Marcus Barton and Amy Carver are no strangers to the podium steps. Both of them are having a fabulous season, so it wasn't a surprise to see them on top at XTERRA Panther Creek last weekend.
The Morristown, Tennessee race was held in Panther Creek State Park, near Lake Cherokee. Eastern Tennessee is renowned for being a mountain biking playground, and XTERRA Panther Creek is no exception.
The men's division gave us the exceptional level of performance and sportsmanship we have come to expect from the Southeast crew.
Chuck Olinger - who was the runner up in the 50-54 age group - was first out of the water in 13:51. Right on his heels were Yaro Middaugh (13:55) and Marcus Barton (14:15). This group headed into the first transition with Ali Arasta, Darren Cox, Brad Scholtz, and Dan Ballheimer.
Arasta - the day's runner up - had the fastest time on the bike with 1:06:24. Darren Cox - 50-54 age group champ - and young Caleb Baity also finished the course in sub-1:07. Barton finished in 1:07:13, and Yaro Middaugh put in a solid 1:09:14.
"I was excited about Marcus winning and what a great finish by Ali Arasta!" said women's champ, Amy Carver. "He has been fighting back issues and just killed it on Sunday."
Middaugh also put in a great effort on the run for fifth place overall. Baity - third overall - had the quickest run split of 27:35, but it wasn't fast enough to catch Arasta or Barton.
Barton's final time was 1:51:05, Arasta was second with 1:52:53, and Baity was close behind with 1:52:59.
In the women's division, Amy Carver had her fifth win of the season, remarkable in that she has only ever competed in six XTERRA events. Her overall time of 2:15:24 was just over three minutes faster than runner up, Jess White who crossed the line in 2:18:54. Elizabeth Skiba was third in 2:19:22.
"I had such a great group of women to race with today," said Carver. "I would love to continue with XTERRA and qualify for Worlds. Regardless of the points, I have enjoyed every minute of the training and races and most importantly all the people I have met along the way. XTERRA has become a family to me."
Next up for the Southeast Region is XTERRA Auburn on August 19th.
You can view the complete results from XTERRA Panther Creek at www.dirtybirdevents.com.