Archive for the ‘Penn’ Category

Former University of Delaware runner Jeff Pearlman, now at Sports Illustrated, isn’t satisfied with his alma mater placing blame on Title IX as the reason for bringing the axe down upon the men’s 100-year-old track-and-field program.

In the official press release, David Brond, vice president for communications and marketing, tries to make the University’s scapegoating of women’s athletics sound heroic, claiming, “This action demonstrates the University’s commitment to the equity principles embodied in Title IX.”

It should also be noted that the action makes room for the football team to pick up a 17th defensive back for next year.

Sad to report that both the president and athletic director at Delaware are former Ivy League athletes. President Dr. Patrick Harker was a football player at Penn while AD Bernard Muir played basketball at Brown.

Pass The Dutch

Posted: 18 January by Brett Hoover in Penn

This apparently comes to us from Philadelphia, circa 2008. Keep these comin’. What are the chances you’d embarrass yourself? You may have to go to YouTube to see these because of music licensing. :(

Male Athlete & Rookie of the Week
It didn’t take long for Penn freshman Maalik Reynolds (Atlanta, Ga.) to earn his way into the Heps record book and make a splash in New York. He did so by easily winning the high jump at the New York Road Runners Saturday Night at the Races at the New York City Armory in Washington Heights. In fact, he didn’t just win, he soared over 2.21 meters (7-3), becoming the first Penn Quaker — indoor or outdoor — to ever clear that height. With that jump he became the 10th person in Heps history to clear 7-3, the fifth to manage it indoor. See the list below. When Reynolds joined the competition, the bar was at 2.00 meters (6-6 3/4) and 13 of the 17 competitors were already on the sidelines. He sailed through 2.16 (7-1) without a miss, but knocked the bar down on his first two tries at 7-3. Reynolds — who represented the U.S. at the World Juniors in Canada last summer — cleared his third attempt and moved the bar to 2.26 (7-5), a height cleared by only Tora Harris in Ivy League history (Navy’s Leo Williams has done it as well). But 7-5 will need to wait another day.

2010-11 Athlete of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Nick Huber (Cornell)
Dec. 12 — Darcy Wilson (Harvard) & Austn Hollimon (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Bob Belden (Cornell) & Russell Dinkins (Princeton)
Jan. 16 — Maalik Reynolds (Penn)

2010-11 Rookie of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Chris Bain (Cornell) & Kinsley Ojukwu (Cornell)
Dec. 12 — Tom Hopkins (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Damon McLean (Princeton)
Jan. 16 — Maalik Reynolds (Penn)

Female Athletes of the Week
Seems like everyone was after Morgan Uceny this weekend and, for their efforts, Cornell senior captain Kim Standridge (Randolph, N.J.) and Columbia junior Sharay Hale (Detroit, Mich.) have earned Athlete of the Week status. Standridge — who earned All-America accolades in the 800 last June in Eugene, Ore. — broke Uceny’s League record in the 1,000-meter run at the Nittany Lion Challenge in State College, Pa., on Saturday. Her time of 2:46.48 was four-hundredths swifter than Uceny’s 2007 mark. Meanwhile, Hale shattered the 24-year-old 500-meter dash school record of Heather Ruddock, running 1:12.49 at the NYRR Saturday Night at the Races at the Armory. It was also the closest threat to Uceny’s record in that event since she ran 1:11.72, also in 2007. Hale also anchored the Lions to an impressive victory in the 4×400-meter relay (3:45.02), handling the likes of Morgan State, UConn, Temple and Villanova. Since I will likely screw this up in the future, note that Hale’s hometown is now listed as Detroit, Mich. She moved to Milwaukee as a high schooler and became a Wisconsin state champion.

REWIND: As it turns out, Hale already has this mark, having posted a 1:11.24 last year! It doesn’t change the fact that she had a great weekend, it just means that I screwed up.

2010-11 Athlete of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Kate Grace (Yale) & Brynn Smith (Brown)
Dec. 12 — Thanithia Billings (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Thanithia Billings (Princeton) & Melissa Hewitt (Cornell)
Jan. 16 — Kim Standridge (Cornell) & Sharay Hale (Columbia)

Female Rookie of the Week
Make way for the pure speed of Columbia freshman Marvellous Iheukwumere (Austin, Texas) who posted the second-fastest 60-meter dash time in school history on Saturday night at the New York City Armory. Her 7.64 time was third overall. Iheukwumere — who also clocked a 25.71 in the 200m on Saturday — ran 11.77 in the 100-meter dash as a Texas high schooler. According to the Austin American-Statesman, her Nigerian last name means “a big thing has happened.”

