Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Terrence Mahon Named British National Distance Coach

Former Villanova great Terrence Mahon will leave his post as head guru at Mammoth Track Club in California to become the new British national distance coach. Mahon and his wife, fellow Villanovan and three-time Olympian Jen Rhines, will be taking up a new residence in the UK at Loughborough. As the article below states, Mahon was recommended for the post by Alberto Salazar, who helped hone British double Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah.

Mahon was an 8-time All American at Villanova, where he won Big East and IC4A individual titles. After graduating in 1993, Mahon was a national class competitor who won a USATF national title at 20 kilometers and qualified for the US Olympic trials five times combined on the track and at the marathon distance. He owns PRs of 4:05.9 (mile), 8:05.9 (3000 meters), 13:33.2 (5000 meters), 28:31.1 (10,000 meters), 1:03:37 (half marathon) and 2:13:02 (marathon).

UK Athletics hires Terrence Mahon as a new national coach for distance running as coaching overhaul continues
by Simon Hart
The Telegraph
31 October 2012

UK Athletics has made a second raid on America’s coaching pool within the space of a month after hiring California-based Terrence Mahon as a new national coach for distance running.

Mahon, 42, is following in the footsteps of compatriot Rana Reider, who arrived from Florida last month to work as a consultant coach for sprints, hurdles and horizontal jumps. Both men will be based at the governing body’s high-performance centre in Loughborough.

A former marathon runner, Mahon has worked with some of the United States’ leading endurance runners in recent years, including 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medallist Deena Kastor, two-time Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall and Morgan Uceny, who was the fast woman in the world over 1500 metres in 2011. Mahon is also married to Jennifer Rhines, who competed at three Olympic Games in different distance events.

It is understood he was recommended for the job by Alberto Salazar, the American coach who guided Mo Farah to his double Olympic triumph in London, though he is unlikely to have any personal involvement with the Londoner, who will remain based at Salazar’s training HQ in Portland, Oregon.

Mahon’s arrival is part of a major overhaul of Britain’s coaching structure currently being carried out by UK Athletics performance director, Neil Black, before the current cycle of coaching contracts expires at the end of December.

Sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters has already been recruited along with two other psychologists while on Monday it was announced that Peter Eriksson was moving from the Paralympic programme to replace Charles van Commenee as head coach.

It has yet to be revealed whether there will future jobs for the current head of Britain’s endurance programme, former athlete Ian Stewart, and long-distance coaches George Gandy and John Nuttall.

Nova XC: Criminally Underrated or Criminally Overrated?
USTFCCCA Voters Need to Assess, not React

The 2012 NCAA cross country ranking system is in serious need of a steady hand. The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coach's Association (USTFCCCA) rates the men's and women's cross country teams virtually each week of the cross country season. This year's rankings, looked at over the entire season to date, reveal either a very fickel set of voters, on the one hand, or some terribly erratic cross country teams, on the other. That is, either a large number of cross country teams are terribly inconsistent in their performances, or the people voting in these polls are casting ballots on a "what have you done for me lately" basis. The Villanova men's team is just one example of this phenomenon.

Entering this 2012 campaign with a pre-season ranking of #16, the team saw its ranking drop to #19 and then to #20, without having yet competed. When it performed well at the Main Line Invitational at Haverford, it dropped again, to #22. Admittedly, one of its key runners, freshman Jordy Williamsz, had not yet cleared the NCAA certification process and was forced to run unattached at the Main Line Invitational. Yet, cries were heard that the Villanova men were "criminally underrated." When Williamsz was cleared by the NCAA and ran attached at the Paul Short Run the next week, and when Villanova's men won the team competition there, the team's national ranking shot up precipitously, from #22 all the way to #12. Order, seemingly, had been restored.

Two weeks later, Villanova brought it #12 ranking to Pre-Nationals in Louisville. There, the team's #1 runner Sam McEntee got ill on the course and was forced to DNF. As a result, Villanova's team score ballooned by approximately 100 points, as the team's #6 finisher had to be counted in lieu of its usual #1 finisher. As a result, the men finished 8th, instead of the likely 4th they would have finished were it not for a simple case of nausea. The team's 338/8th place finish could easily have been a 238/4th place finish and the reason that it finished 8th was obvious to anyone who examined the results. However, the USTFCCCA voters failed to understand the reasons for the team's performance and downgraded their assessment of the team, dropping it from #12 all the way to #25. So, one case of nausea on one day in October meant that the Villanova men were not the twelfth best team in the country, but were actually only the 25th best team in the country. All because of a knee-jerk reaction to a superficial reading of the meet results. Now, it seemed, the men were, again, "criminally inderrated."

This #25 ranking was further undermined rather quickly, however, when the Villanova men under-performed at the Big East conference championship. True, the men ran in a nice tight clump (finishing 1-5 within 21 seconds), but that clump was too far back in the competition to ensure a top finish. The 5th place conference finish seemed to justify the USTFCCCA voters' previous downgrade, and Villanova's men dropped out the back of the pack, coming in at #35 in yesterday's national poll. If the Villanova men were "criminally underrated at #25, then what can be said of #35? Are the men now underrated, or were they "criminally overrated" after Paul Short? And why the tremendous fluctuation of the USTFCCA vote?

Here is a list of some wild fluctuations in the USTFCCCA's "assessment" of team quality:
Team                 High Rank        Low Rank
Wisconsin               1               20
Texas                   5               22 
Portland                5               17
Arkansas                9               23
Oregon                  8               25
Tulsa                   9               20
Columbia               10               29
Indiana                11               26
NC State               11               33
Villanova              12               35
New Mexico             12               28
E. Kentucky            13               29
Notre Dame             13               28
Georgetown             14               27
UCLA                   15               30

Lest one think that the up-again, down-again story of Villanova's ranking is atypical, reflecting only the schizophrenic performance of this year's team, a quick look at the fluctuations of other major teams' rankings seems to imply that the USTFCCCA voters are "reacting" rather than "assessing." How can Wisconsin be ranked #1 in the country for 5 consecutive polls, then, on the basis of one performance, be ranked #20? This happened when the October 16 poll was released. So, they were the best team and then suddenly they were #20? Then, one performance later, back up to #6? Which is it? More short-term, knee-jerk voting by the USTFCCCA pollsters. These fluctuations are not uni-directional, but reflect a yo-yo phenomenon: Up-down-up, down-up-down. Texas went from 6 to 22 and back to 5. Wisconson, from 1 to 20 and back to 6. Portland, from 5 to 17 to 9. Tulsa, from 20 to 9 and back to 19. Princeton from 21 to 11 to 23 to 13. Sheesh.

