Archive for March, 2010

No. 5 — Breaking Is Hard To Do

Posted: 31 March by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

In late May of 1990, Diana Wills of the U.S. Military Academy won her third straight NCAA Division II national championship in the triple jump, this time bounding just a quarter-inch shy of 45 feet in Hampton, Va.

How ridiculous was that leap? As great as Jeomi Maduka of Cornell was in her recent career, she never had a wind-legal jump within a foot of that. Neither has any other Heps jumper.

Wills was actually ranked third in the U.S., collegian or not, by Track & Field News as a junior and senior and was able to compete in both the NCAA Division I and II Championships, thus, became a 12-time All-American for the Cadets.

She would eventually push her all-time best beyond 46 feet and would be among the nation’s top three hop, step and jumpers until 1996, when she qualified for the Atlanta Olympics. In both 1991 and 1994, she was ranked second to American recordholder Sheila Hudson.

Now a mother and entrepreneur, Wills lives in Houston, where she owns a presonal training company.

Other hard-to-break figures to date:
18-1 1/2—Mamadou Johnson
55.46—Brenda Taylor
7,937—Mustafa Abdur-Rahim
20—Joslyn Woodard

Now & Then

Posted: 30 March by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

Here’s the kind of thing we’d like to see more of here at HepsTrack. This past weekend, the Yale Track Association held its annual dinner at the Yale Club in Manhattan. The event paid homage to the early trailblazing women who were instrumental in establishing the program.

The contributions of assistant coach Bruce Hescock and trainer Daphne Benas were also acknowledged for their lengthy service to the programs.

The photo above was taken by Duke Diaz and features Hescock with five of his former athletes — Ann King ’80, Pat Melton ’83, Sally Strauss ’82, Lorain Ross ’82 and Margaret Wynne-Brennan ’85.

King was the team captain as a senior. Melton was a seven-time Heps champion and a U.S. Olympic Trial finalist. Strauss and Wynne-Brennan were both runners up at the Heps Cross Country Championships. Ross remains the only three-time Heps javelin champion.

Head coach Mark Young talked of the importance of these barrier breakers in laying the groundwork for opportunities experienced by today’s athletes.

In the photo below, Strauss is the first person on the left in the front row. Two places down is King. Melton is third from the left in the top row while Hescock is on the right end of the top row. The head coach is just beneath Hescock at the end of the middle row.

That coach is Lee Calhoun, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the 110-meter hurdles (1956, 1960) and former world record holder.

If you have alumni news, hit the little envelope on the top right column and let me know. And photos are always welcomed.

A Grand Old Relays

Posted: 30 March by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized


Yesterday was the high school deadline for the Penn Relays and something happened that had never before happened.

When Urbana High School of Ijamsville, Md., submitted its entry application, it became the 1,000th high school to do so in 2010. The Relays have been creeping close to that mark for a few years now, but this marks the first time the Carnival has gotten to a grand.

The college deadline is next Monday and all eight Heps schools have the Relays on the schedule. If you are interested in tickets to the Relays (April 22-24), please click here. And for a Relays’ Fan Guide, click here.

Typically about three dozen Jamaican high schools venture to Franklin Field for the Relays. Not long ago Usain Bolt was among them. Click here for a new BBC profile on the Jamaica National High School Championships.

Anderson, Thornton To The Hall

Posted: 29 March by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

The Niagara Track & Field Hall of Fame Awards Luncheon will induct seven members in its Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 11, at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center in Syracuse, N.Y. As the organization ups its total of Hall inductees to 49, two of the new additions were former Heps foes in the early 1970s.

Cornell’s John Anderson, whose career was highlighted by competing in the 1972 Munich Olympics and winning the 1973 Boston Marathon, and Penn’s Karl Thornton, a key figure as the Quakers developed a track dynasty in the early 1970s and a sub-four miler, were join the group that has won 14 Olympic gold medals and 11 NCAA titles while setting 35 world records.

Joining Anderson and Thornton as 2010 inductees are Bill Cox (Penn State), Bill Horr (Syracuse), Kathy Mills Parker (Penn State), Jerry Riordan (Syracuse) and Brad Sumner (Villanova).

Note: This story initially reported that this was affiliated with the Niagara Association of USA Track & Field. That was in error. This ceremony is not in affiliation with the USATF or its Niagara Association in any form.

Orange, Crimson Compete with Cardinal

Posted: 29 March by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

Both Harvard and Princeton sent distance squads to the high-profile Stanford Invitational over the weekend. Click here for photos and click here for video clips from that meet. Those squads, along with Columbia, Cornell and Yale, will be competing at the Sam Howell Invitational in Princeton, N.J. News and notes from around the League:

