I want to call attention to this event coming up at the end of January. New Day Racing is headed up by founder and Race Director Charlene Ragsdale and her brother Kirk Buckley. Charlene and Kirk are not just long-time-LVTC members, they are active and involved members. If you have been following the Championship Series results, you know that this dynamic duo were both runners-up in the 2016 CS. The upcoming event on Saturday, January 28th is a 5K and 1M event. The price is right—from $15 to $30 for one or both and depending on when you enter—and it’s a convenient location, Sunset Park, using a similar course that we have used for many LVTC events in the past. It’s well worth our support. I plan to be there to help kick things off as New Day Racing begins its 2017 Race Series. You can enter via links from their web site New Day Racing.
2016 Legends Announced
Joining Bryce Odegard from Pahrump Valley, an automatic Legend by virtue of winning the Division 3 State Cross Country Championship in 2016, will be Lenny Rubi, Green Valley; Daniel Ziems, Palo Verde; Kayla Roberts, Centennial; and Emma Wahlenmaier, Palo Verde. The four were elected into the Legends Hall of Fame by the Legends Selection Committee of past and present coaches and current Legends. All four received at least 75% of the votes with Wahlenmaier a unanimous selection.
The five incoming Legends will be inducted into the Southern Nevada Cross Country Hall of Fame at the Las Vegas Track Club’s annual banquet in June and honored again at the 21st Annual Legends Run at Sunset Park, August 4, 2016.
This year’s Legends Run will include an Open 5K followed by a Seeded 5K race, which will be a team event, teams of seven runners, in three divisions, Male, Female, Mixed. Runners who meet qualifying standards my run unattached.
The Legends 5K course at Sunset Park in 2017 will be a true cross- country course run largely on grass and dirt trails. It will be similar to the course used for the 2014 Nevada State Cross Country Championships. With over 100 entries expected in each race, the Seeded race, will include many current college runners, most of them Legends, and many of the top local runners. The Seeded 5K will likely meet expectations as the “fastest 5K race run annually in the Las Vegas valley.” The defending champions from 2016 are Martin Ponce, who graduated from SECTA in 2013 and now runs for Montana State, and Sydney Badger, who graduated from Centennial and now runs track and cross country at the University of Michigan. Both are Legends.
Legends Nominees for Class of 2016
Steven Birch (Basic) Amy Amezcua (Green Valley)
Nathan Cromwell (Coronado) Skyler Free (Liberty)
Tim Myers (Arbor View) Tori Landers (Palo Verde)
Leonardo Rubi (Green Valley) Kayla Roberts (Centennial)
Omar Rubio (Del Sol/Green Valley) Emma Wallenmaier (Palo Verde)
Daniel Ziems (Palo Verde) Julie Weaver (Centennial)
This year’s Selection Committee is comprised of 16 active or retired coaches and current Legends. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive 75% of the votes. Voters may select up to three candidates from each list. No write-ins allowed.
Bryce Odegard (Pahrump Valley), a junior, the 2016 State 3A Champion is an automatic qualifier this year. Among the senior boys, none of the nominees ever finished higher than 7th at State, but Leonardo Rubi was twice All State (top 15) and Omar Rubio and Daniel Ziems were both Region champs (Rubio in 2016 and Ziems in 2015 and 2016). The other nominees this year all had less noteworthy careers but are deserving of the nomination. All of them went to State one of more times and finished in the top 10 at Region at least twice.
There were no carry-over candidates from 2015.
Three-year runner at Basic. His best finish at State was 2015 when he was 9th. His top finish at the Sunrise Regional was in 2015 when he finished 3rd.
Four-year runner at Coronado. Twice All Region (top 10), in 2014 and 2016. Four times to State, best finish 18th as a senior
Three-year runner at Arbor View. Three-time top-7 at Sunset Regional; three-time state qualifier, best finish 25th as a senior.
Four-year runner at Green Valley. Twice won Frosh-Soph. Twice runner-up at Sunrise Regional (his sophomore and junior year). Four times to State, never worse than 22nd; best finish was 7th in 2015.
Ran one year at Del Sol as a freshman (4th at Frosh-Soph). Transferred to Green Valley and did not run for two years—except at NXN SW Regional in 2015 when he finished 17th in the Open race (16:13 for 5K). In 2016 he won the Sunrise Regional and finished 8th at State.