The Villanova men may indeed deserve their current ranking -- only time will tell. But these polls have displayed a set of standard deviations that combine to suggest that the pollsters voting in this ranking need to do more homework.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lipari Seizes Big East Cross Title: Video Interview

Emily Lipari after winning Big East XC Title

Villanova Men Come 5th at Big East XC Championships

Syracuse, ranked #16 nationally coming into the meet, put on a powerful display this morning at Van Cortlandt park, with all 7 of its runners finishing in the top 16. Syracuse won the conference title with a very low 37 places -- 30 places ahead of runner-up and #27 Georgetown's 67. Notre Dame, which was ranked #13 nationally as recently as two weeks ago, but which had dropped out of the most recent rankings, finished a strong third, with 70 places. The unranked Providence Friars beat out #25 Villanova for 4th place, 109 places to Villanova's 114. Louisville finished in the 6th spot.

The full individual and team results are HERE.

Individually, Villanova's men finished like this, with a nice 21 second one-to-five spread:
17.  Sam McEntee          So    25:04.13 
19.  Mathew Mildenhall    Sr    25:06.93 
21.  Robert Denault       Fr    25:12.18 
26.  Jordan Williamsz     Fr    25:19.83 
31.  Alex Tully           Jr    25:25.88 
43.  Brian Basili         So    25:47.34 
47.  Matthew Kane         Sr    25:58.73 
53.  Greg Morrin          Jr    26:12.13 
59.  John Pickhaver       Jr    26:19.82

Team Results
 1.  Syracuse         37
 2.  Georgetown       67
 3.  Notre Dame       70
 4.  Providence      109
 5.  Villanova       114
 6.  Louisville      129
 7.  Cincinnati      216
 8.  Marquette       240
 9.  Connecticut     278
10.  DePaul          303
11.  Rutgers         307
12.  Pittsburgh      321
13.  South Florida   418
14.  Seton Hall      434

Lipari Wins Big East XC Crown; Women Come 4th Overall

Villanova's Emily Lipari made it four years in a row that a Villanova women had won the Big East cross country individual title (following Sheila Reid's triad in 2009, 2010, and 2011). The photo on the left shows Lipari and Akande running 1-2 at Van Cortlandt Park this morning en route to her victory. Nicky Akande was not far behind, finishing third overall, in a typically excellent race.

However, Villanova's team depth this year is not what is has been in its dynamic championship run over the past few years. The team, however, finished a solid 4th in the team standings, behind national #9 Georgetown, #29 Connecticut, and #10 Providence. Georgetown won the meet with 58 places, and in a great display of team depth placed 6 women in the top ten overall. They beat Connecticut's excellent effort by 10 places. Connecticut came from unranked nationally two weeks ago to defeat national #10 Providence (80) today by 12 places. Villanova (83) was a close 4th, only 3 places behind national #10 Providence. Individually for Villanova, after Lipari (1st) and Akande (3rd), it was Summer Cook in 14th, Megan Venables in 28th, and Stephanie Schappert 42nd.

The full individual and team results are HERE.

2012 Big East Championship: Women

Villanova Results
 1.  Emily Lipari         Jr   20:45.33 
 3.  Nicky Akande         Jr   20:48.84 
14.  Summer Cook          Jr   21:24.65 
28.  Megan Venables       So   22:01.11 
42.  Stephanie Schappert  So   22:31.97 
48.  Courtney Chapman     So   22:46.85 
49.  Meghan Smith         SR   22:49.69 
66.  Kelsey Margey        Fr   23:25.82 
67.  Ariann Neutts        Jr   23:25.92

Team Results
 1.  Georgetown      58
 2.  Connecticut     68
 3.  Providence      80
 4.  Villanova       83
 5.  Notre Dame      90
 6.  Syracuse       117
 7.  Marquette      222
 8.  Cincinnati     296
 9.  Pitt           297
10.  Rutgers        302
11.  South Florida  330
12.  St Johns       391
13.  Louisville     398
14.  Seton Hall     407
15.  DePaul         418

Monday, October 22, 2012

FSM Announces Reid's Signing with Nike

As reported HERE last Friday, Sheila Reid has signed an endorsement deal with Nike. Here is today's press release from Flynn Sports Management, Reid's agent:

(22 Oct) -- Flynn Sports Inc. today announced that Sheila Reid and Cameron Levins have signed multiple year agreements with Nike USA, Inc. Reid (22) is a five-time NCAA champion, formerly of Villanova University, and Cameron Levins (22) is the 2012 double NCAA outdoor champion at 5000m and 10000m, while attending Southern Utah University.
"Nike is very excited to sponsor two of Canada's biggest distance talents. It will be fun to watch them develop over the next several years", said John Capriotti, Global head of Sports Marketing at Nike USA Inc. Reid, from Newmarket, Ontario and Levins from Black Creek, BC, recently competed in the London Olympic Games for Canada.
"I am delighted that Sheila and Cam have decided to begin their professional careers with Nike where they will be well supported" said Ray Flynn, President, Flynn Sports Inc.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sheila Reid Goes SWOOSH

When Sheila Reid toes the start line for the Dash to the Finish Line 5K in New York City on November 3rd, she will does so as a Nike-sponsored athlete. Reid, represented by Flynn Sports Management, has just signed a professional contract with the running shoe and apparel giant based in Oregon. Details of the sponsorship package are not yet public, but Reid has already had her publicity photo shoot, in anticipation of an imminent public announcement by Nike.

