20th Annual Legends of Cross Country
5K Race & Seeded 5K Team Race
Sunset Park, Las Vegas, NV
Saturday, August 6, 2016 - 6:45am
***Championship Series Event ***
This being the 20th Annual, I’m planning to make it bigger and better than ever. The format is the same as last year, two races at Sunset Park: the Open event or “citizen’s race” at 6:45 a.m. and the Seeded/Team race at 7:30, (or immediately following the last Open finisher).
There will be a couple of new twists this year. Instead of age-group medals we’re be presenting special commemorative 20th Annual ceramic beverage cups to age group winners based on the number of entries in each of the eight age groups. For example, since our largest age group for this event is always our Youth 2 (15-19), I expect to go 10 deep this year in that age group.
We’re also giving away—by raffle by bib number—a one-of-a-kind queen-size quilt made from tee shirts from each race from 1997 to this year’s 2016 race. (The winner may exchange it for $200 and I’ll keep the quilt!)
Last year was our biggest turnout ever with 263 total finishers in the two races. We had 19 teams entered in the Seeded/Team race, plus a number of “unattached” speedsters. You can enter via active.com, but if you plan to enter a team contact me for info. re. team rates.
Even if you don’t plan to run, come on out to Sunset Park on August 6th and be a part of the celebration of Legends. Four new Legends, Class of 2015, will be welcomed as well as past Legends such as Brent Bowers (’78 State Champion), Abby Miller Zeldin (4X State Champion), and two-time race winners Solomon Bennett, and Amanda Gramly Henriques
All entrants receive a custom “20th Annual Legends of Cross Country” t-shirt.
$30 LVTC Members $35 LVTC Members $50 EVERYONE
All proceeds go to the LVTC Scholarship Fund.
Three Divisions: Male, Female, Mixed (at least 2 men and 2 women)
Seeded Open Women—sub 22:00 Seeded Masters Women—sub 24:00.
* Exemptions granted to Seniors/Super Seniors
Friday, August 5, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
LVTC Summer Track Series
Saturday, August 13, 2016 7:00 a.m.
$1 All Participants
Championship Series Update #1
Defending Champions Back on Top
The June event, the STS 3200, was lightly attended, but it did result in a new leader on the women’s side—Toshie Bertch, the defending champion— and an opportunity for JJ Santana—also the 2015 champion—to grab the outright lead on the men’s side, which he did.
The women’s winner of the 3200 was Christina Jimenez, with a posted time of 12:35. Her 15 points allowed her to move up to 6th place with 28 points. The rest of the leaders, behind Toshie (56 points) are Erica Schramm (55); Charlene Ragsdale (45), following a 4th Overall in June; Jennifer Lee (43); and Linda Williams (36), with a 7th Overall for the 3200.
JJ Santana ran both heats of the 3200 and was the only runner to crack the 10-minute barrier. His 9:52—on his second try—was good for 15 points and put him atop the Leader Board with 79 points. Eric Hosafros, who was the only runner among the new leaders to not compete in June, is now alone in 2nd place with 64 points, still well clear of the rest of the field. Kirk Buckley, 6th Overall in the 3200, is alone in 3rd place with 49 points. Sergio Ibarra and Terry Stockdale, who both won their respective age groups in the 3200, now have 40 points and are tied for 4th. Ryan Williams, 8th Overall in the 3200, now has 35 points. Right behind him among those who competed in June are Carl Wright (30), winner of his age group; Casey Price (19), 7th Overall in the 3200; and James Alejandro (18), second in his age group.
Championship Series Update #2
The cancelation of this year’s Notch Run and likely cancelation of the LVTC’s version of the Turkey Trot has resulted in some reshuffling of the 2016 CS venue. It’s still in the TBA stages, but it looks like we’ll replace the Notch Run and the Turkey Trot with non-LVTC events: a 5K in September and a different Turkey Trot in November. It will result in two races in September (Forest Challenge is still a “go”) with none in July. Stand by for more details as they emerge. I apologize for the confusion and ask for your patience.
