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Empire/Chris Thater Weekend
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   Chris Thater Memorial Binghamton, NY
   Saturday, August 23, 2003

Race Weekend Dominated by the Actions of Two Young, Heroic Skaters

Lauren Warren & Helen HavamFourteen year old Lauren Warren and eight year old Dylan Leazier both did something that brought them to the verge of tears. They gave back HUGE wins that had been awarded to them by the judges due to perceived infractions. They gave them back because they are true champions and there are sure to be many, many more wins to follow in their promising careers.

Lauren, who beat Helen Havam in the Empire 100 meter sprint on Saturday, was awarded the Chris Thater overall pro-womens winner by two different judges after being edged out by Helen in the Thater 10K.  I saw a very young, sweet girl being grilled by some grizzled USARS officials about what happened. Bit by bit she explained how they went wide on one corner to avoid a freshly filled pothole and she wasn't driven into the corner as it had appeared to one of the officials.  At this point I could see the wheels spinning in her head, she was just awarded a win in front of 12,000 people, there were TV cameras broadcasting us on the local news each day and night and she was going to get a ton of cash.  Lauren Warren did something I will never forget, she told the officials that Helen did nothing more than race and nothing was done to impede her.  This was one of the hardest thing this young lady has ever done, and for that she in my new #1 hero.

A short while later we had a similar special moment. Dylan Leazier who had easily won the Empire race the day before was out sprinted to the line by Rush McCormick of UTV. The USARS official saw Rush swerve in front of the path that Dylan was on and then cross the line for the win. The official ruled that it was an infraction and Dylan was upgraded to winner.  After coach Kelly Springer called a protest they brought the skaters together and asked Dylan what happened. At this point there was no video just an 8 year olds word. All he had to do was say I backed off when I saw him in my lane and the win would be his. He did the right thing through a storm of tears and became a double winner in my eyes.

Seeing the kids acting this way makes me want to continue to spend all my spare time promoting races and getting great prizes and exposure for the kids.Thanks to two special young people that have put a big smile on my face.

Now to the pros: Empire Skate Series Stage #4
Saturday, August 23rd, 2003

Empire ruled the day in the pro races with Junior world team member Christopher Creveling taking the top spot followed by teamates Bret Whitman and Eddie Wilcox. It was Christopher's first big pro win, edging out skaters from Canada, Ohio, Virgina and South America. The race was 30 minutes with two laps and with many Hyper wheels, Twincam bearings and Transpacks given out as prime prizes the action was hot!!!

Creveling & Whitman

Empire's Chris Creveling and Bret Whitman - 1 and 2!

The ladies race was well attended and with Verducci, Empire, UTV, Tri City Canada, Rolling Warriers and UTV/Bones in attendance. The final sprint came down to Empire's Helen Havam beating out Rolling Warriors' Lauren Warren and Kristen St Nicholas of Verducci.

Women's Pace Line

Empire Women's Winners (right to left): Helen Havam, Lauren Warren, Kristen St. Nicholas, Daniela Martinez, Sky McCormick, Beth Clark, Chelsea Creveling

The highlight of the Masters race was seeing Hyper legend Jim Larsen coming to the east coast to test his mettle. After talking a little smack he backed up his words with a victory over the tough Empire Masters men squad, but it wasn't enough for top spot because EC Beast master Jim Bourgeois did a spectacular sprint to the line for the victory and the Empire legend Dennis Humphries was in his usual top form for the last podium spot.

Master women supremo Patty Leazier was the winner ahead of the Empire series leader Annie Morris and second place finisher Diane Hayes of Skate World.

Please go to www.empirespeed.com for full results.

