Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jen Rhines: Career Highlights

JEN RHINES - Career Highlights

Jen Rhines
• 2000 Olympian - 10,000m
• 2004 Olympian - Marathon
• 2008 Olympian - 5,000m
• 3,000m – 8:35.03 (#6 U.S. performer all-time)
• 5,000m – 14:54.29 (#5 U.S. performer all-time)
• 10,000m – 31:17.31 (#9 U.S. performer all-time)
• 5-time NCAA Champion: XC and 5,000m (3x outdoor and 1x indoor)
• 9th at 2011 World Championships - 10,000m
• 14th at 2008 Olympics - 5,000m
• 7th at 2007 World Championships - 5,000m
• 12th at 2002 World Cross Country Championships

Liverpool High School '92 (Liverpool, New York)
• 2-time New York State Champion - 1,500m
• 2-time Footlocker Cross Country Finalist
• High School Personal Bests: 4:31 (1,500m) and 9:56 (3,000m)

Jen Rhines started running when she went out for spring track in 7th grade. She competed in the 100 and 200 meter sprints, but gradually increased her race distances each season. By the time she got to 9th grade she was racing the 800 and 1500 meter runs. During those years Jen was a three sport athlete. She’d play soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and run track in the spring.

Eventually Jen realized that running was going to be her best sport so when she transferred from Phoenix to Liverpool High School in central New York to start her sophomore year she joined the cross country team. She quickly became one of New York’s top runners. In cross country, Jen qualified for the Footlocker Cross Country Championships her junior and senior years. Her senior year she was 5th at Footlocker. She was the New York State Champion in the 1500 her junior and senior years. She left Liverpool High School with still standing school records in the 1500 (4:31) and 3000 (9:56) meter runs.

With those credentials it isn’t surprising that Jen was recruited by many colleges. However, it was the storied history of the Villanova program that led her to the suburbs of Philadelphia to continue her running. Her start at Villanova wasn’t what she envisioned. Her frosh cross country campaign ended with a 98th place finish at the NCAA championships. The team won but she didn’t contribute to the team score and it bothered her…..a lot. She recognized the problem and made changes. The following year she placed second then her junior year she was the NCAA Cross Country Champion. While at Villanova Jen was a five-time NCAA champion. Added to her cross country title is the outdoor 5000 three consecutive years (1994-1996) and the indoor 5000 in 1995. Jen graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1996.

To say that things got better for Jen after she left Villanova would be an understatement. She went on to qualify for three Olympic Games. In 2000, she qualified in the 10,000 then the marathon in 2004. In 2008, she qualified in the 5000 in an epic battle against Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher in what some say was the greatest women’s Olympic Trials 5000 race ever. Jen’s professional career includes her breaking the elusive 15-minute barrier in the 5,000. Her 14:54.29 makes her the 5th fastest American performer ever at that distance. Her 31:17.31 10,000 makes her the 9th fastest American performer ever. Her 3000 best of 8:35.03 makes her the 6th fastest American performer ever. It’s very difficult to make one Olympic team. It’s rare to make a second. It puts you in a very elite group of people when you make three Olympic teams. In 2011, 15 years after graduating from college, Jen finished 9th at the World Championships in the 10,000 meters. Her success and longevity in this sport is amazing and the envy of other elite athletes. She is truly one of America’s greatest distance runners ever.

Terrence Mahon and Jen Rhines
Jen resides in Boston, MA with her husband Terrance Mahon and two pugs, Bella and Star. Her husband Terrance is an accomplished athlete and coach. He was an All-American at Villanova, has run 2:13:02 for the marathon and qualified for the Olympic Trials in both the 10,000 and marathon. Terrance is also one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He was head coach of the Mammoth Track Club where he coached such greats as Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall, Morgan Uceny, Anna (Willard) Pierce, Amy Hastings and of course his wife. In 2013 he was recruited by the Boston Athletic Association to start and coach their high performance athlete group.

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