GOLD COUNTRY GRAND PRIX: Runners traverse Empire Mine for NEO Challenge |

GOLD COUNTRY GRAND PRIX: Runners traverse Empire Mine for NEO Challenge

With the Gold Country Grand Prix nearing the end of its 2015 season, local runners took to the trails at Empire Mine in Grass Valley to participate in the NEO Empire Challenge 4-mile run.

In a tight men’s race, Sergio Higared earned first place overall with a time of 25 minutes, 3 seconds. Higareda edged Bjorn Jones by 7 seconds for the top spot.

In the women’s race, Makie Ohler was the first to cross the finish line, coming in at 28:22. The win is Ohler’s sixth in as many tries in her age group (50-59).

Other age group (AG) winners in the women’s race were Megan Hundemer (36:03) in the 10-and-under AG, Skylar Troutner (42:09) in the 11-14 AG, Mina Ricci (30:58) in the 15-18 AG, Amanda Bratton (31:05) in the 19-29 AG, Caitlin Oats (34:03) in the 30-39 AG, Stefanie Roberts (31:34) 40-49 AG, Sue Madigan (34:55) in the 60-69 AG, and Lynne Hurrell (43:43) in the 70-and-over AG. Hurrell’s AG victory was her sixth in as many races and she leads her AG with 60 points. Ohler, Bratton, Roberts, Oats and Madigan all lead their respective age groups in the Gold Country Grand Prix standings as well.

Points are awarded in each age and gender group for each of the Grand Prix’s races. Scoring is as follows, 10 points for first place, seven points for second, five points for third, four points for fourth, three points for fifth and one point for finishing.

In the men’s 4-mile race, AG winners were Tyler Teitel (48:17) in the 10-and-under AG, Skylar Mims (34:15) in the 11-14 AG, Devon Cloud (26:23) in the 15-18 AG, Steve Conrad (29:22) in the 19-29 AG, Jones (25:10) in the 30-39 AG, Higareda (25:03) in the 40-49 AG, Rob Taylor (27:23) in the 50-59 AG, Elliot Raynsford (30:50) in the 60-69 AG, and John Darlington (37:29) in the 70-and-over AG. Cloud, Jones, Higareda and Taylor all lead their respective age groups in the Grand Prix standings. Cloud and Taylor are the only two runners to win their age group in every race so far this season.

The NEO Empire Challenge was the 10th race in the Gold Country Grand Prix’s 11-race season, leaving only the Nov. 26 Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot left on the schedule.

New Events and Opportunities (NEO) is a local organization that strives to empower youth to make healthy lifestyle choices by providing new events and opportunities in a safe environment that encourages youth success and contributes to a healthier community.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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