Saturday, December 17, 2016

Tannenbaum Trail titles for Josh Andrews and Alyson Churchill

On Saturday morning, 17 December 2016, Alyson Churchill won the women’s title at Gulf Winds Track Club’s sixth annual Tannenbaum Trail 6K cross-country race, placing fifth overall in 22:33. It was the third time in three years that Churchill had run the 3.7-mile race around Tallahassee, Florida's Apalachee Regional Park. Of those three races, it was also her best performance. It wasn’t her first win at Apalachee Regional Park, though. Churchill had scored her first victory at the park as an eighth-grader at Swift Creek Middle School, winning the 2015 Swift Creek Invitational. As a Lincoln High freshman she had notched further wins at ARPXC during the 2016 cross-country season, first winning the FSU Invitational and then the FHSAA State Cross-Country Championship for class 3A.

Alyson Churchill
Alyson Churchill

Churchill may have been a familiar face at ARPXC, but not Josh Andrews. Andrews had run cross-country at Chelmsford High in Massachusetts, going on to compete in the same sport at Stonehill College. He had run 2:41.37 at the Boston Marathon in 2013, finishing just before the bombs exploded on that tragic day. Andrews had never raced at Apalachee Regional Park, though. On the morning of the Tannenbaum 6K, he arrived at the park, filled out a registration form, warmed up, and headed for the starting line.


Then he won the race.


“He was running with the group before the Wall,” recalled Thomas Howell, a distance runner and Florida A & M University student. “After the Wall I looked up and he was 200 meters ahead. It was like he was in a different race.”

Josh Andrews
Josh Andrews

Early in the race Andrews shared the lead with Tallahassee athletes Vince Molosky and Geb Kiros. During the second kilometer Andrews and Molosky dropped Kiros. During the third kilometer came the first of two trips up the short but precipitous hill nicknamed “the Wall.” After that climb Andrews had the lead to himself. He spent the second loop widening the gap on the field, ultimately crossing the finish line first in 20:30. Molosky finished runner-up in 21:47. Jay Wallace was the fastest master runner in the race, overtaking Geb Kiros during the fourth kilometer to finish third overall in 22:03. Kiros was fourth in 22:26.


Alyson Churchill, fifth in 22:33, was never challenged for the top spot in the women’s standings. Second place was a different story. Tallahassee lawyer Sheryl Rosen spent most of the race in the second position, but Katie Sherron was never more than a few seconds back. Sherron, a Florida State University economics professor, was the Tannenbaum 6K women’s champ in 2011 and 2015. Late in the race she overtook Rosen, then moved ahead to take second on the women’s side, placing twelfth overall in 23:57. Rosen was the third woman across the finish line and thirteenth overall in 24:12. At 26:25, Lincoln High freshman cross-country runner Megan Churchill was the fourth woman and 21st overall. Kory Skrob was the top woman master and seventh female finisher, placing 33rd overall in 29:20.

Katie Sherron
Katie Sherron

The Tannenbaum 6K was the last race in a crowded 2016 schedule on the Apalachee Regional Park Cross-Country Course. During that fall, ARPXC had been the host venue for more than half-a-dozen championships at the state, regional, and national level. Some of the athletes in the Tannenbaum had been part of of those championships. For example, Vince Molosky had competed in one of the national championships on the course. Tim Unger had run in two of them. As already noted, Alyson Churchill had won a state title at Apalachee Regional Park.


But for most of the 84 athletes who finished the 6K it was their only chance in 2016 to race on the championship course. With the flags still in place and Florida State’s Seminole logo still painted on the grass, it still felt like a championship course. Think of getting to play a few downs in the Super Bowl stadium while the lines are still on the field, or getting out on the field after the final game of the World Series before the ground crew spreads the tarp over the infield. That’s what everyone in the Tannenbaum 6K got to experience, whether or not they took home a poinsettia plant for winning their age group.

Vince Molosky

Jay WallaceTop Ten Men, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
  1. 20:30, Josh Andrews (M, 28) Chelmsford, MA
  2. 21:47, Vince Molosky (M, 37) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 22:03, Jay Wallace (M, 52) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 22:26, Geb Kiros (M, 50) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 22:44, Zach Deveau (M, 29) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 22:46, Connor Stevens (M, 26) Marietta, GA
  7. 22:59, Michael Martinez (M, 50) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 23:14, Paul Guyas (M, 39) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 23:20, Myles Gibson (M, 50) Donalsonville, GA
  10. 23:39, Thomas Howell (M, 20) Blountstown, FL

Sheryl RosenTop Ten Women, Gulf Winds Track Club's 2016 Tannenbaum Trail 6K
  1. 22:33, Alyson Churchill (F, 14) Tallahassee, FL
  2. 23:57, Katie Sherron (F, 35) Tallahassee, FL
  3. 24:12, Sheryl Rosen (F, 32) Tallahassee, FL
  4. 26:25, Megan Churchill (F, 14) Tallahassee, FL
  5. 27:29, Paige Churchill (F, 11) Tallahassee, FL
  6. 28:37, Marigny Nevitt (F, 21) Tampa, FL
  7. 29:20, Kory Skrob (F, 46) Tallahassee, FL
  8. 29:30, Alyssa Terry (F, 23) Tallahassee, FL
  9. 30:09, Paula O'Neill (F, 55) Tallahassee, FL
  10. 32:27, Patricia Knauf (F, 48) Tallahassee, FL

Tannenbaum Trail 6K Champions, 2011 - 2016
DateMenWomenFinishers
17 December 201119:49, Chris Lake25:33, Katie Showman173
15 December 201219:35, Kevin Sullivan21:56, Stefanie Slekis182
21 December 201320:51, Bryan Koon22:30, Jodie McGuff76
20 December 201420:17, Kyle Harris25:21, Jillian Heddaeus149
19 December 201520:36, Joseph Garcia23:30, Katie Sherron192
17 December 201620:30, Josh Andrews22:33, Alyson Churchill87


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