Throughout the Dirt Dog Series, the PRT’s Open Men found themselves battling the Jamul Toads, while the Masters Men were in tight competition with the San Diego Track Club. Over the course of seven races, each team earned the maximum possible points—60—leading into the championship race at Mission Bay. Some top performances on the Open team included victories by Nick Scarpello at the Wild Duck 5K, the Balboa 4-Miler, the Cougar Challenge, and the Cuyamaca 6K; second-place showings by Tyler Underwood at the Balboa 4-Miler, the Cougar Challenge, and the Cuyamaca 6K; and a second-place for Dan Seidel at the Ursula Rains Balboa Boogie 5K. On the Masters side, Stephen Johnson ran 17:03 to get a close second at the Wild Duck 5K; Patrick Burke grabbed second place at the Balboa 4-Miler (23:42); PRT impressively swept places 1-4 at the Ursula Rains Balboa Boogie 5K (Rob Verhees, Stephen Johnson, Patrick Burke, and Brian Culley); Kevin Zimmer took second at the Cougar Challenge 8K; and Brian Culley won the Cuyamaca 6K Masters race, with Jeff Creighton winning the 50-59 division.
Heading into the Dirt Dog championships at Mission Bay, the Open Men were tied, 60-60, with the Jamul Toads, and the Masters held a 60-48 lead over the San Diego Track Club. In the Open race, Nick Scarpello took second place and led the men’s team, running 25:51, just ahead of new (though non-scoring) member Carl Dargitz. The remaining four scorers were Tyler Underwood (26:33), Alex Phipps (26:41), Dan Seidel (27:00), and Derek Bradley (27:10), who came up just short of the Jamul Toads and therefore took second place overall in the series.
In the Masters race, Rob Verhees took second in 28:09, followed closely by Patrick Burke (3rd, 28:26), and Brian Culley (4th, 28:37). They led the 40-49 team to victory in the race and the series. In the 50-59 group, Kevin Zimmer won the championship race in 28:41, and along with Jeff Creighton (30:16) and Scott McEntee (32:51) took the team title as well.
Individually, PRT had five Open men in the top ten overall for the Dirt Dog Series—Nick Scarpello (1st), Tyler Underwood (4th), Dan Seidel (6th), Iron Dog Alex Phipps (8th), and Derek Bradley (9th). In the Masters standings, five men also placed: Patrick Burke (2nd), Brian Culley (3rd), Rob Verhees (5th), Iron Dog Matt Sheremeta (7th), and Michael Hansen (8th).
In December, PRT sent 18 men to compete at XC Club Nationals in San Francisco in Golden Gate Park—seven in the Open race, and 11 in the Masters race. In the Open race, Nick Scarpello finished 50th in an incredibly deep field, setting a hard early pace and battling through to a PR in the 10K (including roads!) of 30:53. He was followed by Dan Seidel (32:44), Derek Bradley (33:06), Alex Phipps (33:18), Paul Wellman (34:36), Andy Corman (35:13), and Kevin Sorrell (37:14), and the PRT Open men were able to defeat the Jamul Toads squad who’d narrowly beaten them the previous month at the Dirt Dog XC Championships at Mission Bay. Overall, the Open team placed 32nd out of 59 teams, a significant improvement from their previous appearance at the 2013 XC Club Nationals in Bend, Oregon.
In the Masters race, Robert Verhees turned in the best individual performance, winning third place nationally in the 50-59 age group! (34:22). He led the 50-59 San Diego team, which also featured PRT members Kevin Zimmer (35:37), Jeff Creighton (37:21), Gerard Reski (40:10), and Scott McEntee (40:36), to a sixth-place finish out of 18 total teams. The 40-49 squad, led by Brian Culley (35:13) and also featuring Matt Sheremeta (36:18), Chris Hupfeld (37:38), Marc Sosnowksi (38:08), Joel Bernard (39:13), and Justin Renac (39:31), took 18th out of 28 teams.
Based largely on their excellent cross-country performances (as well as earlier performances in the 2015 spring road series), Nick Scarpello (Open) and Rob Verhees (Masters) were each recognized as the 2015 USATF San Diego-Imperial Association Distance Runner of the Year. Congrats, guys!