Sunday, February 28, 2010

Coach, Rabbit & Record Holder

Marcus O'Sullivan made his Armory debut on February 9, 2002, as a 40 year old masters runner. In an unusual episode, Marcus served as a rabbit in the 3000 meter championship race -- a race that had three of his own collegiate runners competing (see photo above with Ryan Hayden trailing his coach early on). In the race, Ryan Hayden (8:00.60) was beaten by a stride by Stanford's Seth Hejny (7:59.91). O'Sullivan was working his way to a master's world record at 3000 meters, which he attained on February 26, 2002 when he ran 8:09.13 at Penn State. Villanova's Tom Parlapiano won that race, but the Villanova coach came third, setting a record that was broken only in January 2010. The results of that WR effort for O'Sullivan were:

Men 3000 Meter Run
1 Parlapiano, Tom SO Villanova 8:07.49
2 Estwanik, Chris SR Wake Forest 8:07.57
3 O'Sullivan, Marcus Villanova TC 8:09.13
4 Collings, Ian West Virginia 8:10.93
5 Watson, Pete West Virginia 8:14.39
6 Welsh, Dylan JR Georgetown 8:16.02
7 Costello, Greg JR Bucknell 8:18.14
8 Osborn, James SR Villanova 8:26.03
9 Esselborn, Chris Georgetown TC 8:26.42
10 Sabatino, Zack West Virginia 8:28.20
11 Barrett, Dave SR Wake Forest 8:28.79
12 Fraser, John James Madison 8:28.81
13 Sheehan, Ryan FR St. Francis 8:30.01
14 Tisserand, Clint SR Army 8:32.98
15 Bahnuk, Mark James Madison 8:34.64
16 Bennett, Erick West Virginia TC 8:34.75
17 Johnston, Bryan JR Bucknell 8:37.80
18 Smith, Brian FR Wake Forest 8:37.98
19 Ice, Andrew FR Wake Forest 8:41.21
20 Moyer, Steve Duquesne 8:41.91
21 Millioen, Charlie Georgetown TC 8:43.16
22 Borrelli, Kevin Duquesne 8:53.36

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interview with Frances Koons

Here's an interview with Frances Koons after her 4:33 indoor mile at the New Balance Indoor meet in Boston at the end of January. Frances is focusing on the 3000 meters this indoor season, so she was racing under distance for some speed work. Frances was an 8-time All-American at Villanova.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Monday, February 22, 2010

Former Villanova Great Eamonn Coghlan to Lead Irish High Performance Committee

Athletics: Irish Stars Facing Grants Battle
The Irish Independent
February 18, 2010
By Cliona Foley

IRISH athletes will have to work harder than ever before to maintain their individual grants under the Sports Council's revamped elite 'carding scheme' this season.

New quarterly performance reviews have been introduced in which athletes will have to meet pre-ordained targets.

If they're not achieving them -- with the exception of illness or injury --the Council will be looking for explanations and, if not satisfied, will cut their funding.

Athletes were individually subjected to annual reviews before, but a new High Performance Committee from within the Sports Council, chaired by former world champion Eamonn Coghlan, is upping the demands on them to avoid athletes coasting along on the security of State funding.

"My fear is that athletes put the cart before the horse, that their objective is just to achieve the (grant) qualifying criteria to get five or 12 grand," Coghlan said of the past system.

"Now their form will be monitored on a quarterly basis and if they're not achieving their targets, that's not good enough any more," he added.

Despite a 4pc overall cut in its government funding this year, the Sports Council announced an investment of €8.35m in elite Irish sport yesterday.

Sixteen sports received €5.7m for their 'high-performance plans' -- it was €5.12m last year -- and, individually, 273 athletes and four teams received €2.65m under the scheme.

Another significant change that Coghlan's sub-committee have made is how developmental and junior athletes are funded. They have sought more detailed plans than previously in this area in a bid to improve the country's talent identification processes.

Coghlan said that only Irish boxing and swimming had already got proper talent identification processes and both sports benefitted, like Irish cycling, with increased funding yesterday.

Another significant development was Minister for Sport Martin Cullen's declaration that he remains committed to the completion of the National Sports Campus Ireland at Abbotstown, whose building project has been suspended due to the recession.

Cullen said: "I personally see Abbotstown as absolutely crucial to the future of sport in this country."

One notable absentee from yesterday's high-performance plans and allocations was Basketball Ireland, whose current financial problems are so bad that they recently took the step of cancelling their senior men's and women's programmes for the next European Championships (2012).

That means Ireland will have no senior basketball teams for the next two years.

Big East Indoor Review Lauds VU Women & Sheila Reid

Reid leads Villanova to Big East Women's Title
By Christopher Hunt / February 21, 2010

By Christopher Hunt

The first time Villanova’s Sheila Reid crossed the finish line she smiled wide after she crushed the last 200 meters, leaving the field in her wake on her way to winning the 1,000 meters at the Big East Championships.

