Albano nearly perfect
A complete subset of grand prix(s) are folded into the New Balance Grand Prix. Dubbed Mini I, Mini 2, Mini 3, they match the distances in the larger grand prix.
They require a minimum and a maximum of races in their series. A maximum of nine races are counted in the Mini1 and a minimum of five are required. A 5K specialist is likely to be at the top of a Mini 1, and if New Jersey has a 5K specialist it has to be Rob Albano.
The 29 year old Albano from Mahwah had eight perfect races and just one not quite perfect. At the Midland Mile Albano was bested by only two men, Eric Holt and Jacob Dinerman. Because of the mile race his score was 5,097 points and not a perfect 5,100. Andrew Lefer of Midland Park was well off with 4,988 for second with Daniel Paolazzi of Paramus third with 4,982.
No woman was as dominant as Albano but at the top of the women’s Mini 1 series was Taylor Rehe of Branchburg with 4,946 points. Desirae Piccoli of Cedar Grove was just eight points back at 4,939. Lisa Bernknopf of Cranford took third with 4,856 points but Nancy Gitin of Pequannock deserves recognition for her 4,853 points – just three back from Bernknopf.
I think of the mini grand prix as a runner’s insurance policy. In a very competitive age division with several well-matched runners, there could be four or five who might be close to the top three in the New Balance series. If those runners don’t make it there, they will move into the mini series of their choice.
Each division’s top three are taken out of the New Balance Grand Prix and fourth, fifth and sixth move up in their mini division. Mini One requires at least five races out of the maximum nine, Mini Two requires five out of a maximum of seven. Mini Three for the long, long distance runners requires only five total races.
While the New Balance Grand Prix winners are taken out of the Mini series, those left behind have a shot at scoring in more than one mini division.
Boris Gavilanes won the Mini Two series with Jim Nicosia and Mark Washburne second and third. Nicosia won the Mini Three and Washburne was right behind him as well. Francis Beideman took third.
Christine Prorock-Rogers won the women’s Mini Two with Eva Fisher second and Danielle Mellone third. Shannon McKenna won the Mini Three series, but Prorock-Rogers pops up in second with Jana Bravo in third.
Those top three people are taken out and all those in their age division move up to take their place. A lot of people earned a lot of awards. Earned is the operative word here. It is not easy for people to get to so many races during the year.
That may explain why masters age runners show up so often while the younger runners with families have to make choices on the weekends (when most races are run). Families have to come first.
Not to be overlooked – Cross Country is yet another series. Steven Manole won the men’s series, with Robert Skorupski and Alex Clark second and third respectively. Kim Anicito won the women’s series, with Taylor Rehe and Lisa Bernknopf second and third.
To see a complete listing of the grand prix divisions go to: http://legacy.compuscore.com/NBGP/2019/gpupdate2019.htm
For the cross country series:
For the Garmin Club Grand Prix:
Sixteen clubs participated in championship races during the 2019 season, and fourteen competed in two or more events. The Garden State Track Club New Balance club was a repeat winner with over three hundred points above the Shore Athletic Club followed by the Clifton Road Runners Club.
The other participating clubs by order of finish are the Raritan Valley Road Runners, Garmin Runners, Fleet Feet/Essex, North Jersey Masters, Morris County Striders, Freedom Running Club, Central Jersey Road Runners Club, Breakneck Track Club, Geezers and Rose City Runners Club. Each club had competitive teams in one or more division. All the statistics are available on the USATF New Jersey website with the link above.