Chris Thater Memorial 10K
Sunday, August 24th, 2003

Verducci Dominates The Mens Field and Empires Helen Haven Rolls to Another Victory

The Verducci team has now trounced the Empire squad two weeks in a row, thanks to a new team strategy and dedication to teamwork by the dynamic group that boasts two current world team members and a junior world champion. The larger Empire team has been able to wear down the Verducci team in the past and post some impressive wins. That no longer appears to be the case, the Verducci team now chases as a unit and stays in the front of the pack protecting their designated winner. This has proven very effective and Sunday Steve Krawulski, Steve Carter and Terrance Almond all finished ahead of Empires Bret Whitman. Helen Havam edged out my new favorite skater Lauren Warren in a two woman race for first and Kristen St. Nicholas took a strong third for Verducci.

Thater Men's Podium

The Masters mens race was won by EC Beast Jim Bourgeois followed closely by Empires Mav Ivenitsky and Glen Corso. The time was an excellent 15:09 on a measured 10K course, this is the place for your PR. Jim Larson was heard to say: "I kicked butt yesterday dont bother me!!!!"

Empire Stage 4 (Saturday) Masters Report:

The fourth stage of the Empire race series took place at the superfast course of the Chris Thater Memorial weekend in beautiful Binghamton, NY. The weather was perfect, the spectators were great and the competitors were revved up and ready to go. The masters race was a 20 minute + 1 lap criterium. There were a number of Empiristas present including Max Ivenitsky, Glenn Corso, Miguel Patino, Bobby Piedra and Dennis Humphrey. Also in attendance were EC Beast' Jim Bourgeois, and Kevin Larson. Added into this mix were some well known and some lesser known skaters, these consisting of Hyper's Jim Larson, Toronto's Herb Gayle, and Chicago's Greg Majors. There were a total of 25 Pro masters rounding out the field.

The pace was hard right off the start with Empire taking control of the race and pace. A few attacks were launched throughout the race, but none were able to stay away for long. The hill on Seminary Street right off the start saw to it that no one was able to keep away on a break by themselves. Each hill saw a new attack and a few more skaters dropping off the back of the pack until the last lap where there were some 10 in the final attack. Everyone was jockying for position coming down Laurel and Schubert Streets in preparation for the final turn onto Beethoven and the final sprint. In the end, it was Jim Bourgeois, Jim Larson, Dennis Humphrey Herb Gayle, Glenn Corso and Max Ivenitsky. A total of 10 laps were completed and the time was 22:15.

Chris Thater Memorial (Sunday) Masters Report:

Sunday in the USARS race of The Chris Thater Memorial weekend we had a mass start of junior, senior, classic, and master skaters. Again, all were treated to a fantastic day, sunny, light breeze and not too hot. There were plenty of spectators on hand to cheer us all on and we gave the crowd something to cheer.

The race was a mass start with the younger skaters pulling ahead quickly and setting the pace. The masters settled in behind them and stayed with the lead pack. The pace was blistering and attacks were made on every turn up the hill on Seminary Street. This proved to be the undoing for most of the master skaters as fewer and fewer were with the pack of masters every lap that went by. Finally the race whittled down to a final pack of 3 masters, Max Ivenitsky (Empire), Jim Bourgeois (EC Beast), and Glenn Corso (Empire). The seventh and final time up the hill Glenn Corso moved to the front to give a lead out for Max but Jim managed to move up as well to give himself the ideal position. As the younger skaters started their final sprint, so also did the Masters. Rounding the final corner onto Beethoven Jim was able to squeeze into a spot that was destined for Max and pull ahead in the final sprint with Max in hot pursuit. The finish was Jim, Max and Glenn filing in only 12 seconds behind the top senior (pro) skaters at 15:12 for 7 laps = 10K (6.2 miles).

During the 3 hours taken for USAC officials to tally, correct and post the results everyone was able to enjoy the numerous bike races and other events going on at this great multi-sport event.  All things considered, it was a great weekend. 

-masters reports by Glenn Corso, Empire Speed


Doucet Out Front

Peter Doucet Leads the Men's Pack


Empire Coach Bibi Calle talks Bret Whitman through his pre-race visualization routine...


Lauren Warren after all was said and done.


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