Thursday, March 28, 2013

Jen Rhines Getting Ready for Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

Three Olympians Among Field for USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship

March 20, 2013
2013 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run will also feature top male finishers from last year’s race

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Race Director Phil Stewart announced  that U.S. Olympians Janet Cherebon-Bawcom, Jen Rhines and Colleen De Reuck will be competing in the upcoming USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship, presented by America’s Credit Unions, which is being held in conjunction with the 2013 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, April 7.
On the men’s side, last year’s winner, Allan Kiprono will return to defend his title, and will face 2012 runner-up Lani Kiplagat. With nearly four weeks to go until race day, both the men’s and women’s fields are sure to see notable additions; the complete roster of elite runners will be announced on Wednesday, April 3.

“I’m pleased to have both course recordholders entered in this year’s race,” said Stewart. “Colleen De Reuck set the still-standing women’s course record of 51:16 back in 1998, when she was competing for the Republic of South Africa, and Allan Kiprono set the men’s course record just last year in a time of 45:15, which was the fastest 10-mile time of the year and the fifth fastest all-time.”
Stewart continued: “And I’m thrilled to see how the field is shaping up for the USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship, presented by America’s Credit Unions. The American women will be racing for both open and U.S. Championship prize money, with $14,400 specifically earmarked to be paid to the top 10 American women.”

Ladia Albertson Junkans, 8th in the 2012 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship; Alvina Begay, who ran a personal best 32:35 for 10,000 meters on the track at last April’s Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational; Sarah Crouch, 5th in the 2011 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship; Clara Grandt, 7th in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials; Kellyn Johnson, 10th in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials; Renee Metevier-Baillie, 2nd in the 2010 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship; Stephanie Pezzullo, 6th in last year’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run; and Molly Pritz, 7th in the 2011 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship.

In addition to Janet Cherebon-Bawcom, a finalist in the 10,000 meters for the U.S. in last summer’s London Games; Jen Rhines, who represented the U.S. in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and marathon in the Beijing, Sydney and Athens Olympics respectively; and Colleen De Reuck, who competed for the U.S. in the marathon in Athens, after representing South Africa in Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney; other American women who have committed to the race to date include Ladia Albertson Junkans, 8th in the 2012 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship; Alvina Begay, who ran a personal best 32:35 for 10,000 meters on the track at last April’s Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational; Sarah Crouch, 5th in the 2011 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship; Clara Grandt, 7th in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials; Kellyn Johnson, 10th in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials; Renee Metevier-Baillie, 2nd in the 2010 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship; Stephanie Pezzullo, 6th in last year’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run; and Molly Pritz, 7th in the 2011 USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship.

The 41st running of the “Runners Rite of Spring®” is sure to see some fast times on both the men’s and women’s side, with the prize money pool including bonuses of $1,000 for the first man to run sub-46 minutes, $1,000 for the first woman to run sub-52 minutes, and $2,500 for the first U.S. woman to break the single-sex American Record of 54:38, which was set by the late Sally Meyerhoff in the 2009 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run.

A total of $50,000 in prize money and bonuses will be awarded in equal amounts to the top 10 men and top 10 women, with an additional $14,400 to be awarded to the top 10 American Women; a total of $1,750 will be awarded to the top three U.S. men who finish among the top 15 overall finishers.
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run is the only truly elite road race in our Nation’s Capital, and is a proud member of the Professional Road Running Organization (PRRO) Circuit. PRRO is an alliance of race directors who together organize and the PRRO Circuit, a nationwide series of premier non-marathon road racing events. Circuit events include the World’s Best 10K in San Juan, PR; the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile; the Lilac Bloomsday 12K in Spokane, WA; the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, NY; and the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA. A trip to the PRRO Race of Champions at the 2013 AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4, 2013 will be awarded to the first local man and woman.

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom is known as “The Runner’s Rite of Spring®.” The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier children’s hospitals across the United States. Since the Credit Unions became the title sponsor of the race in 2002, over $5.5 million dollars has been donated to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. About one-third of the funds raised support Washington, DC’s own Children’s National Medical Center (“Children’s Hospital”). The event also funds two $5,000 Road Runners Club of America “Roads Scholar” grants designed to support up-and-coming U.S. distance running talent.

For more, visit

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hugo Beamish Wins New Zealand 5000 National Title

Hugo Beamish seizes NZ 5000 Title

Former Villanova distance man Hugo Beamish -- a two-time Big East champion over 5000 meters -- won the New Zealand national championship at that distance today at the 2013 National Track & Field Championships.  Beamish, coached by Adrian Blincoe (Villanova's former NCAA 3000 meter champion, assistant coach, and reigning NZ National Record holder over 5000 meters), out-kicked Malcolm Hicks over the final 250 meters to take the win in 14:01.09. Hicks was second in 14:04.16, with Aaron Pulford about 12 seconds back in third, 14:13.48.  Hicks and Beamish hit the 3000 meter mark in about 8:34, but it was Beamish's 57-second closing lap that won him the title.  The race video is above, thanks to Rees Buck of the NZ Run website.

5000 meters -- Senior -- Top 10 Finishers
 1.  Hugo Beamish              14:01.09
 2.  Malcolm Hicks             14:04.16
 3.  Aaron Pulford             14:13.48
 4.  Tim Hodge                 14:15.55
 5.  Matt Baxter               14:24.19
 6.  Evan Cooper               14:30.53
 7.  Ben Barry                 14:32.01
 8.  Oska Baynes               14:32.16
 9.  Jonathan Jackson          14:32.59
10.  Stephen Lett              14:35.66

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sheila Reid Front and Center in New Nike Commercial

Sheila Reid, a Nike-sponsored professional, is featured in this new Nike commercial for its FlyKnit Lunar 1+ shoe, proving once again that talent + good looks = lethal combination.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What Ever Happened to Villanova's Irish Pipeline?

Here's an interesting article that appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News way back on July 16, 1990 on the topic of Villanova's Irish "pipeline."  The article reflects an optimistic tenor that then new  men's coach Marty Stern (women's head coach, 1984-1994; men's head coach, 1990-1994) would be able to revive the fertile recruiting grounds left somewhat fallow by his predecessor Charlie Jenkins (men's head coach from 1981-1990).  We now know, of course, that this optimism was generally misplaced, as Villanova was never again able to rekindle the dominating recruiting ties to Ireland that fed the Villanova program.  While Villanova did successfully recruit a few Irish athletes after 1990 (think Emer Molloy, Ken Nason, Geraldine McCarthy, and Richie Corcoran), it was never again able to predictably attract the very best Irish talent.   Providence (Ray Treacy), Iona (Mick Byrne), and Arkansas (John McDonnell) -- all then led by Irish coaches -- combined to take the lion's share of that talent, and Villanova was never able to recover its prior recruiting dominance in Ireland.  Villanova coach Marcus O'Sullivan (VU class of 1984) is in many ways the last tangible link to that golden era of the Irish Pipeline: he was the final major Irish recruit to Villanova under Jumbo Elliott (head coach from 1935-1981) and, as head coach for the past 15 years, the last existing connection in the program to its erstwhile fertile breeding grounds.