Reid was a 5-time NCAA champion while running for Villanova. She was the 2010 and 2011 individual NCAA cross country champion, the 2011 NCAA 1500 meter and 5000 meter champion, and anchored the 2011 NCAA champion distance medley relay. Reid also won the 2011 Canadian national championship at 1500 meters, as well as the 2012 Canadian national title at 5000 meters. She won the 2011 Honda Award and was the 2010 US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's Athlete of the Year. Most recently, Reid represented her native Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where she competed in the 5000 meters.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 17, 1968: Erv Hall Wins Olympic Silver in Mexico City

Erv Hall matured into a world-class high hurdler in the late 1960s at a time when the USA totally dominated the event. The USA national championships and Olympic Trials both produced higher quality fields than an Olympic final. The top three hurdlers in the world during 1967 and the early part of 1968 were Willie Davenport, Earl McCulloch, and Richmond Flowers, all from the USA. However, a mid-season injury sustained by Flowers and a decision by McCollouch to play professional football significantly promoted Villanova junior Erv Hall's chances to make that year's Olympic team to the Mexico City games. Hall, who ran locally at Overbrook high school before competing for Villanova, seized this opportunity at the USA final Olympic Trials at South Lake Tahoe on September 13, 1968, when he finished third behind Davenport and Leon Coleman to make the Olympic team.

At Mexico City, on October 17th, Hall further showed that he was a force to be reckoned with when he set a new Olympic Record of 13.3 seconds to win the first Olympic semi-final of the 110 meter hurdles. This performance was also timed electronically as 13.38 seconds, the fastest time ever recorded up to that date, but at a stage when World Records were not recognized for electronic times. In the Olympic final held only two hours later, Willie Davenport led the race from the gun to win easily, while Hall claimed the silver medal.

Mexico City Olympiad: October 17, 1968
Men's 110 meter hurdles FINAL
1.  Willie Davenport      USA     13.33  OR
2.  Erv Hall              USA     13.42
3.  Eddy Ottoz            ITA     13.46
4.  Leon Coleman          USA     13.67
5.  Werner Trzmiel        GER     13.68
6.  Bo Forssander         SWE     13.73
7.  Marcel Duriez         FRA     13.77
8.  Pierre Schoebel       FRA     14.02

Hall, representing Villanova, continued this form into the following year when he won the NCAA indoor title over 60 yards in a time of 7.0 seconds. He outdid his performance at the NCAA indoor championships when he set a new World and American Record at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Knoxville, TN. There, he ran 13.2 to win the 120 yard hurdle title. Hall retired from competition at the end of the outdoor season in 1969.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

US Prep 800 Meter Champ Ben Malone Picks Villanova

Ben Malone picks Villanova for college career
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The Record

It’s Villanova.

Pascack Valley’s All-American middle distance runner Ben Malone chose the track powerhouse over Georgetown on Saturday night, ending a recruiting battle that had narrowed down to the two Big East powers.

“Every time I found myself sitting down to make a list, I kept finding excuses to make it come out for Villanova,” said Malone, who won the indoor 800-meter national championship last winter and set the Bergen County 1,600-meter record outdoors. “I just went with my gut that this was the right place for me.”

Villanova is coached by Marcus O’Sullivan, a three-time indoor World Champion at 1,500 meters and a four-time Olympian representing Ireland. The Wildcats have had more than 100 All-Americans and have won more Penn Relays plaques than any other collegiate team.

“I really like Marcus a lot and I liked the school a lot, too,” said Malone, who admitted he was leaning towards the Philadelphia-area school from the beginning. “But I had an amazing visit to Georgetown and it made it very tough for awhile.”

Coincidentally, Malone made his decision and communicated it to the coaches on the same day his immediate cross-country season might have been placed in jeopardy.

Running at the Eastern States Championship earlier in the day, Malone was moving up after a typical slow start when he felt something in the left hamstring area.

“I passed about 15 or 20 kids going into the first downhill and I sort of rolled my ankle, but I felt it in my hammy,” said Malone, who limped his way to the finish line. “I iced it and took some Advil, and it feels a lot better, but I’m going to go to the doctor Monday and have it checked out.”

With the Bergen County meet set for next Saturday, Malone is questionable and if he doesn’t run, he wouldn’t be eligible to defend his Lou Molino Bergen Meet of Champions title Oct. 27. Malone, who was third in the state Meet of Champions last fall, is the individual favorite to win this year’s title.

“I think I’ll be OK, but we’ll see.”

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lipari Blast Leads Villanova to 7th at Pre-Nationals

Running what was clearly her best cross country race as a Villanova Wildcat, Emily Lipari's 7th place overall finish led the Villanova women to a team 7th place finish this morning at cross country Pre-Nationals in Louisville. She finished only 3 seconds behind perennial top 5 nationals finisher Jordan Hasay of Oregon. Nicky Akande was the second Villanova runner, in a strong 26th place overall over the 6K course. Summer Cook, who spent her first years at Villanova on the swim team, continued her steady climb on the team, finishing a fine 41st overall.

Villanova competed well with a number of ranked teams, tying #18 Colorado, and beating #25 Butler by 52 places. #1 Florida State won the meet, with #4 Oregon a close second. Unlike the Villanova men, no Villanova women ran in the black race.

