PRT New Balance Team Photo

PRT New Balance Team Photo

Friday, January 23, 2015

PRT Women Fall 2014 Wrap-up

The women of the New Balance Prado Racing Team wrapped up 2014 with team victories and multiple personal records.

The Women of PRT after braving the heat, hills, and dust of the Balboa 4-miler
As always, the team focused on the San Diego Dirt Dog Cross Country series during the fall, competing in a total of eight cross country races spread out over San Diego County. The PRT women had a full scoring squad in seven of the eight races, and went undefeated for the 2014 season.

Darcy, Angela and Gina compete at the
Dirt Dog Championships 
The women showed their strength early in the series at the Balboa 4-miler, where the women were led by Jenna Munguia, who finished second overall in the race. She was followed by teammates Courtney Staruch (3rd), Hilary Corno (4th), Caela Timinsky (5th), and Gina Merchant (8th). For the first time ever, the PRT women had a Masters runner competing in the Dirt Dog Series. Darcy Davidson won the Balboa 4-miler in the Women’s 40+ division, and would remain undefeated in all races that she ran for the season.

The strongest regular-season race for the PRT women came in mid-October at the Cougar Challenge. PRT had three runners under 18 minutes on the cross country course, led again by Jenna Munguia, who was first overall in 17:12. She was followed by Courtney Staruch, who set a new 5K PR of 17:21, and Hilary Corno, who ran 17:37. Also finishing for PRT was Gina Merchant (18:17), Angela Moll, who ran 18:32 only six days after competing in the Chicago Marathon, and Julie Sawyer (19:47).

Jenna leaves the competition behind at the Dirt Dog
 Cross Country Championships
The PRT women went into the championship race undefeated, and as the reigning Dirt Dog Champions. The women did not disappoint in an exciting race. Jenna Munguia showed her strength by pulling away from the lead pack early in the race and running all the way to victory. Jenna’s victory in the championship race also sealed her individual champion status in the Dirt Dog Series. She was followed by Cortney Staruch, who ran a gutsy race to hold on to second place. Marie and Hilary finished next, in 4th and 5th, respectively. Darcy Davidson was the fifth PRT woman to cross the line, and the first Masters woman, clinching her Masters individual title. She was followed by Gina Merchant (9th) , Angela Moll (10th), Caela Timinsky (12th), and Sara Sanchez (21st). Overall, the PRT women claimed seven of the top ten spots at the championship race, and seven of the top ten spots for individuals in the series, including the individual champion. As a team, PRT once again repeated as the Women’s Open Champion.

Marie and Hilary after the Long Beach Half

In addition to a full cross country schedule, the PRT women were busy racing on the roads and trails during the 2014 Fall season.  Both Hilary Corno and Marie Schaper competed in the Long Beach Half Marathon, finishing first and second, respectively, in times of 1:19:35 and 1:20:28.

Darcy Davidson ran several trail half marathons and came away with impressive wins in both the Stairway to Heaven Trail Marathon and the Raptor Ridge Trail Half Marathon (where she placed seventh overall – including the men!).

PRT had two women PR in the marathon this fall. First, Angela Moll ran the Chicago Marathon in a speedy 2:51:31, good for a new personal record.  Then in early December,  Hilary Corno tackled the California International and finished with a new PR of 2:47:11. Both ladies significantly reduced their prior times in the marathon.

Cortney, Marie, and Hilary compete at the
Dirt Dog Cross Country Championships
Finally, Darcy and Marie decided to wrap up 2014 with a set of PRs of their own. Both women competed in the Holiday Half Marathon in San Diego and took down the 1:20 barrier! Darcy finished in 1:18:38, followed by Marie in 1:19:43.

After a solid season of cross country and road racing, the PRT women gear up for the 2015 spring season, where they’ll focus on several team races in San Diego, as well as participate in events on the track, the trails, and the roads. Check back for more updates and PRs!

PRT Men Fall 2014 Wrap-up

The PRT Men made more than 100 race appearances this past fall, consistently bringing scoring teams in both the Open and Masters divisions to the Dirt Dog XC Series races. The Masters team, led by Robert Verhees and Stephen Johnson, won the overall team title, while the Open Men, coming in third in a closely fought championship race with San Diego Track Club and Milestone Track Club, took second in the overall team scoring, and had three men in the top-ten individual scoring (Tyler Underwood, Derek Bradley, and Alex Phipps).