For Marty Stern's ultimate fate at Villanova, go HERE

Tracking Down Talent 

Stern Believes Goodwill Trip To Emerald Isle Will Restore Pipeline For 'Nova Men's Program

by Kevin Mulligan, Daily News Sports Writer

July 16, 1990

The sight of Marty Stern in Ireland was cause for celebration among the Villanova alumni living on the Emerald Isle. So, even though the Wildcats' new men's track coach meant business - and nothing but - there still was time for a trip to a famed Irish pub.

"Uncle Marty" Stern
 "I went to a pub with (1972 Villanova grad) Donal Walsh, and he's like legendary over there . . . for uh, more than running the 2-mile," Stern said. ''But I stopped drinking years ago. All I had was a glass of wine at dinner one night. Donal didn't hassle me; he just looked at me a little weird."

Stern, who has run the increasingly successful women's track program at Villanova since 1984, added the men's post June 3, succeeding Dr. Charles Jenkins. He returned last Tuesday from his five-day tour of Ireland.

His mission: to mend fences, make friends, and re-establish the Irish Pipeline that helped the legendary Jumbo Elliott put Villanova's track program on the map.

The Irish connection faded during the nine-year Jenkins era, with Arkansas and Providence, both coached by Irish natives, becoming major players in recruiting Ireland's premier runners.

The day Stern was hired, he set the renewal of the Irish tradition at Villanova as a priority item on his
first-year calendar. Twenty Irish runners have passed through the 'Nova program, including 11 Olympians.

"When Ted (Aceto, athletic director) told me I had the job, the first thing I decided I wanted to do was go to Ireland," Stern said. "The first or second day as men's coach, I made arrangements. I didn't even know what I wanted to do in Ireland. I just knew that the head men's coach at Villanova, at least once during his years, should go there. And I could think of no better time to go than as soon as possible.

"The main thing I wanted to do was not really recruit people, per se. The idea, of course, is to end up doing that. I just wanted to go there, meet people and say, 'Hello, my name's Uncle Marty and here I am, a little Jewish guy from West Philadelphia. Here's what I'm like and what my program will be like.' "

Stern, it turned out, laid a lot more groundwork than he ever could have imagined.

Consider all that Stern, the two-time national women's Coach of the Year, crammed into his five days:

* He drove from Shannon to Cork for the Irish National Championship meet, which featured Villanova's Sonia O'Sullivan posting the fourth-fastest 5,000 meters in the world, and Ireland's national record. He also visited Villanova senior-to-be Aidan O'Regan and his family in Cork. Stern's trooper of a wife, Sharon, did all the driving, often despite a blazing toothache that required root canal work upon their return.

* He visited Villanova freshman-to-be Emer Molloy, the national school girl 1,500-meter champion in Ballymahon in County Longford, whom Stern recruited this year.

* He made a four-hour trip to Dublin, where Stern was hosted by legendary Ron Delany, the 1956 Olympic mile champion as a Villanovan, Noel Carroll (Villanova '65) and Jimmy Reardon, who, together with Cummin Clancy and John Barry, started Elliott's Irish Pipeline in 1948 (Class of '53).

* He held a press conference that was arranged by Delany, the most famous Irish athlete ever, that was attended by the country's nine national newspapers and several TV and radio stations.

"I just told them what I'm going to do," he said. "Not once did I allude to athletes I'm trying to recruit, or ask for any help. I talked about Sonia, Vicki Huber, the old ones, Delany, Carroll, Marty Liquori, and what we're going to be about at Villanova. And I reminded them that Villanova was started by the Augustinians from Ireland, and (laughing) that they've been my best friends for years.

Charlie Jenkins and Marcus O'Sullivan
 "The people I met didn't ask questions like, 'Where have you been?' " he said. "They didn't look back. They were too polite for that. They just said, 'Let's go forward.' The chain was never completely broken here. We've always had great people, even recently, like a Marcus O'Sullivan ('84), Gerry O'Reilly ('87), and now Aidan and Sonia. That helps a great deal. But yes, they could have been rough on me."

* Delany, Ireland's Babe Ruth, also paved the way for Stern to meet with the Lord Mayor of Dublin and Frank Fahey, the country's minister of sport. (Delany, in 1956, is Ireland's last athlete to win an Olympic medal in track.)

"The mayor received us at tea time, and he had on his uniform with all the medals on it," Stern said. "We had tea and cookies and talked about track and life in general. The minister wanted to know how the athletes might improve themselves and bring some medals to Ireland.

"He asked, 'How can we get some men like Sonia, or more women, how does that happen?' " Stern said. "And Delany said, 'Coaches like Uncle Marty make it happen.' I just said, 'Genetics is doing a pretty good job, because your Irishmen can run pretty well.' "

As a result of meeting Fahey, Stern will return to Ireland as the government's guest in December to run a series of clinics for coaches. Plans also are under way for an Irish coach to study under Stern and board at Villanova during this winter's indoor season.

Stern also revealed that he has received a "handshake" commitment from two of Ireland's premier male runners to attend Villanova in September 1991. NCAA rules prevented Stern from discussing recruits. He met their coaches at Ireland's version of an AAU track meet.

"I never try to pursuade someone to go to Villanova as women's coach, and I'm never going to do that with the men," Stern said. "What I do is say, 'This is our program, this is me, and this is what we've done. Now if you want to come here . . . '

"With the Irish, though, it's a little different, because you don't even want to persuade them to leave Ireland.

That would be an awful thing, and a 53-year-old man can probably talk an 18-year-old kid into almost anything. At least I know I can. So I don't want to use that weapon . . . (smiling) except on occasion . . . like when other 53-year- old men are telling the 18-year-old to leave and come to their school.

"But, seriously, I'll never talk a kid into leaving Ireland. I only wanted to talk to the people who've already made that decision. They've decided they want to leave Ireland and come to America for an education and to run.

"If it gets to a point where it's between Arkansas, Providence and Villanova . . . maybe then I'll use my talents of persuasion, but not until then."

The purpose of Stern's trip was simply to lay tracks. That he made ties that could lead to a couple top-flight runners attending Villanova next year was unexpected. It also looks like the start of something.

Something big again for Villanova's men's track team.

"I consider it one of the most important trips in the history of the program at Villanova," Stern said. "The point was to tell people over there that we're back. If the program is as successful as the trip was, we're back. The glory days are back.

"But we just don't want every Irish kid who can run fast. They have to be a gentleman, they have to be able to relate to me, communicate with each other. I'm not in any battle with the Arkansases and Providences and East Tennessee States to get the most Irish kids. I just want to win the NCAAs. It doesn't matter to me who's on the team, whether they're from Kenya or 52nd Street.

"But I think that Irish kids . . . there's a lot of talent in Ireland, and they really belong at Villanova.

"And I came back feeling that the high-quality kid, academically and athletically, we're gonna get that kid now, where we really weren't the last few years. The Delanys, the Carrolls, the (Frank) Murphys, the Walshes, we're gonna get him now.

"Because a good foundation is down now, and I feel real good about it. I just went over there to meet people. I never dreamed it could be so successful."

