Daniels, Sachtleben win 2016 Collegiate Mountain Running National Championships
The Loon Mountain Race served as both the U.S. and Collegiate championships; three collegians earn spot on 2016 U.S. Mountain Running Team
The third Collegiate Mountain Running National Champions were crowned as part of the 2016 Loon Mountain Race in Lincoln, New Hampshire on July 3, 2016. The Loon Mountain Race also served as the U.S. Mountain Running Championships and was the only team selection race for the upcoming World Championships in Sapareva Banha, Bulgaria. The top six men and top four women automatically qualified for the U.S. Mountain Running Team and the top three male and female college students split a $3,000 prize purse provided by the Collegiate Running Association. With both prize money and Team U.S.A. spots on the line, the competition proved to be fierce in both races.
A record number of participants were on hand for the races, including 52 college students representing more than 40 colleges and universities from across the U.S. This is more than double the collegiate participation from two years ago when the first Collegiate Championships were held in Lincoln. In all, roughly 600 participants competed and conquered the 10.6k run up the mountain, which was highlighted by the infamously steep Upper Walking Boss – nearly 1000m of climbing with an average incline of 40%.
Nearly ideal temperatures of 60 degrees greeted runners at the start of the men’s race and as a result there was little hesitation among the field as the competitors charged the course at a blistering pace early on. The gradual climbs of the first three miles contributed to a quick pace as the nation’s top mountain runners, including 2015 Collegiate Running Association’s Male Athlete of the Year and alumni Joe Gray, attacked the course. Tucked among the perennial favorites from the start were new-comers Hayden Hawks (Southern Utah) and Matt Daniels (Adams State), and both men quickly pulled away from the rest of the collegiate field as a result. Though neither Hawks nor Daniels had run a mountain race before, it did not show on the course, as they settled-in 2nd and 3rd overall very quickly.
As they passed the 5-mile point, Hawks held a slight lead over Daniels for the top collegiate spot; but it would be the famed Upper Walking Boss, a 1,000M wall of mountain, where Daniels would catch, in his words, a “second wind,” ultimately passing Hawks to secure the title. As Daniels climbed the Boss en route to his first Collegiate Running Association title and the $750 prize, he would also secure a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team (USMRT) with his 3rd place finish in the USATF Championships with a time of 50:36.7. Hawks, a fighter to the end, hung on close to finish second among collegians and 4th overall in 50:49.2. As a result, Hawks also earned a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team in addition to the $500 second-place prize for collegians.
Third among collegians was Justin Keefe (University of Richmond). Keefe, a triathlete by trade who won the Cohasset Triathlon the weekend before, ran an impressive race over the final 2.5 miles pulling away from Richmond teammate Tim Gruber on his way to earning the $250 third-place prize.
There was also a strong collegiate women’s field as Mary Ballinger, Amanda Lee, Mandy Ortiz, Bethany Sachtleben and Taylor Ward were all pre-race favorites. Ward, who competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials (Marathon), and Ortiz, who was the 2013 World Junior (U20) Champion, were considered two of the heavy favorites before the race, but this day was owned by George Mason University graduate Bethany Sachtleben.
Sachtleben, a NOVA graduate student, took command of the race from the gun leading both the U.S. and Collegiate Championships races through 4.5 miles. Sachtleben, who placed 2nd in both the 2015 CRA Trail Championship and 2016 CRA 10K Road Race Championship, used a fast start on the lower, flatter section of the race to build a huge lead on the collegiate field and was never challenged winning in 58:16.4. Along with being named the Collegiate Mountain Running National Champion, Sachtleben earned $750 for being the first college finisher, $500 for placing 2nd in the U.S. Championship, and a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team.
Ward, a graduate student at Weber State, claimed second among collegians in 1:04:46. Her efforts netted her $500. Boston University graduate student Amanda Lee claimed $250 for third among collegians in 1:07.21.
Collegiate Running Association Co-Founder, Steve Taylor, was thrilled with how the third edition of the Collegiate Mountain Running Championships turned out. “What an incredible day. It was awesome to see three collegians, all new to mountain running, earn a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team. In the past three years, 11 CRA members have earned a spot by running their way onto the USMRT and that’s exciting. Part of the vision we had for the CRA when we started was to support the US Mountain Team. What has happened each of our first three years, we thought could happen; college students have earned their way onto the team, and they did that again here today.”
Taylor was especially excited about the growth and potential of the CRA. “Two years ago, when the first-ever collegiate championships were held on this course we believed it could and would grow. Today we had double the number of college participants from two years ago; we had nearly 3,000 college participants in our 10K road race championships this spring. We know there is huge room for growth with improved funding, which would allow us to market the CRA appropriately. At this point our marketing is all through social media and individual outreach. We have an ambitious vision of what the CRA is to become and the ultimate impact it will have in shaping our sport and supporting college students at all levels. It is only going to take the right partnership to make those visions reality.”
Collegiate Male Top 10
Place Bib Name City State Time
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1 3558 Matt Daniels Evergreen CO 50:36.7
2 3639 Hayden Hawks Cedar City UT 50:49.2
3 3673 Justin Keefe Somerville MA 55:23.0
4 9110 Timothy Gruber Huntersville VA 56:06.8
5 3489 Drew Best Amherst MA 56:35.8
6 3805 Sam Nishi Waitsfield VT 56:59.7
7 9109 Jonathan Houge Richmond VA 57:45.4
8 3972 Kurt Ward Auburn AL 59:55.3
9 3678 Ryan Kelly Concord NH 1:00:27.3
10 3921 Fabian Stocek Hanover NH 1:01:56.1
Collegiate Female Top 10
Place Bib Name City St Time
===== ===== ================== ============ == =========
1 3876 Bethany Sachtleben Manassas VA 58:16.4
2 3973 Taylor Ward Auburn AL 1:04:46.2
3 3720 Amanda Lee Boulder CO 1:07:21.2
4 3465 Mary Ballinger Martin TN 1:07:51.2
5 3954 Annmarie Tuxbury New Hartford CT 1:08:58.7
6 3821 Mandy Ortiz Eagle CO 1:12:11.5
7 3819 Amelia Ortiz Eagle CO 1:13:23.6
8 3911 Zoe Snow Weston MA 1:16:25.0
9 3505 Cally Braun Charlotte VT 1:21:24.4
10 3870 Alexandra Ross Glastonbury CT 1:22:24.0
Collegian Running Association members who have qualified the U.S. Mountain Running Team:
Patrick Smyth (U.S. Champion)
Jordan Chavez (NACAC Team)
Morgan Arritola (U.S. Champion)
Jordan Chavez (NACAC Team)
Megan Deakins (Roche)
Marisa Ruskan (U20 Team)