The last time she careened down the home straightaway her teeth showed through a grit and showed she refused to relent to fatigue, even after her third race of the day – the third time she smoked the field on the final lap like she somehow pressed a turbo boost button.

Reid first won the 1,000 in 2:45.02. She returned over an hour later to win the mile in 4:51.33 and used the same lightening kick to secure the 4x800 victory for Villanova as the Wildcats won their first Big East title in 10 years with 115 points. Louisville finished second with 107 and two-time defending champs UConn third with 84.

Reid said she made a point to work on her finishing speed and remembered being outkicked in the 1,000 last year.

“I just made it a priority not to let that happen again,” Reid said. “I’ve been feeling really good. I’m just a completely different athlete than last year.

It’s not just that Reid dominated. Teammate Nicole Schappert passed Georgetown’s Emily Infeld in the last 25 meters to finish secure a 1-2 finish in the 1,000. Schappert finished in 2:47.57. Then freshman Bodana Mimic tailed Reid for second in the mile in 4:51.89.

Villanova got added punch from Alison Smith, who won the 3,000 in 9:16.62, less than a second off of the NCAA auto-qualifying standard but will likely earn her a bid to the national championship. It was the first 3,000 of the junior’s collegiate career.

“That was my first 3,000 since my junior year of high school,” said Smith, a product of Altholton High in Maryland. “We just need the point when we can get them. The plan was to try to get to nationals. We thought I could win but I really wanted to go out and run a time.”

Smith couldn’t contain herself once she saw her the time. She banded herself from watching the clock during the race or checking her splits. She wanted the win first. But she had a fit when she heard the time and was still bouncing minutes later.

“I wasn’t thinking about that but nationals, nationals, nationals,” she said.

But while Nova controlled the distances, Louisville dominated the field. The Cardinals’ Jere’ Summers and Chinwe Okoro scored 1-2 in the shot put. Summers launched a throw 55 feet, 6.50 inches to win. Okoro tossed 52-7.25 for second. D’Ana McCarthy also took fourth and Amashi-Al Kendall fifth to give Lousiville 27 points in the shot. Then they grabbed 16 in the triple jump behind Rachel Gehret victorious 40-6.75 leap. Amaka Omeyinma earned third with a 40-3.50 jump.

Ariann Neutts (2:11.8), Schappert (2:09.3), Mimic (2:11.1) and Reid (2:07.0) won the 4x800 in a 8:39.34, the fastest time in the country this year. But Villanova held just a three-point lead going into the 4x400, the last event. Louisville needed to finish at least two places ahead of Nova to win but Louisville hurdler Theresa Reid fell apart on the third leg while fighting Nova’s Shericka Ward for fifth. Ward pulled away and sophomore Christine Verdier pulled the team into fourth.

Verdier, a graduate of Baldwin in Long Island, also finished third in the 400 in a season-best 54.21, which meet the NCAA provisional standard.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Matthew Gibney Wins Big East Mile Title

Matthew Gibney cut off all his hair and took the Villanova men's only individual Big East title this weekend with his mile victory. Gibney's win defends the mile title he won at last year's Big East indoor meet. The men won two relays: the DMR and the 4 x 800. Two Villanova men finished as runners-up: Mathew Mildenhall at 3000 meters (where Hugo Beamish was 3rd), and Cody Harper at 800 meters. The men's team finished 4th in the 13-team competition. Here are the results of the mile finals:

1 1318 Gibney, Matthew JR VILLANOVA 4:09.99I
2 1003 Carlson, Jordan SO NOTRE DAME 4:10.12I
3 1007 Clark, Daniel SR NOTRE DAME 4:10.71I
4 935 Hughes, Matt JR LOUISVILLE 4:11.13I
5 894 Mason, Alex SR GEORGETOWN 4:11.26I
6 816 Johnson, Scott SO CONNECTICUT 4:12.35I
7 1044 Rae, Jeremy FR NOTRE DAME 4:12.98I
8 1077 Kareis, Greg SO PITTSBURGH 4:13.21I
9 1113 Matthews, Julian SO PROVIDENCE 4:13.32I
10 956 Hackett, Jack SO MARQUETTE 4:14.47I
11 1296 Wiseman, Trevor SR SYRACUSE 4:15.20
12 1345 Tetreault, Brian JR VILLANOVA 4:20.14

VU Women Take Big East Indoor Title

For the first time in ten years, the Villanova women have won the Big East Indoor title. The 4 x 800 victory in the next-to-last event of the meet pushed the Villanova team past Louisville and to an 8-point team victory. Junior Sheila Reid, a Bowerman Award finalist, was named the meet's Most Outstanding Performer on the woman's side. Reid won the conference title in the mile (where Reid, Nicole Schappert, and Brooke Simpson went 1-2-5 in the final), the 1000 meters (where Reid and Nicole Schappert went 1-2), and anchored the conference champion 4 x 800 meters relay team. Junior Alison Smith won the 3000 meter conference title. The Villanova women also won the DMR.

