished 17th in the 50+ scoring. A total of 23 teams competed in the 40+ division with 19 competing in the 50+ division.
Rybinski led the GVH men’s 60+ team to a fifth place finish; the highest team finish of the Niagara masters men’s squads. He was backed up by Bill Beyerbach (Rochester, N.Y.) and Frank Gioia (Batavia, N.Y). The Syracuse Chargers placed seventh as a team with Brian Cummins (Cortland, N.Y.), James Foster (Chittenango, N.Y.), and Douglas Wood (Sylvan Beach, N.Y.) as their scoring runners.
To see how all the Niagara athletes finished click here.
Next year's championships will be held on December 10 in Tallahassee, Florida.