July has seen a bit of a drop in road races, but the track races have been in full swing.  The CNW Youth Team, coached by Gavin Tucker, was one team with quite an eventful month.

The Junior Olympics Region 13 Championships were held in Bend, OR, earlier this month. While it was "only" 92 degrees, the temperature track-side was a sweltering 104 degrees.  Both Julia Shankland and Carolyn Birkenfeld placed in the Top 10 in the Intermediate Girls 400m. Neither made the Top 5 mark needed to advance to the National Championships, but both ran very well. 

Al Danielson came out and ran a 1.5 second PR in the Young Men's 400m dash with a 55.8, but the YM 400m was murderer's row, with a winning time of 48.2 seconds and the fifth, and final qualifier, running a 50.3.   Carolyn came back after her (literally) gut-wrenching 400m and ran a great 200m, just barely missing making the final round tomorrow, placing 9th. But, considering the heat, and her light-headedness after the 400m, she ran really, really well.

Finally, saving the best for last, the Intermediate Girls 400m Relay earned Club Northwest's Youth Track Program it's very first Region 13 Championship, as they won the event and qualified for the National Championships! We've won several Association Championships and qualified several kids to the Junior Olympic National Championships, but this is the first time the Orange and Blue has taken the top spot at the Region 13 meet. They combined the Intermediate Boys and Intermediate Girls Relay teams into one race, and our girls were only 4 seconds behind the winning boys team. Not only that, they PR'd by over 2 full seconds!

After the dust settled, the CNW Youth Track Team qualified 5 of 6 athletes in 3 events to the Junior Olympic National Championships.   In addition to the Intermediate Girls 400m Relay, we also added the following athletes to the list of National Championships qualifiers:  Grace Shapiro - 5th Place, Intermediate Girls 100m Hurdles. She also had a PR of .13 in the event.  Kirby McDermott - 2nd Place, Intermediate Boys 800m. He also had a PR of .27.

This year, over half of the youth team was unable to compete in the Junior Olympic meets due to previous travel arrangements for school or family, but of the 8 athletes who were able to compete in the Junior Olympic series, we got 5 to Nationals! Coach Gavin Tucker was absolutely thrilled about their hard work and their performances. Considering that yesterday the relay had a PR of over 2 seconds, and Al Danielson had a 1.5 second PR in the 400m, every athlete who competed this weekend for CNW had a PR of some sort. The hot temps and high altitude of Bend were not their friends this weekend, but they made it through with great performances!

                Club Northwest sent a women’s team and Will Conwell from the men’s side to scorching hot Omaha, NE, for Club Track Nationals.  From the moment we stepped off the plane, we were met by a wall of heat.  On the first day of racing, the temperatures were in the 100s with high humidity.  The race directors were extra prepared with endless chilled water bottles, plenty of ice, and even kiddy pools filled with cold water.  Although, the women’s team was fairly small in comparison to the powerhouse teams, we all ran as much as needed to score as many points as possible.  At the peak of the heat in the 800m, we had two scorers with Jane Larson in 5th (2:16) and Amber Farthing in 8th (2:19).  Lois Ricardi Keller decided at the last minute to run the 3000m steeplechase, even though she had many races coming up, because she knew that she could win the race and score 10 points.  CNW dominated in the 1500m run, with Rose Wetzel winning (4:26), closely followed by Jane Larson (4:27), then Megan Heuer in 4th (4:31), and Lois in 6th (4:41).  Sarah Ulrey, who we counted on big time in the sprints, was able to score 8 points with a second place finish in the 100m (12.24).  The last race of the evening was the 10,000m.  This was the race that we were most worried about because the temperatures were still close to 100 degrees at the start of the race, and the women had 25 long laps to complete in these tough conditions.  But, we had 3 strong competitors from the CNW field.  In first place (for the 3rd time in a row) was Claudia Copeland, who ran a smart and confident race.  In second place was Kristi Houk, and the most amazing part of her race was the fact that she had flown into Nebraska the evening before from a two-week trip to Europe.  Our third CNW runner was Megan Lyle, who ran a very tactical race and picked a few runners off to finish with a scoring 8th place. 