Villanova Finishers
  7.  Emily Lipari         20:06.9    5:24
 26.  Nicky Akande         20:36.1    5:32 
 41.  Summer Cook          20:57.2    5:38
 99.  Megan Venables       21:34.4    5:48
100.  Stephanie Schappert  21:35.9    5:48
155.  Courtney Chapman     21:58.8    5:54
165.  Meghan Smith         22:07.3    5:56

Top-Ten Team Scores
 1.   72   Florida State   4   6    14    17    31    (63)   (91)
 2.   87   Oregon          3   5    18    27    34    (42)   (52)
 3.  141   Michigan       10  25    32    35    39    (56)   (77)
 4.  163   Georgetown     22  30    33    38    40    (51)  (119)
 5.  184   Texas           9  16    47    53    59   (108)  (176)
 6.  266   Wm & Mary      19  20    71    72    84    (86)  (128)
 7.  273   Colorado       21  37    55    66    94   (105)  (113)
 7.  273   Villanova       7  26    41    99   100   (155)  (165)
 9.  308   Florida        24  49    61    73   101   (138)  (197)
10.  320   UC Davis       12  29    68   104   107   (144)  (168)

Villanova Men Come 8th at Pre-Nationals
McEntee DNFs Due to Nausea

The Villanova men finished with 338 places today in Louisville, Kentucky at the cross country Pre-Nationals. That finish was influenced heavily by the nausea and vomiting that hit the team's #1 runner Sam McEntee at the 5K mark. McEntee tried to soldier on, but was eventually forced to DNF. Villanova's team total thereby gained at least 100 extra places, as Villanova's #6 runner now had to be included in the team total. With a healthy McEntee, Villanova likely finishes 4th in the team standings. Even without McEntee, Villanova beat Big East and regional rival Georgetown. The men were led by senior Mathew Mildenhall who ran a strong race, finishing 32nd overall. The men finished with a 46 second 1-5 spread over the 8K course.

Men's Red -- 8K
 32.  Mathew Mildenhall    23:54.5    4:49
 53.  Rob Denault          24:04.7    4:51
 57.  Jordy Williamsz      24:06.0    4:51
 66.  Matt Kane            24:12.5    4:53
130.  Brian Basili         24:40.7    4:58
134.  Greg Morrin          24:44.5    4:59 

Men's Black -- 8K
 32.  Alex Tully           24:58.8    5:02
 49.  John Pickhaver       25:10.5    5:04

Top Ten Team Scores
 1.   72  Colorado          4   11   12   22   23   (27)   (35)
 2.  127  BYU               8   20   21   37   41   (69)  (165)
 3.  152  Oregon            5    9   28   49   61   (65)  (114)
 4.  275  Florida State    10   17   55   77  116  (141)  (219)
 5.  287  Duke             39   48   50   52   98  (154)  (182)
 6.  288  Virginia Tech     6   19   63   76  124  (144)  (210)
 7.  292  Tulsa            15   40   68   80   89  (140)  (242)
 8.  338  Villanova        32   53   57   66  130  (134)  (---)
 9.  351  Georgetown       36   70   71   86   88  (135)  (198)
10.  369  Florida          16   47   96   99  111  (129)  (--) 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Reid, Schappert and Rhines to Dash to the Finish in NY 5K

Three Villanova greats will compete on November 3rd in New York City in the Dash to the Finish 5K road race, a kick-off event to the ING New York City Marathon. Here's the press release from the New York Road Runners:

17 Olympians Lead the Field for NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K

October 10, 2012 at 10:45am EST | by Barbara Huebner, NYRR News Service

Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Molly Huddle, Jen Rhines, Julia Bleasdale, Lisa Uhl, Chris Solinsky, Matt Tegenkamp, Lopez Lomong, Evan Jager, Ben True, and Chris Thompson will headline a phenomenally deep field for the second-annual NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K on November 3, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

The race, during ING New York City Marathon weekend, will feature 17 Olympians, seven national record-holders, the U.S. junior record-holder, and the reigning men’s and women’s U.S. 5K champions. Eleven men have personal bests at the distance under 13:20, and eight women have run faster than 15:20.

More than 5,000 runners are expected in the event, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. near the United Nations and crosses 42nd Street before heading north on the Avenue of the Americas to the finish line of the ING New York City Marathon, which will be run the next day.

The women’s field, which includes five of the 10 fastest women in U.S. history, is led by Huddle, the U.S. record-holder at 5000 meters (14:44.76) and two-time U.S. champion at 5K on the roads. A 2012 Olympian at 5000 meters, Huddle claimed the U.S. record from Flanagan, who is a close second on the U.S. all-time list (14:44.80), with Goucher (14:55.02) in sixth place.

Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000 meters, and Goucher, the 2007 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at 10,000 meters, both represented the U.S. at the London Olympic Games in the marathon.

“I'm really looking forward to coming back to New York for the Dash to the Finish Line 5K,” said Goucher. “I always love racing in the Big Apple, and I especially like the idea of experiencing all the fun and excitement of the ING New York City Marathon weekend without having to run the full 26.2!”

Veteran Jen Rhines, a three-time Olympian who ranks as the fifth-fastest American in history at 5000 meters (14:54.29) and Julia Bleasdale of Great Britain, who finished eighth at 5000 meters in London, will be joined by the U.S.’s Kim Conley and Canada’s Sheila Reid, both 2012 Olympians at 5000 meters; Lisa Uhl, a 2012 Olympian at 10,000 meters who ranks seventh (14:55.74) on the U.S. all-time list at 5000 meters; and Neely Spence, an NCAA Division II superstar who in 2012 finished second at the U.S. 5K championships, behind Huddle, and third at the U.S. 10K championships.

Leading a loaded men’s field are Solinsky and Tegenkamp, the second- and fifth-fastest U.S. men in history at 5000 meters. Solinsky, who ranks second on the U.S. all-time lists at both 5000 meters (12:55:53) and 10,000 meters (26:59.60), owns three of the six fastest U.S. 5000-meter times and is a five-time NCAA champion. Tegenkamp, a two-time U.S. Olympian, has posted the fifth-fastest U.S. time at 5000 meters (12:58.56) and is the U.S. record-holder at two miles (8:07.07).

Right with them are Lopez Lomong, a two-time U.S. Olympian who ran 13:11.62 in his 5000-meter debut in April, the third-fastest U.S. time for 2012; Evan Jager, who broke the U.S. record in the 3000-meter steeplechase this year (8:06.81) before going on to finish sixth in the London Olympics; Ben True, the two-time defending U.S. 5K champion; and 2012 Olympian Chris Thompson of Great Britain, who returns to defend his 2011 NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K title.

“New York has always been a great place to run, but last year, experiencing Marathon weekend was something else,” said Thompson. “To have been able to take part in, and win, the first-ever 5K race that weekend was not only a great achievement for me, but so much fun to be a part of. This having been an Olympic year makes this sort of race a real treat you’ve earned.”