Three-year runner at Palo Verde. Twice Sunset Regional Champion as a junior and senior. Three times to State, improving each time with a best of 9th in 2016.
No automatic qualifier this year. Karina Haymore, who won the 4A race in 2015 as a junior, is already a Legend. Of the six nominees from this year’s class, clearly the top candidates for election are Kayle Roberts from Centennial and Emma Wallenmaier from Palo Verde. Roberts finished in the top-8 at State three times, was runner-up in 2014. Wallenmaier was top-7 at State three times, runner-up in 2015, and Sunset Region champion in 2015. All four of the other nominees had “noteworthy” careers of at least three years and all four were All Region at least twice. All four went to State at least three times, but none ever finished higher than 15th. As with the boys, how noteworthy is for you to judge.
Three-year runner at Green Valley. She finished top 5 in the Sunrise Regional all three years and ran State three times as well, finishing 24th as a senior.
Ran three years for Liberty. Top 8 in the Sunrise Regional three times, runner-up in 2014. Three time state qualifier and made All State by finishing 15th in 2016.
Solid four-year varsity career at Palo Verde, never #1 on her team but All Region twice and four times to State. Best finish at State was as a sophomore when she placed 24th.
The Centennial senior had a terrific four years. She finished first as Frosh-Soph both times she ran it; was top 6 at the Sunset Regional four times, runner-up twice; and made All State four times, finishing second in 2015.
Three years at Palo Verde, and the team’s #1 runner her junior and senior year. She finished 4-1-2 at the Sunset Regional 2014-’16 and finished 7-2-5 at State, the #1 runner from the South her senior year.
Ran a bit “under the radar” for high-profile Centennial but had three good years as a varsity runner. Twice All Region—4th in 2015—and three times to State with best finish of 17th in 2015.
Voting begins December 6 and ends December 31. Winners will be announced in early January, 2017. Awards given at the Las Vegas Track Club banquet in June and/or the 2017 Legends Run in August.
Phil Lawton, Legends Selection Chair
Championship Series Update 2016
Santana and Bertsch Go Back-to-Back in Championship Series
For the first time in seven years we have repeat champions. JJ Santana and Toshie Bertsch clinched their wins by both running the Holiday Half. JJ was first overall and Toshie finished third overall among the women.
Toshie had already clinched the title, but she added another 13 points with her third-place finish, giving her 119 points total. There was some drama after that, however, in determining the next four places among the women. With Charlene Ragsdale sitting this one out, Erica Schramm could have overtaken Charlene with a first place finish and 15 points. As it was she settled for 2nd behind fellow-Red Rock Racer Mercy Ray. Erica’s 14 points put her in a tie for second with Charlene, both ended up with 84 points. Charlene clinched the runner-up award based on the tie breaker of more finishes in the series.
There was also a tie for fourth and fifth among the women. Young Grace Edwards ran the Holiday Half, now that her high school cross country season is over, and finished fifth overall, resulting in 11 points. This propelled her from 32 to 43, jumping over a number of runners ahead of her who did not run the Half. Grace ended up in the tie for 4th with Jennifer Lee. She wins the tie breaker with four races to Jennifer’s three. She is the first high school runner to crack the top five overall since Katie Gorczyca won it all in 2010. Jennifer will settle for the 5th-place bowl.
For the men, the top five did shuffle a bit. Kirk Buckley added 5 wild-card points for a marathon and then 12 more by finishing 4th Overall in the Holiday Half, giving him 116 points. Eric Hosafros had been in second but by sitting out the Holiday Half he remains at 105. So second and third place switch. Gerry Morgan, in fourth, added 10 points to his total, now at 64, based on winning his age group in the Half. Sergio Ibarra remains fifth overall with 51 points. (Sergio ran the Holiday Half but, unfortunately, was DQ’ed for a course violation.)
The rest of the top 10 played out as follows. On the distaff side it was Linda Williams in 6th with 40 points. Also with 40 points was Christana Jimenez, but Linda won on the tie breaker. Maria Riach finished 8th with 36 points and Teri Gamer placed 9th with 35 points. Amanda Henriques was 10th with 32 points. Teri was the only runner among the five who ran the Holiday Half.
For the men there was no change in the standings as none of the next five ran the Half: Terry Stockdale (49), Ryan Williams (44), Carl Wright (35), Casey Price (34), and Jeremy Wallace (33).
