Tag Archives: Eric Ashe

Ruben Sanca and Karen Roa capture Yankee Homecoming 10-miler titles

Ruben Sanca

Karen Roa

Jeffrey Seelaus (2539) in the lead for good in the 5K

Yvonne Bungei wins the 5K

Ruben Sanca in the crowd with Eric Ashe nearby

(Newburyport MA) “Three miles in I was in a world of hurt”

“At five miles, in this weather, you start doubting yourself and your pace gets slower and slower.  You try to hang on as best you can.”

Sounds unpleasant.  And those were the words of the two top finishers (Ruben Sanca & Eric Ashe) in last night’s Yankee Homecoming 10-miler!

Margaret Njuguna (1581) leads but Karen Roa (1828) is nearby at the Cushing Museum

Imagine what the rest of the folks, running in heat in the mid-to-upper 80’s through the streets of Newburyport, must have felt like.

The women’s winner, Karen Roa, said that a key to handling the conditions was keeping hydrated.  “It was a mental thing,” she said afterwards. “I wanted to go out conservative because of the weather.”

Mission accomplished for Karen.  Cleveland Marathon winner Margaret Njuguna was also in the field and she started fast.  Karen kept Margaret in her sights and eventually the conditions changed the positioning at the top.

“The young lady at the top kept looking back,” explained Karen, “so I thought that she was weakening.  I kept after her and passed her at the seven-mile mark and didn’t look back.”

Enjoying the ride

Karen Roa won by nearly a minute (59:12).

Ruben Sanca captured the 10-mile event for the second straight year.

“I tried to take it out hard from the beginning,” said the UMass Lowell graduate.  “My plan was to get away from everyone else.  Unfortunately, because of how hot and humid it was I couldn’t maintain the fast pace.”

Enter Simmons University cross-country coach Eric Ashe.

“I tried to be a little conservative with the start and it almost worked,” he said.  “I caught Ruben at about seven miles.  I tried to make a final move to win.”

Ruben remembered it: “I knew someone was coming up on me. Eventually Eric caught me at eight miles.  We ran together for about a mile.  I knew the last mile pretty well and I started my kick and got the win.”

Justin Freeman shadows Brandon Newbould

Justin Freeman, the winner in 2011, came across third.  “Last year I was in fifth coming up the last hill into the schoolyard and ended seventh.  I tried to save a little more this time and take it easy.  I settled behind Brandon Newbould (5th) for about 4 ½ miles then moved ahead. I came up on Mark Hegarty (4th) and created a little gap of about 30-35 yards.  He (Mark) reeled about half of it back but I had something left at the end.”

One of the unique features of the 10-miler is that a 5K starts on the same route ten minutes earlier.  That makes for some interacting of the two races about a mile in as well as at the finish.  There are serious runners and there are those wanted to try it.

“There was a nice crowd,” said Eric Ashe.  “It does get a little hectic at times trying to weave through the runners from the first race.”

Bryan Popp (1748) and Nicholas Denari (513)

I have always positioned myself one mile from the start near the Cushing Museum.  The top finishers always show themselves by that point.  Case in point was today’s 5K.  UMass Amherst graduate Jeffrey Seelaus was in front there.  Same for Williams grad Yvonne Bungei among the women.

St. John’s Prep math teacher Nicholas Denari was poised behind Triton grad Bryan Popp at Cushing but moved on to take second at the finish.

A little more from the top finishers from my interviews:

Eric Ashe: “All the hoses along the way were really helpful.  I’ll probably do the New England Grand Prix and the Cape Cod Marathon.  Besides coaching at Simmons, I also work for Tracksmith (running company in Boston).”

Justin Freeman: “It was a lot cooler the time I won this race.  I’ve been coming here for more than ten years.  It’s fun to do an evening race.  It’s nice to do the same race over and over and be able to make comparisons.  I teach math at the American School in The Hague (Netherlands).  I have a condo in New Hampshire and my family comes over here for seven weeks in the summer.”

Ruben Sanca

Ruben Sanca: “It was great to win for a second time.  I was lucky this time because my strategy of going out fast wasn’t the best.  I am training for the Chicago Marathon in October.”

Karen Roa: “Running is a mental thing for me.  Very busy.  I am a doctorate candidate taking classes.  I had labs this morning.  I stuck to one guy in this race from Whirlaway who helped me a lot.”

My curiosity is why area high school running standouts weren’t in this year’s race.  Where were John Lucey, Peter Lopata, and Dreese Fadil?

Race results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Ziggy (800) 9th & Will (799) 3rd attend Midland High School in California

Ben Pare – 7th – 10-mile

Betsy Suda – 2nd – 5K

Brandon Newbould – 5th – 10-mile

Katherine Newberry (2492) 40th overall

David Metzger – 9th – 10-mile

Derek Walsh – 13th – Newburyport

Eric Ashe – 2nd – 10-mile

James Bailey – 8th – 10-mile

Jeffrey Seelaus leads

Justin Freeman – 3rd – 10-mile

Shane Whalen 6th – 10-mle

Wheeling along

Karen Roa 2nd at Cushing Museum

Kathryn White – Georgetown – 5K

Margaret Njuguma finished 14th overall

Mark Hegarty 4th – 10-mile

Robert Hollinger 4th – 5K

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Abu Kebede Diriba wins 2017 Yankee Homecoming 10-miler in Newburyport

Abu Kebede Diriba

Apryl Sabadosa won the women’s 10-mile title. Notice the lack of footwear.