They will be challenged by Andrew Bumbalough and Chris Derrick, who both narrowly missed a trip to London when they finished fourth at 5000 meters and 10,000 meters, respectively, at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials; Cam Levins, the double 2012 NCAA champion at 5000 meters and 10,000 meters who made the 2012 Canadian Olympic team at both distances; Italy’s Daniele Meucci, a 2012 Olympian at both 5000 meters and 10,000 meters and the 2012 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K champion; Kenya’s Leonard Korir, a two-time NCAA champion who finished a close second to Meucci at Healthy Kidney; Mexico’s Juan Luis Barrios, a two-time Olympian and the 2011 Pan American Games champion at 5000 meters; and German Fernandez, whose personal best of 13:25.46 at 5000 meters is a U.S. junior record.

Here are the start lists for the women's races:
NAME                  AGE   NAT
Angela Bizzarri       24    USA    
Julia Bleasdale       31    GBR    
Megan Brown           27    CAN    
Kim Conley            26    USA    
Aileen Conlon         30    USA    
Delilah DiCrescenzo   29    USA    
Kristine Engeset      23    NOR    
Shalane Flanagan      31    USA    
Kara Goucher          34    USA    
Kate Grace            24    USA    
Claire Hallissey      29    GBR    
Ashley Higginson      23    USA   
Reilly Kiernan        24    USA    
Molly Huddle          28    USA    
Leonora Petrina       30    NZL   
Sarah Porter          23    USA    
Sheila Reid           23    CAN    
Jen Rhines            38    USA    
Melissa Salerno       25    USA    
Nicole Schappert      26    USA    
Neely Spence          22    USA    
Latavia Thomas        23    USA    
Renee Tomlin          23    USA    
Lisa Uhl              25    USA    
Sara Vaughn           26    USA    
Paula Whiting         24    NZL    
Heather Wilson        22    USA

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rhines 5th at USA 10K Championship in Return from Injury

Despite a summer stress fracture that hollowed out her fitness base, Jen Rhines ran a strong 5th today at the USA 10K championship race in Boston, help in conjunction with Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women. The overall race was won by Helen Jemutai of Kenya, who took the race out in mile splits of 4:58, 5:16, 5:15, and 5:19. Rhines was ever-present in the American chase pack and finished in 32:51, 11 seconds in arreas to USA champion Chelsea Reilly (who was running her first-ever 10K). In coming 5th, Rhines beat several race favorites, including Stephanie Rothstein, Katie McGregor, Delilah DiCrescenzo, and Magdalena Boulet. This result for Rhines lends an air of optimism for her fall season as she regains her normal level of race fitness. Rhines ran 32:16 at this race in 2010.

USA 10K Championship -- Top 15
 1. Chelsea Reilly          32:40.1
 2. Tara Erdmann            32:45.4
 3. Neely Spence            32:50.8
 4. Emma Kertesz            32:51.4
 5. Jennifer Rhines         32:51.6
 6. Stephanie Rothstein     32:55.1
 7. Mattie Surver           32:59.4
 8. Annie Bersagel          33:04.9
 9. Brianne Nelson          33:06.1
10. Katie McGregor          33:11.2
11. Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz   33:26.9
12. Delilah DiCrescenzo     33:35.7
13. Kellyn Johnson          33:42.8
14. Mary Kate Champagne     33:49.2
15. Magdalena Boulet        33:50.2

Here's how Dave Monti of Race Results Weekly described the race:

By David Monti
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

BOSTON (08-Oct) -- Chelsea Reilly made her 10-K debut a memorable one here today, winning the national title at the distance on a crisp fall day at the 36th Tufts Health Plan 10-K for Women in 32 minutes and 41 seconds. Reilly, 23, won a long sprint to the line over Tara Erdmann (32:46), while another 10-K debutante, Neely Spence, finished third (32:51).

Reilly also beat her coach and training partner, Olympian Magdalena Lewy Boulet, who finished 15th in the championships in 33:51.

"My name is Chelsea Reilly, I'm from Oakland, Calif., I'm coached by Magda Boulet, and I'm with the Bay Area Track Club," Reilly proclaimed to the assembled media, wearing the champion's laurel wreath. "And this is my first 10-K, ever. My first ever, road or track."

Reilly, whom Lewy Boulet had recruited to the University of California at Berkeley when she was coaching there five years ago, was part of a 15-woman American lead pack at the half-way point which included Spence, Erdmann, Stephanie Rothstein, Jen Rhines, Katie McGregor and Annie Bersagel, amongst others. Reilly was at the back following her coach's advice: to hang back and wait for a late-race break.

"My coach just had me conserve for the first five miles because I had never run one," Reilly explained. She continued: "Tara started to make a move, I matched it, and gave it a go."

In the final mile of the 6.2 mile race, Erdmann pushed to the front on Commonwealth Avenue. Reilly followed, then saved her final burst for the finish straight on Charles Street. Reilly was confident that she could win because she recently finished eighth at the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York where she clocked 4:29.0. She also had her own cheering section; her father's family is from nearby Dedham.

"I love being in Boston," Reilly gushed. "My family is from Boston; I think I had the most fans out there of anyone."

Reilly was actually the second surprise winner here today. Ahead of her, 34 year-old Kenyan Hellen Jemutai took the open title in 32:30, leading from gun to tape. Knowing the prize money for international runners was only available for the first three finishers, Jemutai scooted away from the field right from the gun, blasting through the first mile in 4:58 and the 5-K in 16:03. She was 29 seconds ahead of the Americans at that point.

"No fooling around," Jemutai told a reporter when asked what her race strategy was here today. "I just go for my race."

Jemutai's victory was noteworthy because she had run yesterday's B.A.A. Half-Marathon where she finished third in 1:13:35. When asked if her legs were tired, so smiled and simply said, "no."

