Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Nicole Schappert to Team USA for World University Games
Will Contest 1500 meters in Kazan, Russia in July

Former Villanova All American Nicole Schappert -- America's fastest indoor miler in 2012 -- has been named to Team USA to compete in the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.  The Games will be held between July 6-17 of this year; Schappert's 1500 heat is scheduled for July 10.  Nicole is the sole representative for the USA in the 1500 meters.  Schappert is currently a graduate student at Rutgers University in New Jersey.  Schappert was a 1500 meter finalist at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials and boasts a 4:06.87 PR at that distance.  She is on the comeback trail after surgery scuttled her 2013 indoor season.

Here is the team selected to represent the USA at the Kazan Games:

 2013 USA Track & Field Team

Name Year University Event

Octavious Freeman Junior University of Central Florida 100m/4X100
Vashti Mary Thomas Senior Academy of Art University 100mH/LJ/4X100
Aurieyall Scott Senior University of Central Florida 200m/4X100
Briana Nelson Senior University of Texas 400m/4X100
Nicole Schappert Graduate Rutgers 1500m
Jeneva Mccall Graduate Southern Illinois University Hammer/Shot
Jade Barber Junior Notre Dame 100mH/4X100
Tristie Johnson Sophomore Bethune-Cookman 200m/4X100
Felisha Johnson Graduate Indiana State Shot
Landria Buckley Junior Maryland 400mH
Gavin Sam Kendricks Junior University of Mississippi PV
Charles Silmon Graduate Texas Christian University 100m/4X100
Joe Kovacs Senior Penn State Shot
Ahmed Ali Sophomore Southern Plains College 100m/4X100
David Verburg Graduate George Mason University 400m/4X100
Girmo Mecheso Graduate Oklahoma State 10k
Mike Woepse Junior UCLA PV
Derrick Vicars Junior University of Findlay Shot/Disc
Justin Austin Graduate University of Iowa 100/200/4X100
Montez Blair Senior Cornell University HJ

Hector Bautista
Connie Price-Smith
Curtis Frye

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sheila Reid Punches Ticket to World Championships
3rd at Canadian Nationals Ensures Trip to Moscow

It was Van Buskirk, Sifuentes, Reid & Stellingwerff (R to L) at Canadian 1500 Final

Sheila Reid came 3rd today in a slow sit-and-kick 1500 meter final at the Canadian Outdoor Nationals in New Brunswick.  Inasmuch as Reid, with her 4:02.96 mark from June 1st, already has the IAAF "A" standard at 1500 meters (4:05.50 and faster), and since she finished in the top three today, her spot on the Canadian team for the World Championships in Moscow is assured.  The race was won by Kate Van Buskirk (who has the "B" standard (4:09.00) by virtue of her 4:08.34 run on June 11th), with Nicole Sifuentes coming 2nd.  Sifuentes is Canada's only other "A" standard competitor at 1500 meters (she ran 4:04.65 on May 17th in Los Angeles) and will also compete in Moscow.  According to the selection criteria utilized by Athletics Canada, any "A" standard holder who finishes among the top three at Canadian Nationals is guaranteed a spot on the World Championship team.

Event 309  Women 1500 Meter Run Championship
 Straight Final Saturday at 12:30pm                                    
    Canadian: * 4:00.27  30/08/1985  Lynn Williams                     
Championship: $ 4:04.51  2004        Malindi Elmore                    
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals  
  1 Van Buskirk, Kate         87 Athletics Toronto      4:16.45            
  2 Sifuentes, Nicole         86 Unattached Manitoba    4:16.84            
  3 Reid, Sheila              89 Athletics Toronto      4:17.11            
  4 Stellingwerff, Hilary     81 Speed River            4:17.21        
  5 Leblanc, Annie            92 Lanaudière-Olymp       4:19.53        
  6 Aldea, Stephanie          90 Unattached Ontario     4:22.43        
  7 Digby, Erica              89 Thunderbirds           4:24.02        
  8 Cliff, Rachel             88 Thunderbirds           4:24.62        
  9 Hennessy, Colleen         92 Univ of Toronto        4:26.13        
 10 Roy, Joanie               91 Coureur Nordique       4:26.62        
 11 Frost, Lydia              90 Speed River Tfc        4:28.69        
 12 Macpherson, Sarah         91 Fast Tracks            4:29.36        
 13 Boyle, Shari              73 Calgary Int'l          4:44.34        
 14 Frost, Nadine             90 Speed River Tfc        4:45.07        
 15 Hughes, Mélanie           90 Saint-Laurent          4:46.33        

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kelsey Margey Seizes USA Junior Championship at 1500m

Villanova's Kelsey Margey capped off her freshman year with a bang today in Des Moines by winning the USA Junior National Championship at 1500 meters.  She dominated the final, winning by over 3 seconds.  Her national title comes on the heels of winning a Penn Relays Championship of America in the 4x800 meters, in which the Villanova quartet of which she was a part set a new NCAA record.  With this win, Margey can now compete at the Pan Am Junior Championships to be held in Medellin, Colombia between August 23-25.

