The women of Prado Racing Team had a successful Fall, highlighted by multiple victories in the cross country season and several PRs in the marathon.
The women kicked off the season with several cross country races in San Diego. The first race of the Dirt Dog USATF San Diego Cross Country Series was the Wild Duck 5K, where 11 women toed the line between the Masters and Open races. In the Masters race, Hilary Corno won for the women, leading Darcy Davidson and Maureen Friend to their first Masters Team win.
A strong pack highlighted the women’s Open race, led by Kristin Schleicher. Kristin, along with Cortney Berling, Sabina Piras, and Angela Moll, swept the top four places for a perfect score and the first cross country win of the season.
All four of the Masters women (Hilary, Darcy, Maureen, and Tracy Wright) showed up for the Crazy 8s 5K in Rancho Bernardo, and swept the field, finishing 1-4 in the Masters Division. This gave them their second team win of the season.
The women finished off the regular Dirt Dog cross country season at the Cuyamaca 6K, with full scoring squads on both the Open and Masters women’s teams, for a total of ten women competing. Darcy led the Masters team to their fourth victory of the regular season, whileCortney led a strong pack of Open PRT women to their third victory. Both teams would enter the final championship race undefeated when they had a scoring squad on the line.
The Championship race was held at Mission Bay on a bright, crisp morning in early November. Ten women would again toe the line with both individual and team standings to be defended. A strong pack of women came through the first loop, where PRT’s pack mentality worked to its advantage. The women of PRT pushed the pace through the next two loops, pulling away from the field to place first through fifth in the race. Cortney kicked it to the finish line to be the overall victor, followed by Erin Menefee (note: Erin did not score for PRT as she was not enrolled on the team at the beginning of the season, but we are excited to see her rock it next season!), Julie Sawyer, Noelle Rysselberghe, and Hilary Corno, the overall Masters Women’s champion. Sabina Piras rounded out the scoring team for the Open women, finishing in eighth. Overall, PRT women accounted for eight of the top ten finishers in the Championship race, with the top four women finishing within eight seconds of each other! On the Masters side, after Hilary, Darcy finished second and Maureen finished fifth.
Strong performances from both the Open and Masters women allowed PRT to clinch both titles for the overall Dirt Dog Series. This was exciting both because it was the fourth year in a row for the Open women to win, and because the Masters Women’s win marks the first year that PRT fielded a team in that division.
For the individual standings for the season, PRT took six of the top ten spots, led by Cortney (1st). She was followed by Julie (2nd), Sabina (3rd), Noelle (6th), Kathy Dunbar (7th), and Sara Sanchez (10th). Similar to the results of the Championship race itself, Hilary was the overall champ of the Masters Series, followed by Darcy (2nd) and Maureen (5th).
After a strong showing locally, the women of PRT were ready to head up to the USATF Club Cross Country National Championships in San Francisco. There a squad of eight Open women raced with some of the top talent in the United States. Three hundred and fifty women representing over 40 teams competed over the 6K course in Golden Gate Park. The race started out quick, with a large pack of FAST women blazing through the first mile. PRT fought for every place in the competitive and crowded race. In only their second showing at this national event, the women of Prado finished in 16th place, with Erin Menefee breaking into the top 100 at 89th place. Overall, the season was a huge success for Prado Racing Team!
Whlie most of the focus of the fall was on the cross country season, several women also trained for marathons, bringing PRT four new PRs in the distance. Kicking it off for the long-distance ladies, Marie Schaper took on the Chicago Marathon, running a PR of 2:45, shaving over a minute off her previous best. Not to be outdone, a few weeks later Hilary Corno lined up in the Elite division in the New York City Marathon. She ran a 2:45 as well (only one second faster than Marie ran!) and was the second Masters woman in the race. In the last marathon of Prado’s Fall season, at the California International Marathon, Sabina Piras gunned for an Olympic Trials qualifying time and Julie Sawyer made her marathon debut. Sabina ran a strong 2:43, which in the next few weeks would be announced as a qualifier time, entering her into the Olympic Trials race in Los Angeles. Julie accomplished her goal for her first marathon, finishing in 2:47.
To top off an awesome season, PRT's own Maureen Friend was honored on February 28 at the USATF San Diego annual Track Banquet as the 2015 Masters Long Distance Runner of the Year! We are all very excited for and proud of Maureen!