Cannon, Matherne Claim Collegiate Road Mile National Titles
Race was held within the 34th Loudoun Street Mile in Winchester, Virginia
May 31, 2021 – Winchester, Virginia – Colin Cannon (George Mason University) and Zoe Matherne (Penn State University-Dickinson Law) were victorious in the Collegiate Running Association’s 2021 Road Mile National Championships this morning in Winchester, Virginia. Held within the 34th annual Loudoun Street Mile, the men’s and women’s races featured strong fields including open athletes and students attending colleges in the U.S. chasing a share of the $4,350 in prize money.
Loudoun Street Mile registration increased nearly 40 percent over last year with over 340 runners and walkers taking to the streets under sunny skies, a brisk headwind and morning temperatures in the mid 50’s.
On the men’s side, the field was deep and they wasted no time getting to business. The pack of Colin Cannon (George Mason University), Theo Woods (Georgetown University), Elias Graca (Northeastern/Georgetown Running Club), Anthony Raftis (University of Virginia), Matthew Lange (George Washington University), Reid Sharkey (George Mason University) and Hunter Jutras (George Mason University) separated from the field from the start.
From the beginning this group of runners established themselves and it was soon obvious the winner of the 3rd running of the Collegiate Road Mile Championships would come from this pack of seven. By the mid-point of the race, Cannon had started to open some daylight on the field and he would never relinquish it. As they entered Old Town Winchester, the chase pack was down to five and looked as if they might make a charge on the cobble. Cannon’s lead remained at about 20 meters; in the final 300 meters he seemed to effortlessly accelerate and never looked back as he crossed the line victorious in 4:10.3 and claim the “Collegiate Road Mile Championship” crown. He would earn $1,000 for his collegiate title ($500) and open victory ($500).
The other positions wouldn’t be sorted out until the finish line as Woods used his 800M speed (1:48) to edge out Graca with both clocked at 4:13.0 for 2nd and 3rd overall and among collegians. Raftis would settle for 4th (4:13.3) ($150). Cannon's teammates, Sharkey (4:15.3) ($100) and Jutras (4:16.4) crossed the line in 5th and 6th as collegians claimed the top 6 places. For their efforts Woods would receive $500 ($300-2nd Open +$250 -2nd Collegian) and Graca earned $300 ($200 2nd Open +$100 -2nd Collegian).
The women’s race also included a loaded field of top runners looking for their share of the $4,350 prize purse. For the collegiate title it looked to be a strength versus speed battle as Bethany Sachtleben (Northern Virginia College), the 2016, 2018 and 2019 Collegiate Running Association Female Athlete of the Year and 2:31 marathoner, would go head-to-head with Zoe Matherne (PSU-Dickinson Law); Gina McNamara (University of Michigan), runner-up overall last year, and Maria Acosta (University of Richmond), who has a 2:05.03 to her credit in the 800M. Add open runners including four time Loudoun Street Mile Champion, Susanna Sullivan; 15-time NAIA National Champion, Anna Shields; and University of Michigan’s 2017 NCAA 1500M Champion, Jaimie Phelan-Caldron; Syracuse standout and graduate, Sydney Leiher and it was obvious this would be an epic battle up front.
The top collegians and open runner’s (Shields and Sullivan) separated from the field early as they pushed ahead on course record pace. As they reached Old Town Winchester, it was clear the headwind up Loudoun Street had all but taken a course record off the table. With 400M to go Shields had opened a small lead on Richmond’s Acosta. Sullivan was setting up to make her charge with Matherne, Sachtleben and McNamara in pursuit. Shields broke the tape in 4:46.8 to claim the overall win and the $500 first place open prize. Susanna Sullivan charged to the finish, claiming 2nd overall and $300 for her efforts.
As the collegians sprinted toward the finish, Matherne and Sachtleben caught Acosta and put distance on McNamara. The day would belong to Mattherne as she dug deep to finish in 4:50.7 and claim the 2021 Collegiate Road Mile Championship title and $700 (1st Collegian $500 + 3rd Open-$200). Sachtleben finished second running 4:52.1 and $400 (2nd Collegian $250 + 4th Open-$150), while McNamara and Acosta battled for 3rd. McNamara would ultimately edge Acosta by 1.7 seconds, in a time of 4:55.2 to Acosta’s 4:56.9.
“This is the third consecutive year the Loudoun Street Mile has hosted our Collegiate Road Mile Championship and each time they have made it a special event for everyone,” said Collegiate Running Association Co-Founder, Steve Taylor. “Mark (Stickley) and his event staff have been amazing and the Winchester community has be very supportive. He has been determined to safely hold this race in-person during the pandemic and they’ve now done it twice without an issue. They are the example for others to follow. We all appreciate their leadership. It’s just so nice to be back to in-person racing.”
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.
Look for details on the 2022 Loudoun Street Mile Race to be announced in the coming weeks.