Women's 1500 Meter Run Junior
Saturday June 22 - 2:02pm

Event is Official

Place Athlete Time
1 Kelsey Margey
2 Rachel Stewart
Brigham Young University
3 Megan Moye
North Carolina State
4 Laura Bess
5 Rebekah Topham
Cornhusker Flyers
6 Regan Ward
Jenks America Track Club
7 Kelly Hayes
Pearl River High School
8 Karissa Schweizer
9 Lily Harrington
Brown University
10 Anna Holdiman
11 Morgan Richards
DNS Molly Hanson

Friday, June 21, 2013

Villanovans Compete on Day 1 of USA Outdoor Nationals

Two former and one current Villanova All Americans competed yesterday in Des Moines one day 1 of the USA Outdoor National Championships.  In the women's 1500 meter heats, one former Wildcat -- Nicole Schappert -- was up against a lack of proper preparation due to a missed indoor and a truncated outdoor season due to injury.  The other -- current Villanova stalwart Emily Lipari -- was beset by perhaps the opposite issue: fatigue due to a very busy indoor and outdoor season.  Neither ran to their best ability and were eliminated from the national championship final:

Women's 1500 Meter Run Senior
Thursday June 20 - 4:40pm

Event is Official

Place Athlete Time
1 Treniere Moser
4:11.20 Q
2 Mary Cain
4:11.48 Q
3 Gabriele Anderson
Brooks / Team USA Minnesota
4:11.55 Q
4 Shannon Rowbury
4:11.71 Q
5 Kerri Gallagher
Pacers/New Balance
4:12.58 Q
6 Sarah Brown
New Balance
4:12.93 q
7 Morgan Uceny
4:13.82 q
8 Katherine Mackey
4:13.90 Q
9 Cory McGee
University of Florida
4:14.03 q
10 Hillary Holt
College of Idaho
4:14.89 q
11 Heather Wilson
4:14.91 q
12 Amanda Mergaert
University of Utah
4:15.54 q
13 Renee Tomlin
14 Rebecca Tracy
Notre Dame
15 Carly Hamilton
16 Amanda Winslow
Florida State
17 Stephanie Brown
University of Arkansas
18 Emily Lipari
19 Lauren Penney
Syracuse University
20 Nicole Schappert
Brooks / New York Athletic Clu
21 Ashley Miller
22 Rachel Schneider
Georgetown University
23 Kristen Findley
Vanderbilt University
24 Laura Roxberg
25 Jordyn Smith
Team Run Eugene
26 Dana Mecke
27 Lianne Farber
North Carolina
28 Amanda Eccleston
University of Michigan
29 Rebecca Friday
30 Callie Thomas
DNF Christina Cazzola
DNS Kate Grace
Oiselle / NJNYTC

Last night Bobby Curtis, a former NCAA champion over 5000 meter, competed in the 10,000 meter final. Running under adverse conditions -- it was 82 degree and humid at the 9:00 pm start time -- Curtis finished 16th in 29:57.64. Given the heat, the race went out slowly (14:56 at the 5000 meter mark), but at the 7000 meter mark Curtis tried to inject some pace into the race. He took the lead and pushed through a sub 64-second lap 18. Unfortunately, the heat affected Curtis and he dropped back over the final 1500 meters to finish 16th overall. Next up for Curtis is a likely 10K at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4th. He is contemplating a fall marathon -- perhaps the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan on December 1.

Men's 10000 Meter Run Senior
Thursday June 20 - 9:00pm

Event is Official

Place Athlete Time
1 Galen Rupp
2 Dathan Ritzenhein
3 Chris Derrick
4 Benjamin True
5 Aaron Braun
6 Ryan Vail
7 Matt Tegenkamp
8 Jacob Riley
Hansons-Brooks Distance Projec
9 Luke Puskedra
10 Tyler Pennel
ZAP Fitness Reebok
11 Gabriel Proctor
Western State College
12 Christopher Landry
13 Jared Ward Sr
14 Girma Mecheso
Oklahoma State University
15 Michael Fout
16 Robert Curtis
Hansons-Brooks Distance Projec
17 Stephen Furst
18 Aron Rono
19 Elliot Krause
20 Scott Smith
21 Jonathan Peterson
Team USA Minnesota
22 Brendan Gregg
Hansons-Brooks Distance Projec
23 Aiman Scullion
Team Ohio
24 Dustin Emerick
Hansons-Brooks Distance Projec
25 John Gilbertson
The Master's College

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer Cook Off to Olympic Training Center
Villanova's Dual Sport Athlete to Launch Triathlon Career

Cook was All Big East running and swimming
Villanova's Summer Cook, who has competed at a high level in both swimming and track/cross country for the Wildcats, has been targeted by USA Triathlon as a part of its Collegiate Recruiting Program and is departing tomorrow for the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for a summer of intensive triathlon training. Cook, a Colorado native who started her Villanova career exclusively as a swimmer but who later returned to track and cross country (where she also excelled as a prep),  was named to the 2013 All Big East Conference and All Mid-Atlantic Region teams in cross country.  Cook was All Big East in track as well, finishing 4th in the 5000 meters at the 2013 conference indoor championships. Cook's recent outdoor season was likewise marked by new PRs, as she qualified for NCAA Regionals at 5000 meters.  In the pool, Cook was All Big East as well, coming 2nd in the 1000 meter freestyle earlier this spring.  Obviously, Cook seems a perfect candidate for USA Triathlon. As her blog posts (available HERE) below show, Summer is most concerned about getting competent on the bike.