Monday, March 18, 2013


Sydney Maree
Below is an official statement from Daniel Maree, Sydney's son, on Sydney's release from prison in South Africa.  It was sent to family members and supporters of Maree's quest to be vindicated of the charges against him on the occasion of his release.  More information on this bizarre case that landed one of South Africa's greatest athletes and rising government officials in prison can be found here, and at the website Maree v. State.  Additional updates will be posted as soon as they are made available.

Maree broke the World Record at 1500 meters when he ran 3:31.24 in Cologne, Germany on August 28, 1983.  When he ran 13:01.15 over 5000 meters in 1985, it was an American Record and the third fastest time in history.  All told, he set American records at 1500, 2000, 3000, and 5000 meters. In 1981, he won the inaugural 5th Avenue Mile in Manhattan in 3:47.52, a time that has never since been bested.  While at Villanova, Maree was a five-time NCAA champion (3 individual titles outdoors and 2 DMR anchors indoors), and he was a seven-time Penn Relays and eight-time IC4A champion. 

Dear friends,

Now that he is out of harms way, I'm very happy to report that Sydney was officially released from ODI Prison earlier this month! 

He served 21 months of a 60 month sentence and will be on parole for another 21 months. The conditions of his parole are no overseas travel and he must be home by 5pm every day. There has been no official statement from the government regarding his release as we believe they would like to minimize public scrutiny of the case as much as possible. 

On behalf of Sydney and the entire Maree family, I can't thank you enough for your continued concern and support. We gave them hell, and Sydney believes this was one of the reasons, if not the main reason, for his early release. Who knows how much longer they would have made him serve had it not been for the noise we made. You should all be extremely proud. I know Sydney will never forget it and he's eager to thank you all in person as soon as he is able to leave the country.

This is just the beginning of the process of exposing the truth. A brilliant new Producer has joined the Maree v. State documentary team and we're moving full speed ahead with plans to release the film in 2014, right in time for the South African national elections. We will be traveling to South Africa this summer to shoot final interviews before wrapping production. Any additional support you would like to give would be greatly appreciate as our first round of fundraising went to the New York shoot, which we will have a sneak peak of in a few months when we finish the trailer. 

Thanks again for standing by Sydney; we did it! 

Daniel Maree

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Five Greatest Irish Runners in Villanova History

While observers might differ in the rank ordering of the best of the Irish Pipeline to Villanova, there is virtually no doubt that the top four Irish imports to have ever run at Villanova are (in my own rank order): Sonia O'Sullivan, Eamonn Coghlan, Marcus O'Sullivan, and Ronnie Delany. It would be very difficult to deny the greatness of these four and their inclusion at the top of Villanova's Irish contingent. The question remains, though, which Irish runner deserves to join these illustrious others as the final member of the all-time Villanova Irish top 5?

Sonia O'Sullivan

1.  Sonia O'Sullivan

2x World Cross Country Champion
World Champion at 5000 meters
Olympic Silver Medalist at 5000 meters
World Championships Silver Medalist at 1500 meters
4x Olympian (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004)
3x European Champion
3x World Record Holder
5x NCAA Individual Champion
16x International Medalist
Irish National Records over 10 distances
6x Penn Relays Champion
10x Big East Champion

Eamonn Coghlan

2.  Eamonn Coghlan

World Champion at 5000 meters
3x Olympian (1976, 1980, 1988)
First Man under 3:50 for the Indoor Mile
First Man over 40 to run sub-4:00 Mile
World Records over 3 Distances
European Champion in the 1500i meters
European Record in the Mile
7x winner of the Wanamaker Mile
83 Sub-4:00 Miles
4x NCAA Mile Champion
9x Penn Relays Champion
8x IC4A Champion

Marcus O'Sullivan

3.  Marcus O'Sullivan

3x World Champion at 1500i meters
4x Olympian (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996)
World Record over 1500i meters
Masters World Record over 3000 meters
5x winner of the Wanamaker Mile
6x Penn Relays Champion
101 Sub-4:00 Miles
2x NCAA Champion
10x Big East Champion
2x IC4A Champion

Ron Delany

4.  Ron Delany

Olympic Gold Medalist at 1500 meters
2x Olympian (1956, 1960)
3x World Records in the Indoor Mile
4x NCAA Individual Champion
4x AAU Champion
4x Irish National Record Holder
4x winner of the Wanamaker Mile
9x Penn Relays Champion
9x IC4A Champion

For our money, the all-time #5 Irish runner to don the Villanova vest is John Hartnett.  He beats out such contenders as Frank Murphy (8x Penn Relays champ, IC4A champion over 1000 meters, and 3:58.1 miler), Donal Walsh (2nd to Steve Prefontaine at the 1970 NCAA cross country championship, 2x NCAA All-American in cross country), and Gerry O'Reilly (6x Big East Champion, 3x IC4A champion, 3:54.63 miler, 1988 Olympian).

John Hartnett

 5.  John Hartnett

1972 Olympian
Irish National Record at Mile
Irish National Record at 1500 meters
Irish National Record at 5000 meters
Irish 10,000 champion
World Junior Cross Country Champion 1970
NCAA Indoor Champion at 2 miles in 1974
Most Outstanding Performer, 1973 Penn Relays
5x Penn Relays Champion
3x Anchor, Penn Relays DMR Champions
3:54.7 Mile PR
3-Mile PR of 13:06 was Villanova #2
6x IC4A Champion

Feel free to comment on my ordering of these Villanova greats from Ireland (e.g., how can I have Ron Delany -- the only Irish Villanovan to have won an Olympic Gold Medal -- ranked #4?).  If I have misjudged or over-looked anyone, please let me know.

Happy St. Patrick's Day 

Erin Go Bragh  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Is It Strasbourg or Dublin for Eamonn Coghlan?
Ex-World Champ Eyed for Euro Parliament or Mayor of Dublin

Senator Eamonn Coghlan with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Coghlan front-runner to replace MEP Mitchell on FG ticket

FORMER world champion athlete Eamonn Coghlan is the early favourite to replace MEP Gay Mitchell on the Fine Gael ticket in next year's European elections.
Fine Gael TD Peter Mathews is also being mentioned as a possible candidate, as is Senator Catherine Noon.

Mr Mitchell, who was Fine Gael's candidate in the 2011 presidential election, will be retiring next year after more than 30 years in Dublin City Council, the Dail and European Parliament. Taoiseach Enda Kenny paid tribute to Mr Mitchell following his decision not to seek re-election.

"Gay Mitchell is a politician of deep conviction who has always approached his many roles in public life with great commitment and integrity," he said. Mr Kenny said Mr Mitchell gave "many years of dedicated service" as a councillor, Lord Mayor of Dublin, TD, junior minister and MEP.

Mr Mitchell's victory in the 2004 European elections in Dublin was a crucial win for Mr Kenny as he tried to rebuild Fine Gael after the 2002 General Election meltdown.

However, his final election was as the candidate in the party's disastrous presidential election campaign in 2011, when he got just 6pc of the vote.

