Collegiate Road Mile National Championships Set for Winchester
Stellar Fields Ready for 2021 Collegiate Road Mile National Championships
May 31, 2021 – Winchester, VA - The Collegiate Running Association (CRA) and the Shenandoah Valley Runners are set to welcome the 2021 Collegiate Road Mile National Championship back to Winchester, Virginia tomorrow morning. The 34th annual Loudoun Street Mile will be host to the Collegiate Road Mile Championship for the third time in as many years and will offer prize money specifically reserved for college students with a total prize purse of $4,350.
After the COVID pandemic postponed last year’s race until late July, this year the event follows its traditional date of Memorial Day. With the recent changes to the Virginia Department of Health and local COVID protocol, over 340 runners of all ages will take to the streets of Winchester in waves of 50 runners per wave. The point-to-point race course offers an opportunity for runners to set personal bests, and with a forecast of 55 degrees on race morning, conditions look primed for fast times.
The women’s field features a stacked group of top runners who will be chasing the course record of 4:41.7 set by Amy Cashin (West Virginia University/Australia). This year’s field of runners has been successful in distances from 400m to the marathon. Expected to push the pace among collegians will be Bethany Sachtleben (Northern Virginia College), Zoe Matherne (Dickinson College of Law), Gina McNamara (University of Michigan), Kyra Lopez (Virginia Tech), and Maria Acosta (University of Richmond). Along with the collegians, several open (non-collegiate) runners to watch include former course record holder, Susanna Sullivan, University of Michigan graduate, Jaimie Phelan-Calderon (Canada), Anna Shields (Point Park University alumna) and Syracuse University graduate, Sydney Leiler.
Bethany Sachtleben, our 2016, 2018 and 2019 Collegiate Running Association Female Athlete of the Year, was a standout for George Mason University as an undergraduate student. She represented the U.S. in the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships and earned the silver medal for Team USA in the 2019 Pan American Games Marathon in Lima, Peru. She was the runner-up in the inaugural Collegiate Road Mile Championships held within the 2019 Loudoun Street Mile.
Zoe Matherne had an exceptional career as an undergraduate at Holy Cross. She holds school records in the outdoor 400-meter run (57.22), the indoor 800-meter run (2:08.07), the outdoor 800-meter run (2:06.91), the indoor 1,000-meter run (2:45.95), the outdoor 1,500-meter run (4:25:78) and the indoor one-mile run (4:47.18). She qualified for the NCAA Championships multiple times and is finishing her law degree at the Dickinson College of Law.
Gina McNamara, joined Georgetown Running Club in 2017 after moving to Washington DC for work and has recently enrolled as a graduate student at her alma mater, the University of Michigan. Her pre-GRC tenure was spent as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, where Gina was 5-time Big-Ten finalist in the 800M for the Michigan Wolverines. She has since expanded her range to include road miles and holds personal bests of 2:07 for the 800M and 4:45 in the Mile.
Kyra Lopez, a Boise State University undergraduate, is finishing her eligibility at Virginia Tech as a graduate student. On Saturday she ran a lifetime best of 10:09.41 in the 3K steeplechase at the NCAA Championships East Prelim and narrowly missed advancing to the final with her 15th place finish.
Rounding out the top collegians will be Maria Acosta. The University of Richmond graduate school student recently completed her eligibility for the Spiders running the 2021 NCAA Championships East Prelim in the 800M. She is a 3-time NCAA qualifier in the 800M and multiple time Atlantic 10 Conference Champion with a personal best of 2:05.13 for the 800M.
Leading the open athletes will be former course record holder Susanna Sullivan who has the 2nd fastest time ever run on the course of 4:44.3 set in 2015. She ran a personal best of 2:33:27 in the 2020 Marathon Project.
She will be joined on the Winchester streets by Jaimie Phelan-Calderon (University of Michigan graduate/Canada), the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Champion at 1,500 Meters (first 1,500m title in U-M history). She has an excellent resume which includes personal bests of 2:04.15 in the 800M and 4:11.92 in the 1500M.
Anna Shields is a 15-time NAIA National Champion while competing for the Pioneers of Point Park University in Pittsburgh. She holds personal best marks of 2:04.75 (800M), 2:42.51 (1K), 4:14.38 (1500M) and 4:37.30 (Mile). Her senior year she won the 400M, 800M, 1500M, 5K, 10K and ran legs on the winning 4x800M and runner-up 4x400M in the 2019 River States Conference Championships helping score an eye popping 58 points for her team.
Sydney Leiler, a standout while at Syracuse University, has personal best marks of 2:48.95 (1K), 4:25.04 (1500M), 4:39.14 (Mile) and 10:23.38 (3KSC).
In the men’s race a new collegiate champion will be crowned, with last year’s champion Daniel Jaskowak (Virginia Tech) not entered. This will be the deepest field in Collegiate Road Mile Championships history with Matthew Lange (George Washington University), Jack Van Scoter (Georgetown University), Theo Woods (Georgetown University), Jantz Tostenson (Georgetown University), Colin Cannon (George Mason University), Anthony Raftis (University of Virginia), Elias Graca (UPENN), Reid Sharkey (George Mason University), Hunter Jutras (George Mason University), James Heilman (McDaniel), Jordan Bendura (University of Richmond) and 2018 champion, Robby Creese (Penn State University) expected to be factors when the racing starts.
With the depth of the field expect an aggressive start. Matthew Lange will be looking to improve by one place over his finish last year, where he placed 2nd in a near photo finish. He had a standout career at Furman University and comes in knowing how to race this course. He is currently a graduate student at George Washington University where he is also on the Track & Field/Cross Country staff.
