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  • Writer's pictureJames Diamond

Chicago Racing Circuit Recap: Circuit Rookies Shuffle to Victory

With Shamrock Shuffle scoring now completed, let’s take a look back at how the Circuit team competitions unfolded. The Shamrock Shuffle once again kicked off the 2024 Chicago Racing Circuit. This 21,000 person race tends to attract not only the best talent in Chicago, but also the Midwest, as several Circuit Teams faced off against some of the best runners in the country. In total, 485 Circuit team runners showed up to represent their club in this high stakes season opener. A summary of all 9 team categories can be found below and team standings are posted here.





All Around Standings: 

(Combined Gender, Age Graded Scoring, Top 5 Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standing

DWRunning: 862.6

DWRunning: 30 points

Naperville Running Co. Track Club: 853.7

Evanston Running Club: 25 points 

Nameless Track Club: 852.3

CARA Racing Team: 22 points


For the first time in a long time, DW’s top runners faced a serious challenge in the form of Naperville Running Company Track Club and Nameless Track Club. DW took the victory with an average age graded score of 862, versus NRC’s 853 and Nameless’s 852. The battle for this win was settled by DW’s masters depth, with Trent Fifield and Julia Ordzowialy producing age graded performances of 868 and 867 respectively. This mid-pack depth is what gave DW the slight edge on the competition. Of DW’s top 5 runners, they had a mix of men and women ages 24-51. This diversity within the roster tends to benefit the All-Around scoring. Meanwhile, NRC and Nameless’s high scores were done through brute force and elite speed as every member of these teams’ top 5 was age 30 or under. While DW’s roster diversity continues to keep them on top, NRC and Nameless’s roster of former Division I athletes and All-Americans have revealed new paths to victory.


Open Men Standings: 

(Top 5 Men Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

Naperville Running Co. Track Club: 24:33

DWRunning: 29 points

DWRunning: 25:01

CARA Racing Team: 26 points

Fleet Feet X New Balance Racing Team: 26:19

Xtra Mile Fast Track Racing Team: 23 points


Being less than a year old, Naperville Running Company Track Club made a big splash as the new kids on the block. In their debut performance they were able to topple Open Men’s Circuit Champions Fast Track and 2023 Shamrock Shuffle Champions DW. Naperville was led by Alec Danner’s 24:03, good enough for a 24th place finish overall, defeating several professional runners in the process. Danner was backed up by the solid depth and tight spread of his teammates Dan O’Keefe, Zachdiz Hird, Nolan McKenna, Nicholas Licari. The spread for Naperville’s 2-5 was only 13 seconds as they filled in between 24:35-24:48 for a team average of 24:33. DW also had a fantastic race, averaging 25:01, anchored by Darren Barlow’s 22nd place overall in 24:01. Fleet Feet x New Balance Racing Team finished a comfortable 3rd place, averaging 26:18 for their top 5 men. They were led by Benjamin Mohrdieck’s 25:48. While this performance wasn’t enough to pierce DW’s scoring 5 they had the depth to keep their top 4 men ahead of the CARA Racing Team’s top runners, and their top 5 ahead of CARA’s number 2. Fleet Feet hasn’t yet shown that they have the top-end to challenge DW. But with a deep roster of over 25 men under age 30, they have the depth to score big points at smaller races and keep smaller teams at arm’s length.


Open Women Standings: 

(Top 5 Women Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

Nameless Track Club: 28:05

DWRunning: 29 points

DWRunning: 29:03

Fleet Feet X New Balance Racing Team: 25 points

Fleet Feet X New Balance Racing Team: 29:55

CARA Racing Team: 24 points


Naperville was not the only new team to make a splash. Nameless Track Club is also a new creation, joining the Circuit in only their second year as a team. In victory, Nameless was able to topple DW’s seemingly bulletproof Open Women’s team. Last year, DW’s women won the Shamrock Shuffle by a wide margin and secured the championship title in the open women’s category. Nameless’s Rachel McCardell (27:52), Rachel DaDamio (27:57), Camille Blackman (28:06), Emily Akin (28:06), and Caitlin Klopfer (28:23) put on a dominant show. Not only were these fast times, but the 31 second spread was the tightest scoring spread across all categories. This dominant performance was pulled off without help from their Olympic Trials qualifiers Hailey Bowes and Jane Bareikis. The only team with a single athlete able to pierce Nameless’s top 5 was Windrunners’s Britney Romero (27:51) who pulled off the quick turnaround from the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials to represent her team. Nameless has demonstrated a clear ability to win races, the question will be whether they can rack up the 7 more wins needed to guarantee victory in the category.


DW was able to hold onto 2nd place, averaging 29:03 against Fleet Feet’s 29:54 and Windrunners’ 30:01. DW’s strength remains their depth, as their top 5 women all finished between 28:29-30:01. 