The team scoring was:
1. Villanova, 115
2. Louisville, 107
3. Connecticut, 84
4. West Virginia, 76.50
5. Georgetown, 67'
6. Notre Dame, 58.50
7. Syracuse, 56
8. Seton Hall, 48
9. Cincinnati, 35
10. USF, 34.50
11. Rutgers, 27
12. Pittsburgh, 23
13. St. John's, 20
14. DePaul, 10
15. Marquette, 9.50
16. Providence, 9

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don Paige on the 1980 Olympic Boycott

Both Dick Buerkle (5000 meters) and Don Paige (800 meters) lost their chance to compete at the 1980 Moscow olympics when President Jimmy Carter instituted a USA boycott of the olympics in responce to the December 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. On the 30th anniversary of the boycott, Don Paige recently had this reflection:

“There is no ill will. He [President Carter] took all the information he had at the time. I’m not a big fan of being a Monday-morning quarterback. Hindsight is a wonderful thing in this world, and he had to make a tough decision which I’m sure crushed him when he had to make a stand worldwide. And those people who want to say politics should never be mixed in with sports don’t live in the real world. Politics has always been in sports. You don’t think there were politics involved when Jesse Owens had to run in 1936 in front of Adolf Hitler? There sure was. There will always be politics in sports, and I believe Jimmy Carter made the best decision he could at the time. I’m not going to sit here and say he made a bad decision. I still say maybe because Don Paige did not go to the Olympics, maybe I spared one life in Afghanistan. And, if I did, I sleep really well at night because of that. It makes me feel good and proud.”
—Don Paige, Track and Field

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blincoe wins Washington Husky Classic Mile in 3:57

Adrian Blincoe came from a bit off the pace to win the Washington Husky Classic invitational mile on February 13th. Ten of the 13 runners broke 4:00, including Sam Bair, Jr., who finally joined his father on the sub-4:00 list. Here are the results, a video of the race, and a post-race interview with Adrian:

1 Blincoe, Adrian New Balance 3:57.05
2 Fleet, Mac Oregon 3:57.70
3 Matusak, Mark California 3:58.36
4 Hassan, Abdi Arizona 3:58.50
5 Horn, Jordan Adidas/McMil 3:58.67
6 Marpole-Bird, Justin Stanford 3:58.76
7 Jesien, Andrew Ragged Mount 3:58.91
8 Boone, Jacob Oklahoma 3:59.44
9 Acosta, A.J. Oregon 3:59.48
10 Bair, Sam Unattached 3:59.72
11 Bishop, David New Mexico 4:00.74
12 Chipangama, Jordan Northern Arizona 4:01.75
13 Gauson, Kris Butler 4:07.10

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Former Villanova All-American Terrence Mahon at the Top of the Coaching Profession

Terrence 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).
Despite such an illustrious running resume, he is best known these days as one of the top professional coaches in the country. His stable of runners includes his wife Jen Rhines (winner of multiple national championships while at Villanova and a three-time olympian, at 5000, 10,000 and marathon), the American record holder for the marathon and olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor (nee Drossin), New York marathon winner and olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, and the American record holder for the half marathon (59:43) and 20 kilometers Ryan Hall. His younger charges include Sara Hall, Ian Dobson, Ann Willard, and Scott Bauhs.
Mahon is head coach at Mammoth Track Club in California, which has developed into a mecca of elite distance training.

Mahon is shown above at the muddy 2003 USATF cross country nationals, where he was a top 20 finisher.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bobby Curtis Interview after USATF Cross

On February 14, 2010 former Villanova NCAA champion Bobby Curtis made his second consecutive USA world championship cross country team by finishing 5th at the USATF cross country championship. Curtis states that he entered the cross nationals almost on a whim, with his quest to make the USA world indoor team having been a higher priority. With his spot on the world cross team secured, Bobby will now seek the world championships "A" standard and attempt to make the USA squad for world indoors. Here is a post-race interview.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Monday, February 15, 2010

Curtis Makes Team USA for World Cross

Bobby Curtis finished 5th at the 2010 USATF Cross Country championships on February 13, despite not much of a fitness base. As a result, Curtis has made the Team USA for the World Cross Country championships to be held on March 27th in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Curtis made the 2009 USA Cross team as well. He competed in Amman and finished 37th at the world championships. On Saturday, he covered the 12 kilometer course in 35:22. The top 6 finishers made the USA squad (pictured above). Here are the top 10 finishers:

1. Dathan Ritzenhein ............... 34:34
2. Patrick Smyth ................... 34:52
3. Scott Bauhs ..................... 35:01
4. Benjamin Bruce .................. 35:16
5. Bobby Curtis .................... 35:22
6. Ryan Vail ....................... 35:25
7. Bobby Mack ...................... 35:34
8. Antonio Vega .................... 35:41
9. Stephen Furst ................... 35:45
10. Matt Gabrielson ................. 35:47

The video of the race can be seen below (thanks to FloTrack).