The next CS event is the Legends 5K on August 6th. It has emerged as the longest-continuously-run LVTC race on our schedule: 20 years and counting. Whichever race you run, the Open or the Seeded, your time will count for CS placing and points.
Phil Lawton, Championship Series Chair
Schramm and Santana Win Summerlin Half. Top Series Leader Board
By finishing overall first at the Summerlin Half Marathon, Erica Schramm widened her lead over Charlene Ragsdale and Toshie Bertsch, now tied for second. Erica has 50 points to their 33. Jennifer Lee, who was 4th overall—worth 17 points, as this was a race with more than 100 women finishers—in the Summerlin Half, slides into fourth place with 28 total points. She is closely followed by Linda Williams with 27 and Maria Riach with 26. All five earned points in the April event. Rounding out the top 10 among the women are Grace Edwards, with 22; Donna Pfeffer, with 19; Teri Gamer, with 18; and Katrina Williams with 17.
JJ’s Santana’s first-place finish in the Summerlin Half allowed him to gain four points on previous leader Eric Hosafros, who finished 5th overall in the same race. They are tied with 64 points. Kirk Buckley is now third in the standings with 39 points, following his 8th overall at the race in Summerlin. The next four places in the standings among the men didn’t change as Terry Stockdale (30), Ryan Williams (27), and Carl Wright (20) all skipped the event. Sergio Ibarra stayed with tied with Terry in the four spot by running “unofficially” in the race, thus earning no points. Danny Murphy, a newcomer to the Series, jumped into 8th place in the Series standings by finishing 3rd overall and earning 18 points for his effort. Mike Schramm is now alone in 10th place with 17 points after winning his age group at the Summerlin Half, good for 10 points.
The next Series event is the REVEL Mt. Charleston Marathon on May 7th, although any marathon run in the calendar year can be scored in lieu of running this particular marathon. But, no, you can only count one marathon, although if you run more than one you can count the one that earns you the most points. Be sure to let me know if and when you run a marathon this year. I know more than a few LVTC members ran Boston this year, as well as other 26.2-mile jaunts. Send me an e-mail with your results.
Phil Lawton, Championship Series Chair
Celebrate Education 8K Juggles Championship Series Standings
The third event in the CS brought out all the top-5 men on the Leader Board and, to no one’s surprise, JJ Santana finished first. Yet our new CS Leader is Eric Hosafros, who finished fourth Overall. How come? This anomaly came about as a result of Eric earning 14 wild-card points by finishing second overall at the Calico Race Labor of Love Marathon earlier in March. Well done, Eric! Eric now has 48 total points. JJ’s 15 points for winning the Celebrate Ed race gives him 44 points. Staying tied for third, as each earned 10 points in the March 8K, are Sergio Ibarra and Terry Stockdale. Sergio copped his 10 by finishing 6th Overall, while Terry won his age group. Both have 30 points total. Staying in fifth place, with 27 points, is Ryan Williams, who also earned 10 points by winning his age group. Moving into solo sixth place is Kirk Buckley, 5th Overall at the 8K, now with 26 points.
Charlene Ragsdale widened her lead in the standings by finishing second in her age group at Celebrate Ed. Those 9 points give her a total of 28, six ahead of Linda Williams and Grace Edwards. Grace, a sophomore at Palo Verde H.S., jumped six places in the standings with her fourth Overall in the 8K. Both have 22 points. Toshie Bertch also moves up on the Leader Board with a 5th Overall and stands one point back with 21. Also moving up were Donna Pfeffer, now with 19 points, and Maria Riach and Katrina Williams, now tied for sixth place with 17. All of those newcomers to the top echelon of the standings took advantage of the fact that many of the early leaders took a pass by not competing at the March event.
The next CS event will be the Summerlin Half Marathon on April 10th. This is sure to be a race with a large field, so the scoring rules will be somewhat different. Let me explain, because this is a revision to the rules as first announced back in January.