Mr Mitchell said yesterday he believed this was a good time to allow new candidates to emerge.
"When I first stood for the European Parliament in 2004, I did so at the request of the party leader, as Fine Gael only had three Dail seats out of 43 in Dublin, one of which was mine.

"Next year I will be 10 years in parliament, and I have already served 26 years as a TD, having been first elected in my 20s.

"Fine Gael now has 16 TDs, three senators and 36 councillors in Dublin. Taking all things into account I believe this is a good time to allow new candidates to emerge," he said.

Fine Gael will now have to look to replacing Mr Mitchell, who was a formidable vote-getter at local and European level.

Former Olympic athlete Eamonn Coghlan is being lined up by Fine Gael as a potential runner for Europe or the Dublin Mayor.

Q&A with Olympic Gold Medalist Chip Jenkins

Here's an interview with former Villanova All-American Chip Jenkins, who won an Olympic Gold Medal in the 4 x 400 relay at the 1992 Games. His father Charlie was also a Villanova All-American and won two Olympic Gold Medals (400 and 4 x 400) at the 1956 Games before eventually becoming head coach at Villanova. During his time at Villanova (1982-1986), Chip Jenkins was a 9-time Big East champion, a 7-time IC4A champion, was part of the 1986 Penn Relays 4x400 meter championship quartet. He left the Main Line as part of the school record-holding 4x400 team, as well as the school record holder over 600 yards. As detailed below, his American Record over 600 meters stood for 26 years before being broken in 2013. The interview appeared at the website Speed Endurance.

Interview with Chip Jenkins

Q1:  You held the American Record in the 600 meters for 26 years, and now it’s broken three times in a month (1st Dwayne Solomon 1:15.70, then Erik Sowinski 1:15.61, then Cas Loxsom 1:15.42 on an over-sized track). Usually the 600m is dominated by 800m guys but you’re a 400 guy.  Why did the record take so long to break?

Chip Jenkins: In my opinion, the record took so long to break because I feel maybe in the last twenty-six years there were not that many 600 meters contested. The emphasis is on outdoor running these days. Indoors is a way people who are outdoors specialists get a season to earn some money. A lot of runners aren’t in shape for indoors or don’t take it seriously. I grew up on the East Coast where indoor racing is valued. I never was the kind of guy who took any races lightly indoor or out. A race was a race and I always made sure I was prepared for it. The other thing is that record was not an easy record to break either. It was very fast and people have been specifically preparing to break that record. So when the guys looked up And saw that there was an old record to break during a non Olympic year they were prepared and broke it.

Q2: Let’s talk about the race, since I was there.    You split in 47.5, Marcus Sanders was in the race, and there was the bump at the end that could have cost you the World Record?

Chip Jenkins:  Yes, if it wasn’t for that bump with Marcus I might have run 1:15:00 or even 1:14 high, obliterating the record completely. That had happened to me one time in the 500 meters where I should have run 1:00 flat.

Q3: You ran in Barcelona 1992 4x400m rounds (see image on left, with Quincy Watts).  You were running in the same era as Quincy Watts, Butch Reynolds, Steve Lewis, Michael Johnson.  Having 3 Americans in any major finals was assumed.  How fierce was the competition?  Did these guys “duck” each other as we see in today’s top sprinters?

Chip Jenkins:   No we never ducked each other in the 400 meters. This is why America is so good in the 400. The 400 meter runners are the Marines of Track and Field. As a group, we are collectively fearless. The best of the best. Running the 400 meters in America is nasty. You need to come ready to compete all the time or you are going to be embarrassed.

Q4: Can you give a quick sample overview of your training?  I assume it was a long-to-short over-distance type of training?  Lots of 500’s and 600s?  Short recoveries?
Chip Jenkins:  It depends on the training. Indoors, it’s three 600′s short rest around 1:22. Or it may be two 600′s long rest around 1:18. There are lots of fast 300s. Outdoors, it was 160′s, 350′s, 300′s in 33 seconds, one hundred meter rest, and then another at around 33 or 32 seconds.

Jenkins_Charles_Senior Q5: Your father (pictured on the left) was the 1956 400m and 4x400m Olympic champ.  I assume that was a huge influence growing up?  What advice can you give to father/son or father/daughter combos?  (I get a LOT of emails where the father is the coach, and is micro managing their child’s running career, from 9 year olds right up to high school!!!)  In our era, I can think of Calvin Smith Sr (and Jr) and Wallace Spearmon Sr (and Jr).

Chip Jenkins:  If there is any advice I would give with the father-son thing. Don’t push your kid. If he enjoys it great. If he doesn’t enjoy it, he won’t be good. The son (or daughter) has to want it to excel in the sport. The kid must have the desire to be good. If there is no desire there, forget it.  It’s pointless. I wanted to be really good. My father could have won 10 gold medals. I wanted it for myself not for him or anybody else.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Nine Villanova Wildcats Garner 11 All-American Honors
Two Each for Emily Lipari & Sam Ellison

Eleven All-American certificates were awarded today to nine Villanova indoor track athletes.  Earning first-team All-American status were the eight members of the men'sand women's DMR squads.  For the men, that's Jordy Williamsz, Sam Ellison, Chris FitzSimons, and Sam McEntee. On the women's side, first-team honors were won for the DMR by Angel Piccirillo, Michaela Wilkins, Nicky Akande, and Emily Lipari.  In addition, second-team All-American status was won by Rob Denault in the mile, Sam Ellison in the 800 meters, and Emily Lipari over 3000 meters.  Adding an additional positive vibe to these awards is the fact that all nine of these individuals have remaining indoor and outdoor eligibility.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bobby Curtis Runner-Up at USA 15K Championship

Bobby Curtis came second this morning in Jacksonville at the USA 15K championship. He covered the 9.3 mile road course in 43:40. Curtis hit 5K in 13:49 and 10K at 29:21, and the lead group hit the 8 mile mark in 37.44. Curtis ran in the lead pack the entire race, but was out-kicked by Ben True over the final quarter-mile. As he states in the post-race interview (above), with his new Hansons-Brooks training group, he's been working on "strength, strength, strength" and didn't really expect to be able to out-kick people at the end. Overall, he was quite satisfied with second, under the circumstances. Three-time defending champion Mo Trafeh was beaten into 8th place.

On the women's side, Jen Rhines finished 20th in 52:24. She's regaining form after down time due to injuries.

 1. Ben True             43:38
 2. Bobby Curtis         43:40
 3. Ryan Vail            43:43
 4. Sean Quigley         43:45
 5. Christo Landry       43:46
 6. Tim Ritchie          44:01
 7. Craig Curley         44:04
 8. Mo Trafeh            44:11
 9. Tyler Pennel         44:17
10. Donn Cabral          44:20

NCAA Indoor Championships Day 1Report

Well, some highs and lows on Day 1 of the NCAA Indoor championships. The Villanova women's DMR came into the meet as the #2 seed and, as per the form chart, came second. Michigan (NCAA #1 coming in) and Villanova took the last exchange together and their anchors (Amanda Eccelston and Emily Lipari) quickly separated themselves from the field in anticipation of a final 200 duel. Villanova fans had visions of a patented Lipari kick over the final lap, but Michigan's Amanda Eccelston was able to run the kick out of strong finisher Lipari. Michigan pulled away for a 1.5-second win, in the #10 all-time DMR time.