The Fleet Feet women finished third to DW in the team standings last year, and in full force head-to-head matchups, DW usually had a significant advantage over Fleet Feet. However, Fleet Feet has improved significantly since last year. Claire Krummenacher was able to best DW’s top women, while their squad of Anna Petterson, Joie Ross, Abby Gerbo, and two-time Circuit Female Runner of the Year Columba Montes were able to keep the average between the two teams a mere 7 second difference. If the Fleet Feet women are able to keep improving, they may finally be able to catch DW.


Masters Men Standings: 

(Top 3 Men Ages 40+ Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

DWRunning: 28:11

DWRunning: 30 points

Xtra Mile Fast Track Racing Team: 29:11

Xtra Mile Fast Track Racing Team: 28 points

Evanston Running Club: 30:07

Evanston Running Club: 26 points


In the first two Circuit Races of the season, finishing positions were DW 1st, Fast Track 2nd, and Evanston 3rd. At Shamrock Shuffle, DW averaged 28:11, Fast Track averaged 29:11, and Evanston averaged 30:07. This is the same top 3 teams as last year, which saw Fast Track winning the category against DW on a tie breaker and Evanston finishing closely behind. Last year, DW beat Fast Track in many of the larger and longer distance races, while Fast Track was able to beat DW in smaller suburban races between 5k-10k. DW tends to have fewer target races throughout the season, allowing them to maximize their chances at victory when they send their full squad. Meanwhile, Fast Track and Evanston will compete more frequently, allowing them to slowly and consistently rack up points and put together enough performances to win an end of season tie breaker. Race selection strategies and team organization continue to be key factors that determine category wins. 


Drama will develop in this division as the next 3 Circuit Races to be scored are Good Life 5k, Spring Trail Chase 10k, and Run for the Roses 5k, all races that Fast Track and Evanston will be counting on to score crucial points before DW once again brings it’s full strength to bare at Chicago 13.1.


Masters Women Standings: 

(Top 3 Women Ages 40+ Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

DWRunning: 33:14

DWRunning: 30 points

Fleet Feet X New Balance Racing Team: 33:43

CARA Racing Team: 27 points

CARA Racing Team: 34:35

Fleet Feet X New Balance Racing Team: 25 points


DW took home another victory as their masters women continued a dominant run through the division. They were led by a truly amazing performance as Julia Ordzowialy crushed a 28:38. Julie was not only the only woman over 40 to break 29:00, but also the only woman to break 30:00. This proved to be too large of a gap for any team to challenge.  


Fleet Feet did not have the top end to topple DW, but their impressive depth still gave them an average finishing time of 33:43, less than 30 seconds behind DW’s. Former Circuit Champion Columba Montes led the way with a very solid time of 30:50, followed by Circuit legend Angelica Guerrero at 34:32, and Traci Ethridge’s 35:47. Although not in the scoring top 3, Melissa Au’s 35:54 was enough to beat both Fleet Feet and CARA Racing Team’s number 3 runners. With 3 additional women under 40:00, Fleet Feet has the depth to cause headaches for everyone in the category.


CARA Racing Team’s average time lagged behind Fleet Feet by 50 seconds. While the team might not have a ringer like DW or Fleet Feet, it benefits from a tight spread along with a dense roster. Evance Stalley, Megan Leahy, and Wendy Curry all finished between 33:06-36:00. This was the tightest 1-3 spread in the women’s masters category, while the entire 10 women's roster was able to finish within 8:30 of each other.


Veteran Men Standings: 

(Top 3 Men Ages 50+ Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

DWRunning: 29:01

DWRunning: 30 points

Evanston Running Club: 30:07

Evanston Running Club: 26 point

Xtra Mile Fast Track Racing Team: 31:22

Oak Park Runners Club: 23 points



Although DW won on this day, Evanston was finally able to find a crack in their armor. DW won the Shuffle with a team average of 29:01, which was over a minute ahead of Evanston’s 30:07. However, Evanston flexed their relative strength at the shorter distances with Chris Wolf and Aaron Barnhart breaking up DW’s scoring in a serious way. Finishing positions between the two teams were:


Trent Fifield 27:28 DW

Chris Wolf 28:33 Evanston 

Aaron Barnhart 28:41 Evanston 

Rick Summer 29:05 DW

Sascha Edge 30:31 DW

Keith Holtzmueller 33:08 Evanston 


It’s unusual to see two runners from the same team break up DW’s top 3, let alone their top 2. It will only take slight improvements from Wolf, Barnhart, and Holtzmueller to close the team’s gap on DW, especially when Evanston has shown the ability to thrive in shorter distance races over the past two seasons.


Fast Track finished 3rd in a battle against Fleet Feet averaging 31:22 to 31:52. Fleet Feet’s Sal Ciella and Colin Donovan had phenomenal races of 29:12 and 29:14. However, that wasn’t enough to stop Fast Track as their top 3 runners, Volker Rose, Frank Cira, and Al Baumgartner, all finished before Fleet Feet’s 3rd man. 


