Saturday, April 11, 2020

Top GRC Performances (#3 and #4)

Below is another installment of Jerry's "totally subjective list" of top 10 GRC performances.


4. GRC Women Place 6th at 2016 Clubs XC in Tallahassee, Florida

"It all came together for the women at Clubs in 2016. We had excellent performances from our top six of Stephanie Reich, Emily de La Bruyere, Frances Loeb, Maura Carroll, Kerry Allen, and Elena Barham, and all of those performances are still among the top 10 all-time finishes by GRC women at Clubs. It took a lot of effort to get our women on the starting line--Emily flew from grad school in Paris to meet us in the Jacksonville airport for the long drive to Tallahassee--and when the gun went off, all of them performed superbly. Here's what I said about the race at the time.

We had a truly phenomenal day at Clubs, with excellent performances across the board. The headline was the amazing 6th place finish of the women's team, which was the best result for men or women in GRC history. To finish 6th in such a competitive field was beyond my most ambitious hopes, and I could not be more proud of that result. The team result was the product of excellent individual performances, led by Steph's outstanding 26th place, in 20:37, which is the second best placing ever at Clubs by a GRC athlete. Steph has proven this fall that she is a national caliber runner, and her dramatic improvement will continue in 2017. Emily made a stellar GRC debut, finishing 29th in 20:41, which is the third best placing in GRC history. Emily is a truly superb talent, and we're going to see great things from her in the future. Frances was 57th in 21:18, the 5th best finish in GRC history, and that was a significant improvement over her outstanding run last year. Maura ran the best race of her career, finishing an excellent 60th, in 21:21. Maura does not want to admit that she is an outstanding xc runner, but she proved the point conclusively on Saturday. In her first xc race in 11 years, Kerry was 70th, in 21:34, to cap off an excellent late season foray into shorter races, which is going to make her a better marathoner going forward. Elena ran a very strong race to close out her outstanding rookie season with GRC, placing 76th in 21:43. This was truly a fantastic performance from the entire team, and every one of our athletes played a part in our great result. To put into context how much depth we had, prior to Saturday the 5th best all time GRC women's performance at Clubs was 76th place. In Tallahassee, our 6th finisher was 76th place. To further illustrate the point regarding our depth, if Steph had been disqualified for throwing one of her competitors to the ground with a horse collar tackle (which is something she is known to do now and again), and we had scored our 2d-6th finishers, we would have placed 9th. Considering that our previous best women's finish was 10th, that is impressive indeed. I am beyond proud of our women, who came together when it counted, and ran as a team to achieve an incredible result. The women have made amazing progress since 2011 when our first team at Clubs competed with 5 athletes, one of whom could have run in the masters race."

3. Teal Burrell Qualifies for Olympic Trials at CIM 2014

"Wh​en Teal joined GRC in 2012, she had one goal--qualify for the Olympic Trials Marathon. Her PR at the time was 2:51 and change, and the standard for the 2012 Trials was 2:47,so the target seemed to be in reach. When USATF announced in 2013 that the standard for the next Trials was 2:43, however, it seemed that Teal's goal was going to be impossible to achieve. But Teal never wavered in her belief that she could do it, and it all came together for her at CIM in 2014, when she ran a remarkable 8+ minute PR, and qualified with room to spare. Here's what I said about Teal's incredible run at the time.

What a truly, truly phenomenal performance by Teal!! I've had 24 hours to process her titanic accomplishment, and I'm still at something of a loss for words to describe how incredibly well Teal ran, but this will shed some light on the enormity of her achievement. When Teal began this training cycle, her half marathon PR was 1:21:37. Yesterday she ran two half marathons faster than that, back to back! Teal is a very experienced marathoner and for someone with her level of experience to improve so dramatically in such a short period of time is simply astonishing. To me, the most amazing part is that Teal believed to her core that she could break 2:43, and she committed herself to going for it by rolling with the 2:43 pace group from the gun despite the ever-present possibility that the aggressive early pace would come back to bite her late in the race. Indeed, Teal was so confident in herself that she hit the gas at mile 24, and left the 2:43 pace group in the rear view mirror to make sure she didn't cut it too close at the tape. Teal's performance is unquestionably one of the greatest in GRC history, and I am certain that her incredibly courageous run will serve as inspiration for our athletes."


4. Zach Hine Runs Marathon PR of 2:16:36 at CIM 2019

"It's not often that a legitimate national caliber athlete joins the team, so we were beyond excited to have Zach come on board in the summer of 2019. The GRC magic clearly rubbed off on Zach, as he ran a long-sought PR in his first marathon in a GRC jersey. Here's what I said about Zach's great run at the time.

Zach ran an outstanding 2:16:36, which puts him second on the GRC all-time list. More importantly, Zach ran a PR, which is something special considering that he has run many, many marathons in his illustrious career, including the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials, but his previous PR was from his very first marathon, which he ran in 2011. Zach was already qualified for the 2020 Trials, but chose to run CIM in order to get a confidence boost by running a PR, and it was mission accomplished."

3. Michael Franklin Wins Olympic Development 10,000 at the 2014 Penn Relays

Mike had an incredible outdoor season his senior year at Princeton, when he won the 5000/10,000 double at Heps, and topped it off with a 5th place finish at NCAAs in the 10. Mike was a kicker (as is amply demonstrated by the video of the Heps 5000 below which is well worth watching), and we knew that if he was near the front with 400 to go he would break the tape. Mike sat back and let Luke Meyer do the leading for the first 8k. Mike moved up to the leader's shoulder with 800 to go, and when he unleashed his huge kick with 400 to go it was game over. Mike's time of 29:32 was a club record that stood for four years. More importantly, Mike's victory at Penn was the first ever for a GRC athlete, and it started a streak of three consecutive years when one of our athletes won a championship at Penn. Here's what I said about Mike's great run at the time.

The headline of the weekend is Mike's victory in the 10,000 at Penn Relays. Mike ran a perfect tactical race, and there was never a moment of doubt in my mind that he would win. It would be difficult to overstate the gravity of Mike's victory, but rather than prattle on about it, suffice to say that this is the first, but surely not the last, major championship won by a GRC athlete."

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