The rules for scoring Performance points, Overall and Age-Group, for races with more than 100 finishers of a gender are now as follows: Overall Top-15 (15-14-13 etc). There is no change for AG scoring: Top-5 (5-4-3-2-1). This means that 11th Overall is now worth 5 Performance points, the same as a 1st place AG finish. It corresponds to the original scoring for “large-field” races when prior to 2015 we awarded 20 points for winning overall and 10 points for winning your age group. This revision, to me, is fair. My rationale is that finishing Top-15 Overall in a race with lots of finishers is a big deal and should be worth more points. Also, these races almost always use 5-year age groups, so AG scoring takes into account that you essentially have more AG winners as well. This “tweak” in the scoring can, however, lead to a discrepancy. For example, the men’s race might have more than 100 finishers while fewer than 100 women finish. So the two races are scored differently. This did happen on more than one occasion when we used 20-point Overall scoring for large races. But since men aren’t competing against women in the CS it has no real effect.
One last thought. To the question, “Why not use this scoring for all races?” the answer is “Maybe we will, next year.” But not for this year since it would be changing the rules in the middle of the game. The only races on the CS schedule that are likely to have more than 100 runners of a gender are upcoming: Summerlin Half Marathon, REVEL Marathon, Legends, and Danny Gans. (Turkey Trot, hopefully, will have more than 200+ runners, but for that race we score both the 10K and 5K separately for CS points.)
Feel free to weigh in on this “tweak” I have made in scoring. It was only when it was pointed out to me that it didn’t seem fair that a top-10 Overall finish could be worth less than a top-5 AG finish. I agreed. I fixed it. I appreciate the feedback. Sometimes I write this stuff with the feeling that nobody ever reads it. Prove me wrong.
Phil Lawton, Championship Series Chair
Santana and Ragsdale Take Early Lead in Championship Series VII
It’s only the 2nd inning of a 12-inning competition but JJ Santana has taken the early lead, along with Charlene Ragsdale. JJ is defending his 2015 win, while Charlene, who finished in a tie for 8th last year, leads the pack for the first time.
JJ has racked up 29 out of a possible 30 points to lead the men’s division, while Charlene has accumulated 19 points. Both earned their points by competing in both events, as did men’s runner-up Eric Hosafros who now has 22 points and Linda Williams, runner-up among the women with 17.
The rest of top 10 among the men are Sergio Ibarra and Terry Stockdale, who both now have 20 after winning their age group in the January and February events, the Club Championship 10K and Winter Track Series Mel Sheppard 1500. Alone in 5th is Ryan Williams with 17 points. Tied for 6th are Kirk Buckley, George Schick, and Dominique Henriques with 15. Dominic earned his 15 by winning the WTS 1500 after skipping the race in January. Rounding out the top 10 are Alejandro Belmares with 14 points and Jeremy Wallace with 13, who also only competed in January.
The rest of the runners in the women’s field have only completed one event as well, and it includes most of the heavy hitters (extending my baseball metaphor). February’s winner Erica Schramm and runner-up Amanda Henriques stand 3-4 in the standings with 15 and 14 points, respectively, while Christina Jimenez, who was third in the 1500, stands alone in 5th place with 13 points. The rest of the leaders all earned their points in January: Tanya Carrier , 6th with 12 points; Jennifer Lee, 7th with 11; and four-way tie for 8th among Tosie Bertsch, Grace Edwards, Jamie Ross, and Marie Riach, all with10 points.
The next Series event is the Celebrate Education 8K in March. It should bring out our biggest turnout of the year to date. Points up for grabs will be Top 10 Overall (15-14-13 etc.) and Top 5 in the Age-Group placing (5-4-3-2-1). For this event there will be nine ten-year age groups from 0-10 up to 80+. So come on out to Kellogg Zaher on the 26th and join step up to the plate, or in this case the starting line.
Phil Lawton, Championship Series Chair
Championship Series 1500 Wraps up WTS
Despite perfect running conditions on a fast track (at UNLV), it was the smallest turnout for a Championship Series event in the seven years that the CS has been in existence. But it turned out to be one of the most competitive races ever, for both the men and the women.