Veteran Women Standings: 

(Top 3 Women Ages 50+ Score Per Team)


Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

Fleet Feet X New Balance Racing Team: 37:29

CARA Racing Team: 28 points

Oak Park Runners Club: 38:14

Oak Park Runners Club: 27 points

CARA Racing Team: 38:32

Evanston Running Club: 26 points


Fleet Feet took the victory at Shamrock, a huge upset against last year’s dominant Oak Park veteran women. Angelica Guerraro once again played a key role in this category with her 34:32, carrying even more weight than it did in the masters category as she won the women’s 60-64 age group. She also received massive assists from Ana Juan Bustos and Kayoko Hamamura, who stepped up to run 38:36 and 39:18 respectively to secure the victory for their team. 


Although Oak Park was down, they were far from out. Their team average of 38:14 was only 45 seconds behind Fleet Feet’s. Kristin Otto 37:14, Geri Bensen 38:30, and Heather Carr 38:58 ran the tightest scoring 3 in the veteran women’s division, with plenty of their regular scorers from last year not far behind. Last year this team was the only one on the Circuit to win 8 races and secure a perfect score in the team standings. Even in defeat they remain dangerous to the rest of the category.


In its inaugural Circuit race, the CARA Racing Team was able to secure a 3rd place finish. CARA was led by Unsal Ozdogru’s 36:47, which gave her a 2nd place finish overall in the women’s 55-59 category. Erica Agran’s 38:47 and Libby Harvey-Hill’s 40:02 were enough to keep the gap between them and Oak Park to less than 20 seconds.


Senior Men Standings: 

(Top 3 Men Ages 60+ Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

Oak Park Runners Club: 37:05

Oak Park Runners Club: 30 points

Evanston Running Club: 37:17

Evanston Running Club: 28 points

Elmhurst Running Club: 38:00

Elmhurst Running Club: 26 points



With this race scored, Oak Park has proven that they are the team to beat in this division. At Lakefront 10, they beat Evanston by a 4:00 team average, and at Shamrock Shuffle they were once again able to hold off Evanston, although this time with a tighter margin of 37:05 to 37:17. Being able to perform well over both the shorter and longer races is troublesome for the rest of the teams in this division. 


Even the most dominant teams in the Circuit take some losses. This is due to the variety of terrain, race distance, and race location. However, Oak Park, a suburban team, has now been able to win two races in a row across the 8k and 10 mile distance. 


While in some of the other categories, Evanston has been able to count on its strong roster of 5k-10k runners, this entire category is dominated by teams that focus on the 5k and 10k. The next race to be scored is Oak Park’s home race, The Good Life 5k. It’s likely that victory will be out of reach for anyone else on Oak Park’s home turf. While the spring will likely belong to Oak Park, Evanston and Elmhurst have two home races of their own coming up this summer that they can hopefully use to swing the momentum of the season.


Senior Women Standings: 

(Top 3 Women Ages 60+ Score Per Team)

Shamrock Shuffle Results

Season Standings

Oak Park Runners Club: 37:05

Evanston Running Club: 30 points

Evanston Running Club: 37:17

Oak Park Runners Club: 27 points

Elmhurst Running Club: 38:00

CARA Racing Team: 25 points



In a category where most teams are just trying to field a scoring 3, Evanston has created a breeding ground for elite senior women performances. 2024 Circuit Age Graded Champion Nancy Rollins led the way with her 42:05, finishing first in her age category, Doris Taebaum finished 11 out of 269 in her age group with a 42:44, and Kielo Sauvala won her age category. In a race with 21,000 finishers, these performances left the rest of the team competition spinning.


Oak Park was able to field a solid team with Christine Lipa’s 40:42 placing her 6th in the 60-64 age group.


In a surprise from last year, Fast Track was able to finish 3rd place in the category. They rarely fielded a team in this category last year, but it looks like they have been working to build their roster. If Fast Track continues to build this squad, they could end up being one of the most well rounded teams on the Circuit, fighting for top 3 finishes from the Open Men to Senior Women.


Final Thoughts


Shamrock Shuffle once again lived up to the hype, as new teams toppled old and previous champions strengthened their position. While some trajectories already seem to be set, it’s much too early to tell. Geography can play a huge role as to what level of strength a team is able to bring to a race. Lakefront 10 and Shamrock Shuffle were city races, which tends to benefit city teams. The next races, Good Life 5k (scoring in progress), Spring Trail Chase 10k, and Run For the Roses 5k are all suburban and may help to tip the balance of power across multiple categories.


The next race on the Circuit is now sold out! The Spring Trail Chase 10k on May 19th at The Forge in Lemont will feature 400 runners looking to earn those valuable Circuit points. Stay tuned for future updates as the racing season unfolds. 


Important Links:

-Join a team, follow the schedule, and check standings at cararuns.org/circuit

-Support the Circuit, get discounts, earn individual points: become a CARA Member.


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Bennie Manning
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