                Saturday proved to also be a great day of racing.  We started the morning off with the 5K, and again, we had a dominant group.  We scored 1st place through 4th place, with Rose Wetzel, Jane Larson, Megan Heuer, and Lois Ricardi Keller, respectively.  Sarah Ulrey scored another 8 points in the 400m hurdles with a second place finish (1:02.73).  For the field events, Jenny Brogdan did the long jump and finished 5th.  This is something that she just recently picked up, but she nonetheless was able to get some points for the team!  Amanda Peterson contributed by placing 2nd in the javelin and by scoring additional points by throwing the discus and hammer as well.  Terra Schumacher won the pole vault and came in 4th in the 100 meter hurdles, an event she has not raced since high school. 

Finally, it was time for the relays: our 4 x 800 was second, our sprint medley was 3rd, the DMR won, and the 4 x 400 was second.  Some of the women ran 5 races in less than 24 hours, but everyone would do whatever they could to help the team out.  The women’s team was able to score 2nd place in the meet.   Another person we had to thank for this strong finish was our physical therapist, Laura Mickelson, who not only provided excellent massage therapy, but also ran a great leg in the 4 x 800 relay!

                On the men’s side, Will Conwell won the discus (60.66) and got third in the shot (15.01).  More importantly, he kept us laughing the entire trip.  He also kept coach Tom Cotner company with all of these women!

On a related note, Rose Wetzel reports:

My fiance, Tim Sinnett, has a lovely family in Omaha, where the USATF Club National Championship just so happened to be held this year. On the first day of racing, 15 of his immediate and extended family members came out to cheer on Club Northwest, and that was about half of all the spectators there! Despite the 104 degree heat, they trooped on over to Burke Stadium and even brought us water, ice, sponges, and Gatorade. 

Tim's parents, brother, and niece came back to cheer the next day, too, and after the awards ceremony, I let my seven-year-old soon-to-be niece, Rory wear my five medals for a picture (see below).  After I thanked them all for coming and headed to the shuttle, Rory and her dad were waiting for Rory's mom to pick them up. Inspired by the fast performances of the day by the Club Northwest women, little Rory decided to try to run a lap around the track, and she made it! Panting and exhausted, she grinned up at her dad, proud of herself. Looks like we may have a future track athlete on our hands! : ) 

Rose also reports:

I'd like to give a shout-out to Club Northwest's Mike Sayenko and Mark Mandi for their generosity in rabbit-ing me (at the last minute) to a four-second personal record in the 800 meters! After many months of shooting for the Olympic Trials standard in the 1500 meters, I came up short and wanted to at least see if I could walk away from the season with a sub-2:10 800 meter time, since my fastest ever was 2:11. I showed up at the Wednesday night all-comers race a week after traveling to both L.A. and Victoria to race. I felt a little tired and I knew that having someone to break wind and set the pace would make it easier to hit the time I wanted. When I heard that Mike Sayenko would be there to attempt a sub-4 minute mile 1500 equivalent only a week after his Olympic Trials 10k race, I was impressed. I cheered him on as Mark Mandi and a couple of other guys paced him and although he didn't quite hit the time he wanted, he looked strong and I respect people when they go after ambitious goals, regardless of the outcome. An hour before the 1500, I asked Mike and Mark if they would be willing to rabbit me in the 800 an hour after the 1500. "Sure!" they both said enthusiastically. They kept their promise and did a fantastic job pacing me to not only a sub 2:10 pace but a four-second PR of 2:07.4! It was just the confidence boost I needed after a few not-so-great races and a week and a half later, I had the best meet of my life, scoring 26.5 pints for Club Northwest at Club Nationals! Thanks, Mike and Mark!!

In road race news, we have a few strong finishes to report.  Michael Lynes placed second at "The Runner Stumbles" 10k, fourth at "Four on the Fourth” and second in the "Tunnel Marathon" in 2:39:38.  Irvin MacQuarrie finished the Lake Stevens Half Ironman.  In addtition, he will be working with one of the teachers at Rainier Beach to revive the high school cross-country program this fall.  What a great adventure!

In last month’s update, we highlighted Teshome’s stellar performance at the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon, but if you would like to hear more about Teshome’s incredible life, then take a look at this article:


One person who had an eventful last month was Lois Ricardi Keller.  On June 25th, she raced the 3000m steeplechase at the Olympic Trials. The cool thing about this was that her younger brother and CNW runner, John Ricardi, also competed at the Trials in the 3K steeplechase and her husband, Levi Keller, competed in the pole vault at the trials. What an incredible family affair!  