There were 24 runners signed up, 17 men and 7 women. I decided to run three heats. The first heat was Masters Men. It was won in convincing fashion by Eric Hosafros (4:59), with Kirk Buckley second (5:25) and Sergio Ibarra a close third (5:27). Terry Stockdale was fourth in 5:43, not too shabby for a guy in his 60’s.
The second heat was all women, and it was competitive from the starting gun. Erica Schramm took an early lead with Amanda Henriques and Christina Jinenez not far behind. With 400 meters to go, it was a two-women race between Erica and Amanda, with Erica still in front by less than a full stride. Then Amanda made her move with 300 meters to go, taking the lead.
At that point Tim (Kelly) turned to me and said, “My money is on Amanda…!” I didn’t offer a bet, but I suggested to Tim that Amanda had made her move too early. Besides, I knew that Erica was more of a middle-distance runner in college, and she liked the shorter distances, whereas Amanda was a 10K specialist in college, not a miler. I also knew that Erica Schramm is one very competitive lady, who does not like to lose, especially to Amanda, her junior by eight years.
I was right. Amanda had made a bold move, but she was unable to break away on the back straightaway; Erica hung tough, no more than five to eight meters back. Erica then timed her move perfectly. Coming out of the final turn, with 100 meters to go, she took the lead and never gave it back, finishing with a surge in 5:04. Amanda faded at the finish, four seconds back (5:08). What a race! Christina was a solid third in 5:28. Abigail Adams (6:19) and Charlene Ragsdale (7:04) finished four-five.
This set the stage for the showdown between the young guns: Series leaders JJ Santana and Dominic Henriques; newcomer Shavik Kanzara, winner of the resent WTS 10K; Colin Corrigan; and Devin Mancuso, two-time Series runner-up. All five of these guys are in their 20’s and they are all in superb running shape. Also in this heat were four high school runners: Casey Price, Cody Thornock, Ryan Williams, and Joren Sellinger. The race didn’t disappoint.
Dominic, the speedster—an 800-meter runner in college—took an early lead, surprisingly, rather than lay back and make it a one or two-lap race. JJ and Bhavik were quite content to let Dominic do the early work, but they hung close. The rest of the field tried to stay with the three leaders, but the pace was just too fast! With 400 meters to go, Dominic started to get some separation, and he gradually increased his lead around the last turn, but then he started to wobble. JJ, in particular, went after him, but Dominic hung on, barely. And it should be noted that if JJ hadn’t had to go around a lapped runner, just before the finish line, he might have caught Dominic. Both runners were timed in 4:07. Bhavik was four seconds back for third (4:11). Both Colin and Devin were under 4:30, giving them a four-five finish Overall (both heats). Casey led among the high school runners, finishing in 5:02.
Just past the finish line, Dominic turned to me, bent over, still gasping for breath, and acknowledged that if the finish line had been any further out JJ would have caught him. It was a great race and great way to finish the WTS.
And here’s a thought. Devin suggested to me after the race that we should do our Summer Track Series on Saturday mornings, early, rather than in the evenings, when temps are still at triple digits in June, July and August. I’ll certainly consider it. What do you all think? And I love the idea of doing them all at UNLV, if possible. It avoids the hassle of getting access to the high school tracks, which are kept under lock and key in the summer. Your thoughts?
Legends Preview… and a Bit of Nostalgia
This year’s Legends Run is shaping up to be special. Not only does it commemorate 20 continuous years of the event, it also promises to one of the most competitive ever.
I suggest the competitive nature of this race started in earnest about 10 years ago. That year a couple of high school juniors finished 1-2 less than a second apart. Solomon Bennett from Silverado edged Jeremy Sudbury from Shadow Ridge. The next year, 2007, Jeremy turned the tables on Solomon, beating him by nearly 30 seconds. The two titans squared off a third time in 2008, with Jeremy again finishing first and Solomon again runner-up. By now they were both in college and the finishing times were getting faster and faster. It was turning into the “fastest 5K in Vegas.”
