Battle for Southeast Titles Heats up at XTERRA Tsali
On June 24, the XTERRA Southeast region hosts its fifth race of the season at the Tsali Recreational Area in Bryson City, North Carolina. After XTERRA Tsali, there are just three more races in the Southeast in which the local tribe can gain points towards winning the prestigious XTERRA Regional Championship title and grab the qualifying spot to Maui for the XTERRA World Championship that goes with it.
That means things start to get real, right about now. If you are down in points in the standings, it's time to start scrambling. And if you are ahead, you need to watch your six.
Held on National Forest Land, the Tsali Trail System is the perfect venue for a fast XTERRA jaunt in the woods as well as a chance to scoop up some points. The 800-meter lake swim kicks off the event and leads to a fun 10-mile mountain bike loop on the popular “Left Loop” on the Tsali Trail. The race finishes with a five-mile run on the “Right Loop” trail.
As always, the XTERRA Southeast athletes will bring their charm, high jinks, and hospitality. But they will also bring their A-game. Because among the hugs, the sweet teas, and the “y’alls,” these athletes are in it to win it.
Currently, in the XTERRA standings, some age-group races are too close to call, and it’s a good thing there are a few races left for the sand to settle and the water to clear. On July 7th, XTERRA Whitewater is another chance to claim more points. The fight continues on July 29th at XTERRA Panther Creek, and concludes with the final battle at XTERRA Auburn on August 18th. Athletes can also earn points at XTERRA Beaver Creek in July and at the XTERRA Pan Am Championship in September, and all the other events on the America Tour for that matter.
In the meantime, here’s how the points are shaking out.
In the women’s 15-19 age group, Sophie Allen is again reigning supreme with 250 well-deserved points. She won her age group at XTERRA Oak Mountain, XTERRA Cameron Park, and finished second at XTERRA Fort Yargo.
In the 35-39 age group, the race is close with Jess White nipping at Sue Finney’s heels, 211 points to 232. At XTERRA Oak Mountain, Finney finished third behind Sian Crespo and Kristen Wade (pictured) while Jess White was fifth. Finney went on to win her age group at XTERRA Fort Yargo and XTERRA Knoxville while White won at XTERRA Cameron Park but was second at XTERRA Fort Yargo behind Finney.
In the 45-49 division, things are equally heated between Renee McGeehan and Angie Childre. Currently, McGeehan is leading 345 to 165. McGeehan won her age group at XTERRA Knoxville, XTERRA Myrtle Beach, and XTERRA Rockhopper, and finished second at XTERRA Fort Yargo and 8th at XTERRA Oak Mountain. Childre was second in her age group at XTERRA Oak Mountain and won her age group at XTERRA Fort Yargo ahead of McGeehan.
In the 50-54 age group, Margo Pitts is the clear leader with 325 points. In the 60-64 age group, Maureen Sanderson has 240 points while Lucia Colbert is closing in with 175. Colbert won her age group at XTERRA Oak Mountain while Sanderson was second. Sanderson won her division at XTERRA Knoxville and XTERRA Fort Yargo, while Colbert picked up another win at XTERRA Cameron Park.
The men’s races for the regional championship title are equally exciting. In the 15-19 division, Will Stacey and Joseph Urbanowicz are neck in neck. Stacey has 175 points earned from first place finishes at XTERRA Oak Mountain and XTERRA Cameron Park while Urbanowicz has 165 from a first at XTERRA Knoxville and a second place at Oak Mountain behind Stacey.
Caleb Baity is running away with the 25-29 title with 317 points and a nearly perfect season so far with wins at XTERRA Oak Mountain, XTERRA Knoxville, and XTERRA Myrtle Beach. He finished second at XTERRA Fort Yargo behind Dustin White after a mechanical.
Some new names are popping up in the 35-39 age group who are giving XTERRA veteran Derek Tingle a run for his money. Tingle is currently ranked second in the standings after a win at XTERRA Fort Yargo, a third-place finish at XTERRA Oak Mountain, and a fourth-place finish at XTERRA Knoxville. Ryan Hobbs is in the lead after finishing second at XTERRA Oak Mountain, XTERRA Knoxville, and XTERRA Fort Yargo. Travis Carpenter is in third with 191 points.
In the 40-44 age group, Yaro Middaugh is leading with 232 points but second and third are close with AJ Petrillo and Chris Salomone, 157 points to 130. Petrillo finished ahead of Salomone at both XTERRA Fort Yargo and XTERRA Oak Mountain. This age group is stacked so depending on how many races these athletes do, expect the rankings to shift before the season ends in September.
In the 45-49 age group, Darrel McHugh is ahead of six-time regional champ Marcus Barton, 287 points to Barton's 240. Jason Childre is in third place with 120 points. Barton finished second in his division at XTERRA Oak Mountain and won at XTERRA Fort Yargo and XTERRA Myrtle Beach. McHugh won his division at XTERRA Rockhopper, was third at XTERRA Fort Yargo and XTERRA Fruita, was fourth at XTERRA Myrtle Beach and 13th at XTERRA Oak Mountain.
In the 50-54 age group, Jim Dandro is making his goal of getting a ticket to Maui. He’s leading with 226 points to Donny Forsyth’s 175. Moving up, Ali Arasta has Robert Pair breathing down his neck, which may be a new sensation for Arasta, who won easily at XTERRA Oak Mountain and XTERRA Myrtle Beach. Pair took the win at XTERRA Knoxville and finished fourth behind Arasta at Oak Mountain.
In the 60-64 division, Steve Cole is up from Anthony Benedict 397 to 244 and Jeff Smith looks like he has the 65-69 division locked up with 292 points. In the 70-74 age group, Dale Vaughan and Larry Mayse are in a bit of a tussle with 234 and 226 points respectively. Vaughan won at XTERRA Oak Mountain and was second at both XTERRA Cameron Park and XTERRA Fort Yargo while Mayse took the win at XTERRA Fort Yargo but was second at XTERRA Oak Mountain.
You can view the series standings at https://www.xterraplanet.com.
Learn more about XTERRA Tsali.