PRT Men's Team training at Mission Bay

Alex Phipps led the Open team at the first race of the series, the Wild Duck 5K, running 16:13. He was closely followed by Dan Seidel (16:14), Thomas Whitcomb (16:15), Chuck McKeown (16:19), and new member Rory Golden (16:51). Stephen Johnson won the Masters race in 16:54, followed by team captain Brian Culley (17:03), Greg McMillan (17:21), Jason Lewis (17:21), and Iron Dog Sean Fader (17:39).

At the very tough Balboa 4-Miler, new member Justin Turner made an immediate impact, finishing just behind Derek Bradley (22:07) in 22:09, followed by Dan Seidel (22:12) and Chuck McKeown (22:50). Rob Verhees took second in the Masters race, and Jeff Creighton, running in the 50+ division, took fifth overall Master.

The PRT Open Men won their first team race of the season at the Bonita Stampede (8K), with an outstanding performance by new member Tyler Underwood, who took second overall in 26:25. Seidel, Phipps, Whitcomb, and Bradley all finished within a minute of Tyler to seal the team victory.

In early October, PRT had a great turnout at the Balboa Boogie 5K, with all top five Open men (Derek Bradley, Dan Seidel, Eduardo Mariscal, Justin Turner, and Alex Phipps) running well under 16 minutes on the rolling course. For the Masters, Rob Verhees took second in 16:13, followed closely by Stephen Johnson (16:21) in third.

Alex Phipps turned in a terrific sub-26-minute performance at the Cougar Challenge 8K to lead the Open team, and Rob Verhees and Stephen Johnson again took second and third, respectively, for the Masters, with additional strong races by Jeff Creighton, Sean Fader, and Joel Bernard, all breaking 30 minutes.

Iron Dog Sean Fader at Cougar Challenge 8K

Derek Bradley led the Open men to a team win at the Cuyamaca 6K on November 1, taking second overall in 19:19. He was followed by Tyler Underwood, Alex Phipps, Eduardo Mariscal, Daniel Farmer, and Patrick Baldwin. The Masters men swept the top four spots, with Stephen Johnson taking the top spot in 20:35, followed by Jason Lewis, Jeff Creighton, and Sean Fader.

After a long season, the Dirt Dog Championship 8K race was held on November 16 on a tough, four-loop grass course at Mission Bay. Justin Turner, who also ran a 2:25 marathon in October, led the Open men in 26:57, and scoring behind him were Tyler Underwood (27:03), Alex Phipps (27:16), Derek Bradley (27:22), and Thomas Whitcomb (27:56). 

Justin Turner and Tyler Underwood at Dirt Dog Champs
The Open men narrowly took third in the race but earned second place overall in the Dirt Dog Series. The Masters men, extending their dominance from earlier in the season, won the race and the series, with Rob Verhees (28:15; 2nd), Stephen Johnson (28:31; 3rd), Jason Lewis (29:46), Jeff Creighton (29:51), and Brian Culley (30:09) making up the top five.

In the overall individual standings for the Dirt Dog series, Tyler Underwood took second place, and Derek Bradley and Alex Phipps also finished in the top ten. Stephen Johnson and Rob Verhees took second and third overall, Jeff Creighton was second in the 50+ division, and Sean Fader achieved “Iron Dog” status, running all races in the series. All in all, a great season for the PRT men’s team, and they look forward to another great year in 2015!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PRT Men's Team Late Spring/Summer Wrap-up

June is usually a somewhat slow month for the PRT men's team, but it did feature two performances of note: Derek Bradley's 4th-place finish (15:31) at the very competitive Bonita 5000, which also put him second in the race-within-a-race SDUSATF 5K Championships; and Thomas Whitcomb's sub-1:10 half marathon at the San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon.