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Curtis on his Sleep Issues and his Goals for 2010

Bobby Curtis had much of his 2009 summer and fall seasons wiped away by a recurring sleep issue and some minor injuries. Here is a January 23, 2010 interview from FloTrack.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reid on Bowerman Award Watch List

Villanona junior Sheila Reid is one of ten women -- and the only distance runner -- on the official Bowerman Award watch list. Three finalists will be named on June 15. The award is likened to the Heisman Trophy in college football. Here is the complete list:

Jessica Beard, JR Texas A&M Sprints

Queen Harrison SR Virginia Tech Hurdles

Amber Kaufman SR Hawaii Jumps

Mariam Kevkhisvili SR Florida Throws

Porscha Lucas SR Texas A&M Sprints

Liz Patterson SR Arizona High Jump

Shara Proctor SR Florida Jumps

Shelia Reid JR Villanova Distance

Alicia Rue SR Minnesota Pole Vault

Brianne Theisen JR Oregon Combined Events

1987: Marcus wins World Title #1

Here's the original article from The Irish Times on Marcus's first indoor world championship at 1500 meters. The article makes reference to the absence in the finals of Eamonn Coghlan. Coghlan had been tripped and had fallen in the semi-final heat. He had collected himself and caught up to the front group, but had nothing left for the final sprint and came fifth, thereby failing to qualify for the final. His appeal to be permitted into the final had been denied. The results in the final were:

1. Marcus O’Sullivan (Ire) ................................ 3:39.04 (CR)
2. Jose Abascal (Spa) ..................................... 3:39.13
3. Han Kulker (Hol) ........................................ 3:39.51
4. Jim Spivey (US) ......................................... 3:39.63
5. Mike Hillardt (Aus) ..................................... 3:39.77
6. Dave Campbell (Can) ................................... 3:40.82
7. Dieter Baumann (WG) .................................. 3:41.07
8. Alessandro Lambruschini (Ita) ......................... 3:42.25


Marcus O'Sullivan: it fell on his slim shoulders to avenge a nation and his response was quite breathtaking. Peter Byrne, in Indianapolis, reports on how the Corkman rose to the grand challenge at the Hoosier Stadium

MARCUS O’SULLIVAN deflected the question with the practised ease of a man who may have sensed that, after all the pre-final hype, fate had cast him centre stage in the World 1500 metres indoor championship.

O’Sullivan, the strain creasing the choirboy looks, had just beaten Jose Abascal of Spain in an absorbing finish which brought 20,000 spectators to a fine pitch of excitement in the Hoosier Stadium.

As the blood cooled and the first realisation of victory began to flood his mind, he hit the raw nerve of a controversy which was still refusing to go away.

“A lot of people will ask how Eamonn Coghlan’s absence coloured the race,” said O’Sullivan. “And I figure they are going to go on asking for I’m not sure if I know the answer.

“Eamonn had beaten me twice on the boards this season but I was looking forward to a third meeting. It’s a shame that he had to miss the final for I imagine it would have been some race.”

O’Sullivan, who confirmed his entry for the championships less than a fortnight ago and was still admitting to misgivings about that decision when he arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday, had plotted his title challenge from a back ground of uncertainty.

But, even as the Irishman put his foot on the throttle and hoped, he discovered a new dimension to his character in an absorbing head-to-head duel with Abascal over the last 200 metres.

Just as boxers can never gauge their resilience until they have stopped big punches with their chins, athletes find out the hard way about the inner person.

O’Sullivan’s education was, I suspect, advanced substantially when the story lines of the drama left him alone with the Spaniard in the gaze of much of the sporting world.

In that, perhaps, there was a fine sense of irony for the Irish camp had laid the blame, unequivocally, at the feet of Abascal’s handlers for the refusal of the International Amateur Athletics Federation to permit Coghlan to race in the final. Now it fell on O’Sullivan’s slim shoulders to avenge a nation and his response was quite breathtaking.

Some 250 metres earlier he had gambled, undeniably, in filling a tiny space in the inside lane when Abascal, reaching out for the acclaim of the crowd, made his break and set sail for home.

Jim Spivey, a local who was hoping to celebrate his 27th birthday with the biggest win of his career, and Australia’s Mike Hillardt, were already beginning to weaken when Abascal decided to go.

O’Sullivan, trapped along the curb , was then faced with the difficult choice of a tricky manoeuvre which would take him around the faltering pursuit, or, alternatively, risking a fall by running on the inside track. He gambled on the latter and joyously it worked. Hillardt, tiring, left just enough room for O’Sullivan to squeeze his tiny frame through the gap and once that had been negotiated, there were only two athletes left in the race with a chance.

