Archive for November, 2010

Saving Christmas

Posted: 30 November by Brett Hoover in Alumni
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This isn’t exactly ‘hot-off-the-wire’ news, but I would bet that most of our readers don’t know that an independent film production company is developing a 3-D feature film based on… the Erector Set.

I suspect that many don’t know what an Erector Set is, so here is a brief explanation. I don’t know what it is like now, but in the 1970s it was a dangerous children’s construction toy. It had edges as sharp as scissors and many kids in my neighborhood constructed weapons from the maze of metal.

It was a wonder that none of us ever put an eye out. And it comes as no surprise that Dr. Jack Kevorkian designed his first assisted suicide machine with an Erector Set. And by now, if you have gotten this far, you must be asking, “Where is this going?”

The developer of the Erector Set was an Ivy League trackster. A great one at that. Yalie A.C. Gilbert was a 1908 Olympic gold-medal-winning pole vaulter and a two-time world record holder in the event. His Wikipedia page claims that he set a world record for consecutive chin-ups — 39 — as a 16-year-old.

One hundred years ago now, watching construction in New Haven and New York as a collegian, helped inspire the creation which would make him a multi-millionaire. Also known as ‘The Man Who Saved Christmas,’ his story was immortalized in a 2002 movie starring Jason Alexander.

Back in Salem, Ore., is A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, a tribute to the hometown hero who launched imaginations with a number of educational toys.

Did You Trot Before Turkey?

Posted: 28 November by Brett Hoover in Alumni, Athletes
Tags: ,

After criss-crossing the state of Ohio for several days without internet access, I am finally back within the friendly confines of my web-enabled house and able to react to Mary Boggs’ Thanksgiving Day running coverage.

Turns out that former Heps record-breakers Ben True (Dartmouth) and Delilah DiCrescenzo (Columbia) each finished second at the Manchester (Conn.) Road Race on Thursday. That 4.784-mile event, which has been contested for 74 years now, has been called “America’s most venerable Thanksgiving Day road race.”

The winners were Kenya’s Sally Kipyego — a former NCAA cross country champion — and Morocco’s Mourad Marofit. David Monti of Race Results Weekly reported on the battle for second that was taken by True:

The pack sprint had its own drama because eight men all had a chance at second place. Elbows began to fly, and one athlete even said he was cut off just steps from the line. When the dust cleared, it was the former Dartmouth standout Ben True who did best, finishing second in 21:43. Irishman David McCarthy, Ugandan Harbert Okuti, American Stephen Furst, [Brent] Vaughn, [2009 champion Haron] Lagat, and [Robert] Mack all finished in that order over the next three seconds.

True told the Hartford Courant, “It was fun. There was a big bunch of us. We kept looking around at each other, cat and mouse, seeing what was going to happen. We knew it was going to come down to a kick. We knew there was a downhill and an uphill [at the finish] and if you go too early, then, you can burn out pretty quick. I was trying to stay as relaxed as possible. I tried to wait and it worked out.”

In yet another story, Monti reported that turkey trotting and drumstick dashing had flatlined in participation this year. Did you run on Thanksgiving morning? If so, report it below in comments.

On Feb. 26-27, all eight Ivy League schools will gather at The Armory in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood for the 64th Heptagonals Indoor Track & Field Championships and we can all aggressively look to raise awareness and attract spectators.

The simple way to participate is to sign up for the Facebook event page and invite others to do the same by clicking “Share” just under the event title. This is your meet, help make it unforgettable. Let people know that the Armory is a great place and the last time Heps was contested there, eight meet records were broken. Let them know that the subway runs from Penn Station to about a block from the track. Let them know that New York is their kinda town. Once they sign up, we will take it from there to help entice them.

Also, it is worth mention that in a five-weekend, seven-event stretch between mid-January through mid-February, every Ivy team will venture to the Big Apple to test-drive the fast surface of the world-class banked track.

The League will be well represented at all three Saturday Night at the Races series sponsored by the New York Road Runners. Columbia and Harvard will be on hand for the kickoff event on Jan. 15. Frequent Ivy contenders Cornell and Princeton will take to the track on Jan. 29 with a strong field to include Mississippi State, Maryland, Virginia and Villanova. Brown, Columbia and Penn will compete in the final Saturday challenge on Feb. 12.

