Sunday, May 31, 2009

State of the State -- Excellent!

The boys state track and field meet in Charleston over the weekend produced some fine performances to say the least. And hats off to York (50 points) and Hillcrest (93 points), the Class 3A and 2A team champions. Back to 3A individuals, you have to admire Conant's Jeff Thode, who ran 4:05.17 to win the 1,600-meter final. And Jamario Taylor of East Aurora made the high jump competition extra special, going 7-feet to beat Buffalo Grove's Matt Newman, who went 6-10. There is no way to salute everyone who deserves it, but Maine South's Ryan Lynn ran 1:51.13 to win the 800 and York teammates Steve Sulkin and Jordan Hebert went 1-2 in the 3,200 with times of 9:03.91 and 9:04.83. Sulkin came back later and grabbed third in the 1,600 with a 4:13.35. As Hebert's mother told me, every member of the York team who qualified for state scored points. That's quite amazing. Hillcrest was just as awesome in Class 2A.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Riggs, Domich Fox Trot Champions

As a former member of the former CARA Circuit (now the Runner's Choice Series), I was hoping the Elgin Valley Fox Trot would survive. It did as 665 runners finished the 10-miler in its 32nd running. Mark Riggs, 22, won overall in 54:01, while Amanda Domich, 24, was women's winner in 1:04:54. Going 2-3 on the men's side were Neal Klein, 19, in 55:08 and Tyler Neuman, 19, in 57:29. On the women's side, Bridget Carlson, 48, took second in 1:06:52, and Kim Malmquist, 31, placed third in 1:07:24.

Siemers, Langford Take Ridge Run 10K

The CARA Runners' Choice points series continued on Monday at the 32nd annual Ridge Run in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood. Chris Siemers, 28, of Bensenville, was the overall winner with a very quick 31:34. Jessica Langford, 37, of Rockford, won the women's race in 37:02. In the men's race, always strong Emisael Favela, 32, of Cicero, was second in 32:15, while Christian Escareno, 21, of Mount Prospect and a rising star, was third in 32:55. Runner-up on the women's side was Columba Montes, 30, of Chicago, in 38:42, with third place going to Meg Sullivan, 29, of Palos Heights, in 39:19. There were quite a few runners who ran today after also running the Soldier Field 10-miler on Saturday. There also were some runners who ran the Ridge Run 5K after running the 10K. That included Siemers, who ran a 15:14, finishing just eight seconds behind 5K winner Chad Ware, 24, of Deerfield. Holy Cow!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jonaitis, Agunloye Fleetest at Soldier Field 10M

On a gorgeous day to run, the Fleet Feet Sports Soldier Field 10-Miler's maiden voyage on the CARA Runners' Choice Series circuit was a huge success. There were 7,365 runners who crossed the finish line at Soldier Field on a sunny Saturday on the lakefront. Leading the ferocious field was Jeff Jonaitis, 28, (photo) who clocked in with a blistering 49:38. The next four were Greg Costello, 28, in 50:31; Christian Escareno, 21, in 53:49; Dave Wilson, 40, in 54:05 and Dave Strubbe, 27, in 54:08. The women's field also was loaded. This year's champion was Jokotade Agunloye, 29, in 1:00:05. She was followed by Suetfei Li, 33, in 1:01:17; Meghan Kennihan, 27, in 1:01:47; Alona Bonai, 25, in 1:02:06 and Elizabeth Engel in 1:03:06. Looking through the age-group results, there were some spectacular times and great battles among the best runners in Chicagoland. Nice job, everyone! Photo Courtesy of Brenda Barrera of the Chicago Running Examiner Blog

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ptacek, Overbeck Fastest in the 'Chase'

Todd Ptacek, running for General Electric, and Christina Overbeck, representing Sargent & Lundy, were the first male and female to cross the finish line in Grant Park Thursday night in the 28th J.C. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge. Ptacek, won for the second consecutive year in the 3.5-mile race that attracted 17,125 runners from 525 Chicagoland corporations. His time was 17:05. Overbeck, who is fourth in the overall CARA Female Runers' Choice Series standings right now, won the event for the firs time, finishing in 20:03.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Magellan Spring Half to Out-of-Towner

David Grice, 28, of Austin, TX, won the initial Magellan Development Chicago Spring Half marathon on the sun-drenched but cool lakefront Sunday, clocking 1:11:21. Mike Begich, 26, of Naperville (photo), was second in 1:15:39, amd Matthew Ancona, 28, of Roselle took third in 1:17:34. On the women's side, Gretchen Demong, 20, of Glen Ellyn, was first in 1:26:25. She was followed next by Kimberly Leal, 28, of Palmyra, WI, in 1:27:05 and Amy Forshaw, 30, of Chicago, in 1:28:00. The 10K was taken by Todd Ptacek, 24, of Erie, PA, in 32:06. Women's winner was Bridget Montgomery, 29, of Chicago, in 37:45. Photo courtesy of Brenda Barrera of the Chicago Running Examiner blog.

Lukas Verzbicas Wins A Big One

Lukas Verzbicas,a 16-year-old freshman at Lincoln-Way Central, earlier this year ran a national record 14:18:42 at an indoor 5,000-meter run in Boston. If he stuck to pure running, there's no question he would be among the best ever in our state. But Lukas has raised the bar even higher. He swims and bikes, too, and is full triathlon mode with a goal of making the Olympic tri team in 2012 and 2016. He took a big step on Saturday while the state's other top runners were preparing for sectionals and state meets in the weeks ahead. Lukas won the ITU Pan American Triathlon Confederation Junior Championships in Oklahoma City. Distances were 750 meters in the water, 20K on the bike and 5K on the run. The victory, in 58:03, included a dazzling 15:48 on the run. The title earned him a spot in the ITU Junior World championships this September in Australia. As a good friend pointed out to me, it looks like Lukas won't be running cross-country, at least early in the season next fall. By the way, Benjamin Kanute of Geneva finished third in 58:29 and also will be heading Down Under. Lukas and Benjamin are members of the Multisport Madness club.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sam Cortes Update: Mystery Solved!

