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Public Affairs : West Point Ten-Miler Team

West Point Team.jpg
Pictured in the photo is the Military District of Washington Commander (and former Corps of Cadets Commandant) Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, Maj. Marty Wennblom, Maj. Todd Hertling, 2nd Lt. Chelsea Prahl, Lt. Col. Liam Collins, Maj. Matt Cavanaugh and Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnball. Courtesy Photo 

West Point team excels at Army Ten-Miler

Submitted by the West Point Army Ten-Miler Team

Special to the Pointer View

Nearly 100 runners from the West Point community traveled to Washington, D.C., to race in the Army Ten-Miler Oct. 21 as individuals or as members of a team. In its 28th year, the Army Ten-Miler has grown to be one of the largest 10-mile races in the world with nearly 22,000 runners and 648 teams completing this year’s race. This year’s race sold out all 30,000 spots in less than 10 hours.

What many runners love about the race is the team competition. Teams are made up of four to eight runners with the four fastest times added together to determine the team’s time. Army installations from around the world send teams to compete in the race.

This year, West Point sent a team to compete in the active duty mixed gender category. The team has been training since the team was selected following the West Point 10 K this past May. Members from the cadet marathon team and Keller Army Community Hospital also assembled teams to compete in the race.

The weather was perfect for racing. Nearly 100 wounded warrior and wheel chair athletes took off at 7:55 a.m., with the rest of the field starting at 8 a.m. Less than an hour later, runners started crossing the finish line with the overall champion blazing the ten miles in 47:48 and the top wounded warrior finishing in 63:45.

Team coach, Lt. Col. Liam Collins, knew the West Point team would do well but even he was surprised with the team’s overall result. The team accomplished its goal to win the mixed active duty category, defeating 67 other teams, but what surprised him the most was how well the team performed against teams overall. West Point finished ninth out of 648 teams defeating all but a handful of male only teams.

Second Lt. Cheslea Prahl, in her first 10-mile race ever, had the team’s best performance finishing the race in 57:25. She finished 126th overall defeating all but a handful of male runners; among women, she finished seventh overall and second in the Army. In the 28 year history of the race, only two Army women have ever run a faster time at the race. She was also a late addition to the All-Army Team which won the international competition for the third consecutive year, defeating foreign military teams with a record time of 3:14:54.

Collins ran the team’s fastest time, completing the course in 53:27 and finishing 40th overall in his 17th Army Ten-Miler. The team’s top noncommissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Gerardo Avila, was right on his heels, finishing in 53:42. This was Avila’s final race with the Army as he retires this December after 20 years of service. He said that he “loves the race for the camaraderie, and the competition” and it is one of the things he will most after retiring but he is already planning on returning to the race next year to compete on a civilian team.

Rounding out the team were Maj. Marty Wennblom (56:22); Maj. Todd Hertling (56:54); Maj. Clint Tisserand (57:44); Maj. Matt Cavanaugh (58:40) and Maj. Mark Davis (63:45).