The last team-focus race of the men's spring season took place at the Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10K on July 4, at Lake Miramar. This is always a festive occasion, and usually features patriotic, Speedo-wearing daredevils sprinting the first 100 meters in a show of defiance and enthusiasm, before retreating into the pack when they have made their point. The PRT men went out a bit more cautiously, given the hot, humid conditions that slowed things down a bit on a normally very fast course. Three PRT men placed in the top ten and cracked 33 minutes (Dan Seidel, 4th, 32:43; Thomas Whitcomb, 5th, 32:50; and Patrick Baldwin, 6th, 32:56), while in total PRT accounted for 10 of the top 20 men's places. Among the Masters runners, Rob Verhees broke 34 minutes, good for 14th place overall, and Stephen Johnson took 24th in 35:09. The Men's Open team also had a good turnout, with
Andrew Corman, Chuck McKeown, Alex Phipps, Mike Christman, Luis De La Vega, and Mike Daly all finishing within the top 20.

The PRT Masters Team at Wild Duck 5K (photo credit: Robert Verhees)

After the typical mid-summer break that follows Scripps Ranch, the PRT men reconvened this past weekend to kick off the 2014 SDUSATF Dirt Dog XC Series. The first race of the morning was the Masters race, in which seven PRT men competed. Stephen Johnson took first (16:54), closely followed by PRT Men's Team Captain Brian Culley (17:03). They were followed by Greg McMillan (5th, 17:18), Jason Lewis (6th, 17:21), Sean Fader (9th, 17:39), Joel Bernard (11th, 18:06), and Gerard Reski (16th, 18:45)— a strong team showing. In the Open race, the PRT men faced tough competition from Milestone Track Club and San Diego Track Club, but ran well as a team, taking the sixth through ninth spots (Phipps, Seidel, Whitcomb, McKeown, all between 16:13-19).

No rest for the weary — the next Dirt Dog race is Saturday, August 30 — the Balboa Park 4-Miler

Women Post New PRs in Late Spring and Early Summer Racing

The women of New Balance Prado Racing Team have been busy training and posting new PRs. The late spring and early summer season have seen PRs in events ranging from the 5K to the Marathon!

Our first PR is over the longest distance, the marathon! Despite battling injury going into the race, Kristin Schleicher still managed to pull off not only the top overall female position but also notched a new Marathon PR of 3:01:34!

Julie Sawyer took a break from her Spring track season to run the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon and snagged 5th place overall as well as cut down her Half Marathon PR by almost three minutes to 1:20:07.

New teammates Cortney Staruch and Bekki Miske wasted no time putting some fast times up on the board. Cortney raced both the Vista Strawberry 5K in 17:50 and the Bonita 5K in a PR of 17:28 (also good for second place overall), and Bekki competed in the Vista Strawberry 5K in 18:30 and the next week ran a PR of 18:09 (on a long course!).

Several PRT women decided to kick off the summer by competing in the San Diego Rock and Roll Half Marathon and Marathon. In the Half Marathon, every woman ran her fastest half marathon time ever to make for a very exciting day for the PRT women.  Hilary Corno ran a blazing 1:19:01. She was followed by Angela Moll in 1:22:14 and Darcy Davidson, who cut over a minute off her previous best time to run 1:22:57.

Additionally, Sara Sanchez braved the marathon to post a solid time of 3:10:23.

While many runners were taking a break from the Spring season, the PRT ladies had a strong showing at the Old Pro’s Scripps 10K on July 4th. The women claimed four of the top ten positions, led by Hilary Corno in 36:11 good for second female overall. She was followed by Jenna Munguia who finsihed third in 36:23 in one of her first races back. Quite an impressive showing! Darcy Davidson (37:38) and Gina Merchant (39:51) rounded out the top ten finishes in 5th and 7th, respectively. Also competing for PRT was Kelcie Wiemann (40:48) who took a break from studying for the California Bar to lace up her racing flats!

Most recently, two of our women braved hot and muggy racing conditions at America’s Finest City Half Marathon. Despite less than ideal weather, both women toughed it out, with Caela competing in her first half marathon in several years, finishing with a time of 1:25:01, and Hilary Corno finishing in 1:21:04.

Now it’s time for the women to gear up for the Dirt Dog XC Series! Check back for updates on the team’s progress as well as other 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Women's Spring Racing Report

The women of the New Balance Prado Racing Team have been busy this spring! The ladies have participated in several road races as a team, once again displaying PRT's dominance in the San Diego running community.