One the Saturdays in between, Yale, Columbia and Dartmouth will square off on Jan. 22 and Columbia will join a national field for the New Balance Collegiate Invitational on Feb. 4-5. That showcase meet will feature the likes of Abilene Christian, Arkansas, Baylor, BYU, Georgetown, Hampton, Houston, Kansas, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Portland, South Carolina, Southern Cal, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA and Villanova. Click here for a preliminary time schedule.

Penn will also run in the Great Dane Classic, which will be hosted by the University at Albany on Jan. 21, and the hometown Lions will battle in the city’s renown Metropolitan Championships on Jan. 29 in advance of the Saturday night event.

Then comes the biggest event of the year — the Heptagonal Championships! Click here for the full indoor-season schedule.

Three Tiger All-Americans At NCAAs

Posted: 22 November by Brett Hoover in Announcement

In British Open conditions — temperatures in the mid-50s, but the winds howling — at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., the Princeton men’s team finished 12th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, the highest finish by a Heps team in 17 years and by an Ivy League team since 1989.

Junior Brian Leung led the Tigers with a 21st-place finish in 30:18 followed by classmate Donn Cabral (34th, 30:26.4) and senior Mark Amirault (52nd, 30:37.9). Leung, who along with Cabral earned All-America notice, matched the second-highest placing in Princeton history as only Paul Morrison, who was eighth in 1999, has been higher.

The last Heps team to finish higher was Army in 1993, when the Cadets were sixth. Dartmouth, in 1989, was ninth, the last Ivy team to finish in the nation’s top 12. It was also the best-ever finish for the Princeton men, who had previous best of 15th in 1975.

Harvard senior Dan Chenoweth, who finished 42nd at Nationals as a sophomore and a junior, was running with Leung and Cabral after 8,000 meters, but suffered an unknown setback in his run at All-America. He finished 238th overall. Yale senior Jeff Perrella was 120th overall (31:21.4) while Princeton junior Max Kaulbach was 145th (31:32.7) and Columbia senior Tom Poland finished 162nd (31:42.2). The Tigers fifth and final scorer was senior Kyle Soloff in 180th position (31:58.9).

In the women’s race, yet another Princeton junior — Alex Banfich — earned All-America status by taking 20th overall in 20:36 as the Tigers claimed 15th place on the women’s side.

Columbia sophomore Caroline McDonough had a fabulous run, finishing 43rd in 20:54.2. She was the second Heps finisher and missed All-America status by less than a half-second. Princeton’s senior stalwarts Sarah Cummings and Ashley Higginson placed 57th and 74th respectively. Cornell freshman Devin McMahon had a fantastic debut, taking 98th in 21:20.0. Princeton’s last two scorers were sophomores Abby Levene (179th) and Alexis Mikaelian (195th).

The day was mostly about defending titles. Liberty’s Sam Chelanga repeated his national title by outkicking Arizona’s Stephen Sambu while Oklahoma State took the men’s team title yet again. Villanova also repeated as the women’s team champion led by individual champion Sheila Reid, who was able to hold off Emily Infeld of Georgetown and Jordan Hasay of Oregon down the stretch. Reid’s wind-affected time was 20:06.9.

NCAA Championship
Nov. 22, 2010: LaVern Gibson Course, Terre Haute, Ind.

Women’s Team Scores (click here for full list)
1. Villanova, 120; 2. Florida State, 154; 3. Texas Tech, 165; 4. Georgetown, 167; 5. New Mexico, 227; 6. Colorado, 314; 7. Stony Brook, 334; 8. Iowa State, 341; 9. Providence, 343; 10. Syracuse, 347; 11. Arizona, 372; 12. Oregon, 378; 13. Stanford, 402; 14. North Carolina, 405; 15. Princeton, 411.