Freshman Angel Piccirillo led off with a strong 1200 leg (3:23.77), followed by another freshman Michaela Wilkins' 54.25 in the 400 meter leg. Junior Nicky Akande ran the 800 meter leg in a crisp 2:06.43, while junior Emily Lipari anchored the 1600 leg in 4:33.51.

  1 Michigan                                           10:56.46F  10            
     1) Rebecca Addison SR              2) Maya Long FR                         
     3) Jillian Smith JR                4) Amanda Eccleston SR                  
  2 Villanova                                          10:57.96F   8            
     1) Angel Piccirillo FR             2) Michaela Wilkins FR                  
     3) Nicky Akande JR                 4) Emily Lipari JR                      
  3 Arkansas                                           11:00.23    6            
     1) Keri Wood JR                    2) Gwendolyn Flowers SR                 
     3) Martine Borge SR                4) Grace Heymsfield JR                  
  4 Florida State                                      11:00.78    5            
     1) Jessica Parry JR                2) Sage Watson FR                       
     3) Georgia Peel FR                 4) Colleen Quigley SO                   
  5 Kentucky                                           11:01.14    4            
     1) Chelsea Oswald JR               2) Morganne Phillips FR                 
     3) Allison Peare JR                4) Cally Macumber SR                    
  6 Georgetown                                         11:01.31    3            
     1) Rachel Schneider SR             2) Deseree King JR                      
     3) Chelsea Cox JR                  4) Katrina Coogan FR                    
  7 Notre Dame                                         11:01.49    2            
     1) Kelly Curran JR                 2) Michelle Brown JR                    
     3) Danielle Aragon FR              4) Alexa Aragon JR                      
  8 Oregon                                             11:02.15    1            
     1) Annie Leblanc FR                2) Chizoba Okodogbe JR                  
     3) Becca Friday SR                 4) Anne Kesselring SR                   
  9 Duke                                               11:11.21                 
     1) Gabby Levac SO                  2) Elizabeth Kerpon SO                  
     3) Cydney Ross SR                  4) Anima Banks FR                       
 10 Georgia                                            11:12.49                 
     1) Stella Christoforou JR          2) Tynia Gaither SO                     
     3) Megan Malasarte JR              4) Carly Hamilton SO                    
 11 Stanford                                           11:14.77                 
     1) Amy Weissenbach FR              2) Kori Carter JR                       
     3) Claudia Saunders FR             4) Kathy Kroeger SR                     
 12 Connecticut                                        11:25.09                 
     1) Brigitte Mania SR               2) Celina Emerson JR                    
     3) Ana Groff SR                    4) Lindsay Crevoiserat SO 

In the men's DMR, Villanova entered the meet as the NCAA #9 seed, but ran well and finished 5th. The Villanova men's finish might have been better, had not anchor Sam McEntee gotten clipped from behind and almost fallen as he tried to make his decisive move in the final stages of the race. Overall the men ran well, with freshman Jordy Williamsz starting off with a 2:55.71 1200 meter split, followed by Sam Ellison's 46.89 400 meters. Chris FitzSimons split 1:50.03 for the 800 meter leg, while McEntee jostled his way through a rather physical 1600 meter leg in 4:02.83.

  1 Princeton                                           9:33.01   10         
     1) Michael Williams JR             2) Austin Hollimon SR                
     3) Russell Dinkins SR              4) Peter Callahan SR                 
  2 Penn State                                          9:34.00    8         
     1) Brannon Kidder FR               2) Brandon Bennett-Green JR          
     3) Za'Von Watkins FR               4) Robby Creese SO                   
  3 Minnesota                                           9:34.21    6         
     1) Travis Burkstrand SR            2) Cameron Boy SR                    
     3) Harun Abda SR                   4) Nick Hutton SR                    
  4 Indiana                                             9:34.30    5         
     1) Rorey Hunter SO                 2) Nathan Pierre Louis FR            
     3) Lance Roller SR                 4) Andrew Bayer SR                   
  5 Villanova                                           9:35.46    4         
     1) Jordan Williamsz FR             2) Samuel Ellison JR                 
     3) Christopher Fitzsimons JR       4) Sam McEntee JR                    
  6 Oklahoma State                                      9:35.55    3         
     1) Kirubel Erassa JR               2) Tyler Payton JR                   
     3) Raul Botezan SR                 4) Thomas Farrell SR                 
  7 Illinois                                            9:35.56    2         
     1) Kyle Engnell SR                 2) Stephon Pamilton JR               
     3) Ryan Lynn SR                    4) Graham Morris SR                  
  8 Stanford                                            9:39.22    1         
     1) Tyler Stutzman SR               2) Spencer Chase SR                  
     3) Luke Lefebure SO                4) Michael Atchoo JR                 
  9 Arkansas                                            9:42.31              
     1) Cameron Efurd JR                2) Travis Southard JR                
     3) Anthony Lieghio SR              4) Kemoy Campbell JR                 
 10 Virginia                                            9:43.70              
     1) Anthony Kostelac JR             2) Payton Hazzard SO                 
     3) Brandon Burton SO               4) Taylor Gilland JR                 
 11 Oklahoma                                            9:44.39              
     1) Brandon Doughty                 2) Jamel Wood SR                     
     3) Malcolm Wankel SO               4) Ryan Poland SO                    
 12 Virginia Tech                                       9:49.69              
     1) Ryan Hagen SR                   2) Jeff Artis-Gray SR                
     3) Tihut Degfae JR                 4) Michael Hammond SR  

Rob Denault started the action for Villanova on Friday by finishing 7th in his mile semi-final. The sophomore was never able to inject himself into the race, but gained valuable experience at the national stage that will no doubt pay dividends over the next two years.

Heat  2 Preliminaries                                                         
  1 Robby Creese              SO Penn State             4:01.67Q             
  2 Chris O'Hare              SR Tulsa                  4:01.76Q             
  3 Austin Mudd               SO Wisconsin              4:02.10Q             
  4 Michael Atchoo            JR Stanford               4:02.13Q             
  5 Mac Fleet                 JR Oregon                 4:02.18              
  6 Brett Johnson             JR Oregon                 4:04.11              
  7 Robert Denault            SO Villanova              4:04.29              
  8 Matt Miner                SR Oregon                 4:06.77

Finally, Sam Ellison was eliminated in his 800 meter semi-final. Typical of such races, the slightest of margins separated the top finishers, with Ellison's 7th place time of 1:49.22 a mere 9/10ths of a second from the winner.