On March 16, the PRT women participated in the inaugural Encinitas Mile, a unique road race challenging runners to draw on their speed over the course of a one-mile out-and-back course along Vulcan Avenue in Encinitas. Runners were divided into heats, and the PRT women participated in the Elite race, the Women's Open division, as well as the Dog Mile!

In the Elite race, speedster Gina Merchant led the team finishing third in 5:13, holding off teammate Julie Sawyer, who couldn't match Gina's powerful kick. Sawyer (5:14) was followed by Kristin Schleicher (5:18) and Hilary Corno (5:23), whose performances were even more impressive given that both women are training for much longer (marathon and half marathon, respectively) races.

The PRT Women were also impressive in the Women's Open division. Sam Espinolda snagged first place in a time of 5:35, followed by teammate Nancy DiBenedetto in third (5:44), Jordana Henderson in fifth (5:45), and Kelcie Wiemann in seventh (5:49).

The entire team was honored to be part of this new and exciting event and look forward to racing the Encinitas Mile again in 2015!

Two weeks after testing their speed in the mile, the women participated in the Carlsbad 5000. Leading the team in a time of 17:33 was Hilary Corno, good enough for third in the Women's 30-39 division. She was followed closely by Kristin Schleicher (17:35, a new PR) and Sawyer (17:36). Together, the three women combined for the fastest Women's Open team, beating out the nearest competition by over a minute (scores are calculated by taking the combined time of the three women on the team). Also in the Women's 30-39 division, Gina Merchant had a breakthrough 5K race, finishing in 18:04, a huge PR!

In the Women's 29-and-Under race, Kelcie Wiemann (19:39), Sara Sanchez (19:53), and Nancy DiBenedetto (21:12) combined for a team score earning them fifth place in the Women's Open division.

In addition to the team-focused races, many PRT women have been chasing PRs in other events. One such notable performance this winter was Hilary Corno's PR in the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January, finishing in 1:19:25, which got her fifth place overall. 

Recently, Marie Schaper went big and traveled all the way to London to run the London Marathon. Her finishing time of 2:48:55 was a seven-minute PR. She was also the top American woman to finish the race and 12th overall!

Finally, Angela Moll traveled back east to participate in the Boston Marathon and finished with a PR of 2:55:44, finishing in the top 100, not an easy task at such a prestigious race!

There are still some more spring races to come, so expect future updates on more PRT New Balance PRs!

PRT Men's Spring 2014 Season

The spring season of 2014 has seen the PRT New Balance men turn in some impressive performances so far. There have been five team-focus races: the Cardiff Kook 10K, the U-T 10-20, the Encinitas Mile, the Carlsbad 5000, and the Fast Times 5K—a range of distances in which the men have excelled and demonstrated their versatility.

The Cardiff Kook Run in February, an out-and-back course that was held for the first time entirely on the 101 Coast Highway this year, always features a quick first 5K and a challenging second half coming back north. The men were led by Eduardo Mariscal (5th place, 32:46), followed by Daniel Farmer (6th, 33:06), Brent Varga (8th, 33:24), Alex Phipps (9th, 33:41), and Andy Corman (10th, 33:52). Team captain and Masters runner Brian Culley turned in a sub-34 10K for 11th place, beating some of the Open men in the process.

A couple of weeks later, the U-T 10-20, a new 10-miler race primarily along the coast from Del Mar and Solana Beach down to Cardiff and back, drew a strong field of elite runners with its ample prize money. The PRT men started with the non-elite field and took all three top spots (Derek Bradley, Dan Seidel, and Andy Corman). Finishing 7th, 8th, and 10th were Brian Culley, Robert Verhees, and Matt Sheremeta.

Another inaugural event, this one calling on some faster-twitch muscle fibers, was held on March 16. The Encinitas Mile featured PRT men running in four of its eight heats (Masters, Open Men, Elite, and Dog Mile). In the Masters, Robert Verhees (2nd, 4:50), Brian Culley (3rd, 4:55), Sean Fader (5:05), and Matt Sheremeta (5:07) all turned in strong performances. Also of note was the turnout in the Elite (sub-4:40) heat: Derek Bradley (6th, 4:31), Mike Christman (8th, 4:33), Alex Phipps (9th, 4:33), and Chuck McKeown (10th, 4:38) all beat the elite standard and mixed it up with some of the top local elite runners.

