Thursday, November 27, 2014

A white Thanksgiving

The heavy, wet snow wreaked havoc to the trees in our backyard, with a huge limb of our huge pine tree going "timberrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" with the weight of the snow, and another, smaller tree bending with the snow. We lost power for about 10 hours, but it came back on at around 5 a.m. For that, and so many other things, we are thankful today. Enjoy your holiday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Marist Running in Philly

Some great results from the Philadelphia Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday for Marist Running alums …

--In the half marathon, Nick Webster ran a personal-best time of 1:12:49 and was 33rd overall. Teddy Marak had a snafu at the start where he was at the back of his corral. His gun time was 1:47:35 and his chip time was 1:40:29.
--In the marathon, Mr. Consistency Joe Tarantello clocked in with another solid race, 2:50:41, good for 34th in his age group and 138th overall. It was Joe T’s 10th marathon and ninth sub-3:00 clocking.
--In the marathon, Matt Janczyk (Brother Jacob Bertrand) had a stellar debut, 2:54:10, 172nd overall and 41st in his division. Matt, who is studying to be a Roman Catholic priest in the Dominican order, ran a negative-split effort of roughly 1:28/1:26. Tremendous effort, considering how hard he works, studies and prays within his religious order.

Photos above are of Teddy, Web and Joe T, and a post-race-shot of Joe. Proud of them all!

Stunning statistical coincidence

How's this for an incredible coincidence of consistency? The top-five composite times for the men’s cross country team at the MAAC Championships at Holmdel Park and the IC4A Championships at Van Cortlandt Park were virtually identical. Here are the amazing numbers.

MAAC Championship
Top-5 combined time: 2:11:35.31
Top-5 average: 26:19.06
1-through-5 spread: 39.36 seconds
IC4A Championship
Top-5 combined time: 2:11:37.70
Top-5 average: 26:19.54
1-through-5 spread: 35.6 seconds.

Weird weather

Just got back from morning jog with Artie. 61 degrees. Really? In a little more than 24 hours, it appears we are getting our first major Snow Event of the season -- up to 10 inches in a nor'easter. Bad timing, as it is during the busiest travel week of the year. And! What about Bowdoin Park, site of Saturday's Nike Cross Country Regionals? Whoa. Be safe out there ...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

IC4A Championships: University Division results

A great way for a great team to end its stellar season. As I stated in previous posts, this group of men embraced the BE BETTER paradigm from Day 1. Last year at this meet, we were fifth place; this year, second place. BETTER.

IC4A Championships
University Division
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Team standings
1-Fordham 52, 2-Marist 68, 3-Monmouth 78, 4-Fairfield 104, 5-Siena 138, 6-Holy Cross 177, 7-Rutgers 181, 8-UMass 183, 9-St. Francis PA 201, 10-Manhattan 261, 11-Colgate 333, 12-Sacred Heart 375, 13-New Hampshire 378, 14-Seton Hall 379, 15-NJIT 388, 16-CCNY 529
Individual results, 5-mile course
5-Ken Walshak 25:56.3 *IC4A All East
9-Johnny Lee 26:12.4 *IC4A All East
16-Spencer Johnson 26:28.4 *IC4A All East
17-Pat Rynkowski 26:28.7 *IC4A All East
21-Mark Valentino 26:31.9 *IC4A All East
28-Steve Morrison 26:47.2
32-Bryan Buttigieg 26:55.5
40-Steve Rizzo 27:06.2
47-Omar Perez 27:14.5
IC4A Championships
Coaches Association Race
Team standings
1-Columbia 24, 2-Marist 32, 3-Rider 76, 4-St. Joseph’s PA 105
Individual results, 5-mile course
5-Stefan Morton 27:09.6
6-Dietrich Mosel 27:16.4
7-Brian Edsall 27:17.9
9-Pat Ginty 27:31.0
10-Mark Vuono 27:31.6
11-Joe Miller 27:35.0
15-Eddie White 28:05.0
18-Jake Hensler 28:16.3
24-Will Duggan 28:47.9
26-Charlie Ropes 29:24.4
27-Zach Toner 29:36.3

ECAC Championships: University Division results

Here are the women's results from today. Three All-East runners. An individual champion, our first in school history! And a team that overcame significant deficits and remained competitive to the end of the season. Good stuff. The future is very, very bright.