Heat  1 Preliminaries -- 800 meters                                          
  1 Elijah Greer              JR Oregon                 1:48.13Q
  2 Declan Murray             SR Loyola (Ill.)          1:48.44Q
  3 Harun Abda                SR Minnesota              1:48.65Q
  4 Tomas Squella             FR Arkansas               1:48.76q
  5 Sean Obinwa               JR Florida                1:48.83q
  6 Anthony Lieghio           SR Arkansas               1:48.93 
  7 Samuel Ellison            JR Villanova              1:49.22 
  8 Edward Kemboi             SO Iowa State             1:51.47

Day two of the NCAA indoor championships for Villanova features Emily Lipari doubling back to run in the 3000 meter final.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Curtis & Rhines Should Contend at USA 15K Championship

Curtis is coming off fast Gasparilla 8K win

Jen Rhines is a three-time USA 15K champion

Defending champions Bawcom, Trafeh lead strong fields at USA 15K Championships

USATF, 3/7/2013
INDIANAPOLIS - Defending champions Janet Bawcom and Mo Trafeh lead strong fields chasing after $53,000 in prize money at the USA 15 km Championships hosted by the Gate River Run this Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.

The USA 15 km Championships are the second stop on the USA Running Circuit, which will conclude this fall with the .US National Road Racing Championships. The top ten finishers at each race on the circuit qualify to compete in the .US National Road Racing Championships.

On the women’s side, Olympian Janet Bawcom, eyes another USA 15 km title, after winning the 2012 title by 16 seconds in 49:41. Bawcom is one of the strongest road racers in the U.S. after winning the overall USA Running Circuit titles in 2011 and 2012.

Bawcom will have to face fellow Olympian and U.S. Olympic Trials 5,000m champion Julie Culley. This will be Culley’s second race on the USA Running Circuit after, placing fourth this past October at the USA 10 Mile Championships.

Other women to watch include 2013 USA indoor 3000 meter champion Chelsea Reilly, 2011 USA 15K champion Jen Rhines, and 2012 Olympic Trials 10,000 meter fifth place finisher Alisha Williams.

In the men’s race, three-time winner Trafeh returns to defend his title after pulling away from the field in 2012, to win by 14 seconds in 43:23. While he is the pre-race favorite heading into Saturday’s race, he will have plenty of competition, as 2012 USA 15 km Championship runner-up Christo Landry and third place finisher Tim Ritchie return to challenge for their first USA Road Championship titles.

Other men to watch include Ben True and Ryan Vail who will compete for Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships later this month. True and Vail, who finished fifth and sixth at the USA Cross Country Championships, opened up their 2013 racing seasons in impressive fashion in St. Louis and look to carry that momentum to Jacksonville.

With nine of the top 20 finishers from the U.S. Cross Country Championships, along with athletes like Bobby Curtis and experienced veteran Shadrack Biwott, the men’s race promises to be both tightly contested and deep with talent.

Live Coverage
Live text updates of the USA 15 km Championships will be available at  beginning at 8:20 a.m. ET.  Video of the race, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC

A total of $53,000 in prize money will be awarded as indicated below. Prize money is for U.S. citizens only, per USATF Championship guidelines.

Place Open Men & Women
1st $12,000
2nd $  5,000
3rd $  3,000
4th $  2,000
5th $  1,000
6th $     900
7th $     800
8th $     700
9th $     600
10th $     500
Total $26,500
*Equalizer Bonus $5,000 to the first male or female to finish.
-Elite women will be given a 6 minute headstart.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Ben Malone to Defend 800 Meter Title at NB Indoor Nationals

Ben Malone (r) winning the NBIN 800m championship in 2012
Villanova recruit Ben Malone ran the all-time prep USA #2 indoor 800 meter time of 1:49.94 last year in winning the New Balance Indoor national championship.  He's back this year to defend that title this weekend against stiff competition. He's had a great indoor season so far, highlighted by convincing victories over one mile at the Millrose Games and two miles at Eastern States. Here is Mile Split's analysis of the 800 meter competition at this weekend's prep indoor national championship meet.

Ben Malone, a senior from River Vale, NJ is the defending champion in the [800 meters], with a #2 All-Time 1:49.94 blitzing of the track.  Look for Malone to be right back near the front this year for a repeat performance.  Tretez Kinnaird, a senior from Butler KY, adds to the strong field in the 800. Kinnaird owns the No. 1 time in the country this year with his season-best of 1:50.97, a clocking he recorded to place second at the Brooks PR Invitational.  Senior Isaac Clark of Pleasantville NJ (1:51.72, US#4), senior Derrell Manhertz of Kingsway NJ (1:51.80) and senior Jacob Clark of Pleasantville (1:51.15 US #7) should also battle near the top.

Here are the heat sheets:

Event 7  Boys 800 Meter Run
Sunday 3/10/2013 - 10:25 AM
 Sec 1-2 at 10:25am; Sec 3 at 2:18pm
        Meet:  1:49.94  3/11/2012   Ben Malone, Pasc Val,Hillsdale,NJ          
   NSIC Meet:  1:49.21  3/15/2009   Robby Andrews, Manalapan, NJ               
    Freshman:  1:55.45  4/9/2005    Andrew Perkins, Watertown, WI              
Natl, Armory:  1:49.21  3/15/2009   Robby Andrews, Manalapan, NJ               
   Sophomore:  1:51.11  3/13/1994   Michael Granville, Bell Gardens, CA        
      Junior:  1:49.94  3/11/2012   Ben Malone, Pasc Val,Hillsdale,NJ          
      Senior:  1:49.21  3/15/2009   Robby Andrews, Manalapan, NJ               
           Name                        Year School                          
Section 1  Timed Finals
  1   1731 Turner, Adam                  13 Lawrence Cen, In            
  2   1787 Deluna, Danny                 13 Long Island, Sea            
  3   4150 Rooney, Patrick               13 Wilson Memor, Ce            
  4   1251 Steck, Brian                  13 Gill St. Ber, Gl            
  5    142 Carmichael, Griffin           13 Atlee Tc-Va, Mec            
  6   2305 Emrich, Zachery               14 North Kingst, No            
  7   4256 Wallin, Jordon                14 Ymca-Team Id, Bo            
  8    871 Sagers, Jackson               13 Davis Tc-Ut, Kay            
  9   3618 Dolan, Bill                   14 Una-Nj-Mulli, Mu 
Section 2  Timed Finals
  1   2965 Rolim, Andre                  13 Somerville T, So            
  2   1852 Buser, James                  14 Mahwah Tc-Nj, Ma            
  3   2146 Ballard, Payton               13 Mountain Bro, Bi            
  4   1036 McCarty, Cory                 13 Elmira Tc-Ny, El            
  5   3329 Greene, Sidgie                13 Thomas Jeffe, Br            
  6   2535 Logue, Joseph                 14 Pennridge TC, Pe            
  7   4115 Kiley, Nathan                 13 Westfield TC, Ce            
  8   2265 Montague, Gabe                14 Newton Tiger, Ne            
  9   1350 Wiseman, Jeffrey              14 Hawk Tc-Pa, Holl 
Section 3  Timed Finals
  1   2580 Clark, Jacob                  13 Pleasantvill, Pl            
  2   3426 Lee jr, Donnie                13 Tuscaloosa C, No            
  3   2451 Malone, Ben                   13 Pascack Vall, Ri            
  4   3734 Rivera, Brad                  13 Una-Pa-Bensa, Be            
  5   3470 Kinnaird, Tretez's            13 Una-Ky-Louis, Lo            
  6    998 Marco, Chris                  13 Egg Tc-Nj, Toms             
  7    556 Bussiere, Alex                13 Caul-Qbc, Quebec            
  8   3776 Ibarra, Chris                 13 Una-Tx-Atlan, At            
  9   1681 Manhertz, Derrell             13 Kingsway Tc-, Wo            
 10   2579 Clark, Isaac                  13 Pleasantvill, Pl     

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Villanova Benefits from Notre Dame DMR Madness

Should Texas Have Held 'Em?
Mitch Kastoff on March 5, 2013
Lets Run @

 Friday night, Notre Dame was ground zero for a new infectious disease. In a span of forty minutes and three races, the Distance Medley Relay virus that was once well-contained in northern Indiana somehow spread across the country. The horror, the depth, and the madness of the DMR on the final day of qualification was unprecedented.

