FLRC’s June Track Meet Hosts Fast Times and Lots of Kids

FLRC’s first summer meet of 2018 at Lansing High School was a rousing success, with 142 runners participating, thanks to large groups from the Ithaca Youth Bureau and the new Lansing Lightning club. They brought a ton of young children, joining our usual clubs: the Auburn Pulsars, Southern Tier SOAR, and Team PREFO. That’s at least 50% more runners than the summer meets drew last year, and it was great (and utterly hilarious) see kids as young as 3 and 4 scampering down the track, weaving between lanes, and sometimes failing entirely to understand the concept of a finish line (“Come back, come back,” we’d yell as they headed into the turn after the 100m).

The meet kicked off with the 2 mile, a race that we may be swapping out for the 3000m next year, given that it’s never run in any competitive meets anymore. Joshua Derrick ran away from the field, clocking sub-5:00 miles to finish in 9:57, followed by Chris Mason of the Auburn Pulsars in 11:09. The lone woman in the race was Althea Johnston of the Ithaca Youth Bureau, who finished in a thoroughly impressive 17:54, given that she’s only 7 years old.

Next up was the 100m dash, which was the most popular event of the meet, given all the kids, with 86 finishers. Mike D’Angelo won it in 11.34 seconds, just edging out Eric Ryan in 11.51 and Leon Atkins of the Auburn Pulsars in 11.53. Elizabeth Shaw of the Lansing Lightning took the women’s crown with a 15.01, edging out her teammate Emma Beckley, who ran 15.09. Props to Kaarina Granroth, who managed to cover the 100 meters in 31.69 at age 3, beating out a couple of 4- and 5-year-olds.

The 800m proved to be an exciting race with Sean Satchwell of the 315 Elite TC winning in 2:11, followed closely by Franklin Skarupinski and Jason Tuori in 2:13.03 and 2:13.84. The top women’s times were identical at 3:06, but unfortunately 67-year-old Coreen Steinbach and 10-year-old Kyleen Brady weren’t in the same heat, so we didn’t get to see them battling to the finish.

One of the highlights of the meet was a race-walking clinic put on by nationally acclaimed race walker Erin Taylor-Talcott, fresh from a 3rd place finish in the 5K Race Walk at Nationals. After her clinic, we had an exhibition heat of the 800m for race walkers, with Kevin Nelson taking the tape in 5:02.

As so often happens, though, the mile was once again the highlight of the meet. After the gun, the pack settled in behind Scott Dawson for the first lap, with a four-man pack breaking free after that, including 2018 Twilight 5K winner Ethan Seltzer, Joshua Derrick (trying to double from the 2 mile), Cornell University grad student Adam Pacheck (who won both the Skunk Half Marathon and Monster Half Marathon in 2017), and Leon Atkins of the Auburn Pulsars, who ran the 800 in 1:52 for the University of Buffalo. Just past the halfway point, Pacheck took the lead, followed by Atkins, and together they pulled away from Derrick and Seltzer. Pacheck still held the lead at the final bell lap, but Atkins unleashed a ferocious kick to win in 4:32, putting 6 seconds on Pacheck in that last lap even as he was kicking too to come through in 4:38.

The race was far from over though. Derrick and Seltzer battled to the line for third and fourth, with Derrick outleaning Seltzer by 0.18 seconds in 4:48. Then, after Jason Tuori cruised in fifth in 5:12, 15-year-old Hayden Belanger of Southern Tier SOAR barely nipped 37-year-old Phil Kwasney of STRC by 0.41 seconds in 5:14. And then, Scott Dawson — remember him from the first lap? — ended up running a 1 mile PR in 5:17 just days after running a half-marathon PR with an 8th place finish in the Gorges Half Marathon.

The top women’s finishers weren’t close, but it was another multi-generational finish, with 52-year-old Michelle Rohl winning in 5:51 and 10-year-old Kyleen Brady second in 6:48.

As always, the meet ran smoothly thanks to the efforts of our experienced volunteers. Scott Wehrwein served as head timer for the final time before he leaves Ithaca for Western Washington University next month, Adam Pacheck ran backup timing until his race, after which Tonya Engst took over. Julie Quinn and Aaron Proujansky recorded finishers, and Jullien Flynn managed race entries, seeding, and results with aplomb, thanks in part to help from Kristina Schwartz. Becca Lovenheim and Carl Franck adroitly wrangled getting everyone into heats as clerks of course. Tonya Engst and David Keifer handled registration. And Bruce Roebal reprised his traditional role as starter while Tom Rishel was away. Then we all ate subs and enjoyed the fabulous sunset!