ECAC Championships
University Division
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Team standings
1-Sacred Heart 101, 2-Holy Cross 107, 3-Monmouth 111, 4-Marist 140, 5-Central Connecticut 142, 6-Bucknell 191, 7-Fordham 206, 8-New Hampshire 208, 9-Fairfield 258, 10-St. Francis PA 262, 11-St. John’s 268, 12-Siena 292, 13-Manhattan 329, 14-Seton Hall 336, 15-Towson 355, 16-Robert Morris 390, 17-Colgate 429, 18-CCNY 605
Individual results, 5 kilometers
1-Michelle Gaye 18:09.7 *ECAC All-East
17-Mara Schiffhauer 18:49.7 *ECAC All-East
25-Christine Coughlin 19:03.6 *ECAC All-East
32-Jenna Robinson 19:12.2
71-Brianna Freestone 19:47.6
75-Janelle Solviletti 19:50.8
76-Mariah Christian 19:51.5
91-Brianne Vess 20:10.1
99-Annie Gould 20:15.5
106-Bryn Gorberg 20:21.0
116-Marissa Porter 20:32.5
135-Kim Schwartz 21:06.3
ECAC Championships
Coaches Association Race
Team standings
1-Pittsburgh 19, 2-Marist 52, 3-Sacred Heart 69, 4-Holy Cross 91, 5-St. Francis PA 137
Individual results, 5 kilometer course
6-Bianca Luparello 20:28.9
7-Olivia Lappas 20:29.9
14-Roxy Novo 20:52.6
16-Jaime Durso 21:02.2
18-Jackie Bunce 21:11.0
21-Mariella Bilello 21:23.2
24-Lizzy Peper 21:26.5
25-Elsie Thompson 21:33.5
32-Shannon Gildea 22:14.5
38-Allie Dellicarri 22:34.4
44-Catherine Ferreri 23:14.5
45-Kristi Licursi 23:19.0

IC4A/ECAC Championships: More photos

Men's team with the runner-up trophy at the Tortoise and the Hare statue, and men's team with the trophy and Michelle Gaye with her individual winning medal, at the statue.

ECAC Championships: Michelle Gaye is the winner!

What a way to go out! In the final XC race of what might be the most remarkable career of any Marist women's runner, Michelle Gaye won the University Division title with a time of 18:09.7 for the 5km course at Van Cortlandt Park. Here is a jubilant Michelle with her equally jubilant and proud coach after the race. The women placed fourth overall. More results and photos to follow ...

IC4A Championships: University Division Runner-Up!

The men's team was second place overall in the University Division today, trailing only champion Fordham (52 points). We scored 68 points for second place. Our top five runners each earned All-East honors for their top-25 finishes. Here they are, with their All East certificates, from left: Johnny Lee, Ken Walshak, Spencer Johnson, Mark Valentino, Pat Rynkowski. More results and photos later ...

Friday, November 21, 2014

New race: Walk this Way? Been there. Doug that.

Well, well, well. There seems to be a LOT of chatter out there about this new Walkway Marathon and Half Marathon, which will start and finish at the Marist Waterfront (same as the Red Fox Trot 5K). There is much back-and-forth on Facebook. I've received a few e-mails about it. If I were on Twitter, I'm guessing there are probably many Tweets and Re-Tweets and whatever else might be lurking out in the Social Media world (I now know the correct spelling of Instagram, FYI).

But! It must be noted that this idea of a Dutchess County-based marathon on a rail trail has already been done. Lest we forget our very own Doug Ainscow ran an out-and-back marathon from his house in Fairview to the end of the Dutchess Rail Trail and back, in May, in sub-2:50. So this could be the first time in the history of road racing that an inaugural event already has a course record! Sure, for those keeping score at home, the proposed Walkway Marathon course is a bit different than Doug's run. But, as a former Poughkeepsie Journal colleague of mine was fond of saying: "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story."