At the bell, Abascal was clear by a dwindling metre but by the time they reached the top of the back straight, O’Sullivan had taken a fractional advantage. Within another ten metres, however, Abascal, taking the shortest way home, was back in front and at that point we realised that courage and not speed was the essence of survival for the Irishman.

Running shoulder to shoulder in a supreme battle of wills down the finishing stretch, the two principals were still locked together until the final 15 metres when O’Sullivan, in a final surge of strength, got up to win.

It was the second time in less than a month that Abascal had been caught on the line by O’Sullivan and later he was generous in his praise.

“I thought I had done everything right but I knew I was in trouble when I looked around and saw Marcus on my shoulder,” he said, “that brought back some unhappy memories but halfway down the finishing straight, I still thought I could do it.”

Before being taken away for a routine drugs test, O’Sullivan relived the thrills of those closing 50 metres.

“I shut my eyes and hoped as I went for the line and I knew I had made it when I looked around and saw Abascal’s face.

“Never has a finishing straight seemed so long to me and I’ve never been in a head-to-head situation like that. But the sense of achievement is something else.”

O’Sullivan had run the last 300 metres in 40.20 seconds to win in 3.39.04 and, given the sharp competitive element of the race, that bespoke the man’s determination on the day.

As the Irish tricolour was raised and O’Sullivan took his place on the presentation podium, one sensed that his mind had already leapt ahead to Rome in September. No less than the man seated right up in Block A of the stadium and now largely ignored by the crowds, he suspected that there would be another day of reckoning . . . another collision with the man cursed with misfortune yet again here in Indianapolis, Eamonn Coghlan

Coghlan's WR Sub-3:50 Mile Indoors

Here's a video of Eamonn Coghlan running 3:49.78 indoors in 1983 at the Brendan Byrne arena in the Meadowlands, New Jersey. He and Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj are the only two men to have broken 3:50 indoors.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Carl Mackenzie Villanova Mile Champ at New Balance Collegiate Invite | Video Interview from Flotrack

Carl Mackenzie won the invitational mile at the New Balance Collegiate meet last weekend, in 4:04. Here's a interview with Carl from the folks at FloTrack.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Villanova DMR Champs at New Balance meet | Video from FloTrack

Here's a post-race interview with the Villanova women's squad that won the New Balance Collegiate Invitational DMR, over defending national champs Tennessee, and in the #2 time in the NCAAs this season.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Schappert runs USA #1 Mile at New Balance Collegiate

Villanova senior Nicole Schappert won the mile race at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the Armory on Saturday night. Her time of 4:35.97 is an NCAA automatic qualifier and places her in the #1 spot on the NCAA performance list this indoor season. It's also a 6 second PR from her 2009 best. The results of the race were:

Women 1 Mile Run Championship
Name Year School Seed Finals
1 Schappert, Nicole Villanova 4:40.00 4:35.97
2 Infeld, Emily Georgetown 4:37.00 4:36.83
3 O'Connell, Jessica West Virginia 4:40.00 4:43.73
4 Tomlin, Renee Georgetown 4:38.00 4:47.34
5 Smith, Alison Villanova 4:49.42
6 Gregory, Lauren Georgetown 4:43.00 4:50.05
7 Smith, Leonie Iona 4:44.00 4:50.86
8 Schneider, Rachel Georgetown 4:45.50 4:51.68
9 Beutler, Ashley Wisconsin 4:48.35 4:52.62
10 Farias-Eisner, Anna Duke 4:43.00 4:53.11
11 Zeferjahn, Tanya Queens Univ. 4:49.00 4:53.33
12 Borduin, Lauren Georgetown 4:46.00 4:53.38
13 Simpson, Brooke Villanova 4:48.00 4:55.60
14 Leutner, Lisa Fla Atl 4:47.00 4:56.68

Friday, February 5, 2010

Villanova Women's DMR Posts USA #2 Time

In a thrilling DMR at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on February 5 at the Armory, the Villanova women defeated the defending DMR national champions from Tennessee and 2009 5th place finisher Georgetown, all of whom finished within one second of each other. Sheila Reid ran the 1600 meter anchor and out-leaned Tennessee's defending NCAA 800 meter champion Phoebe Wright for the win. Villanova's time of 11:02.83 is the #2 time in the NCAA this season (behind only Oregon) and an NCAA automatic qualifier.

Here's how the Armory's Christopher Hunt described the race:

The Tennessee women are accustomed to championship racing at the Collegiate Invitational, especially in the distance medley relay, where they first set the American record last year. This time, the Lady Vols were again in the lead in the closing stages with NCAA 800 champ, Phoebe Wright holding the baton on the mile anchor leg. But for lap after lap she towed the field and Villanova’s Sheila Reid took advantage and pounced in the last 50 meters.