New beginnings

     A few weeks ago, I graduated college. During the ceremony, I found myself thinking about how the next day was somewhat of a new beginning, as it would be my first day fully as a graduate student. I’m in a combined undergraduate/graduate program and last year was a hybrid year of graduate and undergraduate classes. Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that everyday has the option of becoming a new beginning. Graduation is just a day people mark out for you as a forced start. Many of my classmates are starting anew with careers or graduate school. It is easy to use markers like this as a date when you vow to start doing something new. It is easy to say next season I will start doing X, and this change is what will make all the difference. Maybe X starts happening next season, maybe it doesn't.  Regardless, wouldn't it be better to start doing it tomorrow? Or better yet today? Perhaps those who are truly successful are the ones who don’t wait for a marker – they decide to make necessary changes now. Thus, every single day has the option of becoming a breakthrough day, whether or not we treat it as such.

     That being said, new beginnings due to change are inevitable and do provide opportunity. My competitive swimming career ended in March. I was then free to experiment with my training in the pool. The shift to training for one sport with complimentary cross training has provided flexibility to my training schedule and seems to have benefited my running. Yet, another new beginning will occur in a few weeks when I move to Colorado Springs to participate in a summer long triathlon camp at the Olympic Training Center. This opportunity came about via USA Triathlon’s Collegiate Recruitment Program, headed by Barb Lindquist. The program seeks out collegiate runners and/or swimmers with the potential to excel at triathlon. My background and past performances in both swimming and running made me a candidate for the program and after some correspondence with Barb I was offered a spot at the OTC for the summer. I still have another year of cross country and track eligibility and hopefully these changes will benefit my running as well as help influence future plans. I’m thrilled to have received this opportunity and hope to make the most of it. Every young athlete dreams of being able to train and compete among the best athletes in the world. I hope to absorb the wisdom of these athletes and apply that knowledge to my own athletic journey.

     Stay tuned for updates on life at the OTC and what it is like to train with and live among some of the best athletes in the world.

Tri Time

     Monday is moving day! I’ll be headed down to the OTC in Colorado Springs  to tri (pun intended) something new. After a break from the pool, I relied on Coach Andrew and his team, the Front Range Barracuda Swim Club, to get me back to swim fitness. The Cudas train in the beautiful 50m pool at Veteran’s Memorial Aquatic Center (VMAC). My former school district began construction on VMAC after I graduated high school and I’m glad to say I didn't get cheated out of the experience of swimming in a great facility that is close to my home.
Picture     While I am feeling pretty good about my swimming fitness, I admit that I am a little nervous to start bike training. My outdoor biking experience does not extend beyond riding a bike around my cul-de-sac in grade school. However, we got the ball rolling (spinning?) on my cycling with a bike fit at Retül in Boulder this past week. The fit was an experience in itself, but before we could get started we encountered some slight difficulties with my pedals/cleats. I couldn’t get my shoes to clip into the pedals. Even though the cleats appeared to be installed correctly at a quick glance, I had accidentally installed a plate backwards. After a short investigation, two of Retül’s awesome fitters, Garrett and Ivan, were able to figure out what I did wrong! The improper installation caused a skinny metal bar to prevent my cleats from clipping into my pedals. Fortunately, everyone was very patient with me and we managed to get the situation sorted out so we could complete my fit. Retül gathers fitting information by putting riders in a harness with LED markers placed on several different points on each side of the body, including the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders (see picture below!). A sensor bar picks up the LED markers and generates an image of the rider on a screen. The sensors then generate various degrees and measurements for both the bike and the rider’s body position to ensure that the bike is adjusted to the correct position for each individual rider. The goal of a fit is to find the position that best promotes rider comfort and health. It was a really cool experience and I was amazed at the incredible technology surrounding the process.
     Now that I have the bike fitted, I should be able to hit the ground running – or at least as much as a novice cyclist can.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Brian Basili Wants to Get Back on the Horse

The plight of Brian Basili's steeplechase debut -- broken arm, Big East qualifier, surgery, and subsequent bone infection -- made him the most famous Villanova steepler since Amos Korir (although for different reasons).  The story garnered tremendous interest on almost all running websites, including Track and Field News, LetsRun, and FloTrack.  The Brian Basili story is also the most read story in the 4-year history of this blog (go HERE to see the original).

 Running Times has now issued a nice update:

Basili’s Big Break

A college steeplechaser suffers a startling fall, but isn’t intimidated.

June 7, 2013

Progressing through the middle laps of his steeplechase debut, Villanova redshirt sophomore Brian Basili knew he was on a good one. Though competing in the slower of two heats at the April 5 Colonial Relays, Basili calculated his pace as near that run by High Point University’s Benji Szalai, the 9:00.14 section one winner. “On the last lap,” he recalls, “I looked at the clock at the top of the backstretch and started to pour it on.”

It’s unclear where to place blame — The faster pace? A split-second’s lapse in concentration? — but Basili hit the third-to-last barrier with his lead leg and crashed to the track. His landing was violent enough to fracture his left humerus, or upper arm bone, at midshaft, and yet the neophyte steeplechaser popped up and resumed running.

To those at trackside, the final 250m of Basili’s race were nothing short of remarkable and also rather off-putting.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Villanova head coach Marcus O’Sullivan. “When Brian got up he started shaking his arm, so I looked at it as he was just shaking it off. I yelled to him to relax — everything’s OK, just get home and you’ll still hit the Big East qualifying time [of 9:25. But then as he swept around the turn and was making it to the water jump I knew something was wrong.”