A similar scenario played out at the Carlsbad 5000, one of the premier road races of the year. Masters runner Robert Verhees ran a simmering 16:25 in the early 40+ race, and in the 30-39 age group, Derek Bradley (15:28) took fifth and ran sub-15:30, which is always impressive on Carlsbad’s deceptively difficult course. Bradley was followed by Dan Seidel (15:41) and Andy Corman (15:51). In the 20-29 division, Daniel Farmer ran with this customary aggression, and finished with a team-leading time of 15:22, while new member Thomas Whitcomb ran a very solid 15:45. Chuck McKeown PR’d in the 5K, breaking 16 minutes in the process.

The Fast Times 5K in mid-April was thoroughly dominated by the men’s squad. PRT New Balance took the first eight spots, led by Daniel Farmer, who won the race in 15:29. He was followed in short order by Derek Bradley (15:36) and Alex Phipps (15:41), and then by Eduardo Mariscal, Dan Seidel, Chuck McKeown, Brent Varga, and Charlie Frishberg. On the Masters squad, Matt Sheremeta, Sean Fader, and Joel Bernard took 14th, 15th, and 16th respectively.

The next team-focus race for the PRT New Balance men will be the Scripps Ranch 10K in July, a very fast loop course around Miramar Lake followed by a screaming downhill finish.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fall 2013 PRT Women's Season Wrap-up

The women of Prado Racing Team continued their dominance in the Dirt Dog Series this past Fall by winning the Women's Open Division and placing 5 women in the top ten individually in the series standings.
The Women of PRT win their third Women's Open Dirt Dog Championship Title
photo credit: Derek Bradley
The PRT Women came into the series as the defending 2011 and 2012 champions with a perfect score of 60 points, having won three races as a team throughout the series. Much of the team's early success depended on the motivation of its members, who were committed to showing up to races throughout the Fall season so that the team was able to field a full team at four out of the six regular season meets, as well as a squad of eight women at the championship meet itself.

Hilary Corno led the team and the Dirt Dog series standings going into the Championship meet. She had a solid season winning the Bonita Stampede 5 miler and placing second in both the Wild Duck 5-K and Bonita 4-miler. All this while training for (and winning) the Long Beach International Marathon in October. 

When the gun went off for the three-loop 6-K Championship race, it was Marie Schaper who stepped up to lead the team to victory, running a gutsy race to finish second only a week after finishing second overall in the Santa Barbara International Half Marathon. Following Schaper was Corno in third, Sawyer in fourth, Timinsky in seventh, Merchant in ninth, Sara Sanchez in 17th, Kelcie Wiemann in 18th, and Jordana Henderson in 31st. The women's combined score of 15 points was enough to clinch the victory for the third year in a row. 

Marie Schaper (far left), Julie Sawyer (middle), and Hilary Corno (far right)
swept the top three places in the individual standings for the Dirt Dog Series.
photo credit: Marc Sawyer
Due to Corno's commanding lead in the series standings, she held on to her overall victory to become the Dirt Dog Series Individual Women's Open Champion. Additionally, the PRT Women swept the top three places, with Sawyer finishing second overall and Schaper finishing third. Rounding out the top ten were Merchant in seventh and Timinsky in eighth.

From left to right, Sara Sanchez, Gina Merchant and Kelcie Wiemann
compete in the Dirt Dog Cross Country Championships
photo credit: Marc Sawyer
After the conclusion of a successful San Diego Cross Country season, many of the women weren't done racing, and a team of six women (Kristin Schleicher, Julie Sawyer, Liz Johnson, Caela Timinsky, Marie Schaper, and Gina Merchant, pictured below) traveled up to compete in the USATF Club Nationals Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon. There the women competed on a "true" cross country course, complete with ever-changing terrain, hay bales, and snow. In their first showing ever at the national level, the team placed 22nd out of 34 teams in a very competitive race.  
The Women of PRT after a grueling 6K course in Bend, Oregon
photo credit: Caela Timinsky
After a very successful season, the PRT Women look forward to future success in the Spring of 2014!