July 3, 2022
Top 3 men and top 3 women earn spots on the USATF Mountain Running Team
/ ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE / — After last year’s championship event was hosted by the Gnar Gnar on Mount Hood in Oregon, the USATF Mountain Running Championship has returned to the ‘Beast Coast to be hosted by the Whiteface Mountain Races in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. . Perfect race weather set the scene under blue skies, with light wind and starting temperatures in the 50s at the base of Whiteface Mountain. Whiteface hosted the alpine skiing events at the 1980 Winter Olympics and is home to the highest vertical drop of any ski area in the northeastern United States. and down the mountain on a 6.4 mile “rolling” course with 3700 feet of ascent and descent.
The women’s race started at 8:00 a.m. and several pre-race favorites took the lead as they climbed the mountain. Olympic Nordic skier and winner of the 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace Sophie Laukli peaked at 4300′, 2.8 miles into the race for first place. 2014 Member of the USA Junior Mountain Running Team Tabor Hem reached the climax in second place, just 10 seconds back. Member of the 2021 USA Mountain Running Team Rachel Tomajczyk finished third at the highest point with the 2017 USA Mountain Running Team member and two-time Nordic Olympian Caitlin Patterson and member of the 2019 USA Mountain Running Team Sam Lewis in 4th and 5th. from New Hampshire Corey Dowe was the sixth woman to summit the course while a member of the 2021 USA Mountain Running Team Megan Lacy reached the highest point in 7th. 22 years old Annamaria Kostarellis of Rochester, New York was next to reach the climax completing the top 8.
Coming down the mountain, it was the “game” for the last 3.6 miles which featured a pair of jaw-dropping 250 foot climbs. Laukli led the way but briefly slipped, allowing Hemming, Tomajczyk and Patterson to slip past. Hemming screamed to help Laukli get back on her run, but she lost time as she struggled to get back. “The first half of the race was really good uphill until I lost time with a bad turn, but I tried to improve my descents,” Laukli said.
Hemming used his experience from the 2013 and 2014 Mountain Running World Championships to extend his downhill lead by winning his first USATF Mountain Running Championship by over a minute to finish in 1:25:27. A year older and a year wiser, Tomajczyk used her knowledge of the mountain race from last year’s up/down championship on Mt Hood to come back to 2nd place in 1:26:42. It was Tomajczyk’s second 2nd place finish in the USATF Mountain Running Championship. Laukli couldn’t make up all of her lost time but raced hard to finish in 3rd place. Of the course and the mountain run, Laukli said, “It was a crazy gnarly course but really fun. There are a lot of crossings [with Nordic skiing]I can really climb hills and we do a lot of trail training, so I know the technical trails well.
Of the Whiteface Mountain Race, Hemming said: “It’s one of the toughest and steepest courses I’ve ever run. I hope more people will go back to mountain running after college because it’s so fun and awesome.
Tabor Hemming (formerly Scholl) cut her teeth in mountain running as a junior when she was named to the USA Mountain Running Team in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 she finished 35th in the junior race at the Mountain Running World Championships in Casette di Massa, Italy helped their team to the silver medal.
Rachel Tomajczyk earned a spot on Team USA’s Mountain Race last year, but had to requalify this year when the 2021 World Championships were postponed to November 2022. About the Whiteface Mountain Race, Tomajczyk said: “It was really fun, the steepest run I’ve done and the views were beautiful. I felt good today, I liked the descent and it was really fun to go fast. It means a lot to me to qualify for Thailand. Any time you can be part of a global team is special and we have a great team this year.
Based on the results of Saturday’s Whiteface Mountain Race, Tabor Hem, Rachel Tomajczyk and Sophie Laukli will join the reigning mountain running world champion Grayson Murphy in the 2022 USA Mountain Running Team. They will run the “classic” mountain running on Nov. 6 in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the inaugural Mountain and Trail Running World Championships.
Hemming is the first American woman to mountain run for the junior (2013, 2014) and senior teams. Andre Benford (2006, 2009) and Tayte Pollman (2015, 2017, 2018) are the only American men to have competed in the Mountain Running World Championships as juniors and seniors.
