Arritola, Smyth Repeat As Collegiate Mountain Running National Champions
The U.S. and Collegiate championship races were held concurrently on Mt Bachelor near Bend, Oregon.
Morgan Arritola and Patrick Smyth won the 2015 Collegiate Mountain Running National Championships
July 25 – Bend, Oregon- The second Collegiate Mountain Running National Champions were crowned as part of the 2015 USATF Mountain Race in Bend, Oregon on July 25, 2015 with $6,000 in prize money reserved specifically for college students.
The race also served as the US Mountain Running Championships, which was the only U.S. team selection race for the upcoming World Mountain Running Championships to be held in Snowdonia, North Wales. With a total of $16,000 in prize money between the College and Open Division, Collegiate and U.S. titles on the line, and automatic berths to the U.S. Mountain Running Team at stake, there was fierce competition within what experts described as the deepest U.S. field in mountain running championships history.
245 total participants (155 men, 90 women) from 29 US states and 56 current college students representing 47 colleges and universities were on hand for the Collegiate Running Association’s Mountain Running National Championships. With relatively new NCAA legislation (August 2013) permitting varsity NCAA DI athletes to accept prize money to cover sport related expenses, the CRA provided $6,000 in prize money specifically reserved for college students who were enrolled in at least 1 college course at any level (undergraduate, graduate or post graduate) between January 1 and the day of the race. To mirror the upcoming World Championships race distances, the women’s race was 8K in length, consisting of two 4K laps; the men completed three laps of the 4K circuit for a 12K up-down course. Each lap included over 800 vertical feet of elevation gain in the first half of the loop from the Mt. Bachelor Sunrise Lodge, which sits at just over 6,400 feet elevation, to the Summit Crossover which is at 7,300 feet elevation.
Cool temperatures of 50 degrees greeted runners at the start of the women’s race, and as a result there was little hesitation among the field as the competitors attacked the uphill start from the beginning. Last year’s defending Collegiate National Champion and mountain running legend Morgan Arritola (Central Oregon Community College) quickly used her climbing abilities to separate herself from the field in the first mile and never looked back. Arritola, who earned an individual bronze medal at the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships along with a gold medal in the team race, resides in Ketchum, Idaho during the summer but attends school in Bend where she is studying to become a nurse during the academic year. Arritola’s ability to climb, descend, and navigate rugged terrain proved unmatchable as she easily claimed both the US and Collegiate National titles. Arritola’s time of 36:20.1 ultimately proved to be nearly 5:00 ahead of the next closest collegiate competitor. For her double victory, Arritola earned herself $2500 in total prize money, including the first place prize of $1000 from the collegiate race.
Behind Arritola, Collegiate Championship new-comers Amanda Lee (University of Colorado), Camelia Mayfield (Portland State Univ.), Mandy Ortiz (University of Colorado), Claire DeVoe (Cornell University), Katherine Jamboretz (University of San Francisco), Brett Ely (University of Oregon) and Nina Moore (Long Beach State University) locked into a battle for second place among collegians. Lee, who narrowly missed the U.S. Olympic Trials qualifying mark in the marathon earlier this year, used her strength and superb training with the Hudson Elite Team in Boulder, Colorado to pull away for second in 41:12.8.
Camelia Mayfield (Portland State Univ.) and Mandy Ortiz (University of Colorado) exchanged leads several times during the event and were only separated by three seconds in the end for 3rd place. Mayfield, who is a recent Portland State University graduate, ran 16:58 and 34:35 on the track this spring while Ortiz, the 2013 World Junior (under 20) Mountain Running Champion, was fresh off helping the U.S. team win gold at the NACAC Mountain Running Championships in BC, Canada just one week ago. As the two descended to the finish, Mayfield was able to hold off Ortiz by a few steps, earning $600 in prize money in the process. Ortiz earned $400 for her 4th place finish.
Claire DeVoe (Cornell University), Katherine Jamboretz (University of San Francisco), Brett Ely (University of Oregon) and Nina Moore (Long Beach State University) all finished within seconds of each other in the race for 5th, which was also the final prize money spot of $250. They were clocked at 42:49.2, 42:50.9, 42:52.9 and 42:59.5 respectively to claim 5th through 8th places among collegians.
