After winning the USCAA Half Marathon Championship in Arizona in January, the team captured second place at the 34th Annual USCAA Corporate Cup Relays National Championship in San Ramon in July. It was a total team effort and we won every close race on the track! This was the best finish by the rejuvenated AT&s;T team since its second-place finish in 1994 and its string of three championships from 1991 through 1993. The team expects to continue its ascent and bring home the championship in 2012!
Another good sign for the team is that we finished ahead of the next team in every close race that we were in with Robert Richardson in the Seniors Relay, Bob Peters in the Submaster Sprint Relay, Emily McMillan in the Women's Relay and Breeanne Martin in the Pyramid.
The Terminators a.k.a. 26 year old Jenny Turner from Atlanta and Georgia Tech and 25 year old Emily McMillan from Colorado/New Jersey and Villanova University ran away with the Women's 800m Team Race with a combined time of 4:37.9. Their time was 3.8 seconds over the AT&T team record of 4:34.1 that was set in 1989 by Yvonne Joyce (2:13.9) and Janice Rein (2:20.2). In this race two women run at the same time and you add their times together. Jenny was first with a 2:16.2 and as a prelude to the Women's Relay Emily passed a GE runner with 20 meters to go for second in 2:21.7, leaving no doubt about which team had the best combined time.
The Senior's Relay, which requires five runners, all 50 years of age or older, with at least one woman and one runner 60 years of age or older running the opening leg, running in order: 200m (60+), 400m, 200m, 600m, 400m was the most exciting race of the weekend. Paul Henry gave us a lead with the 60+ first leg and our next 3 runners each increased the lead with Charles Jordan in the first 400, Cherylyn Gooch in the 200, and Phil Gibbons in the 600. Phil handed off to 58 year old Robert Richardson with about a 20 meter lead over ExxonMobil. Robert was giving up several years to Ken Thomas, the anchor for ExxonMobil. Ken reeled Robert in until he pulled even with him on the final turn with about 160 meters to go. From there they ran neck and neck and Robert outleaned him by .3 seconds for the thrilling victory!
Cherylyn Gooch is a special person. She was diagnosed with breast cancer about the time she started running with the team in the mid-nineties. Cherylyn beat the cancer and has been a stellar performer on the team ever since - running 100s, 200s and 400s. Last year she planned to donate a kidney to her sister. She chose September so that she would have time to recover and train for the 2011 season. In the pre-donor screening, a spot was found on Cherylyn’s lung. The bad news was she couldn't donate a kidney; the good news was that the cancer was detected early. Cherylyn underwent surgery and chemo and came back stronger than ever to run Nationals again this year. Cherylyn is the most courageous and optimistic person that I know. It's an absolute pleasure to have her on the team and I look forward to watching her run for many more years!
Second year participant Ann Marie Ayres, Senior Manager-Corporate Real Estate in San Ramon, has been on fire not only in her personal life but in her support for the team. Here's what she had to say:
Being a member of this team has changed my whole life. Pride in wearing the AT&T logo has inspired me to lose 40 pounds in 6 months, exercise daily, and become a stronger faster competitor.
The team has consistently captured gold in both the 4X100 and the 4X200 for several years. Our 4x100 Team won for the 3rd consecutive year! The requirements for this race are two females and two males, with one man and one woman 40 years or older, and the other two runners any age. Marcus Shute, Alfonso Peterson, and Jacklyn Slaughter a.k.a. Jackie Mister have been on that winning team all 3 years. Breeanne Martin has been a part of the relay for the last two years while Cherylyn Gooch was on the team 3 years ago. The 4X200 team has been even more impressive winning for the 4th straight year. The requirement for the 4X200 is a runner 40+, a runner 50+, and a male and female of any age. Alfonso Peterson has been a stalwart on this relay team for all 4 years. This year the team ran away with the event finishing 5 seconds ahead of GE. Alfonso was joined by Marcus Shute, Robert Richardson, and Jenny Turner who stepped down from her normal 800 meter races to run a 200.
Talk about consistency, Alfonso has run excellent times while anchoring the 4X100 and 4X200 relay teams for the last 8 consecutive years since he joined the team in 2004!
