XC teams return from muddy nationals in Bend, OR

The men and women of GBTC traveled to the national club cross country championships in Bend, OR on December 14th. The course, designed by Max King, delivered on its promise to provide a “real” cross country experience. The 2,000m loop tested even the strongest hill climbers with a mix of steep grassy climbs and slippery winding descents.

The women, led by Kerri Leonhardt finished a strong 19th place thanks to the help of GBTC ex-pat Alee Rowley. According to Coach Derderian, “ Kerri ran the best race of her life on perhaps the toughest XC course she had ever encountered.”

Leonhardt Bend 2013
Kerri Leonhardt digs in to crest the backside hill in Bend

“The men set out to run as a pack for as long as possible, and despite the chaos of having a hilly and muddy course with terrible footing, most stuck together for almost all of the race.  Afterwards, we heard multiple comments on how GBTC stuck together” notes Ryan Irwin, who led the men to their 36th place finish (out of 50 teams). Coach Derderian said, “ Ryan Irwin led our closely packed GBTC team with a ferocious gut-wrenching final sprint over grass, snow, ice, rough ground and mud.”

Ryan Irwin final sprint
Ryan Irwin leads the GBTC pack down the final stretch

The weekend was capped off with a great post-race party sponsored by Picky Bars and an awesome long run on a scenic country dirt road at the recommendation of Lauren Fleshman. “Overall, it was one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in quite a while,” says Irwin. “Onwards to the indoor oval!”

Check out this video for a shot of the men at the start

Full men’s results here, and the women here.