Georgetown University teammates, Van Scoter, Woods and Tostenson have been running well for the Hoyas and could work together early in the race.
Jack Van Scoter narrowly missed advancing to the NCAA Championships final in Eugene after placing 15th in the 10K (29:14.62) at the recent 2021 NCAA East Prelim. The Hoyas junior holds an impressive list of top marks including a 4:05.68 (Mile), 8:10.48 (3K), 13:51.59 (5K) and 29:05.21 (10K).
Teammate, Theo Woods, finished a standout freshman campaign for the Hoyas where he ran 1:48.27 (800M) and 3:47.89 (1500M). He recently finished 16th in the NCAA Championships East Prelim running the 800M in 1:49.80.
Jantz Tostenson is also coming off a strong freshman year for the Hoyas with his season concluding at the 2021 NCAA Championships East Prelim where he competed in the 3K steeplechase. He holds personal bests of 3:38.51 (1500M), 4:12.90 (Mile), 8:12.84 (3K) and 8:49.44 (3KSC)
Colin Cannon is a member of the GMU Patriots 4x800M relay, which won the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship and he placed 2nd in the 3KSC. He has run 1:53 in the 800M and 4:10 in the Mile. With his steeple strength this course could suite him. He placed 4th here (5th overall) in 2019 and knows the course.
Anthony Raftis had a stellar career at Queens University and completed his eligibility this year at the University of Virginia where he ran 29:29.47 in the 10K at the ACC Championships. He placed 3rd in our 2019 Collegiate Trail Championships in Athens, Ohio.
Along with Colin Cannon, George Mason University has two other top ranked men entered. Reid Sharkey had a breakout season for the Patriots where he ran 3:49.57 (1500M) and 14:23.70 (5K). He will be joined by teammate, Hunter Jutras who ran 14:24.83 (5K) and 29:39.68 (10K) for the Patriots.
Everyone could be chasing Robbby Creese. The 2019 Loudoun Street Mile and Collegiate Road Mile Champion, he is sure to know how to run the point-to-point course. The Penn State University standout has an impressive resume with a 3:57 Mile to his credit. As an undergraduate student at Penn State University he won countless titles for the Nittney Lions and as a freshman set the NCAA record in the 1,000M (2:19.53) while breaking the American junior (U20) record in the event. His performances landed him in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 1500M. Look for a late charge from Creese.
Elias Graca (UPENN) could steal the day. He was a close 3rd here last year and has run 1:50 in the 800M. His excellent leg speed could be exactly what he needs tomorrow. If it’s close with 150M to go, he could have the edge. Additionally, look for Richmond’s Jordan Bendura to be a top 10 contender.
Along with the top collegians there are strong group of Elite Open runners which includes Dartmouth graduate, Ben Szuhaj and George Mason University graduate, Craig Morgan who has a 1:51.42 personal best in the 800M.
“The Loudoun Street Mile is excited to continue our partnership with the CRA to bring the Collegiate Road Mile Championship back to Winchester for the third consecutive year,” said Mark Stickley, Loudoun Street Mile Director. Stickley added, "this continued partnership has greatly raised the level of competition in the race and is an attractive opportunity for collegians, many of whom are looking for a race since they're at the end of their track season. It will also bolster our mission of being a family-friendly event and fundraiser for The Laurel Center."
“These are the deepest fields we’ve had in the three year history of the Collegiate Road Mile Championships,” said Collegiate Running Association Co-Founder Steve Taylor. “We are so excited and look forward to great races. Add the exceptional course; a great, welcoming community, and it’s easy to see why we believe this holiday tradition will keep growing as a destination event for our membership as the official kick off to summer and end to the college school year and track season.”
Along with many festivals held throughout the year, Winchester is also the home of Shenandoah University and sits in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The small city of 25,000 hosts numerous charming shops, delicious restaurants, centuries-old architecture, numerous historical landmarks, and museums waiting to be explored following the races. Old Town Winchester offers convenience, charm, and a warm welcome to all.
Participants will be chasing a total prize purse of $4,350 with $1,700 designated for the top three collegians. All money will be distributed equally among men and women. Additionally, this year we will also offer a $200 bonus to the winner(s) for a sub-4 minute mile (sub-4:30 for women). Collegians will also be eligible for open prize money.
Proceeds from the race benefit The Laurel Center in Winchester, which helps victims of domestic and sexual violence. The LSM raised $2,500 for The Laurel Center last year.
THE RACE BASICS
STARTING LINE: All One Mile races will start at 1604 S. Loudoun Street near Blue Ridge Electric.
OPEN PRIZE MONEY: There will be prize money to the top 5 runners overall (based on gun time start) and first masters (equal for men and women): 1st - $500, 2nd - $300, 3rd-$200, 4th - $150, 5th - $100; 1st Masters (40+) - $75.
COLLEGIATE ROAD MILE CHAMPIONSHIP: Separate prize money for the top 3 collegians. This is open to anyone who has taken at least one college class (even on-line) in the first half of 2020. Eligibility must be verified through the Collegiate Running Association. There will be prize money for the top 3 -- $500 for first, $250 for second and $100 for third. Double-dipping with open prize money WILL be allowed.
AGE GROUPS AWARDS to top 3 in each age group: 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49 for men and women; 50-54, 55-59, 60-69, 70-79 & 80+ for men; 50-59, 60-69 & 70+ for women.
RRCA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Awards to Overall winner, Masters (40+) winner, Grandmasters (50+) winner, Senior Grandmasters (60+) winner. Winners will be moved up to highest category (e.g., if a 50-year old is the first finisher over 40, they will receive the Masters award. The 2nd 50+ year old will be recognized as the Grandmaster's winner).