For the rest of the article, go to Running Times, right HERE.

Sheila Reid 7th at Toronto International in 2:04.85

Sheila Reid ran just off her personal best (2:04.60) last night in Toronto, covering 800 meters in 2:04.85. Just off a huge PR (4:02.96) in her signature event -- the 1500 meters -- in which she easily attained the IAAF "A" standard needed to qualify for the 2013 world championship meet in Moscow, Reid failed here to nudge her 800 meter PR any lower. Either way, Reid likes to run the 1500 meters off the lead, capturing times and places over the final phases of the race; 800 meters races like last night's help build closing speed and are worth the effort.

Full results of the meet are HERE.

Event 5  Women 800 Meter   Running Room NTL -Toronto
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals 
  1 Bishop, Melissa              Canada                 2:00.84        
  2 Okoro, Marilyn               Great Britian          2:01.38        
  3 Belleau-Beliveau, Karine     Canada                 2:02.20        
  4 Smith, Jessica               Canada                 2:02.93        
  5 Sifuentes, Nicole            Canada                 2:03.23        
  6 Crofts, Helen                Canada                 2:03.25        
  7 Reid, Sheila                 Canada                 2:04.85        
  8 Aubrey, Rachel               Canada                 2:05.10        
  9 Bereket, Lemlem              Canada                 2:05.14        
 10 MacLean, Leanna              Canada                 2:09.42        
 -- Callander, Fionna            Canada                     DNF     

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eamonn Coghlan: 1978 European Championship 1500 Silver

Popular history has it that the arrival of Steve Ovett onto the 1500 meter scene compelled Eamonn Coghlan to move up to 5000 meters (at which distance he won the 1983 World Championship). This race video shows the 1978 European Championships, where Britain's Ovett destroyed a high quality field (absent Coe). Villanova legend Eamonn Coghlan unleashed his patented kick over the final 100 meters to claim the silver medal behind Ovett. The medals went this way:

1.  Steve Ovett       GBR    3:35.59
2.  Eamonn Coghlan    IRL    3:36.67
3.  Dave Moorcroft    GBR    3:36.70

Here's how Aidan Curran of Run and Jump described the race:

Favourite for the gold was Steve Ovett, who along with Sebastian Coe had just started to transform and dominate middle-distance running. Ovett also went into this race with a point to make. He and Coe had been surprisingly beaten in the 800 metres final by East Germany’s Olaf Beyer, who ran straight off the track without a lap of honour or even a wave to the crowd. Such odd behaviour fuelled suspicions that Beyer was himself fuelled, though he denied this when interviewed years later in Pat Butcher’s excellent book The Perfect Distance: Ovett and Coe. Beyer made the 1,500 metres final too, giving Ovett a chance at revenge.

The race was a thriller, with hard front running, tactical jostling, decisive bursts and a dramatic finish.

From the start Beyer charged off, but then the small, scruffy-looking Frenchman Gonzales took up the running and gained a five-metre lead after the first lap. Thomas Wessinghage of West Germany moved up to join him, bringing Ovett along to the front of the field. Coghlan, having spent the first lap at the back of the pack, moved up to cover Ovett.

As usual, David Coleman of the BBC provided an electrifying commentary (see video below) that captured what he described as the “fantastic atmosphere inside the stadium”. With a suitable sense of occasion for this major international final, after two laps he called the race positions by stating the countries of the runners: “France in front, West Germany second, Great Britain third, Ireland four, East Germany five…” He described with great relish the “bunching and banging” in the pack and the dynamic front running of Gonzales: “And still the little Frenchman driving on.”

Coming down the home straight for the second-last time, the field gathered in like a coiled spring. At the bell Coghlan squeezed past Gonzales on the inside while Ovett stayed wide and out of trouble. Coleman ratcheted up the tension, exclaiming that “they’re all in with a chance still, all twelve of them!” The excitement in his commentary is contagious.

With 300 metres to go the field burst open. Antti Loikkanen of Finland struck for home, and Ovett slipped in behind him into a prime attacking position. But down the back straight Coghlan was in trouble – he lost touch with the leaders and almost seemed to be going in reverse.

Ovett made his move with 200 metres to go, pulling away imperiously around the last bend and leaving the field strung out in his wake. His compatriot David Moorcroft passed Loikkanen too and moved into second place. With 50 metres still to go Ovett had the race won and gave his customary wave of triumph to the crowd. “And he’s already celebrating!” chuckled Coleman.

Meanwhile, Coghlan launched a desperate counter-attack to try and rescue something from the race. In sixth place at the top of the bend, he picked off Wessinghage and the other East German, Straub – but entering the home straight Moorcroft and Loikkanen were five metres ahead of him and looked to have done enough for the medals. Coghlan was back in the nightmare scenario of finishing fourth in a major final.

Yet somehow Coghlan hauled them in – first the Finn, who also gets passed by Wessinghage, and then Moorcroft. Crossing the line to claim silver, Coghlan flung his arms up as if he had won. After the frustration of Montreal and the prospect of a repeat of it ten seconds earlier, one can appreciate his relief at winning a major championship medal.

So, Coghlan had found some redemption for his Olympic defeat and had proved himself to be as strong outdoors as on the American indoor circuit. His next challenge would be to try for that elusive Olympic medal in Moscow in 1980.