While the women’s race had a runaway winner in the Collegiate Championships, the men’s race had an epic battle that was not decided until the final descent on Mt. Bachelor. Patrick Smyth, a former seven-time NCAA DI All-American for Notre Dame who is now completing his Master’s degree at the University of Utah, exchanged leads with Joe Gray for the first 10k of the course, while Andy Wacker, competing in the US championship race, made it a three-man pack. Gray, who is extending his college education at Calvary Bible College in Colorado Spring, CO, won the Collegiate Trail Championships last month in Indianapolis and is a 5 time U.S Mountain Runner of the year. It wasn’t until the final descent where Smyth was able to use sub 4:30 miles to pull away from Gray and earn his second straight Collegiate Championship in Mountain Running. In addition to winning $1000 and $750 in CRA prize money, Smyth and Gray also each claimed a spot on the U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships since they finished 1st and 3rd overall in the US race.
William Milam finished third among collegians and was awarded $600 for his effort. The recent Gonzaga graduate, who now trains with the Bowerman Track club, placed 11th overall. This past spring, Milam ran 13:53.74 in the 5K at the Stanford Invitational and ran 4:00.67 in the mile during his senior indoor season, as he closed a brilliant career during which he was named to the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-America® Division I Men's Track & Field/Cross Country third team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Stephen Mulherin (UNC-Chapel Hill) was the 4th collegiate finisher running 51:07.6 to earn $400 for his efforts. Mulherin, who is currently entering his junior year at UNC, helped the Tarheels to a 12th place finish in the 2014 NCAA Cross Country Championships and earned NCAA All-Region honors for his 15th place individual finish. He has spent the summer training in Jackson, Wyoming where he has been working as a rafting guide on the Snake River.
Rounding out the top five college men was Jeremiah Johnson (University of New Mexico) who ran 52:41.6 to claim $250. Johnson, who is a graduate student, has personal bests of 28:47.76 and 13:50.85 in the 10,000M and 5,000M events on the track. He also owns the fastest 8K time (23:27) in UNM cross country history.
CRA co-founder Jon Molz was extremely pleased with how the elite fields turned out for the 2nd annual CRA Mountain Running Championships. “Three of the ten Team USA spots were earned by collegiate runners this year, and both the men’s and women’s US champions are currently enrolled in class. We were excited to have a mix of collegians win prize money this year, including three currently eligible NCAA Division I runners, former NCAA All-Americans, and those who have continued to excel in mountain running while pursuing graduate degrees.”
“There were 56 college students representing 47 colleges competing for the Collegiate Mountain Running crown and the $6,000 prize purse”, said CRA co-founder Steve Taylor. “We’re excited about the increased participation. There were three times the number of colleges and universities represented this year over last year at our inaugural mountain championship; I think people are learning this opportunity exists for college students and that even those with NCAA D1 eligibility can accept prize money to cover their sport related expenses. Last year the Collegiate Running Association held two championships with $16,000 in prize money awarded to college students. This year we’ve added a trail race and a half marathon road race with $38,000 in total prize money to be awarded at the four championships. We’re excited to be branching to other areas of the country which also helps our exposure and gives students across the nation an opportunity to participate in a destination event, interact with other college students and professionals while earning their degree.
“I’m also excited about the new athletes who are getting exposed to mountain racing, trail racing and road racing as they continue their college careers”, said Taylor. “Not many men running at the collegiate level have the ability to run under 13:15 and not many females will run under 15:20 for 5K which is what it takes to be competitive nationally. These championship events provide another avenue for them to continue their career professionally and possibly represent the U.S. in a World Championship. Additionally, the Collegiate Running Association is providing incentive for these athletes to continue pursuing their academic careers while they are still competing, instead of waiting until their running career has ended to start a post graduate degree. Professional and emerging runners know that their ability to win prize money through running will ultimately come to an end. Within the Collegiate Running Association we recognize this fact and welcome all college students to participate in our destination events with prize money reserved specifically for them. We welcome college athletes to see if they have the technical skills to compete on these types of terrain and running surfaces. As we continue to grow we will stay true to our mission of promoting healthy lifestyles among college students through running.”
2015 Collegiate Running Association Mountain Running Championships Top Five Results
Patrick Smyth - University of Utah - 46:10.3 ($1000)
Joseph Gray - Calvary Bible College - 46:51.8 ($750)
William Milam - Gonzaga University - 51:00.4 ($600)
Stephen Mulherin - UNC Chapel Hill - 52:07.6 ($400)
Jeremiah Johnson - University of New Mexico - 52:41.6 ($250)
Morgan Arritola - Central Oregon CC - 36:20.1 ($1000)
Amanda Lee - University of Colorado - 41:12.8 ($750)
Camelia Mayfield - Portland State University - 41:43.7 ($600)
Mandy Ortiz - University of Colorado - 41:47.4 ($400)
Claire DeVoe - Cornell University - 42:49.2 ($250)