I know, it’s been days since the races, but I was there and have some commentary and pictures to share.

The races?  The Newburyport Yankee Homecoming 5K and 10 mile.

Those races started ten minutes apart on Tuesday night.

I think I have given coverage five times.  I did not do last year’s

My strategy is to set myself up at the one-mile mark (Cushing Museum) and get a good look at both races there.  I have learned that the leaders lead early and late-run surges don’t happen.  The good runners have a fast pace that they maintain for the whole race.

So, I see both races into one mile of their race.  Then I get to Newburyport High School to catch the end of the 10-mile race.  Can’t get back fast enough for the end of the 5K but I’m quite sure that within my pictures from the one-mile location I will have most of the top finishers in the 5K.

Speaking of pictures, I was happy with the ones at the one-mile mark but those at the finish were disappointing.  The sun at NHS was right in my face so I tried to adjust the speed and ended up way too slow.  Runners and slow camera speed are a bad combo.

If I were titling this story I might try: “While the Pat’s away the mice will play.”  I thought it would apply nicely to the 5K race.

5K lead pack at one mile. Sam Coppola (2659) will win. Sam Acquaviva (6) will be second. Will Coogan (2555) will finish 3rd.

Why?  “Pat” Fullerton has won that race four straight years with impressive times.  No sign of him this year so the race wasn’t for second place this time around.  Somebody different would get the win.

Pentucket graduate Sam Coppola took advantage of the situation.  Sam finished a distant 8th in 2016 but this time he chopped forty-six seconds off his time.  With all of those ahead of him in the 2016 race missing, Sam got himself a nice win.

Abu Kebede Diriba, like Sam, was the only returnee from the top eight in the 10-mile race.  Abu wasted little time taking this race over.  He had a 20-yard lead at the one-mile mark and gave back some of that spread by race’s end but he could well have been coasting in the late stages.  Abu (connected to the West Side Running Club in NYC) was second in 2016.  He was over a minute slower this time around but the competition probably had a play in it.

The best closing race was for second among the 10-mile women.  Salome Kosgei held off Liz Ryan but just barely.

Apryl Sabodosa at one mile

Speaking of “barely,” you couldn’t help but notice the footwear of 10-mile winner April Sabadosa……it didn’t exist.  The 33-year old from Westfield (MA) ran the race WITHOUT footwear!  She claimed, according to the Newburyport Daily News, that running shoeless feels comfortable and natural.  Maybe on the beach but ten miles?  However, it worked for Apryl as she finished 25th overall.

Jaclyn Solimine killed the women’s field in the 5K winning that relatively short race by 1:25. Jaclyn is from Haverhill and recently graduated from UMass Lowell.  Jaclyn was 15th overall in the 5K.

Jason Ayr was 2nd in the 10-mile and Eric Ashe 3rd.  Jason is a UMass grad who finished 29th in the last Boston Marathon.  Eric is a BU graduate.

Ryan Place was 4th in the 10-mile.  He graduated from Allegheny College and was an All-American there.  He was 26th in the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Race for 2nd in the 10-miler. Jason Ayr (70) will get second. Eric Ashe (56) gets 3rd. Ryan Place 1544) 4th and AJ Ernst (2448) 5th

AJ Ernst (5th in 10-mile) is the North Shore running phenom from Marblehead (MA) who just finished his sophomore year at Virginia.  He led the Magicians to state track titles his senior year.

The next three ten-mile finishers (Robert Espinoza, Dan Smith, Nicolai Naranjo) all run for the Western Mass Distance Project.  WMDP placed five in the top ten finishers.  Jason Ayr (2nd) and Kevin Quadrozzi (10th) are part of the same organization.

Alexander Arslan (9th) is a Running Brand specialist at Mizuno USA in Syracuse.

The 2nd place finisher in the women’s 5K was Salome Kosgei.  Salome came to the US from Kenya in 2004 thanks to a scholarship from Iona College in New York.

Liz Ryan who finished 3rd for the second straight year graduated from Brown in 2013.  She trained for six months in Panama.

Newburyporter Sam Acquaviva got second in the 5K.  The Clipper senior-to-be can easily be expected to dominate the 2017-18 Cape Ann League in cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track.

I hope I have this right: The 3rd place 5K finisher was Will Coogan of Exeter.  Will was on the Phillips Exeter JV squad this year.  The 15-year-old may have had the race of his young life.

Bekah Broe was second to Apryl Sabadosa in the 10-mile.  Bekah, from Newton (MA), is an assistant product manager with New Balance.

Sarah Hjelmstad of Wilmington (MA) followed Bekah.  Sarah runs with the Wilmington Sole Sisters.

Complete race results

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

5K finishers

Jason Ayr (70) and Eric Ashe (56)

Dan Smith

Alexander Arslan

Nicolai Naranjo

Kevin Quadrozzi

Salome Kosgei and Liz Ryan battle for 2nd

Robert Espinoza

Abu Kebede Diriba about to win 2017 Yankee Homecoming 10-mile race

Jaclyn Solimine won the women’s 5K

Bekah Broe (2nd in 5K)

Sarah Hjelmstad (847) 3rd in 5K

Salome Kosgei (2nd in 10 mile)

Liz Ryan (3rd 10 miles)

 

 

 

 

 

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