Marcus O'Sullivan: 1996 Atlanta Olympics 1500 Meters

Here is a video of Marcus O'Sullivan's final race as an Olympian.  It's heat 4 (of 5) in the qualifying rounds of the men's 1500 meters at the 1996 Atlanta Games. It is O'Sullivan's fourth Olympic Games, and in this heat he's wearing the white vest, bib 1678.  The top four finishers from each of the 5 heats (plus the next 4 fastest non-automatic qualifiers across all the heats) advanced to the semi-finals.  In this heat O'Sullivan finished 6th and his time of 3:38.16 is a bit too slow to advance to the semi-finals: he was the fastest non-qualifier -- first man out, as it were. In fact, the last man into the semi-finals on time was Luis Fieteira of Portugal (3:38.09) who finished one spot ahead of O'Sullivan in this heat.  The gold medal was won at this Olympics by Noureddine Morceli of Algeria in 3:35.78.

Heat 4TeamTime
1. Hicham el GuerroujMAR3:37.66
2. William TanuiKEN3:37.72
3. Kader ChekhemaniFRA3:37.81
4. Isaac ViciosaESP3:37.93
5. Luis FeiteiraPOR3:38.09
6. Marcus O'SullivanIRL3:38.16
7. Peter PhilippSUI3:41.60
8. Werner Edler-MuhrAUT3:45.02
9. Alexis SharangaboRWA3:46.42
10.Ali Mabruk EzayediLBA3:51.49
-. Graham HoodCANDNF

Hardge Davis, Jr., 3-Time NCAA Champion, Dies at Age 65

Hardge Davis, Jr. was a standout quarter-mile sprinter at Villanova between 1966-1970, where he won three NCAA championships, five Penn Relays Championship of America titles, and six IC4A crowns.  Davis came to Villanova from New Jersey in 1966, after graduating from Montclair High School. He became a key contributor on the mile relay and sprint medley relay squads that dominated the competition on some of Jumbo Elliott's best teams.  His list of championships included:

3 x NCAA Mile Relay champion (1968i, 1968, 1970)
3 x Penn Relays Mile Relay champion (1968, 1969, 1970)
2 x Penn Relays Sprint Medley champion (1969, 1970)
5 x IC4A Mile Relay champion (1968i, 1968, 1969i, 1969, 1970)
1 x IC4A 440-yard Relay champion (1968)

Hardge graduated with a degree in economics from Villanova in 1970 and went on to Seton Hall Law School, from which he earned his JD degree in 1977.   He practiced law in New Jersey until his death.  Davis served his country as a member of the US Marine Corps Reserve.  He passed on May 31st.

Here is his obituary from the Star-Ledger:

Hardge Davis Jr.


Hardge Davis Jr., Esq., 65, made his transition on May 31, 2013. The celebration of his life will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. James A.M.E. Church, 588 Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Blvd., Newark, N.J. Visitation is Saturday from 9 a.m. until time of service at the church. Arrangements are by Whigham Funeral Home. Hardge was a resident of East Orange, N.J. He was a 1970 graduate of Villanova University with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and a 1977 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law. A former partner of the law firm Brown-Robinson, Davis and Davis and Wearing, Esquires, in 1999 he became a sole legal practitioner in Newark and East Orange, N.J. Hardge was a U.S. Marine Reserve veteran. He was the beloved husband of Jacquelyn Rucker Davis, Esq.; devoted father of Selina Jewel Davis, M.D., and Solana Ardienne Davis; son of the late Hardge Sr. and Narsis Davis; dear brother of Margaret N. Johnson, Mollie Davis and the late Frank Davis; brother-in- law of Jill Rucker Simmons (Edwin Dudley Simmons) and Mark Rucker (Phyllis Rucker). He is also survived by a host of other relatives and friends. In lieu of flowers, please make donation to The United Negro College Fund, 8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Dr., Fairfax, Va. 22031 or

Monday, June 10, 2013

Nova Class of '64 Trackster Still Chasing Records at Age 71

Frank Condon, who went 2:18 over 800 meters at the age of 68, running the 1600 last week

Frank Condon, 71, still outracing time


For a moment there in 2006, Frank Condon forgot who he was, what he represented, what he was trying to teach. And in the process he humiliated himself.

At the National Senior Games Championship in Boise, Idaho, Condon, then 64, approached Frank Levine, 82. Levine had just competed in the 80-and-over mile. In the course of telling Levine how he remembered him in 1964 when they both were on the track at Villanova University, Condon asked a simple question he regretted.

“So how did you get here?” Condon asked. He was acknowledging age bias. After all, when purchasing alcohol, Levine hadn't been asked to show his I.D. in over a half century.

“Well,” began Levine, a retired tax attorney, “I woke up yesterday morning in Philadelphia and got out of my bed, went to my shower, cleaned myself, put on my clothes, drove my car to the airport, got on my airplane, rented my car in Boise and checked in to my hotel room.

“How da hell did you get here?” Levine said tersely to Condon.

Condon turned 30 shades of hot pink and painfully got the message: “He didn't want me treating him like an old man. I was so embarrassed.”

Embarrassed because he not only knew better, Condon had felt and still feels to this day the sting of a dismissive glance at his white hair. As if somehow that color immediately exposes him as ancient history, a story already told, a life already lived.

Oh, how such a stereotype would be destroyed if a simple question was asked.

“Frank, are you active?”

