Pictured above is Anna Pierce, the Brown University graduate who earned the USATF national crown in the 1,500-meter run over the weekend. Click below for other photos snapped by Randy Miyazaki of Track & Field Photo Magazine.
Archive for June, 2010
What an afternoon for the Ivy League at the U.S. Outdoor Nationals at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. In a short span, Heps had four athletes earn medals in field events and two other runners finish among the top seven in a national final.
One former Leaguer — Dartmouth javelin thrower Sean Furey — claimed a national title with a throw of 262-0. He actually had some stiff competition from a rising senior from Brown, NCAA champion Craig Kinsley, who threw a career-best 256-3 for third place in the event.
“There were a lot of people with big PRs,” said Furey. “It was an interesting competition. My best throw was my last throw. My first throw was only six centimeters in difference. I came out and put a mark out there. I was technically trying to force it out there for a bit, I couldn’t quite seal the deal. Everyone was in a tight bunch the whole time. It was very good competition.”
Eight-time Heps high jump champion Tora Harris of Princeton took second with a clearance of 7-5. The winner, Jesse Williams of Nike, cleared the same height, but with fewer misses. Ageless wonder Adam Nelson, a 1996 graduate of Dartmouth, finished third in the shot put with a season-best 68-4 1/2.
Cornell graduate Morgan Uceny was fifth in the 800-meter (2:00.86) while Princeton rising junior Donn Cabral was seventh in the steeplechase in 8:37.35. Cabral was the NCAA runnerup in that event and is already among the all-great steeplers in League history.
In all, four Ivy Leaguers captured national titles in Des Moines. Brown grad Anna Pierce (1,500-meter run) and Furey were joined by national junior champions Conor McCullough (hammer throw) and Pete Callahan (1,500-meter run), both of Princeton.
Back around Outdoor Heps time, this website had a little button on the menu that said something like, “Do you want to join an education movement?”
I don’t remember the exact wording. But we were trying to enlist college students and graduates to join us for a college residential experience for more than 100 at-risk high school students in a program called X-Mester hosted by Vincennes University in southwest Indiana.
The goal was pretty simple. Surround the students with supportive mentors, structure their time wisely, share techniques and strategies for college success and apply high expectations. We figured that not only would the high school students have a lot to learn, but those who oversaw them would as well.
So we brought our recruitment to HepsTrack and, lo and behold, four of the 13 Fellows we wound up hiring were indeed Ivy League athletes — Princeton sprint football captain Adrian Colarusso, Ivy women’s baskeball player of the year Brittney Smith of Dartmouth, former All-Ivy tennis player Jessie Rhee of Yale and Princeton star wide receiver Trey Peacock.
Any of them would tell you that it wasn’t easy. In fact, I would bet that for most of them it was the toughest job they ever had. But they worked tirelessly for the better part of three weeks to change attitudes, demonstrate leadership and improve results.
It worked. Professors were amazed at the level of engagement of the students and grades were dramatically improved (most had begun the course online and completed it face-to-face). The students themselves saw the difference as well. About 70 percent of them reported that they had developed better study strategies and were better prepared for both college life and college success.
“It was so incredible to see the transformation in these kids,” said Jessie. “In the beginning there were a few speed bumps, but that just made the whole experience that much more worthwhile. I was challenged in terms of what I believed in and what I expected, and now I walk away enlightened… and even nostalgic.”
Thank you and congratulations to Adrian, Brittney, Jessie and Trey. You made a world of difference for young men and women like Moses, Sommer, Iman and LaRome. Enough if they yet don’t know it.
Eight of the 13 X-Mester Fellows (pictured above) competed in college athletics last year. Along the front row are Bobby Irwin (Baldwin Wallace tennis), LaTasha Dawson (Vincennes basketball), Jessie Rhee (Yale tennis) and Adrian Colarusso (Princeton sprint football). In the back row are Garnett Phelps (Eastern Kentucky football), Trey Peacock (Princeton football), Brittney Smith (Dartmouth basketball) and Kenya Kirkland (Georgetown basketball).
You might think that sending one athlete to the World Junior Championships in Moncton, N.B., as the U.S. national champion would be enough for one Heps team. But Princeton men’s coach Fred Samara will be sending two.
That’s because freshman Peter Callahan will join hammer thrower Conor McCullough after he claimed victory in the men’s 1,500-meter run at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa. Callahan finished a second clear of his nearest competitor in 3:46.42.
“I think I was the only guy coming in with a qualifying time for Worlds so I was expecting people to push the pace, despite the heat,” said Callahan. “And guys went for it.”
Callahan credited his strength work for his confidence and his ability to win, regardless of the tactics applied by others.
“I’ve worked a lot this year… to be in a better position to go into that last lap. If you have a good kick, that’s great. But you’ve got to be close enough to use it,” he said. “This year I really worked hard on that strength [component] and ran cross country this fall which I’ve never done… More and more over the year I’ve kind of learned a lot about how to stay with the leaders.”
With a strong finish, Brown graduate Anna Pierce won the 1,500-meter run at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. One of the event favorites, Shalane Flanagan of the Oregon Track Club, fell in the back straightaway on the second lap, which may have led to a slow pace (4:13.65).
“I wanted to go [kick] with between 300 and 400 to go, but I was in a terrible position,” said Pierce. “But I ended up getting out and having a clear run from about 220 out. So the last 200 was great. I was worried I wasn’t going to catch her [Erin Donohue, the leader], but then the last 100, the crowd was really cheering and I really felt a good surge. So I was happy with it overall. Obviously it was slow. It was a hot day, so I wasn’t expecting too fast [of a time].”
Another former Heps champion, Harvard graduate Becky Christensen, took 10th in the high jump (5-8 3/4). More to come from Des Moines later.
There was some level of disappointment here at HepsTrack when Princeton freshman Conor McCullough opted to sit out the NCAA Championships in May. But now, well, McCullough has vindication after smashing the American Junior record in the men’s hammer throw yesterday at the USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
The 2008 World Junior silver medalist, McCullough launched the hammer 256-10 to demolish the previous American Junior record of 252-4 set by Walter Henning when he won the 2008 World Junior Championships.
“I qualified (for NCAAs) but didn’t go in order to train for this,” McCullough said. “It’s extra traveling. I have more years to do it,so I might as well (miss NCAAs) now. And the (NCAA) hammer is 6 kilograms, so it’s a little different and this is my last year with it. So I decided to train for (this meet) and it’s a world (junior) championship, it’s not an NCAA championship. World is a bigger, bigger deal.”