Archive for August, 2009

Willard Closes Out Worlds in Sixth

Posted: 23 August by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

annawillardBrown University graduate Anna Willard, the Heps steeplechase recordholder, finished sixth in the 1,500-meter run at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany, on Sunday.

Willard finished the event in 4:06.19, about two-and-a-half seconds behind winner Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain.

Willard was one of three Americans in the top six as Shannon Rowbury took third and Christin Wurth-Thomas fifth.

The IAAF World Championships — the first major international event at the Olympic stadium since the 1936 Games — have now drawn to a close.

Reaching The Highest Heights

Posted: 22 August by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

willardbrownBrown University graduate Anna Willard — who has perhaps become the most visible middle distance runner in the United States — has qualified for the final of the 1,500-meter run at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany.

The top five runners in each of two semifinal heats earned automatic berths to the final and Willard was third in her race with a time of 4:10.47, about a quarter-second behind winner Getele Burka of Ethiopia.

On Sunday Willard will run in the 12-woman final, which will feature six runners who have broken four minutes in the event.

This photo, taken by Dan Grossman, was taken at the 2006 Outdooe Heps at Franklin Field as Willard set an Ivy League record in the event.

Some Words From The Worlds

Posted: 20 August by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

samyrlaineFormer Harvard standout Samyr Laine represented Haiti at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany, earlier this week, finishing 16th in the triple jump. He emailed Heps Track about the experience:

“The meet definitely has been an amazing experience thus far. I was more disappointed with my jumping than perhaps I’ve ever been, considering how good I felt the day of my competition and the fact that I’d jumped 17.39m in Colombia at the end of July; so I was looking to make the final. Couple that with the fact that my first jump was close to 17 meters but ended up being a foul and you can figure how sour I was.

“At the end of the day though I’m fully aware that being at a meet like this, in a city like Berlin (and not to mention with my family and people close to me in town to support), is a great way to end a pretty good season! Besides, there’s always World Indoors in March and plenty more meets beyond that… along with plenty of improvements to make in my jumping.”

Expect to read more about Samyr in future championships.

The Journey Ends

Posted: 19 August by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

hurtault-olyTwo Ivy Leaguers competed at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany, today and each finished just shy of the championship round in their respective events.

Princeton graduate Tora Harris struggled a bit in the high jump, needing extra leaps to clear 7-4 1/4. Because those additional attempts put his qualification for the finals in jeopardy, he opted to raise the bar to 7-6 1/2, but couldn’t clear that height.

Columbia graduate Erison Hurtault, who had advanced to the semifinals of the 400-meter dash on Tuesday, wound up in the fastest heat of the semis and fell short of advancing to the finals. Hurtault, who runs for Dominica, was clocked in 45.59 while heat winner LaShawn Merritt of the U.S. ran the fastest time in the world this year (44.37).

Ich bin Berliner

Posted: 18 August by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

berlinToday has been a good one for Ivy Leaguers at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Berlin, Germany, as Columbia graduate Erison Hurtault, representing Dominica, and Brown alum Anna Willard, running for the U.S., have each advanced from the first round of their events.

Hurtault finished fourth in his heat of the 400-meter dash, running a season-best 45.55 to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals. Willard moved on in the 1,500-meter run in a time of 4:08.13 and will next compete in the semis on Friday.

Veteran shot putter Adam Nelson, a graduate of Dartmouth College, was fifth in his specialty over the weekend with a best effort of 69-3 1/4. Nelson twice earned Olympic silver in the shot.

Another Ivy Leaguer, Harvard’s Samyr Laine, was 16th in the triple jump with a top leap of 53-7 1/2. Laine was representing Haiti after earning a spot at the Worlds with a huge leap at the U.S. Club Nationals.

Cornell Serves Kenya

Posted: 5 August by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

This story has been written with the help of Cross World Africa and Susan Lang of the Cornell Chronicle. The photos were taken by Derek Alvez.

kenya-1Just about a month ago, Cornell assistant coach Kevin Thompson led a delegation associated with Big Red track & field to Kenya under his nonprofit organization, Cross World Africa, Inc. Part of the mission of CWA is to help prepare African youth for a U.S. college education.

“CWA is trying to fill in the gaps left after the recent upheaval in Kenya and provide opportunities for youth in East Africa,” Thompson said.

Thompson’s travel team included Cornell head coach Nathan Taylor, two former Heps champions Adam Seabrook and Aaron Merrill, Thompson’s wife Michelle and CWA board member Derek Alvez.

The trip (June 17-29) was to Eldoret, Kenya, where the Cornellians prepped more than 40 Kenyan students for the SATs, delivered 17 computers for a lab at the new Kip Keino High School and funded a micro-finance program for women. Thompson also met with local organizers to plan a “Kip Keino Mile and Health Fair,” where information on HIV/AIDS and birth control will be available at a November race in Eldoret.

kenya-4“Kip Keino was a childhood idol of mine,” said Thompson of the famed Kenyan long-distance runner. “I remember when I was 10 watching him in 1968 win an Olympic gold medal [in the 1,500-meter run]. Being a young African-American kid, I had never seen a person of color running distance, and you could just see he was an extraordinary person.” Keino, dubbed an “athlete who cares,” by Sports Illustrated, would go on to open an orphanage, athlete training center and two schools in western Kenya. Thompson would go on to be motivated by him.

“His philosophy of caring about people, and youth in particular, inspired me, and one of my major goals in life has become to help young people in any way that I can,” said Thompson.

“I spent most of the time in urbanized areas such as Eldoret and Kapsabet,” said Michelle Thompson. “In between these two communities is a very plush and vibrant landscape etched with pockets of indescribable poverty. The lack of adequate services such as public transportation, sidewalks, drainage, sanitation and roadways was severe and apparent. However, the people remain friendly and appear to be hopeful that each day will be better than the last. Children are very open and are willing to smile and greet you with sweet voices yelling ‘how are you’ from roadside ditches as they move cattle along that appear to be 10 times the size of their master.  Being in Kenya is a humbling experience but also equally enlightening and beautiful.

kenya-3“I was not an Ivy League Athlete but would suggest to student-athletes that they should bring their energy and talents to Kenya and other Sub-Saharan African countries. One night Aaron and Adam were talking about how they balanced their training with academics at the collegiate level.  Gladys, an emerging distance runner, listened intently and replied that she only hopes to have such an opportunity. Even if Athletes don’t participate in the LGR-CWA SAT prep program, they could spend time discussing their experiences to those who may never see the United States nor attend a college of any kind. This type of cross cultural exchange is truly priceless and allows those with limited chances with hope for a different future.”