Top 10 Women:
1 – 1:25:27.0 – HEMMING, Tabor – 1:25:27
2 – 1:26:42.4 – TOMAJCZYK, Rachel – 1:26:42
3 – 1:29:03.1 – LAUKLI, Sophia – 1:29:03
4 – 1:31:50.2 – DOWE, Corey – 1:31:50
5 – 1:35:10.6 – LEWIS, Sam – 1:35:10
6 – 1:35:52.3 – PATTERSON, Caitlin – 1:35:52
7 – 1:39:09.1 – LACY, Megan – 1:39:09
8 – 1:42:53.4 – STITT, Emily – 1:42:53
9 – 1:42:56.8 – ARMSTRONG, Nina – 1:42:56
10 – 1:44:29.2 – FORTIER, Joanna – 1:44:29
The top Masters finisher in the women’s race was Cheryl Anderson (Madison, CT) who finished in 1:46:05.
Without reigning national champion and double mountain running world champion Joseph Gray on the starting line, the race would be wide open for a new champion to be crowned among a talented group of new and experienced athletes. The men’s field left the start line led by a seven-time member of the US Mountain Running Team Andy Wacker.
At the climax, it was the Way Too Cool 50K runner-up Eli Hemming and member of the 2021 USA Mountain Running Team Joseph DeMoor on your mind. A few seconds back were Morgan Elliot and Wacker. “The climbs were tough, but I knew my descent would be strong,” Wacker said. Steven Kerr (Greenfield, MA) and Dan Curtis rounded the top of the course in 5th and 6th.
As happened in the women’s race, the steep Olympic descent would upset the running order of the men. A veteran of two previous USATF Mountain Running Championships, DeMoor used his experience and strength to take a lead on the downhill. DeMoor would be hunted down by Wacker and Hemming. According to Wacker, “I felt a lot of pressure to be in the top 3 to make Team USA and came second on the downhill. It was a battle between me and Eli the whole way; Eli passed it back on the two short climbs and I would overtake it on the steep descents.
At some point during the descent, DeMoor really started to struggle. Pushing himself to the limit, he collapsed a hundred meters from the finish where he was taken care of by paramedics. Fortunately, DeMoor would be fine but had to accept a DNF.
In his battle with Hemming, Wacker would use his superior downhill technical skills to prevail and claim his first USATF Mountain Running Championship in 1:07:31. Hemming finished 2nd just 16 seconds behind in 1:07:47. Elliot, of Salida, Colorado, widened his gap to finish in 3rd place in 1:10:35.
A former USATF 1/2 Marathon Trail champion, Andy Wacker’s victory in the mountain race earns him a spot on his 15th U.S. National Team. On his win and what it means to be part of the 2022 USA Mountain Race Team, Wacker said, “Oh man, it’s hard to explain, it means so much to me. My main goal is to represent the United States [at the world championships] and the depth of our team this year is really good. My goal for Thailand is for our team to win a medal and personally I’m looking for a top 10 but the team goes first. My favorite part of Whiteface was the technical mossy descent under a chairlift; it was sweet and funky!”
Based on the results of Saturday’s Whiteface Mountain Race, Andy Wacker, Eli Hemming and Morgan Elliot will join the reigning mountain running world champion Joseph Gray in the 2022 USA Mountain Running Team. They will run the “classic” mountain running on Nov. 6 in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the inaugural Mountain and Trail Running World Championships.
Top 10 Men:
1 – 1:07:31.8 – WACKER, Andy – 1:07:31
2 – 1:07:47.3 – HEMMING, Eli – 1:07:47
3 – 1:10:35.0 – ELLIOTT, Morgan – 1:10:35
4 – 1:14:17.9 – COPPI, Mason – 1:14:17
5 – 1:15:18.3 – ATKINS, Ryan – 1:15:18
6 – 1:15:45.5 – CATES, Preston – 1:15:45
7 – 1:17:25.0 – KERR, Stephen – 1:17:25
8 – 1:17:39.6 – NEWELL, Aaron – 1:17:39
9 – 1:17:55.1 – BÉRUBE, Lee – 1:17:55
10 – 1:18:25.1 – ROBINSON, Ben – 1:18:25
The top Masters finisher in the men’s race was Well nephew (Westborough, MA) who finished in 1:23:46. Nephew was a member of the US Trail team at the 2009 (16th), 2011 (6th), and 2013 (19th) Trail World Championships.
Michael Scott’s racing images are on Google Photos.
Watch a replay of LIVE race coverage by The Trails Collective on YouTube
Full race results are available on the Underdog Timing website.
USATF results including all age groups are HERE,
Contact: Nancy Hobbs, American Trail Running Association