Wright nearly held her off but Reid won on a lean and Villanova claimed victory in 11:02.83. Tennessee finished in 11:02.85.

“If you’re giving the baton to someone on the anchor leg I’d want it to be Phoebe Wright,” said Chanelle Price, who put the team in the lead on the third leg. “If it comes down to 50 meters, 9 times out of 10 Phoebe’s got it. Today she didn’t. She did all the work. If it was the other way around maybe it would have been different. But it’s okay. It’s good to get your butt kicked once in a while.”

For a video interview with the DMR girls, click here:

Event 26 Women Distance Medley Championship

School Finals

1 Villanova 'A' 11:02.83
1) Schappert, Nicole 2) Verdier, Christie
3) Neutts, Ariann 4) Reid, Sheila

2 Tennessee 'A' 11:02.85
1) Sheffey, Brittany 2) Wortham, Ellen
3) Price, Chanelle 4) Wright, Phoebe

3 Georgetown 'A' 11:03.80
1) Tomlin, Renee 2) Johnson, Abigail
3) Whalen, Christine 4) Infeld, Emily

4 Arkansas 'A' 11:06.56
1) Learch, Samantha 2) Williams, Shelise
3) Brown, Stephanie 4) Gillespie, Kristen

5 Texas Tech 'A' 11:10.28
1) Biwott, Purity 2) Clarke, Trudeann
3) Kipsang, Gladys 4) Karunde, Caroline

6 Brigham Young 'A' 11:10.89
1) Wagner, Angela 2) Stewart, Natalie
3) Stewart, Nachelle 4) Cramer, Lacey

7 University of Michigan 'A' 11:13.69
1) Addison, Becca 2) Smith, Jillian
3) Tauro, Danielle 4) Vinson, Shana

8 Boston College 'A' 11:17.64
1) King, Caroline 2) Cioffredi, Anna
3) Bailey, Caitlin 4) King, Jillian

9 West Virginia 'A' 11:17.68
1) Bland, Keri 2) Rotilio, April
3) Christopher, Kaylyn 4) O'Connell, Jessica

10 UCLA 'A' 11:39.02

11 Wisconsin 'A' 11:44.51
1) Beutler, Ashley 2) Ditscheit, Carli
3) Grinaker, Hanna 4) Donath, Amanda

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Versatile Mary Bohi signs with Villanova

Gina Procaccio has signed a versatile hurdler/middle distance runner from Seneca High School in Tabernacle, New Jersey. Reigning Group 3 New Jersey state champion in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles Mary Bohi will join the Villanova track team in the fall. Mary is also a promising talent at 800 meters (PR of 2:11.56), at which distance she finished 4th in the Group 3 state meet last summer. Bohi's best times are 59.80 (400 meters), 1:01.49 (400 meter hurdles), 2:11.56 (800 meters), and 5:24.96 (1600 meters). As a junior she finished 14th in the 400 hurdles at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, NC. Here is the December 2009 story from The Burlington County Times announcing her decision to attend Villanova:

Seneca's Bohi headed for Villanova
By: Reuben Frank
Burlington County Times

Seneca senior Mary Bohi, one of only two girls in the U.S. to run 2:11 for 800 meters and 1:01.49 in the intermediates this past spring, will continue her education and track career at Villanova, Bohi said today.
“I loved pretty much everything about it,” Bohi said. “The campus had a great feel to it, everyone there – especially the team – was extremely nice and made me feel a part of the team right away.
“I love the coaching staff and know they can get me to my full potential, and I’m so excited about that. I knew the whole weekend that I was on my official visit that Villanova was where I wanted to go, and myself, my parents and my coaches are thrilled.”
Bohi ran 2:11.56 and 1:01.49 at the state Group 3 meet, winning her first state title in the 400 intermediates. The only other girl in the U.S. who ran that fast for both races was Ellen Dougherty of East High in Sioux City, Iowa (2:08.94, 1:01.25).
Bohi and senior All-America Michelle Brown helped Seneca win state Group 3 team titles both indoors and outdoors. They also teamed with Lyndsy Horn and Nicole McGrainer to win the Millrose Games mile relay and with Horn and Kayla Moody to win Penn Relays and state 1,600-meter relay titles.
Brown signed with Notre Dame last month, so Bohi and Brown will find themselves competing against each other in the Big East Conference.
“Mary chose an amazing school and I couldn’t be happier for her, especially since Villanova is in the Big East,” Brown said. “I’m so excited to be able to run against one of my best friends next year.”
Villanova is rich in track and cross country tradition. The Villanova women’s cross country team won its eighth NCAA title last week and is a perennial national contender on the track.
Nova women’s track coach Gina Procaccio and legendary Shawnee middle-distance runner Michelle DiMuro ran together on several world-class relay teams, including the 3,200-meter relay team that set a world indoor record of 8:24.72 in 1987.
Bohi, who ranks No. 2 in county history in the 800 and No. 5 in the intermediates, plans to study nursing at Villanova.
“It has one of the best nursing programs in the country, and it has one of the best track programs,” Bohi said. “I know it was the best possible fit for me.”