Reilly isn't sure which event she'll focus on for next year. She's attracted to the 1500m, but enjoys endurance training, logging most of her miles with Lewy Boulet. In addition to the Fifth Avenue race, Reilly also ran 4:30.18 on the track at the Falmouth Mile last August. Her coach says those mile times didn't come as a result of speed work, claiming that Reilly has natural speed.

"She did the mile off her strength," said Lewy Boulet.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rehab Over, Jen Rhines to Contest USA 10K Championship

Jen Rhines' Olympic team streak was broken this summer, when she was unable to compete at the US Olympic Trials due to a stress fracture in her foot. She was hoping to make her fourth consecutive US team, after competing in 2008 (5000 meters), 2004 (marathon), and 2000 (10,000 meters), but that dream was sidetracked by the injury. After rehabilitating her injury this summer, Rhines has tested the foot in two low-profile races in California near her Mammoth Track Club training base: (1) on August 26th she won the End of the Summer Fire Run in San Diego, running that 4-mile course in 21:41 (5:25 per mile pace), and (2) on September 8th Jen won the Grape Day 5K in Esconidido, coming home in 16:31 (5:19 pace).

Confident that her foot and fitness were where they needed to be, Rhines has entered Monday's Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women which is serving as the US 10K Championship race. Rhines last ran this event in 2010, when she finished 3rd (32:16), behind Molly Huddle (32:00) and Genoveva Kigen (32:04).

A short list of Jen's career highlights include: five individual NCAA championships while running for Villanova (3 outdoor 5000s, 1 indoor 5000, and an individual title at NCAA cross); four top-30 finishes at World Cross (including two top-20 finishes); three USA olympic teams at three different distances (5000, 10,000, and marathon), a USATF 10,000 meter national champion; three USA 15K national titles; a US Half-Marathon championship title, two top-10 IAAF World Championship 5000 meter finishes; a sub-15:00 5000 meter PR; a sub-2:30:00 marathon PR; and a world top-10 ranking at 10,000 meters.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Villanova in the Mix for Monsignor Farrell's Dan Galford

The article below states that Staten Island (NY) Monsignor Farrell's Dan Galford, who finished 4th (15:59) in the Boys Brown race at the recent Paul Short Run at Lehigh, is being courted by Villanova and Syracuse. Galford has taken an official visit to the latter and has one scheduled for Villanova. Galford is coming back from knee problems that put him on the shelf last season. Galford enters his senior season with PRs of 1:58.05 (800), 2:33.20 (1000), 4:22.58 (mile), 9:26.74 (2 miles), and 15:32.80 (5000). He qualified for the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, where he finished 48th of 199 competitors, in 15:59.74.

Galford's Mile Split page is HERE.

Wounded Monsignor Farrell Lion Dan Galford Roars Back

Thursday, October 04, 2012, 10:10
By Tom Dowd
Staten Island Advance

Mike Proffitt is new as the track coach at Monsignor Farrell after a long and successful run with the girls at St. John Villa, so he didn’t have much up-close-and-personal experience with Dan Galford, the star senior who anchors the Lions’ program.

But here’s what he did know coming in, even from a distance.

“I just know Dan, seriously, I know him as a warrior,” said Proffitt. “He loves to compete. That’s something you don’t want to take away as a coach because that’s something you can’t teach. Being a competitor like that is a great thing. That’s what I think makes him as good as he is.

“So what I know of Dan is he’s a tremendous competitor, he’s a tremendous racer. He’s not gonna cheat you in a race. He may make some racing mistakes but he’s not gonna cheat you in a race.”

So imagine what it’s like for a kid like that when he’s told he can’t run, when his aching knees give him no choice.

That’s what happened to Galford, the five-time Advance All Star in cross country and track and field who missed nearly all of the outdoor season last spring with tendinitis in both knees.

“The hardest thing in the world is to miss that much time and to watch your teammates run every day,” said Galford. “The one thing I never did was I never left at 2:30. I made sure I was here even if it was working out in the weight room or just helping out at the practices, watching the younger kids.

“It was killing me not to run, not to be part of the team. It was killing me.”

After running a 4:15.6 1,600 when the Lions put together the second-fastest distance medley relay in Island history at the Arcadia Invitational in early April, Galford shut it down for two weeks to save himself for the Penn Relays.

“I figured I could try to run through Penn,” said Galford. “I should try to make something happen. Just the support of my team maybe would get me through it. I tried but I just didn’t have it. It hurt every step of the way. It felt like someone was driving nails through my knees.”

He tried one more race, the CHSAA Sectionals a month later. And that was the entirety of the outdoor season. Staten Island’s best runner spent more time visiting physical therapists and icing down his knees than he was able to spend on the track.

Galford got back out running in June and started to feel like himself a bit in July, but then suffered a bad hamstring injury late in the summer.

So getting back into things as the cross country season began at the beginning of September was a different experience coming off the injuries.

But there was something else new as well, and that was Proffitt.

After three seasons running for coach Tom Cuffe, Galford had a new coach to adjust to as he began his final high school season.

“It’s different,” said Galford. “Changing everything about how you’ve been going about yourself for four years makes you question a lot of things. It’s hard. Your body has to go through some changes. Every day is going to feel a little different. You’re going to do things you never thought you were going to do.

“You just have to try to get through it. You’re going to question what you’re doing a lot, but sometimes you’ve got to ignore what you’re thinking and go with what you have to do.”

For Galford, it means he will be on his third coach in three years when he gets started in college next fall. That’s a lot of transition at a crucial stage in development for one of the top runners in Island history. Last fall he became just the third Island runner to reach the high school cross country national championship race when he ran in the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.

Galford’s winning time in the CHSAA Intersectionals was the fastest in more than two decades and the best ever by an Island junior. His second-place finish in the State Federation meet — by less than a second — crushed the Island record on the course at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls.

For the next year, his development is in Proffitt’s hands. There is pressure with that, the coach acknowledges, but it’s a responsibility he’s confident about handling based on his own long experience.

“Have I had a kid as talented as him? No, I never have,” said Proffitt. “So for me it’s an exciting challenge. And I’m looking forward to it. We’re still evolving. But I think it’s gonna work. I think it is working.”

