Frank Nealon Boston Tune-UP 15K Preview


Team Preview:

Here we are again, the Friday before a USATF New England Road Grand Prix race. This Saturday, the road running gods are serving us the Frank Nealon Boston Tune-up 15K, hosted by the Tri-Valley Front Runners. The annual race is held in Upton, MA and is one of the only 15Ks in New England. Hailed for its quiet streets, but challenging course, the “Tune-Up” draws a very competitive field of runners year after year.  

The overall USATF Road Grand Prix Team scores are scored in the following way: Each team is scored by an aggregate of their individual times at that race. Fastest overall team time wins, second fastest is second, and so on. Then, USATFNE counts the total number of teams scored in the division, and gives first place the same number of points as there are teams. Second place gets total number of teams -1. Third’s points are total number of teams -2. For example, at the New Bedford, their were 12 Women’s Open teams. BAA won, so they received 12 points. Whirlaway was second, so they earned 11. The “Points” section on the preview represents how many points each team has at this point in the Grand Prix.

This edition of the team preview lists the teams in order of their current standing in the Grand Prix. These do not reflect any position on where USATFNE beilieves the teams will finish. Without further delay, here is the preview:

Women Open:

1. Boston Athletic Association

Points: 12

Key Runners for Upton: Rachel Coogan, Hannah Rowe, Karolyn Bowley

Notes: Although not as dominant as their “dream team” at New Bedford, the BAA will bring a solid team to Upton on Saturday. The B.A.A is in great shape to maintain their lead in the team challenge.

2. Whirlaway Racing Team:

Points: 11

Key Runners for Upton: Jaclyn Solimine, Dana Calumby, Amy Bernard, Lauren Tilton, Amanda Wright.

Notes: Former USATF New England Vice President, Amanda Wright, is making her re-debut in the Grand Prix at this race. Coming off a convincing second place finish at New Bedford, Whirlaway has the firepower to ward off any competitors for second place. Now how to catch those BAA Unicorns!

3. Craft Concept Racing:

Points: 10

Will not field a team at Upton.

Notes: No team means no points. Craft will drop in the overall teams standings. However, due to the way the Grand Prix is scored, Craft may not suffer too much..   

4. Greater Boston Track Club:

Points: 9

Key Runners for GBTC: Shelby Cuttleback, Shannon Trant, Erin Lohrenz, Caroline Turner, Jenna Castro, Lauren Opachinski, Aly Ursany

Notes: The GBTC women know how to run together. From New Bedford’s results, GBTC crossed the line in pairs of two. This is a great scoring tactic, and GBTC will surely bump Craft Concept for that 3rd place spot...and may give Whirlaway a run for second!

5. Cambridge Running Club

Points: 8

Key Runners for Upton: Meghan Weaver, Laura Santoski, Kelsey Porter, Karyn Benson, Kristin Glennie

Notes: Cambridge Running Club has always represented themselves at the USATF Road Grand Prix. Coming off a solid showing at New Bedford, they are in a great spot to stay in the top 5.

6. BEN Running Club:

Points: 7

Key Runners for Upton: Chunhua Liu, Ailing Wang, Yimei Huang, Jasmine Li, Jing Zhang

Notes: The BEN Running Club is relatively new to the USATF New England Scene, but always brings a legion of runners. The most interesting part of the BEN squad, is that all of their scoring runners have scored down, and are also competitive in the Master’s sections.

7. Central Mass Striders:

Points: 6

Key Runners for Upton: XI Chen, Michelle Pajer

Notes: CMS can easily jump BEN and Cambridge with strong performances at Upton.

Men Open:

1. Boston Athletic Association

Points: 23

Key Runners for Upton: Jonas Hampton, Eric Ashe, Phillip Royer, Alex McGrainer, Dave Bedoya

Notes: With Hampton, Royer, and Ashe, the BAA will look to remain the 1 seed overall...However, it is March Madness, and anything can happen!


2. The Heartbreakers:

Points: 22

Will not field a team

Notes:No team means no points. The Heartbreakers will drop in the overall teams standings. However, due to the way the Grand Prix is scored, they may not suffer too much. There is always day of registration.   

3. Greater Boston Track Club:

Points: 21

Key Runners for Upton: Manny Gonzalez, Ian Neill, Dave Metzger, Robert Lamarre, Erik Hinrichsen, Eric Mendoza

Notes: Time and time again, GBTC brings a strong team to each Grand Prix Race. With seasoned runners on their projected team-and an absent Heartbreakers team-GBTC can climb into second...however, they would need to hold off the fully loaded CMS and WMDP teams.

4. Whirlaway Racing Team:

Points: 20

Key Runners for Upton: Mark Hegarty, Brandon Newbold, Derik Noland, Tim Poitras, Shane Whalen

Notes: Although missing former Olympian Ruben Sanca for New Bedford-and again for Upton- Whirlaway has done an excellent job showing New England their team can hold their own without him.   

5. Central Mass Striders:

Points: 19

Key Runners for Upton: Dan Vassallo, Scott Mindel, Scott Leslie, David Principe

Notes: CMS is gunning for the outright team win in this race. With key runners Vassallo, Mindel, Principe, and Leslie, the Central Mass Striders have both the talent and depth to go after the first place ribbon. Regarding place in the entire Grand Prix, CMS could easily skyrocket into the top 3.

6. Tracksmith Hare AC:

Points: 18

Will not field a team

Notes:No team means no points. The Hares will drop in the overall teams standings. However, due to the way the Grand Prix is scored, they may not suffer too much. There is always day of registration.

7. Western Massachusetts Distance Project:

Points: 17

Key Runners for Upton: Jonathan Joyce, Ben Groleau, Dennis Roche, Dan Smith

Notes: The start list for WMDP tells it all. WMDP is locking and loading. With newly minted sub-4 minute miler, Ben Groleau teaming up with road veterans Smith, Joyce, and Roche, Western Mass will jump into the top 5 overall. Expect to see those awesome purple and black singlets at the front of the pack for this race!

Master’s Races: Top 5 Grand Prix scored teams and their start lists

Women’s Masters

  1. B.A.A

Key Runners for Upton: Karolyn Bowley, Kaela O’Neil, Kerry Swords


Key Runners for Upton: Tina Dowling, Lisa Zappala, Amy Bernard

3. BEN

Key Runners for Upton: Chunhua Liu, Ailing Wang, Yimei Huang, Jasmine Li, Jing Zhang,

4. Sole Sisters

Key Runners for Upton: No Team Entered

5. Central Mass Striders

Key Runners for Upton: Karen McGahie, Jenn Miola, Karla Steele

Men’s Masters

  1. CMS

Key Runners for Upton: Tim Van Orden, David Principe, Alan Bernier, Dave LaPierre, Arthur Besse, Patrick Rich

2. Dirigo

Key Runners for Upton: Robert Ashby, Andy Spaulding, Jeff Jones

3. HFC

Key Runners for Upton: Jason Cakouros, TJ Unger, Timothy Gavin, Dan Finkel

4. BAA

Key Runners for Upton: David Bedoya, Christopher Benestad, Andy Gardiner

5. Greater Springfield Harriers:

Key Runners for Upton: Nat Larson, Ronald Jacobs,  Michael Lescarbeau, Robert Landry

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