Condon, who competed in the Sonoma Wine Country Senior Games this past weekend, would control an impulse to scream ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Condon holds three age-group world track records, a 5:11.44 for the indoor mile in the 65-69 bracket, a 2:17 in the 800 meters for the same age group, and the fastest time ever run by a 68-year-old in the 800 meters, 2:18.

Now 71, Condon has the American record for the 65-69 bracket with a 5:12.3 outdoor mile.

Condon has been a national senior champion 15 times in various events and age groups.

In other words Condon is no lumpy bag of marshmallows sitting on the sofa. He ain't no cupcake waiting for some more icing. He ain't a scoop of Haagen-Dazs wanting the hot fudge.

“The older you get,” said his wife, Jan, 72, who was the national 65-69 champion in the indoor 400 meters in 2006, “you care less what people think of you. You get braver.”

Condon still proud of his Villanova days
Appearances, like wrinkles or more hair growing out of your ears than on top of your head, become less important. Condon was a scholarship athlete at Villanova, ran a 1:47.5 800 there and may be more inclined than some other card-carrying AARP members to get out there and burn it. While the desire to run might flame hotter for Condon than others, the desire to live is universal, or it should be.

And technology — as odd as this may read — is helping to make it easier. It helps for one simple reason: It removes the isolation of working out with no one around, with no high school or university friends or teammates on the field or in the stands.

“Sometimes we are the only ones (of their age) on the track,” said Frank Condon, a realtor in Chico. “We look like we must be crazy.”

Out of sight from disbelieving, younger eyes is a network behind them, watching them, encouraging them.

“Thank God for the internet!” said Jan Condon, 72, a semi-retired occupational therapist. “The internet may save us or it may destroy us. In this case social media has helped us. You don't feel alone, not at all.”

The first National Senior Games were held in St. Louis in 1987 and the concept has taken root so well that now in the summer there are a Senior Games every weekend somewhere in America. The Sonoma Games, for example, were switched to a week earlier so as not to conflict with another Senior Games in Pasadena.

“You don't feel intimidated when you are competing against people your own age,” Jan Condon said. “There's a freedom out there.”

The freedom to compete without feeling responsible for carrying a team, be it club, high school or college. It's not like you can't show your face at prom if you stink up a senior race. None of those adolescent whispers and finger-points exist. Maturity does have its advantages. One of them is the ability to shrug off insults.

Three years ago Frank Condon was running a 5K at an all-comers meet in Chico. About two and half miles into it Condon found himself next to three guys he guessed to be in their early 20s.

“They looked at my white hair,” Condon said, “and picked up the pace. I caught them. They picked up the pace again. I caught them again. They picked up the pace one more time. We were 600 yards from the finish. This time I said to myself, 'I'm going to put some serious pain on them.' I ran away with it.

“They came up to me afterwards and asked me how old I was. I told them I was 68. They said no way. Then they asked who I was. I told them. Then one of the guys said, 'Wow, he's the old running legend we've heard about.'”

There was emphasis, Condon said, on the word “old.” Did it bother him? Nope. Instead, Condon focused on another word — “legend” — and smiled. You've got to be around for a while to be a legend. When you're in your early 20s, you can't be that fortunate.

Cats Compete at NJ International Invitational

Several Villanova athletes competed on Saturday at the 27th annual New Jersey International Invitational at Colts Neck High School.  Here are the results from the Villanova contingent

Full results are HERE


800 meters
Jordy Williamsz         1:49.93
Chris FitzSimons       1:59.79


400 meters
Michaela Wilkins     56.85

800 meters
Nicky Akande           2:08.81

1500 meters
Stephanie Schappert      4:19.06
Kelsey Margey              4:19.61
Angel Piccirillo              4:21.99
Ariann Neutts                4:25.81

100 meter hurdles
Shericka Ward         13.35
Emerald Walden      13.45

High Jump
Sam Yeats            1.75 meters

Sheila Reid in Loaded 800 Field for Toronto International

In the lead up to Canadian nationals, Sheila Reid will be working on her 1500 finishing speed by competing tomorrow over 800 meters at the Toronto International Track & Field Games.  Here's the start list for the race, which boasts 6 Olympians and 4 sub-2:00 runners.  Reid looks to lower her 2:04.60 PR in light of her major improvement (down to 4:02.96) over 1500 meters last week at the Prefontaine Classic.

Complete start lists for the meet are HERE.

Running Room 800m NTL
Name Country Personal Best Major Accomplishment
Rachel Aubry CAN 2:02.00 Canadian University Medalist
Melissa Bishop CAN 1:59.8 2012 Olympian
Leanna MacLean CAN 2:03.96 3x Canadian Championship Medalist
Lemlem Bereket  CAN 2:00.82 2012 Canadian Champion
Sheila Reid CAN 2:04.60 2012 Olympian
Jessica Smith CAN 1:59.00 2012 Olympian
Helen Crofts CAN 2:02.10 2013 NCAA DII Champion
Marilyn Okoro GBR 1:58.45 2012 Olympian
Nicole Sifuentes CAN 2:01.30 2012 Olympian
Karine Belleau-Beliveau CAN 2:01.79 2011 TITFG 800m 3rd 
Kenia Sinclair JAM 1:57.88 2008 Olympian 
Fionna Callandar CAN Pacer

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Frances Koons goes 15:54.23 at Portland Track Festival
Misses "B" Qualifier for USA Nationals by 4 Seconds

Stepping to the line last night in Portland, Oregon for the Portland Track Festival 5000 HP race, former Villanova All American Frances Koons needed to run 15:46 to ensure a spot at USA Nationals (or 15:50 to attain the "B" standard for the event). Koons just missed getting the "B" standard, running 15:54.23, good for 10th place. Koons owns a 15:29.86 PR (at Stanford in May 2011).  While at Villanova, Koons was the 2009 NCAA indoor championships runner-up to Sally Kipyego over 5000 meters, and finished 3rd at that distance behind Angela Bizzarri and Nicole Blood at the NCAA outdoor nationals that same year.