The following is a comment filed below on the original Sam Cortes piece. I just wanted to make sure you saw it. This is Sam Cortes Jr. here. I used to go to almost all of my dad's races for years. I was the one who would meet him at different points of the race and give him his water(I'm sure you saw me,lol)...My Dad is fine he is slightly injured but more than anything he's spending time with his grandkids on the weekends. He still runs and trains every day but he's just taking it easier these days...He already has my son(Sammy Cortes III,20 months old)running beside him up and down his driveway that he sometimes trains on so maybe you'll see him out there as well in the very near future:)
If I had to put my money on it my Dad will be back next season, he can't live without the competition!Thanks for your concern and I'll pass this message on to my Dad.
Best Regards,
Sam Cortes
I originally filed a short answer to this comment, but deleted it and decided to give this item some extra attention. There was nothing controversial or negative that I had to delete. I am very happy that all is well with Sam Sr.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where the Heck is Sam Cortes?

I've been putting this off, but it's time to ask the question. Where is Sam Cortes? Someone out there must know. Sam, a Chicago-area superstar, is one of the top three or four runners nationally in the men's 55-59 age group according to Running Times magazine. He used to race every weekend. I can't find a single result for him this year. I hope he's OK. If anyone knows, please file a comment.

Great Western Half -- Sorry This Is So Late!

I've had a few things going on and couldn't immediately find the results of this year's Great Western Half Marathon near St. Charles. The Fox River Trail Runners put on another fine event on May 3 and here is my salute to the top finishers. On the men's side, Jimmy Kinn, 25, of Chicago, won it in 1:17:08.47, with Michael Platzke, 38, of St. Charles, taking second in 1:17:36.78 and Keith Stopen, 42, of St. Charles grabbing third in 1:19:41.11. On the female side, Elena Shemyakin, 49, of Geneva, was the champion in 1:31:46.05. Runner-up in a close battle was Tricia Marks, 41, of Chicago, in 1:31:59.94. Third female was Sheila Peckman, 36, of Farmington, who ran a 1:37:10.74. I've only run this once, when it was the CARA Circuit. I need to do it again.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Favela, Jordan Win Quarryman 10M

On a cloudy, somewhat windy morning, Emisael Favela won the Lemont Quarryman 10-miler in 54:12 and Kristen Jordan took the women's title in 1:07:54. The men's field looked deep in the results, which can be found on the race's web site. Dave Wilson was second in 55:42; Nathan Kennedy third in 57:00; Mike Egle fourth in 59:59 and Doug Pearson fifth in 1:01:49. On the female side, Sarah Bard was runner-up to Jordan with a 1:08:23. Tiffany Cruikshank was third in 1:10:52; Maggie McTeague fourth in 1:11:09 and Jen Strickland fifth in 1:11:59.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Palos Half One Fast Race

The Palos Bank Southwest Half-Marathon on Sunday produced plenty of great running. The fast course and fast runners made for some super-fast times. Congrats to all 1,098 who did this excellent event. Leading the pack was Japeth No Joy, a 22-year-old Kenyan, I believe, who is based in El Paso, TX. He ran 1:05:14, to beat fellow Kenyan Daniel Mbogo, 32 and living in Albuquerque, NM, who posted a 1:05:46. Jeff Jonaitis , 25, of Tinley Park did himself proud with his second third-place finish in two years, clocking 1:06:09. Next were Chad Ware, 24, of Deerfield, in 1:09:32 and Ryan Giuliano, 24, of Schaumburg, in 1:10:26. The women were led by Alona Bonai, 25, of Oak Park, who ran a 1:22:51. Local favorite Meg Sullivan, 29, of Palos Heights, was second in 1:24:09; Tina Chase, 38, of Granger, IN, was third in 1:25:02; Kim Castner, 45, of Naperville, was fourth in 1:25:08 and Amber Druien, 23, of Woodstock, was fifth in 1:25:20. The race timing was handled by Accu Split Timing Co. out of Bettendorf, IA. They also will time the Community Bank of Elmhurst 4 on the 4th. Give me any feedback you might have. And again, congrats to all who ran, organized (Mel Diab and company at Running for Kicks) and volunteered for this event.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Akita Wins Again at Wisconsin Marathon

Elmhurst's Jim Akita is in top form. He won Saturday's Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha with a nice 2:29:34, six days after winning the Ravenswood 5K Runner's Choice Series race in Chicago. I say, "Way to go, Jim! Awesome job." Rick Rischman of Grafton, WI was second in 2:48:41, and Kyle Fraser of Milwaukee was third in 2:54:17. On the women's side, Melissa Gacek of White Bear Lake won in 3:04:38. Kara Roper of Milwaukee was next in 3:15:40 and Bridget Durocher of Kenosha was third in 3:21:14. There were 526 marathon finishers. In the half-marathon, Hamilton Beal of Kenosha won in 1:17:38 and Valerie Hubbard of Kenosha won the women's title in 1:29:16. There were 1,207 half-marathon finishers. Photo courtesy of Brenda Barrera -- Chicago Running Examiner blog).