After that, Lois headed to Omaha, NE, to help her CNW teammates to a second place team award.  Then on July 20th, Lois went back to her home state to compete in the Montana Mile. It is a part of Montana's Big Sky State Games' Opening Ceremonies. They have a bunch of fun activities and performances, and they bring in an Olympian speaker; this year it was Olga Korbut.  The highlight of the weekend is a men's and women's mile race where they pit the best runners from MT against each other.  After the race, they light a torch, which makes it feel like a mini-Olympics.  This year Lois won for my 6th consecutive year!  Lois said that the highlight was definitely getting to talk to the kids and youth and offer up advice and words of encouragement.

Lastly, a near tragic story with a happy ending:

On Saturday July 14th, Jane Larson and John Ricardi (her boyfriend) were going for a climb in the North Cascades. They were climbing with Josh Ricardi and his friend Luke. Luke and Josh were going to do a more difficult climb while John and Jane branched off to do an easier mountain. John and Jane headed up Sahale Peak and were very close to the summit when the accident happened. John and Jane had just put on their harnesses, and Jane was waiting for John to summit so he could set a rope and have her climb up. A rope wasn't needed but there was an exposed section and John wanted to be extra safe. John reached up to grab a part of the cliff when a rock roughly half the size of a refrigerator broke loose. It hit John on his left leg and Jane on her left side. The amazing thing is that neither of them were knocked off the mountain. John said he felt that angels held them on to the mountain. The route they were on has been climbed by 1000s of people before but something had caused a crack in the rock and just barely touching it, caused it to fall.

Josh and Luke were not that far away when the accident happened, and they heard Jane scream and saw the rocks falling. They quickly went to the two and then had the difficult task of getting them off the mountain. It was slow going but Josh, with the help of Luke and John on belay, managed to get Jane off the steep part of the mountain. Josh basically had to carry Jane down, and John was able to put some weight on his leg and limp down. Jane would put all of her weight on Josh, and he would take a step down the mountain (with the help of a rope in case they slipped). Then Jane would steady herself on her good leg, and they would do the whole thing again. It took 1-2 hours to go roughly 100m. After the accident, Lois asked her brother, Josh, how he did it and he said it was tough, but he just had to do it. He won't ever let on to this but Jane told me he was a hero to her that day. John's knee was very torn up and bleeding. Jane was cut up but her injuries were more internal and she was in a lot of pain. There came a point when it was too painful for Jane to be moved any more. At this point, Josh went to base camp and told other members of the team (who arrived later) that a tent was needed along with warm gear as they could only get her within 400feet of camp. The climbers got the tent and gear, brought it back to Jane, and set it up just in case rescuers couldn't arrive until morning. Josh ran down the mountain in search of help. He came across a ranger, and they hiked back up to the group. The ranger radioed a helicopter. The helicopter came and brought Jane to the trailhead where the Harborview helicopter was waiting to take her to the ER. The rescue helicopter also took John down to the trailhead. Josh then ran down the mountain to meet John.

When they got cell phone reception, they called Levi and Lois who immediately went to the hospital to see Jane. She was responsive and told them the story. The nurses informed them of her injuries, which were a broken clavicle, scapula, possible ribs, and two bones in the ankle.

Jane went in for surgery Monday, July 16th, to get a pin in her collarbone, two pins and a little plate in her ankle. The surgery was a success, and she was released from the hospital the next day. She has a long road of recovery ahead of her, but the doctors were very reassuring that she can have a 100% recovery. John has not left Jane's side since getting to the hospital and since her release to her parents’ house.  Though he was much more concerned about Jane, John’s family did manage to convince him to get an x-ray. It looks as though he has a fractured patella and possible ligament damage; however, it is not severe. He has yet to get an MRI to see about ligament damage. Both will recover and are extremely lucky. God definitely was looking out for them that day.  We will all be thinking and praying for Jane’s recovery.


All of us at Club Northwest wish Jane and John a speedy and complete recovery.  


Compiled by Megan Heuer

July 24, 2012

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Athlete Profiles