Portland Track Festival - Open - 2013 - 6/7/2013 to 6/8/2013  
                      6/7/2013 to 6/8/2013                      
Event 5  Women 5000 Meter Run High Performance
 Meet Record: M 15:19.61  6/11/2011   Amy Hastings, Brooks      
     USATF-A: A 15:46.00                                        
     USATF-B: B 15:50.00                                        
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals 
  1 Jarzynska, Karolina          Unattached            15:25.52A
  2 Moser, Treniere              Nike Oregon Project   15:35.96A
  3 Thweatt, Laura               Boulder Track Club    15:41.38A
  4 Erdmann, Tara                Nike Oregon Project   15:42.39A
  5 Johnson, kellyn              adidas McMillan       15:44.78A
  6 Cain, Mary                   Unattached            15:45.46A
  7 Harrison, Kate               Athletics Toronto     15:48.68B
  8 Ramos, Beverly               Puerto Rico           15:50.94 
  9 Herzog, Adrienne             Brooks                15:51.14 
 10 Koons, Frances               Bryn Mawr Ru          15:54.23 
 11 Peyton, Meghan               Saucony/Team          15:57.88 
 12 Santisteban, Kelsey          Unattached            15:59.68 
 13 Jimenez, Betzy               Unattached            16:04.14 
 14 Aish, Nicole                 Unattached            16:15.89 
 15 Bizzarri, Angela             Brooks                16:18.80 
 16 Knight, Katie                North Centra          16:25.75 
 17 Sumpter, Sarah               UC Davis              16:27.21 
 18 Cozzarelli, Andrea           Unattached            16:34.64 
 19 Begay, Alvina                Unattached            16:35.25 
 20 Del Toro, Rosa               Unattached            16:36.04 
 21 Wilkie, Sabrina              Point Grey Tfc        17:04.79 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Entee Earns All American Status with 7th at NCAA 1500 Final
Emily Lipari Settles for 10th in Women's NCAA 1500 Final

Sam McEntee, 9th a year ago at these NCAA championship finals, improved to 7th this year and earned All-American status in the men's 1500 meters.  The race was a slow, tactical sit-and-kick race, with not much separating the field until the final strike for home (with 400 to go, all 12 runners were within 1.3 seconds of each other, with McEntee sitting in 11th place).  Oregon's Mac Fleet closed the final 400 (52.22) faster than anyone else to win the race, and took the title.  McEntee came home in 53.16 to move up four spots and finish in 7th. The top 8 men all finished within 1.15 seconds of each other.

  1 Mac Fleet                 JR Oregon                 3:50.25   10            
  2 Zach Perkins              SO Air Force              3:50.39    8            
  3 Patrick Casey             SR Oklahoma               3:50.60    6            
  4 Austin Mudd               SO Wisconsin              3:50.84    5            
  5 Jeremy Rae                SR Notre Dame             3:51.07    4            
  6 Robby Creese              SO Penn State             3:51.21    3            
  7 Sam McEntee               SO Villanova              3:51.35    2            
  8 Andrew Bayer              SR Indiana                3:51.39    1            
  9 Ryan Hill                 SR NC State               3:52.06                 
 10 John Simons               JR Minnesota              3:54.25                 
 11 Riley Masters             SR Oklahoma               3:55.12                 
 12 Patrick McGregor          SR Texas                  4:19.82

In the women's race, Emily Lipari was competing in her first NCAA outdoor individual final. Like McEntee, Lipari hit the bell lap in 11th place -- about 1.4 seconds off the leader. However, Lipari's kick, which has served her so well in the past, was not in evidence and she got heavier as the leaders struck for home. Lipari's final 400 was covered in 1:07.59, only 10th fastest in the 12-women field (by comparison, the top 6 finishers all closed in 1:04.19 or better). As the results below show, she was well detached by the time the race was over.

  1 Natalja Piliusina         JR Oklahoma State         4:13.25   10         
  2 Cory McGee                JR Florida                4:13.94    8         
  3 Amanda Mergaert           SR Utah                   4:14.30    6         
  4 Rebecca Tracy             SR Notre Dame             4:14.42    5         
  5 Amanda Eccleston          SR Michigan               4:14.56    4         
  6 Stephanie Brown           JR Arkansas               4:14.58    3         
  7 Shelby Houlihan           SO Arizona State          4:14.95    2         
  8 Amanda Winslow            SR Florida State          4:16.00    1         
  9 Linden Hall               SO Florida State          4:16.42              
 10 Emily Lipari              JR Villanova              4:18.68              
 11 Becca Friday              SR Oregon                 4:20.85              
 12 Anne Kesselring           SR Oregon                 4:28.17