Jeremy won again in both 2009 and 2010, but no Solomon, who took a hiatus both years. But this didn’t mean slower times, just the opposite. In 2010, Jeremy—now a senior at the University of Oklahoma and a college All American—ran 14:32.3, the fastest 5K in the 20 years of the event, on a true cross country course using the Wetland’s trails behind the Silver Bowl. It is, arguably, the fastest 5K ever run over an honest cross country course in Las Vegas.
The next year the course moved to Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boulder City and Jeremy Sudbury capped his running career by winning his fifth-consecutive Legends Run. His time of 15:17 was—and still is—the fastest time ever run over the course that hosted numerous NV high school state XC championships from 2000 to 2012. The second-place time of 15:40 in that race also broke the old course record of 16:05. Who did that? Yes, Jeremy’s old nemesis Solomon Bennett.
Jeremy “retired” after his 5-peat, but not Solomon, who came back in 2012 and won the race in a “slow” time of 16:03, nipping a ringer from Arizona by a couple of seconds. Finishing 3rd that year was a guy you may have heard of: Nick Hartle. Nick would go on to win two state championships in cross, a bucket full of championships in track, and head off to UCLA. (Nick made the semi-finals of the 800 at the Olympic Trials this summer.) Nick will be present at this year’s race, by the way. But I don’t think he is here to run, at least not as a serious competitor.
Back to who is a serious competitor this year. Since he was second in 2011 and won in 2012, Solomon Bennett has run Legends every year: 3rd in 2013, 2nd in 2014, and 3rd in 2015. He and his wife Alissa now live in Indiana. They are both entered in this year’s race. I doubt they are flying back to Las Vegas just to enjoy our August sunshine. Solomon wants another shot at that third Legends title.
So how good are Solomon’s chances of winning? It won’t be easy. This may be strongest men’s field since Jeremy Sudbury hung up his racing flats. Defending champion JJ Santana is running better than ever this year. He recently won the Summerlin Firecracker 5K, setting a new course record.
And then there are the college runners, who will make up most of Coach G’s All Stars men’s team this year. Three who are likely to challenge are Martin Ponce, now running for Montana State and a Legend himself; Eric Klein, a senior at Creighton University who was 8th overall last year; and the newest Legend, Colin Schaefer, who was an NXN finalist in 2015 and an incoming freshman at the University of Florida this fall. The other Legend from the Class of 2015, Austin Rogers, hasn’t been heard from, but he may yet show up and be among the leaders.
Which high school boys to watch? Bryce Odergard (Pahrump Valley), the top returning Legends finisher from 2015 still in high school, is entered. The top returning cross country runners from Sunrise and Sunset are Daniel Ziems (Palo Verde) and Lenny Rubi (Green Valley). Hopefully, they will be on the starting line of the Seeded race.
What about the women’s race? Here too, the competition has gotten better the past ten years. And there is lots of nostalgia there as well. In fact, let’s go back to 2003. It was the 7th Annual Legends Run, ran over a 5K course at Lorenzi Park. The girl who won that year was about to start her senior year at Clark H.S. It was to be the first of three Legends wins for Amanda Gramly, who also won in 2011 and 2013, both of these victories as Amanda Henriques. She is, in fact, the only triple winner among the ladies and surely one of the favorites this year. Amanda turns 30 a couple of days before the race. How time flies.
Another tidbit from the past. In 2007 the women’s race was won by Leah Leady, a high school runner from Foothill who became a two-time Legends winner when she also won the next year in 2008. That year, 2007, we also had a 3K race for the kids. And winning her age group—she was 9 at the time—was Kate Vanderstelt. Yep! The same Kate Vanderstelt who is being inducted this year as a Legend, Class of 2015.