The 2016 awards will be given out at the Club Championship 10K race at Kellogg-Zaher Park on January 7th.
Phil Lawton, Championship Series Chairman
JJ Santana and Braidynn Harchis Win 2017 Club Championship 10K
To begin the new year right, JJ Santana picked up where he left off in 2015 and ’16, winning and blowing away the field in a race! On a chilly day in January over the Kellog-Zaher Park 10K course, JJ’s winning time of 32:37 was more than two minutes faster than that of the next finisher, Andrew Duncan. Andrew, the ageless wonder at 49, can still run with most anybody, as his time of 34:50 will attest, but JJ Santana is not just “anybody.”
JJ Santana Andrew Duncan
The next three runners were all within 21 seconds of one another: Ray Fong (35:06), Peter Downie (35:10), and Alejandro Belmares (35:27). Along with Fong (20-29), Downie (40-49) and Belmares (30-39), Ryan Williams (19 & Under), Sergio Ibara (50-59), and Brad Stewart (60 & Over) also took home a age-group trophies.
Braidynn Harchis Shelby Nelson
The first women to finish, 13th and 14th overall, were Braidynn Harchis (42:36) and Shelby Nelson (42:37), who train with LVTC member, Jeremy Wallace. The next three women to cross the finish line were Nicole Jewell (43:01), Bailey Gosse (43:19), and Tanya Carrier (43:37). In addition to Gosse (19 & Under) and Jewell (30-39), other AG winners were Tracy Aukamp (40-49), Toshie Bertsch (50-59) and Maria Riach (60 & Over).
In total there were 38 finishers in the 10K, all of whom collected points towards the 2017 Championship Series. Also handed out at the awards ceremony after the race were the bowls and medals earned by the top-10 finishers in the 2016 Championship Series.
1. Toshie Bertsch and JJ Santana (repeat winners from 2015)
JJ Santana with 2016 CS First Place Bowl
Toshie Bertsch with 10K AG First Place and 2016 CS First Place Bowl
2. Charlene Ragsdale and Kirk Buckley
Charlene Ragsdale 2016 CS Runner-Up Kirk Buckley 2016 CS Runner-Up
3. Erica Schramm and Eric Hosafros
4. Grace Edwards and Gerry Morgan
5. Jennifer Lee and Sergio Ibarra
6. Linda Williams and Terry Stockdale
7. Christina Jimenez and Ryan Williams
8. Maria Riach and Carl Wright
9. Teri Gamer and Casey Price
10. Amanda Henriques and Jeremy Wallace
The next event in the Series will be the Celebrate Education 8K in April.
Championship Series 2017
Some things change and some things stay the same. Changes first. This year’s Championship Series VIII will consist of four events, sort of like the Grand Slam in golf and tennis, except that none of the events will be held at Augusta or St. Andrews or at Wimbledon or Forest Hills. Four events, one each quarter and spread out throughout the Vegas valley.
We begin with the traditional 10K at Kellogg-Zaher, the Club Championship 10K. This year’s race will be January 7th at which time we will give out this year’s awards (2016). In April we move to a new venue for the Celebrate Education 8K. It will be held at that great new park in North Las Vegas, Craig Ranch Regional Park. And the race will be part of an exciting Pirate Fest. The date is a Sunday, April 23rd. You’ll be hearing a lot more about the Pirate Fest in the coming months. On August 5th we return to Sunset Park for the 21st Annual Legends Run 5K. This event provides a preview of the upcoming high school cross country season and is undoubtedly the fastest 5K in the valley, but then that’s what the CS is all about: competition, right? Finally, in December 2017, likely the 16th at a site in Henderson, we’ll have our Holiday Half Marathon. We’ll see how the new course at Mountain Lake Park works out before we commit to a course and site.
There you have it: four events. No gimmicks, no wild card points for a marathon, etc. No commercial races. No treks to Mt. Charleston or Lee Canyon either. In case of ties we’ll use the overall finishes in the four races to determine a necessary tie breaker. You can check out the rules below.
One more change this year is that membership in the track club is no longer a requirement. The CS is open to one and all.
So what stays the same? Same awards, bowls for the top three finishers in each gender this year, with the first-place winners getting their names engraved on the perpetual bowl, which is maintained at Foot Solutions in Henderson. Also, staying the same will be the posting of points and standings on the club’s web site.
Phil Lawton, Championship Series Chairman