Ron Schranko has been dealing with an Achilles issue but he came to Nationals and ran a 200 in the 3-Lap Sprint prelims. After reading the book Born to Run, Ron has interspersed his training with some barefoot running on grass with some initial success. As a long-time participant with both PacTel and AT&T we expect to see Ron back in 2012 stronger than ever.
The Women's Relay requires three female runners, one 40 years or older, whose combined ages total 90 years or more, running in order: 800m, 400m, 400m. The Terminators plus 50 year old USCAA Hall of Famer Jacklyn Slaughter easily met the age requirement by 11 years. Jenny Turner led at the end of the first leg with a 2:18 800m followed by Jacklyn with a great 75 second 400m running against women 10 years younger. Emily McMillan took the baton in 2nd place but overtook GE in the final 40m for the win! Below is a sequence of Emily McMillan overtaking GE. Emily's time was 61.2 seconds. Last year with 50 % of the Terminators we were 18 years over the age requirement and a few years before that we were 37 years over. One year we put a wig on Paul Henry and we were 55 years over the requirement! Unfortunately we were disqualified when the officials recognized the "No Passing" inscription on Paul's singlet.
Due to some injuries this year the profile of our women on the track was quite unique. They were either under 30 or over 50!
In the road races the women finished 3rd in both the 5K and the 10K while the men finished 3rd in the 5K and 2nd in the 10K. Ann Skudlark led the team in the women's 5K finishing 1st in her age group with Debbie Slavin and Ann Marie Ayers finishing 2nd and Linda Ottesen finishing an important 4th in her age group. In the Women's 10K Ann Skudlark and Martha Van Oshoven finished 1st in their age groups with Debbie Slavin and Ann Marie Ayers finishing 2nd and Linda Ottesen finishing 3rd in her age group.
Although these women are primarily road racers, Ann, Ann Marie, and Debbie all agreed to run on the track. Ann Skudlark has run on the track in previous years and this year ran 800m in the Executive Relay Final where the team finished 2nd and 400m in the Submaster Distance Relay Final. Ann Marie ran 200m in the Submaster Sprint Relay prelims to save our track women from running an additional event. Debbie Slavin is valuable on the track as a backup for the President's Relay and this year ran 200m in the Senior's Relay prelims to save our 50+ women from running an additional event.
Len Goldman led the men's 5K team by finishing 1st in his age group while Roger Daniels and Dan Dalton finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in the 70+ age group. Roger and Dan would have finished 1st in the 75-79 age group and the 80+ age group respectively but at this time the highest USCAA age group is 70+. Roger was on the 1st AT&T team in 1979 and holds the record for the most road races (and mileage) run by any individual on the team! He also has run on our marathon team numerous times and has done extremely well in ultramarathon races such as the Western States 100 Miler. He has 5 silver buckles for completing this challenging race in less than 24 hours with a best time of 19 hours and 25 minutes in 1989 finishing 17th overall at age 52. He also holds an age group record for the Run to the Sun in Maui, 37 miles up Haleakala! In recent years Roger has competed in triathlons including 3 Hawaii Ironman races so the 5K and 10K races are like a walk in the park for him. You would never know it if you saw him walking down the street, but this mild mannered man is a competitive dynamo ready to out run anyone in his age group and many people younger than him.
At 80 years old Dan Dalton ran the 5K in an impressive 32:04 on a hilly course. Dan was the oldest competitor in the entire meet and is an inspiration to all of us!
Tony Pacheco and newcomer Mark Nelson were the other members of the Men's 5K team contributing to the third-place finish.
In the Men's 10K the team was led by Jim Quesada and Alvin Jackson who were 1st in their age groups. Long-time participants Jim Sloan and Roger Daniels were 2nd in their age groups with Patrick Gorman and Mark Nelson helping the team to an important second-place finish edging out Lockheed Martin by 1 point.
Both Derrick Collins from the University of Southern Mississippi and Adam Cowdin from UTSA (University of Texas San Antonio) are in their mid-20s and experienced the national meet for the first time. Neither of them have run competitively on the track since college but they still ran some great times in the 200 and 400. Both of them ran four events. With advance notice they expect to run closer to their excellent college times next year.
It was great to have Jim Sloan back this year after a hiatus of a few years. Jim was one of the key architects of the AT&T powerhouse team that won 8 of 11 national championships from 1982 through 1993. His boundless energy was contagious as he helped coordinate the timing with Joe Hehn, coordinated the torch relay, talked first-year participant Wumni Mohammed into throwing the shot put and discus with him so that we could enter a team in those events, and finished 2nd in the 10K in his age group running with an injured foot!
