Over 30 MVXC alumni showed up today for the seventh annual running of this event. A cool day with overcast skies helped to keep worries about the Eliminator to a manageable level. While some alumni came only to cheer, most raced up the 'ol shoes and toed the line with the current squad.
After greeting old friends and teammates, the group headed to the line for a 9:30 start. With the familiar pink course flags in front of them, the group roared off the line and the "race" began.
In what has become an recurring pattern, the race up front featured several alumni who have conitunued running in college, taking on the fastest of the current team members. Farther back, the midpack tried to gauge the first mile to prepare for the hills that once again awaited them. And in the back, the prerace fun continued as packs of alumni and current team members focused on simply getting through the two mile course.
The alumni boys team quickly sent a strong message - run with us if you dare! Bhavick Kanzaria, running for UCSB, went through the first mile in about 5 flat, with '12 grad Drew Feldman and '11 grad Michael Garaventa (both running for SF State this fall) in 2nd and 3rd. With '11 grad Matt Yap in 4th, and '00 grad and current MV coach John Behring in 5th, at the half way point the alumni boys had a "sweep" going.
In the girls race, '10 graduate Nicole Aha, who runs for UC Davis, ran stride for stride with MV Frosh rookie Brooke Starn. In 3rd for the girls was '04 grad Brittany Rezowalli, the former LMU distance star who has missed only one of these races! Similar to last year, a close race between alumni and current team girls formed behind her - the race being too close to call at the mile mark.
Emerging from the hills, Kanzaria was on a roll and streaked onto the field with a course record in site. Sprinting home, he claimed first place in 10:38.6 - just eclipsing his own 10:39 mark from the 2008 race! Fortunately for the current team, Sr Michael Bartz poured it on in the hills, just passing Behring to break up the prefect sweep. Jr Jake Auby and Andres Starr were 7th and 9th, with Sr Cameron Somers taking 4th (10th place) for the current squad. Soph Yian Liou had a breakthrough race today and finished the team scoring. However, in the end the alumni boys took 5 of the first 6 places to score an impressive 16 points compared to the 42 tallied by the current squad. They now lead the series 4-3 over the current squad.
Coming into the park, Nicole had put a small gap on Brooke and powered in for the 1st place medal. Their times (13:21 and 13:26) were the 2nd and 3rd fastest girls times in the seven year history of the race! Race record holder Brittany held firm to 3rd place, while '12 alumni Kyla Auito was 4th, just ahead of Sr Katharine Smiley. Sr Amy Ingram edged alumni Abby Van Muijen for 5th and 6th place. The current team took the next three spots (Elana Lim (frosh), Elena Smith (Sr) and Erin Herting Jr) but '10 alumni Kimmy Abood (chased by teammate Anna Hoyt) was able to close the door on the scoring. In a typically close race - the alumni girls prevailed 26-30.
Andres Starr was the first "rookie" to finish the race and earned the Top Rookie medal, while Abby Van Muijen's 2 minute PR over her best high school time earned her a special "Coaches Award".
A lively social hour wrapped up the festivies. Team Mom Brenda Karczag and her husband Stephan set up a great fruit and bagel breakfast for the tired but energied group.
A special recognition goes out to all the rookie current team members who showed up today to brave their first race. The alumni appreciate you coming out and helping to make this event a success!
Make plans for next years 8th running of this event!