Monday, January 12, 2015

GRC Year End Awards

At our yearly team gathering last Saturday, in a jovial atmosphere replete with chili, beer, and Divisional Playoff Games, the men and women of GRC recognized a few special members who's exploits on and off the track deserved commendation. The award winners are listed below along with a few of Coach Jerry's thoughts.

Men’s MVP—Michael Franklin 

The highlight of Mike’s outstanding track season was his victory in the 10,000 meters at Penn Relays, which was almost surely the most significant win ever by a GRC athlete.  Perhaps equally impressively, Mike’s Penn Relays exploits represented perfectly GRC’s ethos, because Mike put in a full 8 hours at the office on race day, and was back at his desk before 9:00 the next morning.  Mike set GRC club records on the track in the 1500 (3:53.35), 3000 (8:17), and 10,000 (29:32), and his GRC seasonal best of 14:23 in the 5,000 is 3rd on the all-time list.  In the fall, Mike proved that he can excel off the track, as he was GRC’s top finisher at Clubs Cross Country, placing an excellent 69th in a loaded field.

Women’s MVP—Teal Burrell

To say that 2014 was a breakthrough year for Teal would be a gross understatement.  Her 2:42:13 at the California International Marathon was a truly remarkable achievement on multiple levels.  From a purely objective standpoint, Teal qualified for the Olympic Trials by a comfortable margin and ran a PR of over 10 minutes.  From a more subjective standpoint, Teal proved that if you dream big, and back up your dreams with years of hard work and singular focus, those dreams can come true.  In the build up to CIM, Teal ran major PRs of 60:19 for 10 miles and 1:19:29 for the half marathon, and the confidence she derived from those excellent performances fueled her belief that her long-sought Olympic Trials qualifier was within reach in Sacramento. 

Men’s Newcomer of the Year—Sean O’Leary

Sean is a local high school legend and 2014 University of Maryland graduate who started his post-collegiate career with a strong fall season on the roads, which was highlighted by his 25:49 at the Navy 5 miler, and his impressive ten mile debut of 53:00 at Army.  Sean’s future is likely in the longer distances on the roads, and his talent and work ethic portend great things in the months and years ahead.

Women’s Newcomer of the Year—Kristin Johnson

When Kristin joined GRC in May, her goal was to be able to hang with the women in workouts.  By July, the rest of the women were hoping to be able to hang with Kristin.  During her stellar fall season, Kristin ran huge PRs and GRC seasonal bests on the roads at 5k (17:58), 8k (29:14), 10k (36:50), 10 miles (59:40), and the half marathon (1:19:21).  While Kristin is most comfortable at longer distances, she showed her versatility by placing an excellent 91st at Clubs Cross Country. When Kristin turns her attention to the marathon in the spring, we will surely see another massive PR.

Lauren Woodall Roady Award—Patrick Murphy

No one has done more behind the scenes on behalf of GRC than Patrick, and his contribution to the team has been truly indispensable.  As a direct result of Patrick’s service on the GRC board for the last four years, which included two years as President, the team has experienced unprecedented growth and success.  Patrick’s vision for GRC as an independent entity was fulfilled when the team incorporated as a non-profit, and thanks to Patrick’s extraordinarily hard work in directing and promoting the Father’s Day 8k, the team has achieved financial stability without the need to rely on outside sponsorship.  Patrick was also instrumental in organizing Lauren’s Run, which was a memorial race in honor of our beloved teammate Lauren Woodall Roady, for whom this award is named.  In addition to his administrative duties, Patrick has continued to push himself as an athlete, and his determination to make the most of his ability and his unwavering positive outlook even in the face of difficult challenges has served as an inspiration to his teammates.  

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