2010-11 Rookie of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Colby Lubman (Brown) & Gabrielle Piper (Penn)
Dec. 12 — Alaina Murphy (Harvard) & Kristin Smoot (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Kristin Smoot (Princeton) & Katelyn Walker (Dartmouth)
Jan. 16 — Maevellous Iheukwumere (Columbia)

*Note, in respect to Maalik Reynolds’ performance, here is a list of the top performers in Heps high jump history. This is a combined list of both the indoor and outdoor seasons.

7-7, Tora Harris (Princeton, 2002)
7-6, Leo Williams (Navy, 1983)
7-4 1/4, Terrance Ferguson (Brown, 1991)
7-3 3/4, Mel Embree (Harvard, 1976)
7-3 3/4, Jay Richards (Princeton, 1993)
7-3 1/4, Charles Forlidas (Princeton, 1989)
7-3 1/4, Charles Allen (Columbia, 1979)
7-3, Dave Arundel (Brown, 2001)
7-3, Garrett Huyler (Cornell, 2009)
7-3, Maalik Reynolds (Penn, 2011)

Paying It Forward

Posted: 10 January by Brett Hoover in Alumni, Announcement, Penn
Tags: ,

If you ever want to demonstrate the impact your college coach and your athletic program had on your life, you could do what Adria Sheth (Ferguson) has done. That’s because Adria and her husband Brian, both Penn grads, have donated a seven-figure gift to endow the head women’s track and field coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania in the name of Betty Costanza.

Adria — a graduate of North Valley Regional High in Old Tappan, N.J. — was a four-year letterwinner for Coach Costanza, who started that program in 1976 with six athletes and retired in 2002. Coach’s final championship — at the Indoor Heps in 1996 — featured Adria, who was a member of the school record 4×400-meter relay foursome as she graduated the following year with a degree in psychology. has been in touch with Adria and was thrilled that she agreed to answer five questions for us. Then we sent her six. And she answered each.

You have endowed the Penn women’s track and field head coach position and named it for your former coach, Betty Costanza, the first such endowment of a position in a woman’s name. Do you have a favorite “Betty” story that you can share?

There is no single story that could do Betty Costanza justice. She was the first Penn women’s track and field coach. She was a second mother to hundreds of young women for four extremely volatile, challenging and impactful years. She had confidence in us when we had lost it in ourselves, she taught us that when you fall you had better get back up & do it fast. Betty instilled in the girls she coached a true sense of team and of putting others before yourself. She created an environment that enabled countless women to build the confidence in themselves that they needed to become happy and successful people.

What was your best or favorite running event?

I’m a bit biased but I think the best event in running is the 4×400 meter relay. Relay events in general are the most exciting and dynamic because you are so completely committed to doing everything you can for your teammates that you find yourself capable of feats you could not accomplish on an individual level. Too often one can feel alone while running, but in relays there is a special energy that is created that brings everything to life.

Do you remain involved with the Penn Relays? If so, why and what do you do there?

I love being involved with the Relays. In fact, it was my first Penn Relays my freshman year in high school that drew me to Penn. The enormity of the Relays completely transfixed me. To see so many people with a common love of track and field gathered together to compete against others from all over the world felt unifying. I have lived far from Philadelphia ever since graduating and now that I have a family it gets increasingly more difficult to attend, but the last weekend in April is always on my calendar and each year I do my best to make it to the Relays to participate as a volunteer.

Where has your post-graduate career taken you? Where are you today?

After graduating from Penn I moved out to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a career in technology. I focused on technology research working for start ups, Forrester Research, and Sun Microsystems. I took some time off to coach cross country and track and field before becoming a full time mother, which has been the best and most rewarding job.

I suspect that this gift would be evidence of the importance that you placed in being a member of the Penn track & field team. Why did you make this gift?

