by Graeme Shirley
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - (October 25, 2002) - After five races, the 2003 Dirt Dogs Cross Country Series standings have begun to sort themselves out. For four runners, the Pumpkin Patch Dash, the last race before the Championship Race is vital to their series hopes.
For men age 39 and under, Nazario Romero (2 wins), and Brian Sullivan (1 win), lead the way. Thomas Kloos is lurking behind them with two wins, but must run the Pumpkin Patch Dash to be eligible for the series championship.
Ursula Kremer won the first three races for women 39 and under, to have the maximum 300 points going into the November 15 Championship. But Joey Bonfiglio could still win the final race and defend her title.
For masters men 40-49, last year's runner-up Jim Walsh appears to have a safe lead, with Sal Salmi, defending champion Dave Spinler, Hector Perez, and Marty Ellison (if he runs the Pumpkin Patch race) all fighting for second after trading off against each other in the previous races.
For the 40-49 women, Lana Stevenson appears to have a solid lead, with Tracy Golba in second.
David Dunbar and Mike Rouse lead the 50-59 men, but last year's winner Greg Wilson can move ahead of them if he wins the Pumpkin Patch Dash.
Among 50-59 women, defending champion Teri Fitzgibbons has made a late rush, winning two races, but still must run Pumpkin Patch to be eligible to catch Willie Mundt and Joni Shirley.
Among the team titles, the men's under 39 division has been the most competitive, with Mizuno and adidas/Movin Shoes trading wins (and bulletin board barbs) all season. The November 15 championship race will determine their series.
For the other three divisions, JH Cohn and the San Diego Track Club have exchanged wins and series leads and will decide those championships November 15, although JH Cohn's masters women need a team placing at Pumpkin Patch to be eligible for the series championship.
For more information on cross country, visit the doghouse, the home of the Dirt Dogs Series.