Back to this year’s race. For serious challengers this year to Amanda, don’t count out last year’s winner, Erica Schramm. Erica—the winner of two sub-3 (hour) marathons in the past 12 months—is more of a long distance runner, but she also is one of the toughest competitors on the planet. Last year Erica and her Red Rock Running Team teammates went 1-5 among the women, destroying the competition, which included some good college runners. Amanda didn’t run in 2015; she was pregnant with her and Dominic’s first child.
Next, consider Sydney Badger. Sydney won Legends in 2012 and 2014, while she was still in high school (Centennial grad 2014). Sydney didn’t run last year because she was tied up with cross country training at the University of Michigan. But Sydney is back in Las Vegas this summer, on break, and from what I hear, in great shape and ready to run.
So what you have among the leading contenders for the women’s title this year are the winners of the last five years: Amanda Henriques (2X), Sydney Badger (2X), and Erica Schramm, last year’s winner.
Does anyone else stand a chance? I don’t know of any other Legends still in college who can make the race this year. But don’t count out the best of the high school runners, including the defending state D-1 XC Champion and newest Legend, Karina Haymore. Also, both Alexis Gourrier, her teammate at Centennial, and Emma Wahlenmaier from Palo Verde, could be among the leaders. The top three returning high school cross country runners from the Sunrise Division are Mia Smith and Amy Amezcua from Green Valley and Raquel Chavez from Basic. If any or all of these six girls run, it will provide a preview of the upcoming high school cross country season.
As for the team competition this year, Coach G’s All Star men’s and women’s team, both of them loaded with returning Legends and promising high school runners, will be the clear favorites. The RRRC runners, newly labeled as the Red Rock Running Company Adidas Team, who won the Women’s Division in 2015 with a perfect score, are running this year as a Mixed Division team. That team will include JJ Santana, Dominic and Amanda Henriques, as well as Erica Schramm and Mercy Ray Sells. Mercy, who finished 4th overall in 2015, more recently won the women’s division at the Summerlin Firecracker 5K in July. A formidable team no doubt.
The Legends Run has come a long ways since 1997 when 50 or so runners ran that inaugural race at Pueblo Park in Summerlin. I was trying to make a few bucks—from race entries—to help fund my Bonanza H.S. cross country teams, in addition to honoring the best XC runners of the 80’s and 90’s. In some ways, it seems like yesterday, but in other ways, not so. The years are catching up on me. Still, it’s been a fun ride.
(Phil Lawton, Race Director)
Meet the Scholarship Winners
What a great group of student athletes this year! The nine high school seniors selected as our scholarship winners—five girls and four boys—come from six different high schools. Three of the nine had brothers and/or sisters precede then as recipients of LVTC scholarship grants. These three, Cody Thornock, Kate Vanderstelt, and Johnathon Blaine were members of LVTC for many years; we have watched them mature as runners as their brothers and sisters before them paved the way. All nine lettered in high school cross country and track at least once—most of them three or four years—while two of the nine opted for swimming as their spring sport instead of track and field.
The field of nine includes two Legends—Kate Vanderstelt and Chase Wood—and six of the nine—including Kate and Chase, as well as Danielle Greene, Johnathon Blaine, Marieta Wright, and Xavier Cummins—were recognized for their cross country accomplishments by being named to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s 2015-16 All State Preps Best of Nevada as First Team, Second Team, or Honorable Mention. Both Marieta Wright and Carla Gatson ran for two schools. Marieta ran both track and cross country for Cimarron-Memorial (three years) and Centennial (one year) and earned trips to state representing both schools in both sports. Carla ran cross country for SECTA and track for Cheyenne (SECTA does not complete in track and field) and, she too, went to state in both sports for both schools. The two swimmers, made names for themselves as well: Cody Thornock as a National Merit Finalist and Jared Selinger as an Eagle Scout.
Talented, smart, and leaders all, all nine are headed for college this fall. Here is a thumbnail sketch of each one, along with some of their own words from their application essay and comments about them from their mentors, teachers, and coaches in their Letters of Recommendation.
Phil Lawton - July 07, 2016