Recap of FLRC’s massive March indoor track meet

FLRC’s final indoor track meet of 2018 went off without a hitch on Sunday, and full results are now available. The meet was one of our largest ever, thanks in part to being cosponsored by the Cornell Running Club as a National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA) meet that drew teams from as far away as Buffalo, NY and Burlington, VT. Also increasing interest in the meet was a popular race walking clinic presented by Erin Taylor-Talcott, a world record holder in the 50K race walk who was fresh off a second place in an international 50K race walk in Monterrey, Mexico. And we were happy to see youth teams from Ithaca’s own GIAC Navigators and the Syracuse-based SAS ATOMS joining our regulars from the Corning-based Southern Tier SOAR and the Auburn Pulsars.

We kicked the meet off with four heats of the 3000m, culminating in a compelling final heat in which Sam Lagasse repeated his win from last month (a 9:49 in the 2 mile) by running an even more impressive 8:51. In the last lap, Lagasse turned up the speed to outkick David Richards (8:54) and Keith McAteer of the Syracuse University Running Club (8:59). Further back in the pack in the fast heat, Jullien Flynn of Red Newt Racing keyed off the extra competition from being in a mixed race to run a strong 9:57, a season’s best and 1:13 ahead of the second place woman.

Switching from our longest race to the shortest, the 60m showed incredible depth, with a slew of fast times across the last three heats. Patrick Skinner took the win in 7.19 seconds in heat 16, followed by Mike D’Angelo’s 7.25 in heat 17, William Zuckerberg’s 7.31 in heat 16 for the Cornell Running Club, and a tie for fourth between Arnoldo Burnett (heat 15) and Blake Williams (heat 17, for the University of Vermont Running Club) in 7.32. For the women, Charlie Slusser of Southern Tier SOAR won in 8.36, beating Rose Simmons of Mohawk Valley Community College’s 8.67. Four other women also finished under 8.87 seconds.

Next up was our exhibition event — the 800m race walk. It’s not a traditional event, but after Erin Taylor-Talcott’s presentation, we wanted to give people a chance to try race walking for real. It’s not as easy as it looks, and good race walkers speed right along. We had 20 finishers, led by Tayler-Talcott’s husband, Dave Talcott (himself an accomplished race walker) in 3:58 and followed by local favorite Gerrit Van Loon in 4:20 and the Cornell Running Club’s Claire Jones in 4:21. Geraldine Rogers even made the long drive down from near Rome for the race walking presentation and to try this race.

Changing gears again, we moved on to 19 heats of the 200m, and again, there was great depth. The two fastest times of the day came in the final 19th heat, but the next two finishers set their times in heats 18 and 17. In a finish that was really too close to call, Alex Worsley of the Cornell Track & Field Club nominally outleaned Blake Williams of the University of Vermont Running Club, 23.94 to 23.95. Without camera-based fully automatic timing, however, it’s impossible to know for sure who really won. For the women, Charlie Slusser of Southern Tier SOAR repeated her win in the 60m, coming through the tape in 28.87, nearly 1 second ahead of Mya Marsh of the Candor CSD Running Club.

Our final and largest individual event of the day was the 1 mile race, with 120 finishers across 10 heats. It was the fourth event in the MITHACAL MILE SERIES, so I’ll start calculating rankings soon — remember that you need to race four miles to compete for an age-group award. The mile races were exciting, and the times were impressive — fully 31 competitors ran under 5:15. The fast last heat featured blistering kicks and exciting finishes for both first and second, and third and fourth. Mik Kern, who won last month’s mile with a strong final lap in 4:41, tried for the same strategy this time, but Kody Parrott of the University of Buffalo XC and Track Club had a ferocious kick of his own, and managed to outpace Kern in the final meters, 4:36.1 to 4:36.4. Just seconds behind them, David Richards pulled off a similar feat to take third, beating Nico Tripeny of the B Team, 4:39.4 to 4:39.9. The women’s race wasn’t in the slightest bit close, with Kristina Schwartz of Red Newt Racing duplicating her teammate Jullien Flynn’s strategy of moving up smoothly to clock a 5:00.4, 22 seconds in front of second place.

(As an aside, the day before, in the outdoor Belmar Parade Day Mile in Binghamton, the Ithaca-based Red New Racing team of Kristina Schwarz, Jullien Flynn, and Rachel Hilliard, who was head timer for Sunday’s track meet, swept the women’s elite race in 5:15, 5:29, and 5:44!)

As always, we closed out the meet with 6 heats of a relay race — a 4 by 400m this time. Despite all the collegiate runners participating, the Candor CSD Running Club replicated their February win, clocking a team effort of 3:55.

Finally, I want to thank our volunteers, who get better and better at running these track meets even as the number of runners grows — they deserve significant appreciation for putting on a 6-hour event for hundreds of runners and spectators. Rachel Hilliard shouldered head timer duties after being shown the ropes by Scott Wehrwein, and Adam Pacheck did a stellar job with backup timing and lap counting. Jullien Flynn and Emily Funk juggled athlete entries, scratch, and seed time changes with aplomb, and produced results faster than ever before. Becca Lovenheim wrangled a record number of runners in her role as head clerk-of-course, with Tonya Engst shepherding each heat to the starting line. Tom Rishel started each race perfectly, with no false starts or major delays for reloading. Julie Quinn recorded finisher order calmly and accurately, no mean feat when four runners finish in quick succession within seconds. Josh Brockner and Alex Colvin joined us to time the lane-timed races and both were generally helpful as necessary. David Keifer, Carl Franck, and Tonya Engst came early to help set up, and David both managed rolling bib pickup and had many things torn down before the final relay heat was done. My thanks to each and every one of you — numerous runners and coaches have commented on how smoothly our meets run due to your efforts!

We’ll be taking a break from track for a few months before starting up the summer meets at Lansing High School. The dates for the summer meets are June 19th, July 17th, and August 21st — get full details and event info here.

See you then!