Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Final US Mountain Running Team Selection Race

The final selection race for the 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team will be held this Sunday, July 20, at the LaSportiva Berry Picker Trail Race in Vail, CO. Start time is slated for 8:00 a.m. at the Golden Peak Children’s Center located on Vail Mountain. Some newcomers to the trail scene will be contending for a spot on the team along with seasoned veterans of the sport.

The top two U.S. women, the top U.S. man, and the top U.S. junior man will each earn a spot on this year’s team which will compete at the 24th World Mountain Running Trophy Race in Sierre Crans-Montana, Switzerland this September. The athletes earning team slots in Vail will join the qualifying team members from the Mount Washington Road Race held on June 21 in Gorham, NH, which served as the first and only other selection race for this year’s team. Securing spots at Mount Washington were Eric Blake, 29, New Britain, CT, Joe Gray, 24, Lakewood, WA, Rickey Gates, 27, Boulder, CO, and Brandy Erholtz, 30, Bailey, CO. Of these athletes, only Erholtz is scheduled to race the Berry Picker. She’ll use the event to hone her climbing skills in preparation for the World Trophy. Should she finish first or second in the event, thereby taking one of the team spots, the third-place woman will not automatically earn a spot on the team. Rather, there would be two at-large selections for the women’s team.

Since none of the members of the men’s team are competing, Gray and Gates have already left for Europe to compete in mountain races in Norway, Germany, and Italy in preparation for Worlds and Blake is busy training and racing in New England, there will definitely be one new men’s team member announced after the Berry Picker. The additional two members of the men’s team, (Clint Wells who earned a spot on the team with his second place finish at Mount Washington declined his spot on the team), will be at-large selections.

For the junior team, additional athletes will be selected based on their running resumes. The junior squad includes four junior men and three junior women. The junior men run an eight kilometer course at the World Trophy like the senior women, the junior women run approximately 4.5 kilometers, and the senior men run approximately 12 kilometers. Like the Berry Picker, the World Trophy Course is an entirely uphill event. In even-numbered years the World Trophy is held on an up/down course.

The Berry Picker course is 4.3 miles long and starts at an elevation of 8,238 feet and ascends to 10,346 feet to finish at the top of Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain. The average grade is 12 percent and is run primarily on single track trails with a portion at the start and finish on double-wide gravel paths. There will be one aid station at mile three. Although there will be a strong field of top runners, the event is open to runners of all ages and abilities. In addition to the Berry Picker, there is also a 14.5 mile trail race which gains more than 4,000 feet of elevation over the challenging course on Vail Mountain. Both events start at Golden Peak. Race entry is $25 in advance, and $35 on race day. Register through through Thursday, by fax to VRD, or in person at the VRD offices from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Every race participant will receive a goody bag, a commemorative T-shirt, post race refreshments, accurate and timely results, and the opportunity to win great random prizes. Prizes from La Sportiva will be presented to overall and age group winners.

Runners expected to compete on the men's side (in age order) are:

Jonny Stevens, 18, Vail, was a member of the 2005, and 2007 junior mountain teams. He is a Battle Mountain High School graduate and will attend CU Boulder in the fall. Stevens will compete in the junior men’s division.
Page Two/Berry Picker

Paul Petersen, 16, Broomfield, CO, was the junior winner at the USA Trail Champs in Steamboat Springs, CO on June 29.

Payton Batliner, 24, Boulder, was the top U.S. finisher at the 2007 World Trophy. This year he finished second at both the Teva Mountain Games 10k in Vail last month and last week’s Barr Trail Mountain Race in Manitou Springs, CO. His PRs of 29:00 for 10k and 14:04 for 5k were set in 2007 Batliner was an All-American at CU Boulder. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree at CU.

Jesse Armijo, 25, Laguna Niguel, CA, has some international mountain racing experience having finished second at an 11.5 k race in Bouvert, Switzerland in 2006 with a time of 1:02:00. His PRs set in 2007 include 14:52 for 5k – 14:52, 24:14 for 8k, and 30:31 for 10k.

John Tribbia, 26, Boulder, finished 26th at Mount Washington and 10th at the Barr Trail Mountain Race.

Matt Byrne, 33, Scranton, PA, finished sixth at Mount Washington. He is a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier and a two-time winner of the Steamtown Marathon. He has run 29:49 for 10,000m (track) and 14:31 for 5k.