In taking over the Farrell program, Proffitt met with each of the runners individually to get to know them a little bit. What stood out about Galford were the high goals he set for himself.

“Obviously I’ve had my setbacks,” said Galford. “But I still think I’m one of the best runners in the state and in the country. I still believe I’m the same guy I was last year and can be better. I’m always looking for more of myself. I look to make it back to Nationals God-willing, and I look to do better at Nationals than I did last year.”

Galford’s ambitions extend beyond the high school level, to breaking the four-minute mile and competing for a national championship in college cross country.

Part of the job, Proffitt knows, is looking forward to Galford’s future. He’s taken one official visit to Syracuse and has another planned for Villanova. He’s also heard from Iowa State and Wisconsin.

“For me right now it’s about the school that fits me and the team that fits me,” said Galford. “I want to be comfortable. If I have to run there for four years I want to be comfortable where I’m running.”

Before he gets there, he’s gotten a hard look at the harsh realities sports can level at an athlete.

“I realized just how really bitter the sport could be,” said Galford. “It’s a really tough sport. One minute you’re on top, you’ve got outlooks, the sky seems like the limit and then you’re on a physical therapist’s bed three times a week hoping you’ll be able to run the next day. You’ve got to really take care of yourself in this sport. It really is a physical sport. It’s damaging, but there’s also nothing that feels better than beating someone in a race.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hugo Beamish & Carmen Hussar Win Parkway Run 5K Titles

One recent and one not-so-recent Villanova alum won the Four Seasons Parkway Run last weekend. One the men's side, recent graduate (and 2012 Big East 5000i meter champion) Hugo Beamish defeated all comers in winning the event in a crisp 14:41. He came home 6 seconds ahead of the runner up, former University of Florida runner Cam Marantz. This on the heels of his impressive all-comers course record at Haverford's 4-mile course at the Main Line Invitational cross country race a week earlier. Beamish has indicated that he'll stay in Philadelphia and train with the extended Villanova crew and will contest a series of 5K and 10K races.

On the women's side, Carmen Douma-Hussar took the title, finishing 12th overall in 16:42. She was not pressed, besting the second-place woman -- former Haverford College 1500 meter All-American Meredith Unger -- by almost 2 minutes.

Here are the top-20 results:
 1.  Hugo Beamish          23 M    14:41    4:44
 2.  Cam Marantz           25 M    14:47    4:46
 3.  Michael McKeeman      36 M    14:54    4:48
 4.  Phil Celona           21 M    15:20    4:56
 5.  Zach Miller           29 M    15:24    4:58
 6.  Eric Arnold           22 M    15:25    4:58
 7.  Anders Hulleberg      24 M    15:32    5:00
 8.  Jossi Fritz-Mauer     28 M    15:58    5:09
 9.  Ryan Wiley            31 M    16:03    5:10
10.  Daniel Denman         27 M    16:16    5:14
11.  Mike Padilla          38 M    16:25    5:17
12.  Carmen Hussar         35 F    16:42    5:23
13.  Nick Martin           22 M    17:34    5:39
14.  Jason Simon           34 M    17:49    5:44
15.  Christopher Moore     30 M    18:07    5:50
16.  Kevin Gruenfeld       39 M    18:08    5:51
17.  Ryan Clee             19 M    18:12    5:52
18.  Ryan Doane            16 M    18:15    5:53
19.  Christopher Lillis    41 M    18:19    5:54
20.  Meredith Unger        32 F    18:22    5:55

It's Villanova versus Georgetown for Prize Recruit Ben Malone

Marcus O'Sullivan has been recruiting Hillsdale, NJ's Ben Malone, the 2012 US prep indoor 800 meter champion (see video, above), steadily for two years, hoping to entice the talented middle distance runner to compete for Villanova. That effort seems to have yielded some benefits, as Malone has narrowed his college choice to two schools: Villanova and Georgetown. As the article below chronicles (and as Malone's accolades listed below confirm), Malone's signing at Villanova would further bolster the excellent recruiting classes of the past few year and would make Villanova's superb middle distance ranks that much more formidable. As he states in the article, Malone wants to make his decision sooner rather than later, so this situation is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Malone's Mile Split page is HERE.

Ben Malone's Athletic Honors
National Champion 800m Indoor 2012
All America 800m, Sprint Medley Indoor, Outdoor 800m 2012
National Junior class record holder indoor 800, 1000m
New Jersey State Champion 1600m Indoor 2012
New Jersey State Champion 800m Outdoor 2012
Star Ledger New Jersey Runner of the Year Indoor 2012
Bergen Record's 1st Annual Ron Drogo Award; best North Jersey athlete Fall 2011
North Jersey Runner of the Year XC 2011; Indoor 2012; Outdoor 2012
All Northeast XC 2011
All New Jersey XC 2011; 1600m Indoor 2012; Outdoor 800m 2012
Bergen Record Athlete of the week November 28th 2011
Bergen County Record holder for Holmdel Park
Bergen County Record holder Mile Run
Bergen County Champion XC 2011

Ben Malone's PRs
 400 meters         49.03
 800 meters      1:49.94
1000 meters     2:23.56
1500 meters     3:49.84
1600 meters     4:11.66
1 mile               4:07.02
3200 meters     9:24.80
2 miles              9:12.02
4000 meters   13:03.62
5000 meters   15:38.00

Ben Malone’s Choice Down to Two Schools

The Record
Wednesday October 3, 2012

Two weeks ago Ben Malone took his official visit to Villanova. Last week he returned from his official visit to Georgetown. And even though the NCAA allows up to five paid recruiting visits for Division I athletes, Malone, one of the most highly recruited boys middle-distance runners in the country, now will decide between two of the country’s most traditional track powers, eschewing the chance for visits to places like Oregon, Virginia and Notre Dame, among the dozens of schools to show interest.

“I talked to a lot of coaches and did a lot of research and it kept coming back to these two schools,” said Malone before he left for Georgetown last week. “I wanted to reach a decision early and I didn’t want it to distract from my senior season.”