It’s important to give back. The University and the track program in particular helped to shape the person I have become probably more than anything else in my life. For many people, myself included, college is the first opportunity we have to be somewhat independent and I think that we sometimes focus on the importance of the decisions we make while overlooking the things in your life that influenced those decisions. The Penn Track & Field team has been my family for more than just the four years I attended school. When I left Penn, Penn did not leave me, a part of Penn will always be with me and I will never forget the friends I made and the experiences we shared. In order for future generations to get a similar or better experience than we had it’s vital that we all do what we can to help improve the athletic and academic programs.

What would you like to see as a result of this gift?

I have donated to Penn ever since graduating. At first, it wasn’t much but I wanted to do something so I started by donating an amount I was comfortable with, and have steadily increased that amount each year. I would love to encourage the habit of giving, and of doing it regularly. Positive change doesn’t happen by itself, it takes commitment and often sacrifice. I am committed to Penn and want to encourage others to be committed and excited about the future of our university. It’s not the amount that matters but the involvement. Be a part of Penn because Penn is a part of you.

We have certainly covered the realm of alumni news here at, but we finally have a name for it. So for the first time in any organized fashion, we bring you Wandering Ivies. And if you have Wandering Ivies’ news to pass along, click right here and help out the cause.

First up, if you thought cross country season was over, you need to take another look because the Bay Area Track Club has announced the inaugural Bay Area Cross Challenge, which will run on Sunday, January 16, at the Polo Fields of Golden Gate Park in wonderfully hilly San Francisco. We have heard of at least three former Ivy Leaguers who are set to compete — including former Cornellian and Olympic Trails qualifier in the steeplechase, Max King. He is a three-time member of the World Cross Country Championship team. Also slated to run are former Harvard Crimson and American Junior recordholder in the 10k Lindsey Scherf, and 2010 Pacific Association Cross Country champion Stephanie Pancoast (Cornell) and runnerup Catha Mullen (Princeton).

Next in the news is 1997 Penn graduate Adria Sheth (nee Ferguson), who along with her husband Brian recently gave a seven-figure gift to endow the Quaker women’s track and field position in the name of Betty J. Costanza, who was her college coach. The gift represents a milestone as first Penn women’s varsity coaching position being endowed in a woman’s name. It is also only the second time a seven-figure gift has been given by a female athlete alumna. has tracked down Mrs. Sheth and will publish an interview about her experience at Penn and her motivation to secure her program’s future.

And then another Penn graduate, Riva Johnson (nee Gensib) finished 32nd at the JFK 50 Mile, an ultra-event south to the south of the Maryland-Pennsylvania border in November. What makes that incredibly impressive is that Johnson is 48 years old and a 1982 Heps champion in the 5k. She completed the 50-mile trek in just over seven hours. This coming June she is registered for the Western States 100 in California. And yes, that 100 represents miles. Click here for a full story on Johnson’s exploits from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

And Cornell’s Sarah Spain, who once painted racing stripes on her legs for Indoor Heps, is reconnecting with her inner athlete on ESPNW. Check that out here.

That’s it for the first edition of Wandering Ivies. Stay tuned for more (and the interview with Adria Sheth).

Catching up with TigerBlog today, I learned that one of Xavier’s star basketball players, Mark Lyons, was stranded because of deep snow in his hometown Schnectady, N.Y., with no way to get back to Cincnnati for his team’s Tuesday night game.

But, it turned out, the team the Musketeers were scheduled to host was Albany. And, like Lyons, the Great Danes couldn’t fly out for the game either. So they got a bus and let Lyons make the 12-hour journey with them.

“He was no different than any one of our guys,” Albany coach Will Brown said. “The minute he got on the bus, he put his head phones on and whipped out his phone and within an hour he was out cold.”

HepsTrack tips its cap to Coach Brown [a former Ivy Leaguer, see note below] for this show of sportsmanship. He said that he felt that any coach in a similar situation would have done the same, but I am cynical enough to think that isn’t true.

Lyons didn’t give his travel partners a break come game time, as the sophomore guard drained a career-high six three-pointers and X downed Albany with ease.

[Note: I met Coach Brown when he was an 18-year-old kid out of Long Island. He had enrolled at Penn and joined the basketball team as a high-scoring recruit, but he struggled to adjust to the Division I game and wound up transferring to Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y. He had a great career there.]