Severy, Haefeli take titles at USA Men's 12 km, Women's 8 km
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. - It took incredible climbing skills to win this year's USA Trail Championships, and no one exhibited more prowess on the hills than Jonathan Severy, (Aspen, Colo.), who raced to victory Sunday over the grueling 13.2 km course in just under one hour (59:51). He bested second-place finisher Clint Wells, (Superior, Colo.), by nearly one minute.
Wells took the race out and led up the first climb - an ascent of more than 500 feet, with more than 20% vertical gain which the open men had to run three times. Severy overtook Wells after the first descent a half-mile into the race, maintaining the lead to the finish and his first USA title.
Rounding out the top five were Matthew Russell (Boulder, Colo.) in 1:02:24, Jason Delaney (Golden, Colo.) in 1:02:53, and Jared Scott (Flagstaff, Ariz.) in 1:03:35. Andy Ames (Boulder, Colo.) finished in seventh to win the masters division in 1:04:36.
Another master's runner led the women's race from start to finish. 40-year-old Laura Haefeli (Del Norte, Colo.) showed no signs of fatigue from her record-setting master's performance at Mount Washington last weekend, finishing in 45:16 over the two-loop 8.8 km women's course.
In second place, Megan Kimmel (Silverton, Colo.) posted a time of 45:54. Third and fourth place finishers Brandy Erholtz (Bailey, Colo.) and Rachael Cuellar (Albuquerque, N.M.) ran 46:41 and 46:55 respectively. Newcomer to the trail scene Gina Lucrezi (Colorado Springs, Colo.) rounded out the top-five in 48:28.
First for the junior men was Paul Petersen (Broomfiled, Colo.), who posted a 44:34 finish time over the same two-loop course as the women. Kerry Sheader (Grand Junction, Colo.) was second in 50:54 and Taylor Fletcher, (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), rounded out the top three.
This was the second consecutive year that the renowned ski town of Steamboat Springs, Colo., hosted the USA Trail Championships. The course moved from the ski resort to Howelsen Hill and boasted an 11 percent average grade starting at 6,705 feet elevation and topping out at 7,230 feet. The route included single track, wide dirt paths, switchbacks and plenty of ascending and descending. It was the fifth installment of this trail championship event with Vail, CO, hosting in 2004, 2005, and 2006.
A total prize purse of $5000 was awarded to the top finishers. With the open champions earning $900 each.
For more information on the USA 10 km Trail Championships visit www.usatf.org.