Harvard — The Crimson squad split up this weekend, with the distance group in Palo Alto, and the sprinters, throwers and jumpers attended the University of Central Florida Invitational … In California, the distance crew did very well against the highly competitive competition … Two new personal bests were set in the 5,000-meter run — Claire Richardson came second in her heat, running 16:20.98, while Dan Chenoweth came third in his heat with a 13:59.43, which would place him second all-time for Harvard in that event … Chas Gillespie finished right behind Chenoweth at 14:02.19, just missing his personal best by a second … Darcy Wilson ran a 3:53.82 in the 1500, placing fourth in his heat … Other competitors at Stanford included Jeff Homer, Brian Paison, Thea Lee, Carlyle Davis, Brian Hill and Meghan Looney in the 800-meter run and Nicole Cochran in the steeplechase … In Florida, the Crimson won three events … Frosh Olivia Weeks continued her triple jump dominance from indoors, winning with a best of 40-1 3/4 … Junior Jessica Fronk easily won the javelin (150-2) by more than 24 feet while senior Jack Brady unleashed a 160-9 discus throw and placed second in the hammer (186-1 1/4) and shot put (53-9 1/2) … Harvard had 10 top-five finishes in UCF once the weekend was complete — Eric Clayman (fourth, hammer); Ablorde Ashigbi (fifth, hammer); Edward Brucker (third, shot put); Shannon Watt (fourth, shot put); Ashtynn Balitmore (fourth, long jump); Sydnie Leroy (second, pole vault); Justin Grinstead (second, 400m hurdles); Melissa Bellin (fifth, 400m hurdles); John Dingus (fifth, 400m) and Kenneth Wang Kan (fourth, long jump). (report filed by Mary Boggs)

Princeton — The Tiger men’s distance squad made its outdoor debut after not competing in Florida and recorded seven personal bests … In the 1500-meter run, Princeton was led by sophomore Trevor VanAckeren winning the second heat in 3:46.86 and junior Kyle Soloff’s PR of 3:47.41 in the third heat … Junior Tony Salvatore also recorded a huge PR to win his heat in 3:51.27 … Senior Elliot Welder shattered his steeplechase best, running 9:08 … In the 5K, the Tigers saw sophomores Donn Cabral and Max Kaulbach notch PRs of 14:01 and 14:21, respectively … Junior captain Rob Speare capped the PR-fest on the first day, with a 29:31 10k … On the second day, freshman Peter Callahan won the second heat of the 800m in 1:50.50 … Freshman Michael Palmisano outleaned senior Jeff Carbonella in the fourth heat, 1:54.09 to 1:54.11 … Assistant coach Jeff Zodda opened his competitive season running 1:50.99 to finish sixth in the fast heat … The women’s team sent their hammer throwers to the Monmouth Invite, which junior Emma Ruggiero won with a new best of 180-3 (becoming the seventh Ivy Leaguer to top 180) … Junior Thanithia Billings finished fourth with a throw of 167-4. (report filed by Tyler King)

More to come.

No Heartbreak in his Hill (Update)

Posted: 28 March by Brett Hoover in Uncategorized

There are two great American sporting events that take place on Mondays in April. First is the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game (go Butler!). The second is the annual Patriot’s Day run in Beantown — the Boston Marathon (which will be contested on April 19).

Now, if people were to learn that the 1973 winner was a former Heps athlete, many would say, “I didn’t know that Frank Shorter won the Boston Marathon.”

Well, he didn’t. He was the Olympic gold medalist in the marathon at the Munich Olympics, but he didn’t compete in Boston until the late 1970s.

The answer is… former Cornell All-American Jon Anderson.

The 1970 Heps Cross Country champion didn’t plan to run until three weeks before the famed race and once he got going, he pulled away from defending champion Olavi Suomalainen around the 20-mile mark. Just the third American winner since World War II, Anderson, sporting a little-known swoosh on his shoes, beat New Jersey’s Tom Fleming by more than a half-minute.

Amazingly, the Oregon native didn’t start running until his senior year of high school. After earning an economics degree from Cornell in 1971, Anderson shocked the track world by qualifying for the 1972 Olympics at the U.S. Trials in his hometown of Eugene, Ore., where his father was the mayor.

Anderson still lives in Eugene, where he has long been president and publisher of Random Lengths Publications, a supplier of forest products news. He also serves on the University of Oregon Foundation Board of Trustees.

UPDATE: Jon Anderson has sent us his memories of the day…

This was my fourth marathon. I had a previous best of 2:23+, and, even though I had been on the Olympic team the prior year (in the 10K), I was hardly noticed in the press.

This was a very warm day and I followed my friend and Olympic teammate Jeff Galloway for about 10-13 miles as he was a master at pace and hanging back.  A photographer has a photo of me passing Suomalainen. He claimed it was remarkably close to the 20-mile mark in the hills. Once one crests Heartbreak, it’s all downhill or flat. I remember my thighs ‘screaming’ on the downhill, but I also remember telling myself to run as hard as I possibly could and to not look back. It worked out.

This was Patriots Day, of course, and the Red Sox played. The crowd in the city was huge … I was told that the baseball game had gotten over just prior to my entering the city proper. Given the heat that day, a number of the top American runners gathered in an apartment that Amby Burfoot and I think a couple others had that was very close to the starting line. There was no need to warm up really, so I recall sitting in a room with 10 or more other guys going through that painful experience of waiting for the gun to go off.

I drank beer and partied the night after the race with the Finns at the Lenox.

It was a different era. The next morning I woke up and walked myself to the subway station to catch the train to Logan and my flight home. The winner in those days received a trophy, a medal, and an invitation to the annual Fukuoka Marathon in Japan the following December. Of course, with ‘Boston Marathon winner’ in my resume’ I got additional invitations as time passed.

A great memory for sure.