Chris O'Sullivan to Run for Villanova

Two-time Pennsylvania state cross country medalist and 2009 all-state harrier Chris O'Sullivan will join his father's squad in the fall. Not surprisingly, given the DNA involved, Chris is a top miler in Philadelphia and currently leads the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) list at that distance. He finished 2nd in the mile at the PCL championship meet as a junior. Running for St. Joseph's Prep, Chris had a great 2009 cross country season, finishing second at the prestigious Paul Short meet, covering the 5 kilometer course in 15:41. At the PCL cross championship, Chris trailed only Tom Kehl in finishing second. Only in the last two years have the Philadelphia Catholic League schools competed at the PIAA state championship XC meet, and Chris acquitted himself nicely, finishing 24th as a junior and 18th as a senior. Chris has PRs of 15:41.00 (5000 meters), 9:57.66 (3200 meters), 4:23.13 (mile), 4:16.27 (1600 meters), 4:08.28 (1500 meters) and 2:06.19 (800 meters). In the 2009 outdoor season, he finished 9th at the Pennsylvania state championships in the 1500 meters.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dave Cotton Signs with Villanova

Dave Cotton of Daniel Hand high school in Madison, CT has signed on to join the Villanova track and cross country squads, picking the Wildcats over Virginia and Virginia Tech. Cotton has achieved multiple all-state honors in Connecticut and finished 31st at the 2009 New England cross country championship. Competing in the same conference as Villanova's other Connecticut signee Chris FitzSimons, Cotton has PRs of 2:37.47 (1000 meters), 4:22.93 (mile), 9:35.58 (3200 meters), 9:45.74 (2 miles), and 16:30.00 (5000 meters). Dave comes from a strong running bloodline: his father Mike Cotton ran track and cross country for the University of Virginia from 1977-1981 and still ranks #1 on the all-time UVA 10,000 meter list (28:55.34), #3 on the school's all-time steeple list (8:44.44), and #3 on the all-time 5000 meters list (13:56.44).

Connecticut Middle Distance Ace Signs with Villanova

Villanova has signed Hamden (CT) High School's Chris FitzSimons to join Marcus O'Sullivan's men's program. Chris is currently the USA #1 schoolboy at 600 meters (1:20.63) and he recently won his debut attempt at the mile at the 14th annual New Balance Games at the Armory. His time in that race (4:17.33) places him at 16th on the national high school mile list. Running off a slow pace, FitzSimons bolted with three laps to go and won by 4 seconds. His splits were 2:14 - 2:03. Chris's PRs are 50.92 (400 meters), 1:20.63 (600 meters), 1:51.96 (800 meters), 2:33.46 (1000 meters), 4:17.33 (mile), and 16:16 (5000 meters). He is also part of the USA #1 DMR team (10:19.64) at Hamden.

Honoring Four Great Milers

Two Villanova greats were among the four iconic milers honored at last weekend's Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden. Pictured above are Raymond Flynn, Jim Ryun, Eamonn Coghlan, and Marcus O'Sullivan. Flynn, Coghlan, and O'Sullivan constitute three-quarters of the (still reigning) world record-holding 4 x mile Irish relay team that went 15:49.08 back in 1985. Below is the press release by Victah Sailer for the IAAF.

Careers of four great milers acknowledged in New York
Saturday, 30 January 2010

New York, USA - Four of the greatest ever indoor milers gathered on the eve on the 2010 Millrose Games at the world famous NYAC on Thursday 28 January.

Ray Flynn, the Irish outdoor record holder and current athlete manager; Eamonn Coghlan, the Irish Indoor record holder, the only human to run under 4 minutes after turning 40 years of age and called the "Chairman of Boards" for his 7 Wanamaker Mile victories in New York; Ireland’s three-time World Indoor 1500m champion Marcus O’Sullivan, the current coach of the Villanova Wildcats; and Jim Ryun, the most famous track and field school boy in US History who has graced the covers of Sports Illustrated more times than any track and field athlete were recognized on Thursday evening.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Koons named Most Courageous Athlete

After Beating Cancer, Villanova Runner Koons Wins Courageous Athlete award

Philadelphia Daily News

As 5-2 Frances Koons looked back over her athletic career and the obstacles she later faced, the eight-time All-America in track and cross country from Villanova realized that it was not just the length of her legs that carried her to stardom but the size of her heart.

"And probably a good set of lungs, some genetics and some hard work played into that, too," said Koons, 23. "So I guess I have just been really blessed with all of that."