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sam McEntee & Emily Lipari Advance to NCAA 1500 Final
Rob Denault Eliminated in Semi-Final

Villanova will have a competitor in both the men's and women's NCAA championship final over 1500 meters.  Sam McEntee ran the second fastest 1500 meters outdoors (3:41.32) of his career and showed a strong finishing kick (55.28 over the final 400 meters, 2nd fastest close in the heat) from mid-pack to come second in his heat (and second-fastest overall) and qualify for Saturday's final. It is McEntee's third NCAA final at 1500/mile: he was previously 4th at the 2012 NCAA indoor mile championships and came 9th at last year's NCAA outdoor championships 1500 meter final. Likewise, Emily Lipari spent much of her 1500 meter semi-final today in the middle of the pack, but was strong over the final 200 meters to move smartly into third place and qualify for the final.  Lipari ran 4:16.96 -- about one second off the 4:15.89 SB she ran at the NCAA East Regional. It is her first outdoor NCAA final appearance.
Villanova freshman Rod Denault, himself a sub-4:00 miler but running in traffic when the leaders struck for home, was unable to close in on the leaders of his heat and came 8th in his heat in 3:44.65.

Here are the complete results from each heat:


Event 5  Men 1500 M
 2 Heats.  Advance top 5 from each heat plus next best 2 times                  
    American: A 3:29.30  8/28/2005   Bernard Lagat, Nike                        
College Best: C 3:35.30  6/6/1981    Sydney Maree, Villanova                    
   NCAA Meet: M 3:35.30  6/6/1981    Sydney Maree, Villanova                    
    Name                    Year School                 Prelims                 
Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                           
  1 Mac Fleet                 JR Oregon                 3:41.21Q                
  2 Sam McEntee               SO Villanova              3:41.32Q                
  3 Zach Perkins              SO Air Force              3:41.46Q                
  4 Austin Mudd               SO Wisconsin              3:41.47Q                
  5 Ryan Hill                 SR NC State               3:41.53Q                
  6 John Simons               JR Minnesota              3:41.73q                
  7 Patrick Casey             SR Oklahoma               3:41.93q                
  8 Chad Noelle               SO Oregon                 3:42.80                 
  9 Matt Hillenbrand          JR Kentucky               3:44.48  3:44.475       
 10 Christopher Fallon        SR Ohio State             3:44.62                 
 11 Rich Peters               SR Boston U.              3:44.85                 
 12 Isaac Wendland            SR Liberty                4:00.78                 
Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                           
  1 Riley Masters             SR Oklahoma               3:42.84Q                
  2 Andrew Bayer              SR Indiana                3:43.00Q                
  3 Jeremy Rae                SR Notre Dame             3:43.19Q                
  4 Robby Creese              SO Penn State             3:43.55Q                
  5 Patrick McGregor          SR Texas                  3:44.15Q                
  6 Alex Hatz                 SO Wisconsin              3:44.48  3:44.476       
  7 Nathan Weitz              FR Northern Arizona       3:44.56                 
  8 Robert Denault            FR Villanova              3:44.65                 
  9 Grant Pollock             JR Virginia Tech          3:45.34                 
 10 Tyler Stutzman            JR Stanford               3:45.48                 
 11 Patrick Todd              SR Oregon                 3:46.95                 
 12 James Shirvell            JR Yale                   3:50.91



Event 25  Women 1500 M
 2 Heats.  Advance top 5 from each heat plus next best 2 times               
    American: A 3:57.12  7/26/1983   Mary Slaney, Athletics West             
College Best: C 3:59.90  6/7/2009    Jenny Barringer, Colorado               
   NCAA Meet: M 4:06.19  6/14/2008   Hannah England, Fla State               
    Name                    Year School                 Prelims              
Heat  1 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Natalja Piliusina         JR Oklahoma State         4:14.39Q             
  2 Shelby Houlihan           SO Arizona State          4:14.61Q             
  3 Anne Kesselring           SR Oregon                 4:14.74Q             
  4 Cory McGee                JR Florida                4:14.87Q             
  5 Amanda Mergaert           SR Utah                   4:14.89Q             
  6 Linden Hall               SO Florida State          4:15.51q             
  7 Amanda Eccleston          SR Michigan               4:16.29q             
  8 Charlotte Arter           JR New Mexico             4:19.27              
  9 Chloe Anderson            JR New Mexico             4:19.82              
 10 Josephine Adams           JR North Texas            4:20.52              
 11 Laura Roxberg             SR Missouri               4:21.52              
 12 Lianne Farber             JR North Carolina         4:23.18              
Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                        
  1 Stephanie Brown           JR Arkansas               4:16.41Q             
  2 Amanda Winslow            SR Florida State          4:16.59Q             
  3 Emily Lipari              JR Villanova              4:16.96Q             
  4 Becca Friday              SR Oregon                 4:17.46Q             
  5 Rebecca Tracy             SR Notre Dame             4:17.70Q             
  6 Greta Feldman             SR Princeton              4:18.25              
  7 Julia Zrinyi              FR Connecticut            4:21.17              
  8 Damajeria Dubose          SR UC Riverside           4:24.30              
  9 Agata Strausa             JR Florida                4:24.90              
 10 Kelly Curran              JR Notre Dame             4:28.20              
 11 Rebecca Addison           SR Michigan               4:28.89              
 12 Josephine Moultrie        SR New Mexico             4:31.86