February 3, 2013
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – On Super Bowl Sunday, the Mustangs kicked-off the 2013 track season at the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, California. Among the 14,531 half marathon participants, The Master's College was well represented with four runners, including a pair of alumni.
“We always look forward to running the Surf City Half Marathon,” said head coach Zach Schroeder. “It’s a fun venue to open up the track season and reintroduce ourselves to racing after our winter base training. For some of our athletes the race serves as an opportunity to hit a national qualifying mark in the marathon, for others it’s just a test effort to see where our base fitness is at.” Among the thousands racing along the Pacific Coast Highway Sunday, The Master’s College distance squad proved to be among the best.
Stealing nearly half of the top 15 male finishes were current and former TMC runners. Joining four of the Mustang men’s team in the top 15, were alumni and four-time NAIA All-Americans Anthony Pizzo (Valencia, CA) and Jeff Jackson (Newhall, CA), the 2010 Marathon National Champion. Among their age group (18-24 years), TMC runners John Gilbertson (Saugus CA), John Hurd (Fairview, PA), Camden McAlister (Saugus, CA), and Tyler Tockstein (Canyon Country, CA) finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively. “It’s pretty exciting to see the college represented in such a dominant way,” said assistant coach Amie Schroeder. “It’s fun to hear people talking about TMC because they recognize the level our kids are competing at.”
Leading the way for the Mustang men was Gilbertson, the 2012 NAIA Cross Country national champion. Coming off nine weeks of strong winter training, Gilbertson demonstrated that he is fit as well as fast. Finishing second overall in 1 hour, 8 minutes, and 41 seconds, Gilbertson broke the previous TMC record for the half marathon, which he set last year. Running a 5:15 pace over the 13.1-mile course, Gilbertson looked stronger than ever, with eyes set on bringing home more national titles this May.
To compete in the marathon at the NAIA Outdoor Track & Field National Championship a male athlete must post a half marathon time of 1:13 on a certified course. Although he doesn’t plan to compete in the marathon at the national meet, Gilbertson has already secured that qualifying time.
“I’m stoked about the possibility of bringing more athletes to nationals than ever before,” said Schroeder. “Our kids have been training tremendously hard and it’s exciting to see the fruit of their work.”
Next up for the Mustangs is the Ben Brown invitational on March 9, hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The majority of The Master’s College track squad will toe the line for the first time this spring in the men’s 5000-meter event.