Written by Adam Engst, High Noon AC team captain
We all run road and trail races, but cross country is a different beast, and the Pete Glavin Upstate New York Cross Country Series is special. Unlike most races, cross country is both an individual and a team sport — how well you run on your own is one thing, but it’s how high you place in the race that matters for team points. A team will usually have five scoring runners, with another three who don’t score but displace other teams’ runners.
Scoring is simple: you add up the number of points that correspond with each scoring runner’s place and then compare to the other teams’ scores — lowest score wins. It’s great to have someone who is usually in the top three in the race, like Adam Pacheck was for the High Noon Open team this year, but the fifth runner is often more important for the team score. (In the PGXC series, the smaller age group divisions need only five on a team with three scoring, and you only compete with people in your division.) As PGXC Race Director Mike Nier says before each race: every place counts.
That’s scoring for a single race. Because PGXC is a series, there are both individual and team competitions across the entire series too. The individual scoring is a little funny, with the top 15 runners getting points associated with their places. The first runner gets 20 points, the second 17 points, and so on with this scale: 20-17-14-12-11-10-9-8-7-6-4-3-2-1. You have to run the championship race to score for the series, but you can drop or miss one of the five races — the series score is calculated based on the top four scores. Then, for the team scoring, first place gets six points, second receives four, third receives three, fourth receives two, and fifth place gets one point. There’s no race dropping for teams. Unlike individual race scoring, the most points wins in the series standings.
So the goal for an individual is to place high in every race for the age group and to make sure to run the championship race. If you have one bad race, or can’t make an early season race due to a conflict, it’s not the end of the world. Alas, David Keifer was off running the Philadelphia Marathon instead of the championship PGXC race on Sunday, so he missed out on what would have been a guaranteed second place in the Ultra Vets category. And for teams, the goal is just to score as many points as possible, which sometimes means moving runners down from older age groups to fill out teams — we often didn’t have enough 40-year-old runners for Masters and had to bring 50-year-old Vets down to complete the team. Keep in mind that our Ithaca teams are competing against clubs from large cities like Syracuse (Syracuse Track Club), Rochester (Genesee Valley Harriers), and Buffalo (Checkers Athletic Club) — we’re often the underdogs purely on population size.
Now that you understand the complexity of the competition, on to the awards! Congratulations to all our Ithaca runners, and especially to the following:
First Place Series Finishers
Adam Pacheck: First and most impressive is Adam Pacheck, who won the entire series, beating STC’s Andrew Dionne by just two points, 68 to 66. Adam won the Taughannock race outright, took second twice, and third once. It was great seeing Adam in the lead pack of STC runners at every race with his trademark pink gloves, and we were ecstatic to see a High Noon runner taking the series again, something that hasn’t happened since Billy Way ran for us a few years back.
Deb Bliss: Next in line for congratulations is Deb Bliss, who won the women’s Ultra Vet category for runners over 70 with a perfect score of 80 points. Sure, she didn’t have much competition in her age group, but the fact is that she placed well in the 60-69 Super Vet team competition in every race as well.
Second Place Series Finishers
Adam Engst: Adam had one win and four second places, which was enough to give him a category-leading 71 points for the Vets, but Mike Nier beat him three times and took fifth once, tying Adam’s point score in the final race. And then Mike won the tie-breaker by besting Adam in the championship race (by two places and 25 seconds).
Third Place Series Finishers
Eric Sambolec: Thanks to two second place finishes, a fifth, and a sixth, Eric Sambolec was High Noon’s top Masters scorer and third in the series with 55 points.
Julie Barclay: Julie put together a third place, a fourth, and two sixth place finishes to score 46 points and take third for the series, beating the next woman by just one point.
Top 10 Individual Series Finishers
M20-39: Adam Pacheck first (68 points), Mik Kern tenth (17 points)
M40-49: Eric Sambolec third (55 points), Brian Lazzaro sixth (39 points), Scott Dawson seventh (29 points), Ian Golden eighth (25 points)
M50-59: Adam Engst second (71 points), Alex Colvin fifth (50 points), Casey Carlstrom eighth (32 points), Sean Nicholson tenth (25 points)
M60-69: Alan Lockett sixth (35 points), Charlie Fay seventh (33 points), Jorge Ramirez tenth (15 points)
F40-49: Julie Barclay third (46 points), Kim Jackson seventh (30 points)
F50-59: Sandy Gregorich sixth (34 points), Tonya Engst eighth (22 points)
F60-69: Anne Shakespeare seventh (32 points), Ruth Sproul tenth (19 points)
F70+: Deb Bliss first (80 points)
Men’s Open: High Noon took second with 15 points, well behind STC’s perfect score of 30 points, but sneaking past Checkers with 14 points.
Men’s Masters: High Noon took second with 24 points, just two points behind GVH’s 26 points.
Men’s Vets: High Noon took second, but with only 16 points compared to GVH’s perfect score of 30 points.
Men’s Super Vets: High Noon took third with 11 points, behind GVH with 26 points and STC with 20 points.
Women’s Open: FLRC took fourth with 7 points; Checkers dominated with a 30-point perfect score.
Women’s Masters: FLRC took third with 11 points behind GVH with 28 points and STC with 22 points.
Women’s Vets: FLRC took second with 18 points, beating out Syracuse with 12 points and behind GVH with 27 points.
Women’s Super Vets: FLRC took third with 15 points; Syracuse won with a 30-point perfect score and GVH was second with 20 points.
You can see all these results and more pete glavnat http://run4results.com/querypgxc
Start thinking about cross country next summer, since our first race will once again be in early September. Check back in the summer of 2019 for details on how to join our 2019 teams.