Bill Fanselow, 41, Golden, finished 24th at Mount Washington and has finished in the top five in many of the mountain races in Colorado.

Simon Gutierrez, 42, Alamosa, CO, is a six-time Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team member (2002-2007) and was the first American at three World Trophy events where he finished 17th overall in 2004, 10th in 2005, and 10th in 2006. He was the 2005 and 2006 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year, and the 2006 and 2007 USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Gutierrez is a nine-time winner of the La Luz Mountain Race and three-time Mt Washington Road Race champion. He is the back-to-back World Masters Mountain Running Champion ’06 and ’07. He finished fifth at this year’s Mount Washington Road Race and won the Vail HillClimb earlier this month. He is a three-time USA world cross country team member and a 1983 High School cross country All American. At age 17 Gutierrez set the still standing road 10Km record of 29.45. He works at the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center as an outpatient manual /orthopedic physical therapist and works closely with the Adams State men's and women's cross country and track teams.

Bernie Boettcher, 45, Silt, CO, is arguably the most raced athlete in the country. Boettcher races just about every weekend, sometimes racing both Saturday and Sunday. Boettcher earned honors as the 2005 USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Boettcher is an accomplished artist and writer. He finished second at the La Sportiva Trifecta in 2007. He was tenth at the 2005 USA 10km Trail Championships, finished 14th in 2006, and He was fifth at this year’s Barr Trail Mountain Race and eighth at this year’s USA Trail Championships (12 km).

Andy Ames, 45, Boulder, was a member of the 2004 Teva USA Mountain Running Team and placed 47th in the World Mountain Running Trophy in Sauze d’Oulx, Italy. In 2004 he placed sixth at the Masters Mountain Running World Championships (Sauze d’Oulx), was Masters Trail Running 10 km National Champion (fifth overall), masters mountain running National Champion (6th overall), and was named USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Past victories include U.S. Skyrunning Vertical Kilometer in 1998 and Kokopelli Supermarathon (100 mile stage race over 5 days), Vail HillClimb in 1995 and 1998, Vail HalfMarathon in 1995.He finished eighth at last year’s Trail Championships. He was 14th at Mount Washington this year and seventh at the USA Trail Championships (12 km). Ames is a buyer for Excel Sports in Boulder.

On the women’s side, a talented field is expected to compete to include (in age order):

Camille Herron, 26, Lafayette, IN, is a newcomer to the trail scene. She is presently training in Alamosa with Simon Gutierrez. In early June she finished second in the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile Road Race and two weeks later ran to a sixth-place finish at Mount Washington. Herron finished sixth at the Vail HillClimb in early July. She was a scholarship cross country/track athlete while at University of Tulsa.

Rachael Cuellar, 26, Albuquerque, NM, was a member of the gold-medal winning squad in both 2006 and 2007 at the World Trophy. Cuellar finished fourth at the Trail Champs in both 2007 and 2008. Cuellar has PRs of 17:40 for 5 km indoor track set in 2006 (5,000 feet), 17:14 for 5 km outdoor track a road 5 km PR of 17:27 set in 2006 at 5,000 feet, and ran the 3 km steeplechase in 10:12. She is a five-time winner of the La Luz Trail Race, a 9 mile uphill race with 4,578 elevation gain and an average grade of 12 percent. Cuellar attended New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico and is currently enrolled in a master’s degree program.

Keri Nelson, 27, Grand Junction, CO, is a competitive cyclist, triathlete, snowshoe racer, mountain, and ultra runner. In 2007, she was victorious at the North American Snowshoe Championships and second at the U.S. Snowshoe National Championships. She was also first at the U.S. Winter Triathlon Nationals in Breckenridge, CO and in 2006 was third at the Pikes Peak Marathon and third at the Mt. Evans Ascent in Colorado. She was 10th at the 2005 USA 10km Trail Championships and finished 15th last year. She was seventh this year at Mount Washington, the overall winner at the Leadville Marathon, and third at Barr Trail Mountain Race.

Megan Kimmel, 28, Silverton, CO, is a newcomer on the mountain running circuit and finished second at the USA Trail Champs in Steamboat Springs. Kimmel lives and trains at elevations above 8,000 feet.

