Empire Cup runners, talented mix of youth and wisdom

The Southeast Road Runners will be hosting their annual End Of The Year Awards Potluck on Jan. 28, but for most of the 2011 Empire Cup age group winners, runners up, and mid pack finishers, the running never ends.


“You will always see someone out on the roads,” SERR president Tristan Knutson-Lombardo said. “This cold snap hasn’t stopped some of the dedicated from getting out there, with appropriate running attire of course.”

Last season produced some remarkable competitors including Connor Norman, the male 8-10 age group winner.

“Not only is he one of the top young “up and coming” runners in our Capital City, but he has managed to amass more points than any other runner in the Empire Cup Series,” Knutson-Lombardo said. “He competed at the National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships last year and is a member of the Mendenhall River Marathon Club.”

Other notable age group winners include:

Matt Lessmeier (Male 11-13), a former standout elementary runner and now one of the top middle school runners in Southeast Alaska, and he’s only in 6th grade.

Bryan Hitchcock (Male 35-39) is a member of Juneau’s burgeoning ultra-running community, thanks to nationally acclaimed runner Geoff Roes, one of Bryan’s good friends. Even though Hitchcock’s training goals focus on races much longer than the standard SERR distances, he still finds time to rack up enough points for an age-group victory.

The Welling Family is dominating girl’s and women’s running in Juneau. They occupy the top spot in four of the women’s age categories: the three youngest and 40-44. Led by matriarch Karlynn Welling (who won her leg in the Klondike this year), they boast a tremendous amount of young talent. Naomi, the eldest sister, will be preparing for her freshman year of cross country next year and is a favorite to win the Region 5 cross country title. In addition, she will be one of the top incoming runners in the state and will vie for a top ten finish at the State cross country championships in September.

Cathleen Balantic (Women 19-29) is a 2009 graduate of Cornell University, Cathleen found her way to Juneau as an Ameri-Corps Member serving at Discovery Southeast where she know works as Program Coordinator. Cathleen has quickly earned her a reputation as one of the fastest women in Southeast. Whether she is joining the “Geezers” for early Sunday runs, or winning the weekend road race, Cathleen has made a statement as a local running fixture.

Balantic just completed the Louisiana Marathon, finishing 26th overall, fourth for women and first in her division. Her 10K was timed at 44:48, a 7 minute 13 second pace; her half was timed at 1:35.04, a 7:16 pace; and she finished with in 3 hours 11 minutes and 42 seconds.

Three SERR Board Members won their respective age divisions: Sandi Woods, Carrie Bohan and Tom Albert.

“This isn’t a concern for points fixing,” Knutson-Lombardo joked. “But evidence of how much SERR’s volunteer board members work to make Juneau the vibrant running community it is.”

The SERR end of the year awards potluck will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center.

“Even if you are not a runner this is a great event to attend,” Knutson-Lombardo said. “There is a lot of knowlege about running in the community and sometimes people feel intimidated about starting to run as a form of exercise. This is a great chance to meet new people with common interests who are sincere in sharing their love of the sport.”

Empire Cup Winners 2011


Male age 7-younger:

William Robinson 49

Trenton English 30

Male age 8-10:

Connor Norman 116

McKie Gregory 70

Cassious English 26

Male age 11-13:

Matt Lessmeier 90

Eli Gregory 47

Keith Allan Harvey 47

Male age 14-18:

Riley Moser 77

Nicolas Wright 53

Ian Andrews 26

Male age 19-29:

Thomas Albert 71

Houston Laws 67

Henry Dehling 53

Male age 30-34:

Myron Davis 122

Norton Gregory 66

Matthew Thompson 25

Male age 35-39:

Bryan Hitchcock 59

Hiram Henry 47

Dana Hanselman 33

Male age 40-44:

Jeff Gregory 78

Chris LaVallee 54

Matthew York 29

Male age 45-49:

Jim Ustasiewski 110

Keith Harvey 57

Jim Grammel 55

Male age 50-54:

David Thomson 82

Zane Clark 72

Brian Ewing 47

Male age 55-59:

Bruce Wanstall 115

John Kern 76

James Beedle 49

Male age 60+:

Paul DeSloover 88

Fred Triem 45

Eric Twelker 30

Glenn Frick 30


Female age 7-younger:

Mallory Welling 56

Jamie Heidersdorf 18

Female age 8-10:

Audrey Welling 59

Michaela Bentley 27

Taylor Bentley 24

Female age 11-13:

Naomi Welling 50

Kylie Harvey 40

Female age 14-18: none

Female age 19-29:

Cathleen Balantic 88

Faith Reynolds 52

Michael Kohan 50

Female age 30-34:

Carrie Bohan 100

Christine Dellow 38

Ruth Kostik 31

Female age 35-39:

Jennifer Watson 58

Christy Wallace 40

Lauren Andersen 36

Female age 40-44:

Karlynn Welling 80

Rebecca Braun 29

Female age 45-49:

Julie Harvey 99

Marsha Squires 81

Darla Orbistondo 80

Female age 50-54:

Sandi Woods 78

Deana Darnall 43

Sherry Tamone 39

Female age 55-59:

Leslie Daugherty 40

Sara Peacock 39

Janeann Twelker 30

Female age 60+:

Sally Wanstall 67


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