Team B.A.A.’s Sarah Pagano Wins USATF National Club Cross Country Title
B.A.A. Women’s team and Men’s Masters team place second at National Championships
BOSTON – B.A.A. High Performance team member Sarah Pagano won the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships earlier today in Lexington, Kentucky, earning the first individual national title of her career. Covering the six-kilometer course in 19:40, Pagano led the B.A.A. to second place finish in the Women’s open team competition with 60 points.
Pagano, who was second place last year, had a winning margin of nine-seconds, finishing ahead of Chelsea Blaase (19:49) and Olivia Pratt (19:50). With the win, Pagano becomes the B.A.A.’s first individual national champion since the inception of the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in 1998.
“I felt great out there today,” said Pagano, who has been a member of the B.A.A. since 2014. “The cold and windy weather made it feel like true cross country conditions, and being able to toe the line with the rest of the B.A.A. team always makes it special.”
Joining Pagano in the top five was B.A.A. teammate Emily Lipari, finishing fifth in 19:55. Rounding out the B.A.A. women’s team were Elaina Balouris Tabb in seventh (20:01); Lauren Johnson in 27th (20:38); Margo Malone in 46th (20:59); and Emily Stites in 51st (21:00). The B.A.A. women’s team were the three-time reigning champions, having won in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
“It’s been an honor to be a part of this team of outstanding women. They always give it their best and take great pride in representing the B.A.A.,” said B.A.A. High Performance coach Terrence Mahon, who is in his final month as coach of the team. “Sarah’s win today is a symbol of how far we have come in such a short time. She has shown all of us that the dedication, hard work, and support has been well worth it. I know that this is a stepping stone for her and I expect to see even greater results from her in the near future. It was truly awesome to see her cross the finish line as the champion today, and it will be a memory that I’ll hold on to for a long, long time.”
The B.A.A.’s Men’s Masters team placed second. David Bedoya led the team with an eighth-place finish (33:33), while Peter Hammer was tenth overall (and first among runners in the 50+ division) in 33:37. Rounding out the B.A.A.’s Masters team scorers were Aaron Price (33:49) in 14th; Brendan Prindiville (34:03) in 18th; and Harry Stants (34:35) in 35th. Also competing for the Masters team was Chris Benestad in 67th (35:23); and Pat Callahan in 97th, (36:20). The Masters “B” team, led by James Callaghan in 85th (35:58), finished 14th overall.
“What a great day for the B.A.A.! Cross country is a team sport, and today we demonstrated that in Kentucky,” said B.A.A. Athletic Performance Director Michael Pieroni. “The season’s worth of work that the athletes put in, and the execution on race day was on full display.”
The objective of the B.A.A.’s High Performance group of athletes is to support American runners on their way towards making international teams, with the goal of competing at an Olympic and World Championships level. The B.A.A. is sponsored by adidas, and the comprehensive support includes the running club, Team B.A.A., and its events. The B.A.A. High Performance Team prepared for today’s races with several weeks of training in Mammoth Lakes, California.