Blessed is a word with which Koons has more than a passing acquaintance. Diagnosed during the summer of 2007 with clear-cell renal carcinoma - a form of kidney cancer typically found in people over 40 who are heavy smokers, obese or have high blood pressure - Koons had successful surgery to remove the tumor and has since resumed her training regimen with the hope of qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.

In recognition of her fortitude in overcoming a potentially deadly illness, Koons was announced yesterday as the winner of the 2010 Most Courageous Athlete Award by the Philadelphia Sports Writers. The association honored her last night at their 106th annual dinner at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill.

She said at the press conference before the event that she was "truly humbled."

"I am so just deeply honored," she said. "It is kind of an amazing award to get. I was really surprised. Really special."

Koons said she was "really surprised" when she received her cancer diagnosis. She remembered that she had "no blatant symptoms," only "the feeling that something was off" physically as she went through her rigorous training program. While she said the doctors told her they were 95 percent sure she had kidney cancer, Koons said they explained that they could not be 100 percent sure until they performed surgery. That occurred in August 2007, and doctors verified the cancer. Koons said it was a "quick turnaround" between her diagnosis and being cancer-free.

They immediately removed the tumor with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery and, she said, "They got all of it."

She said she is lucky doctors found it when they did.

"[The doctors] just happened to find it," said Koons, who starred at Villanova between 2004 and '09. "It is a very slow-growing cancer and I was just really fortunate that I had doctors who caught it in the early stages. Once it metastasizes, kidney cancer has a really tough prognosis."

Koons has had a stellar career, during which she was named 2006 NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional cross country athlete of the year. Unable to perform for a year in the wake of her surgery, she reached the semifinals in the 1,500-meter run at the 2008 Olympic trials. She said she experienced a deep level of joy being able to compete again.

"When you put hard work into something and you have something successful come out of it, you know you are going to be happy with that," Koons said. "But when you have a life-altering [event], you appreciate it that much more. I kind of savor the experience."

Koons said her ordeal has changed her perspective on competition.

"It has made me more care-free about running," said Koons, who attended Allentown Central Catholic High. "There is not as much weight on your shoulders, because you know there are a lot more important things in life."

Koons said the support she has received from the running community was "pretty phenomenal." She called it "awesome medicine." But she also has reached out to other athletes she heard from who have had medical problems, including a woman from the University of Minnesota who had brain cancer and is now cancer-free. Doing so has allowed her to connect with the human spirit of others, which she says inspires and humbles her. She said she hopes to be a spokeswoman for kidney research.

Koons said she has to have annual checkups, but said the doctors have told her they do not expect the cancer to come back. With a degree in mathematics, she is now finishing work at Villanova on her master's degree in applied statistics, which she said could lead to a career with a pharmaceutical company or medical research. She also hopes to participate in the schedule of events leading up to the 2012 London Olympics.

She does not consider herself "courageous."

She thinks of her brother when she thinks of that word. Sgt. Frederick Koons is scheduled to go back to Iraq or Afghanistan in the spring.

"Courage is the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the people helping in Haiti right now," she said. "That is on a bigger level. But on a more micro-level in our lives, we can be courageous in our personal relationships. Or just sending a smile to someone when they are down . . . Everyone is capable of being courageous in their own way."

Shabunin erases Coghlan & O'Sullivan WRs

Forty-year-old Russian Vyachelav Shabunin has erased the master's world records of two Villanova greats, Eamonn Coghlan and Marcus O'Sullivan. As described below in an article from Race Results Weekly, Coghlan's master's WR in the 1500 and O'Sullivan's master's WR over 3000 meters were both bested by Shabunin in the first five weeks of the new year. Shabunin has lifetime PRs of 3:32.28 (1500 meters), 3:49.83 (mile) and 7:39.24 (3000 meters), and has run 1:01.29 for the half marathon.

Athletics: Coghlan Surrenders Another Record

From David Monti
© 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

By David Monti with Sergey Tikhonov

Irishman Eamonn Coghlan, who lost his record for the most Wanamaker Mile wins at the Millrose Games to Bernard Lagat last Friday in New York, surrendered another record yesterday.
Running in the Russian Under-23 Indoor Championships in Moscow on Monday, 40 year-old Vyacheslav Shabunin placed fourth in the 1500m in 3:44.39, toppling Coghlan's previous 40-and-over best of 3:45.3 set in New York City on Feb. 26, 1993.
For Shabunin, a three-time Olympian, this was his second world masters indoor record this season. He also clocked 8:04.34 for 3000m in Yekaterinburg on Jan. 7, bettering the mark of another Irishman, Marcus O'Sullivan, who ran 8:09.13 at Penn State (University Park), in 2002.
Shabunin is the Russian record holder for 1500m both indoors and outdoors, with career best times of 3:36.68 and 3:32.28, respectively.