Even though it festered in the cold region of South Bend, the virus managed to adapt to the hot Texas winter. Even Michael Crichton had some questions.

Inside the Loftus Sports Center, the men’s DMRs from around the country were absolutely destroying the previous NCAA list.

“Sorry fellas. If you can’t run fast here, you can’t run fast anywhere,” said Notre Dame’s PA announcer Dennis McNulty.

If you weren’t at Alex Wilson, you unfortunately didn’t matter. Alex Wilson is known for fast DMRs, but its not known for the only place that fast relays are run. In the three years prior, either eleven or twelve marks in the top twenty came from Notre Dame’s last chance meet.

This year, the number was eighteen.

- 18
2012 - 11
2011 - 11
2010 - 12

This past weekend as much as a “last chance” as it was a “final stand.” Going into the weekend, eleven of the top twelve relays weren’t nervous about their rank, but had accepted the fact that they would not retain their position by late Friday evening

Rank Entering the Weekend Team Decision Current Rank
#1 Texas Not Race #15
#2 Indiana Race #11
#3 Stanford Race #3
#4 Oregon Race #16
#5 Arkansas Race #8
#6 Penn State Race #1
#7 Wisconsin Race #13
#8 UCLA Race #22
#9 Columbia Not Race #30
#10 Texas Tech Not Race #31
#11 California Not Race #32
#12 Minnesota Race #5
#13 Nebraska Race #14
#14 BYU Not Race #37
#15 Oklahoma Race #7

Entering the weekend, these teams either thought that they could improve on their mark (fairly easy for the majority of the teams), acquiesced and began looking towards outdoors, or decided to roll the dice and risk it.

Columbia, Texas Tech, California, and BYU decided that it was time to move on. The same cannot be said for the Texas Longhorns.

Sitting atop the NCAA list since late January, the Longhorns decided that their time of 9:31.82 may have been good enough to get them to Fayetteville. Once the Alex Wilson stream had ended, they knew they were out.

The question is, should Texas have held ‘em?

No, I’m not talking about resting on one’s laurels or hindsight is blah blah blah, but I'm talking from a purely historical perspective. Although they knew that Alex Wilson was going to be fast, 9:31.82 would have gotten them in almost any other year (more on this below).

But with the move away from auto-qualifiers and a shift towards the descending list policy, the mindset about making it to nationals had to change. At the beginning of the season, we thought that this qualification policy would decrease (or increase if you’re in the field) times across the board.

This notion finally came true Friday night.

After the DMRs ended, Texas was bumped all the way from #1 to #15. If you’re asking how this happened, it involved yet another history lesson. This lesson isn't necessarily about looking to the past, but erasing it.

Seven of teams had to set school records to make the big dance. Not a few, but seven and that's not counting everyone below the twelfth spot.

Team Time School Record
Penn State 9:26.60 Yes
Princeton 9:27.74 Yes
Stanford 9:28.25 Yes
Oklahoma State 9:28.38 Yes
Minnesota 9:29.22 Yes
Illinois 9:29.40 Yes
Oklahoma 9:29.44 Yes
Arkansas 9:30.22 No (#7 all-time)
Villanova 9:30.47 No (#9 all-time)
Virginia Tech 9:30.83 No (#2 all-time)
Indiana 9:31.11 No (#4 all-time)
Virginia 9:31.23 No (#2 all-time)
Wisconsin 9:31.43 No (#2 all-time)
Nebraska 9:31.71 Yes*
Texas 9:31.82 No (#4 all-time)
Oregon 9:31.91 No (#5 all-time)
Georgetown 9:33.40 No (#4 all-time)
Brown 9:33.53 Yes
Air Force 9:34.51 No (#2 all-time)
UCLA 9:35.36 No
New Mexico 9:36.98 No (#4 all-time)

While every school record is special, there are three all-time marks we’d like to highlight. The first belongs to the number three seed, the Stanford Cardinal.

Given Stanford’s rich middle-distance history, this record came was a bit surprising. Then we read the following press release from and had a good laugh.

The team of Tyler StutzmanSpencer Chase, Luke Lefebure, and Michael Atchoo ran 9:28.25 at the Alex Wilson Invitational while finishing third overall behind Penn State and Princeton.

The time broke the Stanford record of 9:28.83 set by the team of Gabe Jennings, Even Kelty, Michael Stember, and Jonathon Riley in 2000.

Jennings and Stember both made the U.S. Olympic team that year.

In the 1500m at the Trials, Jennings (3:35.90) and Stember (3:36.70) would go one-three.

Back in the day, 3:57 anchor legs and sub-9:30 DMRs would guarantee a top three finish. Now, at least seven teams are capable of doing that this year.

The next mark isn’t a school record, but it’s number two in school history and it regrettably belongs to the Wisconsin Badgers. Wisco’s 9:31.43 wasn’t good enough as it left them in the unlucky #13 spot.

But it got us thinking - is that the fastest time to ever stay home?

Based on some assumptions (admittedly, we didn’t have time to look up the seeds and declarations for every year) we’re going to say yes. But if the top twelve system was in place in year’s past, would they still hold the title of the fastest loser?


The chart below is the 12th-fastest seed time on the NCAA declaration lists. There may have been faster teams that scratched, but we could only work with the data we had available.

Year Team Time
2004 Florida 9:34.86
2005 Virginia 9:36.21*
2006 Texas 9:37.13
2007 N/A N/A
2008 Notre Dame 9:35.33@
2009 Oklahoma 9:31.38
2010 Duke 9:34.29
2011 Villanova 9:33.50
2012 Oregon 9:31.91
* - Virginia was the 10th fastest seed in 2005.
@ - Notre Dame was the 11th fastest seed in 2008.

Many thanks to Tom Lewis over at USTFCCCA for gathering up some old NCAA sheets from yesteryear. If this qualification system had been in place in 2009, then Wisconsin would also not have made it.

While they can find some solace in that fact, the reality is that they’re still going to watch the championships from Madison.

Our last shout-out goes to Nebraska, who not only dropped their time a whole ten seconds, but set a school record (on an oversized track). While they improved quite a bit, it was inverse to their position on the list. They entered the meet as the thirteenth seed, but left in fourteenth.

Still, it wasn't as bad as the drop for Texas. Should they have stayed home? It’s hard to say. With the new system, this year was tough to predict and the Longhorns held their cards close to the vest.

