Brett — formerly the Associate Director of the Ivy League — has a background in transitioning the image and awareness of organizations. At the League, he transformed its website into a broad-based outlet which, at its height, was drawing eight million page views per month before spinning into several related sites, including those focused on black history, women’s history, the Olympics and the League’s 50th anniversary. Several of his written pieces won district and national awards from CoSIDA, the professional organization for publicists of college athletics. A 1986 graduate of the University of Dayton, Brett has also worked very closely with the Penn Relays, an event he has now served for 20 consecutive years. In his day job, Brett is one of the founders of Schools Building Communities, a non-profit organization working to bring high-quality public charter schools to Indianapolis’ communities.
Even though Dan and his wife Dana met as Brown University undergraduates, it would take another 25 years for them to become devotees of the school’s track and field program. That’s because their daughter Emily became a runner for the Bears in 1994. Another daughter, Joanna, would later serve as the team manager and a USATF certified official. So Dan began snapping photos and realized he could shoot more than just the Brown athletes. So now for years he and his wife have been shooting eight photos a second as volunteers, posting the images at Maple Leaf Photos for the athletes and families to enjoy. That volunteerism is not a surprise to the folks back in Thetford, Vermont, a town that the Grossmans have been serving for 35 years.
Rachel began her career as a non-recruited athlete at Brown University, but within a few months she was one of two Bears competing in the 3,000-meter run at Indoor Heps. A native of Redondo Beach, Calif., she had earned that spot by running an impressive 10:12.61 at Yale’s Giegengack Invitational. At Redondo Union High, she had finished second in her conference in the 3,200-meter run, served as the editor-in-chief of the student paper High Tide and graduated as an AP Scholar with Distinction. Rachel has yet to declare a major, but has developed an interest in public policy and education studies and hopes to return to Southern California after graduating from Brown to pursue a career in public education reform.
Back in the fall of 2004, Gerry led his beloved Lions to their first Heps team title in a quarter century with a narrow victory at the Cross Country Championships in Van Cortlandt Park in New York City. He was the first Lion across the finish line (24:57.9) and earned first-team All-Ivy honors. A superb miler and 3,000-meter runner as an undergraduate, Groothuis has since turned his attention to longer races and hopes to someday represent Canada in the Olympic Games in the marathon. A 2005 graduate of Columbia with a degree in architecture, Groothuis currently uses his skills as a horticulturalist on the expansive grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which includes the Oldfields-Lilly House & Gardens — a National Historic Landmark — and the 100-acre Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. Gerry is married to Melody and has a young daughter, Bella.
Katie — a senior captain for the Cornell University track & field squad — is a Communication major at the University’s School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where her focus areas include media studies and English. In addition to her studies, she has been involved with the Cornell Daily Sun, the school’s student-run newspaper and video department. Recently, she has become the editor for the Wastebasket, Cornell’s track and field alumni magazine. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in broadcasting and journalism. On the track, the Ridgefield, Conn., native is an All-ECAC runner, an NCAA Regional qualifier and a sub-2:10 800-meter runner. This past fall, Katie attended the Heps Cross Country Championships, documented the event on video and produced a segment which was seen on the school’s official athletics website. Click here to see it.
Mary — who began competing in track & field at the age of 13 — was a sprinter and hurdler for the Crimson, twice winning the Indoor Heps title in the 60-meter hurdles (2003, 2006). As a high schooler in Richmond, R.I., she owned four state records in the hurdle events and claimed 10 individual state titles in indoor and outdoor track. Following her Harvard career, she competed for the University of Massachusetts for the outdoor 2007 season as a first-year graduate student and placed in the top three in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship. She served as a volunteer assistant coach at UMass for sprints and hurdles while she finished her master’s degree in environmental engineering. Now a resident of Reading, Pa., Mary works as an environmental engineer at Weston Solutions, an environmental consulting company based in West Chester, Pa.
Deirdre recently took a new job in a new country, but it is in all too familiar environs. After spending the better part of the last decade in Sweden, she has returned to the States and a position in the Athletic Development office at the University of Pennsylvania. Right outside her office is the Franklin Field track, where she trained and competed before graduating in 1993 with the the Quakers’ third-best heptathlon and pentathlon scores. She remains in the top 10 in each. In her time in Sweden, Deirdre worked in the sports industry, organizing events from the grassroots to Olympic levels, including a post with the 2006 European Athletics Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Woodhaven, N.Y., native continues her on-field athletic activities in the sport of ultimate Frisbee.
Liza — a senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Diplomatic History and Economics — has been the Quakers’ top ranked pole vaulter since 2006, with a college personal best of 12-1. With just a slight improvement during the indoor season, she would threaten the school record of 12-6 set by Sam Crook, who now serves as one of the coaches for the Red & Blue. Liza has scored in three Heptagonal Championships, competed in a pair of ECAC Championships and has the second-best vault in the school history. She was also a hurdler at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco, where her family, originally from Kiev, Ukraine, now resides. During the summer of 2007, Liza interned for the late Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to have served in the United States Congress.