Ken Gibbons continues to play a key role on the team by providing all kinds of data including projecting the times we need on each leg of each relay to win the event. He maintains an up-to-the-minute team scoring summary during the meet with the complicated USCAA scoring system which will become even more valuable next year when we challenge GE for the championship. This year Ken was able to stay somewhat injury free and ran an important 600m leg in the Seniors Relay prelims.
The President's Relay team contributed valuable second-place points with 1st year participant Chris Hevesy, second-year runner Shams Viziri and Paul Henry. Paul holds the record for the most AT&T appearances on the President's Relay Team.
After missing the meet last year, we were happy to have Bob Peters back to help the team to second-place finishes in the submaster Sprint Relay and the Master's Relay. Bob also agreed to run down in a lower age group so that we could participate in the individual 400m 30+ age group. He finished 3rd to score some additional points for the team. After missing several years, Matt Spica was back to help the Executive Relay Team finish 2nd and the Pyramid Relay finish 3rd.
Tony Pacheco and Alvin Jackson were long time PacTel participants when they used to have a team (along with Ron Shranko, Len Goldman and Dan Dalton). Tony has been Mr. Reliable at distances from 800m to the 10K this year running a 5K and1200m in both the Submaster Distance Relay and the Pyramid Relay. When we needed somebody to run on short notice we went to 65-year-old Alvin Jackson. He ran everything from 400m in the Senior's Relay prelim to a contingency 10K where he finished first in his age group. He also ran 1600m in the Submaster's Distance Relay final and 800m in the Pyramid Relay final.
Last year Reggie Duhe' split his time between the National Masters meet in Sacramento and our meet in San Ramon. We were glad to have him back full-time as he ran in two prelims and three finals helping us to 2nd place finishes in the 3-lap Sprint Relay, the Submaster Sprint Relay, and the Master's Relay. Phil Gibbons had a great weekend running in three finals - the Submaster Distance Relay, the Master's Relay, and the gold medal winning Senior's Relay.
Filipe Gonzales had been injured but came out and ran the 1600m anchor leg in the Executive Relay. Herb Jackson was back again this year and ran important 200m legs in the 4 x 200 and Senior's Relay prelims.
Multi - talented Charles Jordan ran in two prelims as well as on the gold-medal winning Seniors Relay Team and on the 2nd place Master's Relay team. Charles is an excellent high jumper and long jumper but we held him out of those events this year because we didn't have a strong participant to team with him. Next year we expect to do well in both events as some former top jumpers return to team with Charles.
After a stint with the Boeing team it was great to have Robert Richardson back with us. In addition to winning the individual 200m 50+ race, he anchored the gold-medal winning Senior's Relay Team and was on the 4 x 200 gold-medal team. Just for good measure he ran a 400m leg in the Sprint Relay prelims.
There is a saying in boxing that a person is pound for pound the best boxer. 49-year-old Marcus Schute fits that bill and is the best athlete on our team. The week before our meet he helped set a world record in the 4 x 400 (45–49 year age group) at the World Master's meet by running a 50.8 split. The new world record is 3:24.8! In our meet he coasted to gold in the individual 400m 40+ race with a 53.09 and also contributed significantly to our 4 x 100 and 4x 200 gold-medal teams.
Joe Hehn continues to play a significant role in developing strategy for the team and communicating with individuals at the meet as we make adjustments. After suffering a severe injury a few years ago at Nationals, the former 4 x 100 gold medalist hopes to get back on the track next year.
Although she didn't run on the track this year, many thanks to Debbie Vandenbroek for all her work over the years as the coordinator for Northern California and the logistical support of the team whenever the Nationals are in California.
On behalf of the entire team I want to thank Joe Hehn, Ken Gibbons, Jim Sloan, Ann Marie Ayres, Debbie Vandenbroek, Jerry Trapp and Paul Henry for making Nationals so successful this year! Paul has been an extremely key person on our team for his recruitment efforts.
I hope to see you competing somewhere and sporting the AT&T logo.
Emily McMillan overtaking GE in the anchor leg of the Women's Relay!