It wasn’t that they were bluffed or pushed out of the pot, they just had a lower hand than everyone else.

The Longhorns do have the fastest time on a 200m banked track, but that's for another segment (again, thanks to Tom Lewis and USTFCCCA).

The DMR is definitely going to be a marque event this weekend at nationals. Who's going to win it? We're still trying to figure it out.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Q&A with Villanova Sub-4:00 Miler Rob Denault

Rob Denault will represent Villanova in the mile competition at this weekend's NCAA Indoor National Championship meet in Fayetteville. Denault is the newest member of Villanova's illustrious sub-4:00 club (and the 45th Canadian to achieve this milestone). Here is his Q&A with Athletics Illustrated:

Rob Denault, who competes for the Villanova University Wildcats just wrapped up his 2013 indoor track season by acheiving one of his primary goals. That goal was to run a sub-four minute mile at an indoor meet. He did so by running just under the benchmark of 3:59.39 as a freshman at the Alex Wilson Invitational at Loftus Sports Center on Saturday, March 2nd.

Denault hails from Aurora, Ontario.

Denault earned All-Mid Atlantic Region honours and helped Villanova receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships by finishing 19th overall at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. He crossed the finish line in that race in 30:54 and was the Wildcats fifth counting runner. He also finished in the team's top five at all five scored meets during the cross-country season and placed second on the team and 53rd overall at the Pre-NCAA meet with a collegiate-best 8K time of 24:04.7.

Personal bests:

800 Meters - 1:52.54
1500 Meters - 3:42.26
Mile (indoors) - 3:59.39
3000 Meters - 8:15.72
8000 Meters (XC) - 24:04.7
10000 Meters (XC) - 30:54

Christopher Kelsall: Congratulations on your indoor sub-four minute mile. What do you think this performance indicates for your outdoor personal bests of 1:52.54 and 3:42.26?

Rob Denault: Thanks! Running under four minutes is definitely a confidence booster for sure. This whole indoor season has actually given me more confidence since I've never had a complete indoor season before. In high school it was never really a focus and last year I redshirted and only ran two 3ks. Putting together a full season and being able to compete in races at Penn State, Big East and Notre Dame gives me some momentum heading into the outdoor season. Hopefully I can get into some quick races and shave some seconds off my outdoor PB's, but another goal of mine is to work on race tactics as well. Fast times are great, but I also found at some of the big meets like World Juniors that knowing how to race is really important too.

CK: Can you take us through the race?

RD: I was pretty anxious before the race and I had a talk with my coach Marcus O’Sullivan which helped calm me down. I got a decent start but after the first lap I found myself a bit further back than I would have liked, but I was still in contact with the leaders by the 800 mark. With about 400 to go I was in a pack with the top five guys and I didn’t want to get stuck having to go wide so I took the lead. With 200m left Austin Mudd from Wisconsin put a pretty strong move on the field and at that point I just put everything I had into the last 100 and lunged at the line. After a couple of nervous seconds I saw 3:59.38 flash up on the board and was very happy and relieved.

 CK: So you were going specifically for the benchmark of sub-four in that race then?

RD: Yes, I was specifically trying to go out and run under 4 minutes, as well as hopefully qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. I’d run 4:00.04 back in January, and knew that the race at Notre Dame would be my last shot until the next indoor season. I was really hoping to get the job done because I was confident that I was in better shape than when I ran 4 flat. Thankfully it worked out!

CK: Your primary distance is 1500m?

RD: I would say right now that it is. I can see myself trying some longer distances in the future because of my cross-country background, but on the track right now I really like the 1500m.

CK: Having just now run a sub-4 minute mile as a freshman, does the social media-driven campaign to bring back the mile seem more interesting to you?

RD: I like both races so I would hate to see one sacrificed for the other. I can see how the mystique of the distance may attract more fans, but I’ve also raced and watched so many 1500s that the distance is also special for me personally. Having limited opportunities to run the mile compared to the past raises the excitement level of the event, but I still would like to see more mile races (especially in Canada), but I would not want to see it replace the 1500 entirely.

CK: I think they may want to have the mile maintained, but perhaps to a lesser extent than the 1500m, because of its historic significance as well as the fact that it is slightly more than double the popular 800m.

RD: Yes I think for the historical significance it makes sense to maintain the mile as an event more often than it is now. People outside of track often ask what I’ve run a mile in but have never asked for my 1500 PB. Personally I still really like 1500 and the fact that it starts on the backstretch is unique. I’ve run so many of them and watched even more that the distance and the history for that distance is special for me.

CK: You mentioned “learning to race”. Did that race teach you anything you didn’t already know?

RD: I don’t think I learned anything particularly new in that race, but it definitely reaffirmed the lesson of staying awake for the first part of the race. The pack up with the pacemaker in the early stages almost pulled away on the group I was in, but we were able to reel them back in within the first half of the race.

CK: Is there much of a running community in Aurora? I assume you must have played hockey and other sports growing up there, yes?

RD: Aurora overall is an active community and there is a good running population. I’ve been lucky to work part time at the Aurora Running Room when I’m back at home so I meet a lot of runners who are looking for gear or coming for clinics. My club team the Newmarket Huskies is also very active and has a wide range of ages from elementary school kids to master level runners. I've played hockey throughout my life, and played soccer in the summers, and even played a year of rugby. My older brother Alex was the first one to get into track and cross-country, and my sister Carolyn and I followed. We all started to focus on running more during high school but I still play hockey with my friends when I can.

CK: Senators or Leafs?

RD: Sorry, but actually for me it’s the Flyers. The Leafs still have a small place in my heart, but I started cheering for Philly in elementary school when my favourite player Peter Forsberg was traded there. Since then I’ve been hooked. Villanova just happens to be just outside of Philly so that’s a bonus.

CK: What position do you like to play?

RD: I played defense while I was in rep hockey which I enjoyed a lot, but now when we play road hockey at home I’ll always go in net. Having a tennis ball shot at you is a little less daunting then a rubber puck.

CK: On choosing Villanova, did Sheila Reid’s collegiate career help pave the way a little?

RD: Sheila's success at ‘Nova definitely encouraged me to look into the program. When I had a chance to meet the team and Marcus (Coach O’Sullivan) I got such a positive feeling from the environment and I knew it was a team that I would be very interested in joining. Marcus as you know is a legend in our sport so to be coached by him was probably the biggest factor for me. Academically Villanova has one of the top Business programs in the U.S. so that was ideal and in the end I was so happy when I was offered a spot on the team by Marcus. It has been a lot of work as a student athlete but the experience has turned out to be even better than I had expected. I do owe a lot to Sheila for getting me in contact with Marcus and encouraging me to look at the program.

CK: What is your degree programme?

RD: I’m studying Business and plan to major in Marketing with a minor in Finance or Entrepreneurship.

CK: What are your racing and training goals for this spring?

RD: Penn Relays is a big goal for us as a team, and winning a relay there is always a something we would like to do. Besides that I hope to put myself in a position to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and hopefully pick up some points at the Big East Championships to try to help our entire team get a top-three spot in the conference. If I can lower my PB’s in the process that would be great as well.