Tyler is fast either indoor or outdoor — summer, spring, winter or fall. A member of a state championship 4×800-meter relay as a high schooler in Lakeville, Minn., Tyler was also a powerful Nordic skier for Lakeville North High. Now a sophomore middle distance and distance runner for the Princeton Tigers, he has run 1:54.34 in the 800 and 4:17.25 in the mile. After an injury-plagued freshman year, his sophomore campaign is off to a good start after setting bests of 25:13 for 8k and 8:30 for the indoor 3,000. He is also a student of the sport as demonstrated by his victory in the LetsRun.com world championships prediction contest. While Tyler has yet to decide on a major, he has narrowed his choices to either economics or chemistry.
Murat competed in 12 Heps Championships from 2005 to 2009, earning both All-Ivy and Academic All-Ivy status. With personal bests of 3:47 in the 1,500, 4:07 in the mile and 25:12 on the course at Van Cortlandt Park, Murat is the only Bulldog track & field athlete to be listed on the school’s all-time top 15 lists in five individual events. Originally from LaJolla, Calif., Murat comes from a family of Heps athletes. His father, Hasan, was a triple jump at Harvard. Two of his uncles — Ahmed and Resad — also jumped for the Crimson. But his younger sister — Nihal — followed in his footsteps, enrolling and running distance events at Yale, where she is a freshman. Murat now lives near Washington, D.C., works at the Georgetown Running Company and teaches SAT classes at Kaplan as he tries “to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.”
To most people, David is the Director of the Penn Relays. But for those deeply embedded in the sport of track and field, he is one of the leading sources of information and history. In fact, much of the historical data here at HepsTrack.com has, in some way, involved him. His physical library of track data is extensive and his mental library is legendary. David has also been a long-time fan of Heps and has served as the public-address announcer at a number of Heps Championship. Once a writer for Track & Field News, he has wrote the most extensive piece ever produced regarding John Baxter Taylor, the University of Pennsylvania graduate who was the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal. That piece was responsible for the men’s Outdoor Heps trophy being named for Taylor. David is a proud graduate of Swarthmore College and once ran the Boston Marathon.
Even though Patricia fell into track by accident, she is one of the most acclaimed athletes in Heps history. At Yale she garnered seven individual Heps championships and was named as the League’s most outstanding performer at both the Indoor and Outdoor Championships. A sprinter and hurdler for the Bulldogs, she transitioned to the 800-meter run after college and advanced to the final of the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1988. Following her track career, she began working in the field of education and eventually served as the Chief Academic Officer in the Evansville, Ind., school district. She and HepsTrack founder Brett Hoover have founded Schools Building Communities, which is establishing public charter schools in Indianapolis. In 2007, the NCAA acknowledged Patricia’s work, both on and off the track, by awarding her the prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.
A five-time All-American at Columbia, Caroline was the 2005 recipient of the Honda Award, which is given annually to the nation’s most outstanding student-athlete in cross country. Among the all-time great distance runners in Heps history, Carolina — a three-time NCAA runner-up for the Lions — posted career bests of 32:44 in the 10k (2005 Heps at Columbia) and 15:52 in the 5k. In the fall of her season year she won the Heps Cross Country Championships in 17:01.4, breaking a meet record that had stood for nearly a quarter-century. She earned a history degree from Columbia in 2006 and was awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She was running professionally for Nike while enrolled at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. She graduated cum laude last year and immediately passed the New York State Bar Exam. Still running for the New York Athletic Club, Caroline now owns Empire Athletics Management, which represents runners world-wide.
Rich became connected to Heps more than 20 years ago while serving an internship at Ivy League headquarters. While his career has since taken him to an editorial level at TV Guide, his connection remains as he continues to annually serve as an official with the Penn Relays and a correspondent to Track & Field News. A former distance runner at Colgate University, Rich’s connection to the Penn Relays has grown deeper with the transformation of technology. Now he is a combination of live blogger, Tweeter, photographer and researcher as the three-day event occurs each April. He also usually handles a TF&N assignment while at Penn and just two years ago landed his first cover story, a feature on Sarah Bowman of the University of Tennessee.
With Josh at our side, we always know what’s going on. A few years ago at the Penn Relays, the Russian women’s team in the USA vs. the World 4×4 race listed only last names on its entry card. Before we could scramble to provide the lineup to the media, Josh began rattling them off from memory. That’s why we are so pleased to have Josh’s knowledge and enthusiasm here at HepsTrack. A former middle distance runner for the Penn Quakers, Josh has been working at both Heps Championships as well as the Relays since his graduation. But he recently left his civil engineering job in Boston to return to school at the University of California. Will his streak of consecutive Penn Relays come to an end in 2010? Nope. In his post-graduate interview at Cal, he told them that he couldn’t be at school on the final Thursday and Friday in April. Yup, he’s one of us.