Team Preview and Predictions for New Bedford Half Marathon

3/15/2019
 

New Bedford Team Preview: B.A.A is The Team to Beat


As the first signs of Spring roll into New England, some of the best running clubs in the area will descend upon New Bedford, Massachusetts, for the first event in the 2019 USATF New England Road Grand Prix. What's in store in New Bedford besides clam chowder and fish sandwiches? Why, the famous 43rd New Bedford Half Marathon, of course! This half marathon is known for its strong winds, hilly course, and storied history. This race serves a tune up roughly one month before the king of all road races, the Boston Marathon. The New Bedford Half Marathon played host to the half marathon championships last year, and will do so again this year. However, there has been a slight rule change this year. Womens Open teams will need five scorers instead of three, putting them on par with the men’s rules.  With this backdrop in mind, over 25 clubs will take to the streets to try and claim the team title, and USATF New England would like to preview the team competition. Using an entry list as of the past Wednesday, here are our predictions for team placement for Sunday.


Men’s Open   



1st: Boston Athletic Association:

Key Runners: Eric Ashe

                      Alex Fitzgerald

                      Conor Reck

                      Brad Mish

                      Phillip Royer, and many more.


Notes: Everything's coming up blue and yellow in the men’s team race this year at New Bedford. With an incredibly talented and deep team entered, the BAA will run away with an easy team victory on Sunday. But let's see which team is in the best position to go chasing some unicorns.


2nd: Greater Boston Track Club:

Key Runners: Manuel Gonzalez

                      Jerry Lanning

                      Dave Metzger

                      Robert Lamarre, Shaun Dever, Eric Mendoza, Erik Hinrichsen


Notes: GBTC has an incredibly deep field for this year’s race. Manny Gonzalez cruised to a 1:08 in last year’s race. New Bedford newcomer, Jerry Lanning, boasts an impressive-and equally frustrating- 2:30:01 marathon PR. With racing veterans Dave Metzger, Shaun Dever, and Eric Mendoza back for more, GBTC will be a formidable force this year.


3rd: Central Mass Striders:

Key Runners:   Dan Vassalo

                        Scott Mindel

                        Scott Leslie


Notes: CMS easily boasts the strongest 1-2-3 punch in Vassalo, Mindel, and Leslie of any of our USATF New England Clubs. However, the unknowns for their 4th and 5th positions cause concern in their overall team place. For this reason, GBTC etches out second in the projections, but expect this to be close.


4th: Western Massachusetts:

Key Runners: Jonathan Joyce

                      Dennis Roche

                      Tim Gill


Notes: Joyce, Roche, and Gill are some of the strongest runners in New England, and if this was scored by teams of three, I would argue they are a force to be reckoned with. However, the half marathon requires a team of 5 to score, and the uncertainty and the relative unknowns in their 4th and 5th positions put them behind CMS and GBTC.

        

5th: Tracksmith Hare AC

Key Runners: Michael Carlone

                      Sam Fazioli


Notes: Michael Carlone will be gunning for a victory, and will stay with the leaders as long as possible. New Tracksmith transfer, Sam Fazioli (formerly of Whirlaway), will also be near the top of the individual leaderboards.


6+: HFC Striders, Whirlaway, Somerville Road Runners, Greater Lowell Road Runners, Millenium, Heartbreakers, Ben Running Club, Cambridge Running Club, Greater New Bedford Track Club.


Women’s Open:


1st: Boston Athletic Association

Key Runners: Allie Hackett

                      Michaela Hackett

                      Rachel Coogan

                      Hannah Rowe, Lauren Philbrook


Notes: This appears to be a racing team dream team of sorts for the B.A.A. With 5 racing team members toeing the line, it's sure to be a great race for the Unicorns. Olympic Trials qualifier Allie Hackett and her twin sister, Michaela, will lead their team to victory. Don't count out veterans Lauren Philbrook or Rachel Coogan. Or Hannah Rowe...jeez, this team is stacked!


2nd: Greater Boston Track Club

Key Runners: Semehar Tesfaye

                      Shannon Trant

                      Jenna Castro

                      Caroline Turner, Erin Lohrenz


Notes: Front runner, Semehar Tesfaye, has certainly made a splash in the New England running scene in recent months. The USATF New England 10 Mile and 5K Champion looks to add the half marathon crown to her resume. Supported by seasoned marathon runners Shannon Trant, Caroline Turner, and Jenna Castro, Greater Boston will be the fastest women’s team not named the Boston Athletic Association.


3rd: Whirlaway Racing Team:

Key Runners: Jaclyn Solimine

                       Kassandra Marin


Notes: Defending  USATFNE Champions 's, Jaclyn Solimine and Kassandra Marin will bring the heat in the half marathon. However, similar to other teams mentioned previously, the 3rd-5th positions would need to step up if Whirlaway wishes to overtake GBTC for the second spot.  


4: HFC Striders

Key Runners: Lily Corcoran


Notes: The HFC Striders will be fielding a team of 5 for this year’s race. HFC always brings a group of fighters, and I expect nothing less this year.


5+ Heartbreakers, Liberty AC, GLRR, BEN Running Club, Wampanoag RR.  



Masters Teams:


Men:


1st Boston Athletic Association

Key Runners: David Bedoya

                      Andy Gardiner

                        

2nd: HFC Striders

Key Runners: TJ Unger

                      Jason Cakourus


3rd: Central Mass Striders


4th: Whirlaway Racing Team.


Honorable Mention: New England 65+ Runner’s Club. The NE 65+ squad will be the only team to finish a 70+ Team. I would happy if my knees allow me to even jog when I am 70, let alone take on one of the most difficult half marathons in New England.


Women:


1st: Boston Athletic Association

      Key Runners: Karolyn Bowley

                             Kaela O’Neil


Notes: Karolyn Bowley and Kaela O’Neil are some of the best master’s runners in the country, and will use this race to prove it.


2nd: Whirlaway Racing Team

        Key Runners: Christin Doneski

                              Amy Bernard


Notes: The two returning age group champions will look to bring the competition in the master’s age group category.


3rd: Central Mass Striders



Please email any comments, questions to tmazza@usatfne.org

By Tommy Mazza