Brandy Erholtz, 30, Bailey, CO, earned a spot on the 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with her win at the USA Mountain Running Championships at Mount Washington. Erholtz just started competing on the trails last year when she raced at the Teva Mountain Games 10 km in Vail and finished third. She finished third again at the event on June 8. She competed at the 2007 North American Central American Caribbean Mountain Running Championships (NACAC) for the U.S. Team in Canada finishing fourth overall among the women. Erholtz is employed as a schoolteacher.

Deeja Youngquist, 31, Albuquerque, NM, is primarily known as a road runner. She is a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials “A” qualifier with a marathon PR of 2:29:01. She is a three-time NCAA Division I qualifier in 10,000m, 1997-1999. She has been training in Albuquerque and spending a lot of time training on the hills and trails around her home. She is employed by Whole Foods Market as the Demonstration Coordinator in Albuquerque, NM.

Christine Lundy, 37, Sausalito, CA, is a three-time member of the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team and last year’s USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. Her best result at the World Trophy was last year’s eight-place finish. She was 18th overall – second American – at the World Mountain Trophy Race in Wellington, New Zealand in 2005 and 16th overall in Bursa, Turkey in 2006. She finished 23rd at the ’04 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon with a time of 2:41:55 and qualified for the ’08 Olympic Trials as well. A graduate of the University Pennsylvania, Lundy is a member of the Impala Racing team and is employed as a veterinarian.

Laura Haefeli, 40, Del Norte, CO is a four-time USA National 10km Trail Champion and a three-time member of the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. In 2007, she won an individual bronze medal at the World Mountain Running Trophy and led the U.S. women’s team to a gold-medal finish. So far in 2008 she has won the Teva Mountain Games 10k, she has broken the masters’ course record at the Mount Washington Road Race, and she won and set the course record at the Barr Trail Mountain Race. She was 15th at the World Mountain Running Trophy (second American) in 2004 (a member of the bronze-medal winning American team) and in 2005, she was the top American finisher at the Trophy with an eighth-place finish. Equally talented in summer biathlon (running and marksmanship), Haefeli is a seven time National Champion and a nine-time National Team Member. She was an All-American during her senior year in college at the University of Dayton and was twice named All-Ohio Runner of the Year and is a two-time USATF Mountain Runner of the Year (2004 and 2005). Laura and her husband Tom are beekeepers and sell honey and wax. She is the mother of three young children.

Lisa Goldsmith, 43, Nederland, CO, is a two-time member of the mountain team. She finished 30th on the gold medal winning women’s team in 2007. Goldsmith also represented the U.S. at Upice, Czech Republic in 1997 where she was the first American woman finisher. Goldsmith has several top uphill finishes to her credit most notably a win at the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2005 and 2006 and a masters’ win at the 2006 Mount Washington Road Race where she was fifth overall. She won the Barr Trail Mountain Race in 2006 and 2007 setting a new masters’ record. In 2006 she recorded more than nine overall wins in events she entered. In 2005 and 2006 she was named USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Goldsmith is a massage therapist.

Anita Ortiz, 44, Eagle, CO, is a five-time member of the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with two team medals to her credit. A bronze medal at the 2004 World Trophy race in Italy and a gold medal from last year’s Trophy Race in Switzerland. She won the 2007 USA Mountain Running Championships and was the 2007 USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Ortiz is equally talented in both short and long distances races and won the San Juan Solstice 50 Miler last month and was the 2007 USA Masters 50Mile Trail Champion. She is also an accomplished snowshoe racer having set records at numerous snowshoe events throughout Colorado. Ortiz teaches in the Eagle County school district and with her husband Mike, is raising four children ranging in ages from 11 to 15.

Sponsors of the 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team include title sponsor Teva, the official footwear of the team since 2002, SportHill is the official apparel sponsor providing team uniforms, OrthoLite Insoles, the world’s leading supplier of open cell foam insoles in the performance and footwear category is the official insole, Fleet Feet Sports Boulder, the official specialty running store, Windermere of Teton Valley, the official real estate company, Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition, Wicked Fast sports nutrition, the official dietary supplements for pre-exercise energy/endurance (Energ-Ease) and post-exercise recovery (Recover-Ease), and product sponsors FuelBelt, Inc. (hydration products), Costa Del Mar (performance sunglasses), and Youth Runner magazine.

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