Women’s Individual leaders plus Heps finishers (click here for full list)
5-kilometer course
1. Sheila Reid, Villanova, 20:06.9
2. Emily Infeld, Georgetown, 20:09.2
3. Jordan Hasay, Oregon, 20:13.0
4. Risper Kimaiyo, UTEP, 20:16.1
5. Rose Tanui, Texas Tech, 20:17.6
20. Alex Banfich, Princeton, 20:36.0
43. Caroline McDonough, Columbia, 20:54.2
57. Sarah Cummings, Princeton, 21:03.0
74. Ashley Higginson, Princeton, 21:09.4
98. Devin McMahon, Cornell, 21:20.0
179. Abby Levene, Princeton, 22:04.3
195. Alexis Mikaelian, Princeton, 22:13.3
212. Theresa Devine, Princeton, 22:27.1
249. Mel Newberry, Princeton, 23:51.7

Men’s Team Scores (click here for full list)
1. Oklahoma State, 73; 2. Florida State, 193; 3. Wisconsin, 223; 4. Stanford, 237; 5. Oklahoma, 281; 6. Oregon, 289; 7. Indiana, 298; 8. Iona, 303; 9. Northern Arizona, 317; 10. Arkansas, 329; 11. Alabama, 338; 12. Princeton, 351; 13. Portland, 362; 14. Syracuse, 365; 15. Colorado, 366.

Men’s Individual leaders plus Heps finishers (click here for full list)
10-kilometer course
1. Samuel Chelanga, Liberty, 29:22.2
2. Stephen Sambu, Arizona, 29:26.5
3. Luke Puskedra, Oregon, 29:38.0
4. Leonard Korir, Iona, 29:42.0
5. Chris Derrick, Stanford, 29:44.7
21. Brian Leung, Princeton, 30:18.3
34. Donn Cabral, Princeton, 30:26.4
52. Mark Amirault, Princeton, 30:37.9
120. Jeff Perrella, Yale, 31:21.4
145. Max Kaulbach, Princeton, 31:32.7
162. Tom Poland, Columbia, 31:42.2
180. Kyle Soloff, Princeton, 31:58.9
202. Joe Sitlin, Princeton, 32:11.5
205. Alejandro Arroyo Yamin, Princeton, 32:17.3
238. Dan Chenoweth, Harvard, 33:20.3
Note: Former Harvard runner Chas Gillespie, now a graduate student representing William & Mary, was 58th overall (30:40.7)

NCAA Championships Guide

Posted: 21 November by Brett Hoover in Announcement

The NCAA Cross Country Championships will take place Monday at the LaVern Gibson Course in Terre Haute, Ind., and two Heps teams and five other individuals will be hoping for the run of their lives. The women’s six-kilometer race — featuring the Princeton team as well as Cornell’s Devin McMahon and Columbia’s Caroline McDonough — will begin at 12:08 pm followed 40 minutes later by the men’s title chase. Again, the Princeton team will run in the men’s race along with Harvard’s Dan Chenoweth, Columbia’s Tom Poland and Yale’s Jeff Perrella.

Here is everything you need to know in advance:

Click here to watch the races live
Click here for a FloTrack video preview of the LaVern Gibson Course
Click here for the ‘In-Their-Own-Words” Heps men’s preview
Click here for the ‘In-Their-Own-Words” Heps women’s preview
Click here for the Heps history at the NCAA Championships

And, of course, as soon as the data is available online, it will be available here at

Leave Your Vuvuzela Behind

Posted: 20 November by Brett Hoover in Announcement, Harvard, Yale
Tags: ,

Harvard has outlawed the vuvuzela for The Game, which is taking place before a filled-to-capacity Harvard Stadium and being shown to the masses on the VERSUS Network today at noon. Yale is 7-2 heading into the game while Harvard is 6-3. Unless Cornell can pull off a major upset this afternoon, the Penn Quakers will be the unbeaten Ivy champion for 2010.

The vuvuzela ban comes as great news for 33,000 spectators and all the players, but it wasn’t a welcome development for Yale freshman Jonathan Desnick, who purchased 700 vuvuzelas with the school’s ‘Y’ imprinted on it. “I think it would have been a lot of fun,” he told the Associated Press. “It would have gotten the energy up on the field, and may we would have even got our game on ESPN.”

Note to Jonathan: The Harvard-Yale game is ALWAYS highlighted on ESPN. Vuvuzelas or not. And thankfully, this time, not.

And to make sure that this post deals with Heps, here’s something. Did you know that since the NCAA added the Women’s Cross Country Championship in 1982, Heps has had at least six men’s and women’s runners place in the top 100 each year? That’s 28 years in a row. The all-time high was 20 (13 men and seven women) at the 1986 Championships in Tucson, Ariz. In all, more than 300 Heps runners have finished in the top 100 in the last 28 years, an average of nearly 11 per fall.