“I have cross-country meets every weekend and I want to win the state championship this year,” said Malone, who set the Bergen County record at Holmdel Park en route to his third-place state finish last fall. “There’s a lot of travel involved and I thought these were the two best places for me. So I narrowed it right away.”

“It helped that I wanted to stay on the East Coast, and I like both schools’ location and academics and I really like both coaches.”

Though he has chosen to limit his official trips, Malone had made unofficial visits to Penn State, Princeton and Villanova, and fielded dozens of phone calls and texts from other coaches in a process that started two years ago after a sensational sophomore season.

“I felt bad about talking to coaches at schools I had no intention of going to,” said Malone, last year’s state champion at 1,600 meters indoors and 800 outdoors.

Malone first met Villanova coach Marcus O’Sullivan at the Colonial Relays at William & Mary two years ago on a family trip.

“He was really nice to me, gave me some training tips and said he would keep an eye on me.”

And Georgetown came into the picture in part because of a friendship he had with Hoya freshman Ahmed Bile, developed when both ran in major invitational races while Bile was in high school.

Malone thinks the decision ultimately will be made on a “gut” feeling, although he has checked out the athletes, coaches, classes and dorms as well as the overall atmosphere.

“I think I’ll just know which one is the right one for me,” said Malone, whose parents have told him it’s his decision, even though both have their favorites.

“I’ve also spoken to a lot of people who know both places and those discussions have helped me a lot,” said Malone, who’ll open his cross-country season Saturday with the Shore Invitational “C” race at Holmdel.

“I think you have to be as selfish as possible in making the decision because it’s about you,” said Malone, who dreads making the phone call to the “losing” coach in the recruiting battle. “But you’ve got to be totally honest, too.”

“It’s going to be weird wearing a different uniform next year no matter where I go, but I’m looking forward to the rest of the year at Pascack Valley and then ahead to the next step.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Major Shake-Up in National Cross Country Rankings
Villanova Men Jump to #12, while Women Drop to #24

As expected, the reverberations coming out of the Villanova men's and women's performances at the Paul Short Run at Lehigh on Friday have made themselves felt in the just-released national cross country rankings. The Villanova men, fresh off a decisive victory at Paul Short, have jumped 10 spots in the polls, rising all the way to the #12 spot in the nation. On the flip side, the Villanova women, running a bit short-handed at Paul Short (Angel Piccarillo did not compete as she is recovering from an injury), where they finished a disappointing 7th, dropped drastically from a #9 national ranking, all the way to #24 in today's new poll.

Men's Cross Country Rankings (October 2, 2012)
    School               Pts   Regiona       Conference   PV
1.  Wisconsin (8)        352   Great Lakes   Big Ten      1
2.  Oklahoma State (2)   347   Midwest       Big 12       2
3.  BYU (2)              343   Mountain      West Coast   3
4.  Oklahoma             315   Midwest       Big 12       4
5.  Iona                 301   Northeast     Metro Atl.   8
5.  Portland             301   West          West Coast   5
7.  Colorado             286   Mountain      Pac-12       7
8.  Stanford             263   West          Pac-12       9
9.  Tulsa                258   Midwest       Conf USA    20
10. Syracuse             242   Northeast     Big East    11
11. Princeton            235   Mid-Atlantic  Ivy         17
12. Villanova            212   Mid-Atlantic  Big East    22
13. Notre Dame           196   Great Lakes   Big East    24
14. Florida State        193   South         ACC         10
15. Oregon               184   West          Pac-12      23
16. Minnesota            156   Midwest       Big Ten     16
17. Columbia             148   Northeast     Ivy         28
18. Northern Arizona     147   Mountain      Big Sky     19
19. Arkansas             136   South Central SEC         17
20. Georgetown           125   Mid-Atlantic  Big East    15
20. Eastern Kentucky     125   Southeast     Ohio Valley 25
22. Texas                124   South Central Big 12       6
23. William and Mary     121   Southeast     Colonial    NR
24. Michigan              68   Great Lakes   Big Ten     26
24. Georgia               68   South         SEC         RV
26. Indiana               57   Great Lakes   Big Ten     11
27. UCLA                  54   West          Pac-12      30
28. New Mexico            52   Mountain      Mtn West    21
29. Virginia              45   Southeast     ACC         27
30. Missouri              35   Midwest       SEC         NR 

Women's Cross Country Rankins (October 2, 2012)
    School              Pts    Region        Conference  PV 
1.  Florida State (11)  359    South         ACC          2
2.  Arizona             336    West          Pac-12      12
3.  Washington          332    West          Pac-12       1
4.  Oregon (1)          327    West          Pac-12       3
5.  Iowa State          308    Midwest       Big 12       5
6.  Georgetown          294    Mid-Atlantic  Big East     4
7.  Stanford            275    West          Pac-12       6
8.  Michigan            267    Great Lakes   Big Ten     11
9.  Cornell             246    Northeast     Ivy         RV
10. Michigan State      237    Great Lakes   Big Ten     14
11. Arkansas            229    South Central SEC         10
12. Vanderbilt          202    South         SEC          8
13. Weber State         188    Mountain      Big Sky     16
14. Penn State          177    Mid-Atlantic  Big Ten     17
15. Toledo              168    Great Lakes   Mid-Amer    22
16. Notre Dame          163    Great Lakes   Big East    20
17. William and Mary    157    Southeast     Colonial    NR
18. Colorado            153    Mountain      Pac-12      15
19. New Mexico          152    Mountain      Mtn West    19
20. San Francisco       142    West          West Coast  18
21. Boston College      137    Northeast     ACC         13
22. Oklahoma State      120    Midwest       Big 12      23
23. Columbia            105    Northeast     Ivy         24
24. Villanova            98    Mid-Atlantic  Big East     9
25. Butler               83    Great Lakes   Atl 10      21
26. NC State             74    Southeast     ACC         25
27. Minnesota            59    Midwest       Big Ten     RV
28. Providence           58    Northeast     Big East     7
29. Wisconsin            29    Great Lakes   Big Ten     29
30. Yale                 23    Northeast     Ivy         NR