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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

2009 USA 50km Racewalk Championships – Report & Results

Santee, CA

Santee, CA hosted the 2009 USA 50km Race Walk Championships on Sunday, February 15 at 7:00am. Under partly sunny skies and cool temperatures, racing conditions were ideal for the first outdoor championship races in the 2009 USATF Racewalk Grand Prix Series. Athletes from around the country enjoyed the generous, professional hospitality of the City of Santee and the newly designed 1.25km loop on Mast Blvd.


Philip Dunn and Karen Karavanic won the men’s and women’s divisions in 4:28:53 and 6:24:22, respectively, while Mike Tarantino, Nicolette Sorensen, Tim Seaman and Rachel Lavallee, came away winners in the 10km and 20km events.

Dunn defended his 2008 US Olympic Trials 50km win against a small field of racers. Dunn was challenged early by experienced 50km veterans Ray Sharp and Theron Kissinger but pulled away for a convincing win to grab his fourth national title at the 50km distance. He also qualified to represent Team USA at the 2009 America's Race Walk Cup in San Salvador, El Salvador in April and the 2009 World Track & Field Championships in August in Berlin, Germany.

Sharp struggled after the 25km mark and bent knee calls ended his day early. Kissinger gamely held on for second place in 5:04:33 and Stephen McCullough took full advantage of the dearth of high-level 50km walkers to claim third place. McCullough only arrived into San Diego at 2AM on a late flight from the East Coast and arrived 5 minutes late to the start. Not to be deterred, he marched on and inspired many with his gutsy determination.

Karavanic claimed her first US National title in steady, resolute fashion. Her winning time was only slightly off her personal best of 6:21:01 in 2007 when she finished second to Heidi Hauch. Dorit Attias flew in the night before from New Jersey to begin her preparations for an upcoming 24-hour race in France. She led the race early but fell afoul of the judges before the halfway mark and Karavanic marched on to victory.

Much of the morning’s excitement came in the open 10km and Western Regional 20km races that also started at 7:00am with the 50km.

The men’s Western Regional 20km title came down to a last second surge by Tim Seaman (1:37:49), though the athlete he coaches and whom he paced throughout the race was the revelation of the day. Trevor Barron, 16, shattered the American Junior 20km record (1:42:15, Philip Dunn, 1990) with his second place time of 1:37:49. Jose Moncada rounded out the podium finishers with a respectable first 20km effort of 1:45:13.

On the women’s side, Rachel Lavallee from Canada won in 1:38:30, but the Western Region title belonged to American Solomiya Login from Philadelphia, PA in 1:48:43. Lavallee tagged along with Seaman and Barron for well over 12km before they pulled away leaving her to a new personal record and a great season opener. After Login, Darlene Backlund (2:23:06) and Kathleen Frable (2:25:36) notched top three finishes.

Mike Tarantino bolted out of the blocks in the open men’s 10km and cruised to a comfortable win in 44:43. Tarantino qualified for Indoor Nationals the evening before with a solo 12:11 effort on a local college track, so he had a busy weekend of walking. He was followed home by 14-year old phenomenon Tyler Sorensen in 47:06, a large personal best. Trevor Barron’s new American Junior record at 20km may not be safe for long with the younger Sorensen fast on his heels.

Nicolette Sorensen, the speedy 13-year old from Lafayette, crushed her personal best in an outstanding 55:10 to take the women’s 10km title over San Diegan Liz Salvato (57:20). These three young walkers, Barron and the Sorensen siblings, were very exciting to watch and should certainly make an impact for years to come.

The City of Santee is to be thanked for their incredible logistical support of this event. They delivered a first-class venue, top-notch support staff and ideal weather, just as promised. USATF judges, officials and volunteers from around the region made it a professional event from start to finish. An enthusiastic crew from Elite Racing managed the course set-up on race day and couldn’t have done a finer job. Race announcers Tracy Sundlun and John Nunn made it a memorable event for participants and spectators alike and are to be thanked for generously donating their time.

The next stop on the USA Racewalk Grand Prix is the 2009 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston, MA on February 28 (men’s 5000mt) and March 1 (women’s 3000mt). Watch to see whether Tim Seaman reclaims his 2007 national title and Teresa Vaill defends her 2008 title.

2009 USA 50km Race Walk Championships
50 kilometers
February 15, 2009
Santee, CA
Certification # CA09009RS
Conditions: 44-58 degrees, dry, partly sunny
Meet Director: Philip Dunn, 619-574-0683

50km Men
1. Philip Dunn 4:28:53
2. Theron Kissinger 5:04:33
3. Steven McCullough 7:00:21
DQ Ray Sharp

50km Women
1. Karen Karavanic 6:24:22
DQ Dorit Attias

20km Men
1. Tim Seaman 1:37:49
2. Trevor Barron 1:37:49 * new American Junior record
3. Jose Moncada 1:45:13 * personal record
4. Pedro Santoni 1:55:53
5. Adrian Jaime 2:05:30
6. Norm Frable 2:07:26
7. Rick Campbell 2:08:28
8. John Magnussen 2:14:02
9. John Backlund 2:16:51
10. Wayne Wurzburger 2:25:33
DQ Paul Johnson

20km Women
1. Rachel Lavalee 1:38:30 * personal record
2. Solomiya Login 1:48:43 * 1st in Western Regional Championships
3. Darlene Backlund 2:23:06 * 2nd
4. Kathleen Frable 2:25:36 * 3rd

10km Men
1. Mike Tarantino 44:43
2. Tyler Sorensen 47:06 * 14 years old
3. James Paschall 1:07:06
4. Jack Cassidy 1:08:24
DQ Matthew Forgues

10km Women
1. Nicolette Sorensen 55:10 * 13 years old
2. Liz Salvato 57:20
3. Lillian Cordova 1:01:59
DQ Patricia Paschall

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