Andrews, Kent, Sargent, Scott lead Niagara athletes at National Masters Championships


The USATF Masters 5 km Championships were held on Sunday (1-Oct.) in Syracuse, N.Y.  The championships were part of the Syracuse Festival of Races which has hosted the championships on eleven different occasions including the last ten years in a row.  Long time race director David Oja announcedt his retirement after 25 years of leading the event.  Oja has been the only event director since 1993 and has seen 21 American records set during that time; including three this year.
A total of 254 athletes from 28 states competed in the championships with 67 competitors from the Niagara association toeing the line.
Winning individual national titles from the Niagara association were Sascha Scott, 42, of Syracuse, Charlie Andrews, 60, of Rochester, and David Rider, 87, of Brantingham. 
Scott (Syracuse Track Club) took the women’s 40-44 title running 17:50 to outrun Christy Peterson of Pennsylvania by just one second.  Last year Scott was second running 17:45. 
Andrews won the men’s 60-64 division running 17:37.  He defeated Thomas Dever, who in August won the 1 mile title in Michigan, of Indiana by eight seconds.
Rider (Syracuse Chargers TC) defended his 2016 title in the men’s 85-89 division running 36:44 for the victory.
Picking up silver medals for their second place finishes were Tony Gingello (Genesee Valley Harriers, 21:02) of Rochester in the men’s 70-74 division, Sheldon Kall (Syracuse Chargers TC, 49:24) of Manlius in the men’s 85-89; Christa Maier (Checkers AC, 36:36) of Williamsville in the women’s 75-79; and Edna Hyer (Checkers AC, 41:22) of South Wales in the women’s 85-89 race. 
Third place finishes and bronze medals were earned by James Foster (Checkers AC, 19:29) of Chittenango; Sam Graceffo (Syracuse Chargers TC, 34:43) of Fayetteville in the men’s 80-84 division; and Fran Rowe (Checkers AC, 37:47) of Niagara Falls in the women’s 75-79 division.
Three Niagara men turned in age-graded performances over 90%.   Scores of over 90% are considered to be world class while scores over 80% to be national class.  Remarkably two of them did not finish in the top three in their age division; a testament to the level of talent in those divisions. 
The top mark was turned in by Michael Kent, 52, of Conklin Forks.  Kent who competes for the Triple Cities Runners Club ran 16:16 which scored 92.09%. He had the eighth best male age graded score on the day (out of 158 competitors). He was fourth in the hyper-competitive men’s 50-54 division.  
Charlie Andrews scored 90.64%, the second best score on the day for the Niagara athletes and the 12th best of all the men.  Following closely behind was Casey Carlstrom, 58, of Ithaca and the Finger Lakes Runners Club, who scored 90.45%.  Like Kent, Carlstrom finished fourth in his age division (55-59) yet still turned in the world class mark that was the 14th best for the day.
A total of 16 Niagara men and four (4) women scored over 80.00%.
The top age-graded performance by a Niagara woman was turned in by Karyl Sargent, 54 (Lafayette, NY / Syracuse Track Club).  Her time of 19:55 scored 86.74%.  Similar to Kent and Carlstrom she ran up against a seller field in her 50-54 division where she placed fifth.  Not far behind Sargent was Sascha Scott who’s 17:20 registered 86.11% on the age-grading performance tables.  Cheryl Guth, 63, (Rochester, NY / Genesee Valley Harriers) ran 24:02 and scored 80.07%.  She was followed closely by Kristin White, 46, (Manlius, NY / Syracuse Track Club) who scored 80.00% with her 19:49.
Winning national team titles were; Checkers AC women’s 70+, Genesee Valley Harriers men’s 70+, and Syracuse Chargers TC  men’s 80+ teams.  It was the second year in a row for the two men’s teams to win the title in Syracuse.  
The Checkers AC women’s 70+ squad’s scoring team members were Christa Maier, Fran Rowe, and Edna Hyer.  Their total team time was 1:55:45 (average 38:35).

The GVH men’s 70+ team of Tony Gingello, Keith Yeates, and Jim May combined time of 1:06:05 (average 22:02) defeated five other teams that haled from Michigan, Georgia, and New Jersey.  The always tough Ann Arbor TC finished second 1:40 back and the Atlanta TC.
The Syracuse Chargers men’s 80+ team of Sam Graceffo (81), David Rider (87), and Sheldon Kall (86) averaged 40:17 per runner to win their second straight team title in the division.
Other Niagara teams to reach the awards podium for top three team finishes were the Syracuse TC women’s 40+ team that finished second and the third place finishes by Genesse Valley Harriers men’s 50+ and women’s 60+ teams.   
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