Let's keep the chatter and enthusiasm going. God willing, pending my creaky physical condition, I'm in for the marathon; June is the time I start dabbling in my summer ultras, so a short run like the Walkway race is a good tuneup for my lap craziness later in the summer. Other, more serious, competitors should enjoy this race. And if you have the time and patience, you can even wait for me to shuffle across the finish line sometime later in the day, when the midday sun is blazing.

We will keep you posted on any developments regarding this race. We are not directly involved in it; it is a Walkway and Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club production. It looks to be a fun event.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Full circle

The landscape was barren. The sun was bright, but its warmth was overshadowed by an unusual bitter chill for mid-November. These conditions were in stark contrast from the last time we were at the Mills Mansion in Staatsburg, almost three months to the day, for the first day of cross country practice. Today was essentially the final day of cross country season practice, and we decided for the sake of symmetry to finish at the beginning. We returned to Mills to do the same hill workout -- two sets instead of three -- that we started the season with. You can see the images above, taken by Hickey from my phone. (Side note: Hickey had the line of the day. When Tino tossed me his gloves mid-hill interval, I fumbled and dropped them both. Hickey's comment: "Wow, you could play for the Jets!" Nicely done.)

You may recall that first workout post, with a photo of the mostly shirtless runners scaling the Great Lawn at Mills. Today, there were no bare chests. The temperature was 29 degrees. That was summer. This was impending winter. After the workout was over, the men gathered around in a circle for an inspirational moment, celebrating what has been a mostly successful season as we approach our final meet.

Later in the afternoon, the women's team completed our final workout of the season, an interval session at the FDR/Cator Loop. Sorry that there are no images from that practice. My fingers were frozen and stuffed deeply into the pockets of my hoodie, after spending the better part of four hours shivering through the practices. When the women's workout was completed, the ladies gathered around in a circle for an inspirational moment. After three months and thousands of miles, we have come full circle. We have ended at the beginning. As the 2014 XC season approaches its finish line, the image of a full circle reminds us that, really, there is no finish line in our sport. Summer blends into fall blends into winter blends into spring ... we are at the end, which is really very similar to the beginning. For today, we reversed time and we stopped time, and we came full circle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Announcing the Walkway Marathon

Several members of our men's and women's track and cross country program shivered through a midday press conference today announcing the formation of a new and exciting running event in the mid-Hudson Valley: The Walkway Marathon. The race will consist of a marathon and a half marathon, both of which will start and finish on the Marist Riverfront. The beginning and the end of both races will probably follow a very similar path to the Red Fox Trot 5K, but will exit the East Campus and go on Fulton Street to Fairview Avenue to the Dutchess
Rail Trail. The remainder of the courses will go out and back on the DRT, and then over the Walkway and out and back on the Hudson Valley Rail Trail before returning through Fairview back to the Marist Waterfront for the finish.

Because the race will start and finish on the Marist campus, we were asked to offer our support to the "presser" today. We are highly appreciative of our athletes' taking part in this event under less-than-ideal circumstances. The races will be held on Saturday, June 13. We will continue to provide updates as they become
available. For now, the Walkway organization will be teaming with the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club to put this new event together. It promises to be an exciting event.

Puppy update: I wouldn't want to be out there, either

Our puppy Sammie (she is posing in the "puppy selfie" that Heidi posted on Facebook last night) is assimilating well to her home life. She has truly made herself at home. She loves the couch. She has taken ownership of a pink comforter. She is very calm most of the time, but has her "puppy moments" where she wants to gnaw on anything -- the side of the refrigerator, the TV remote, our shoelaces. She's also got this warm, loving home thing down pat. Let me tell you. Yesterday was a cold and rainy day. Today is just downright COLD, as in January/February cold. When it's time for her to go outside to do her business, she puts the brakes on. She doesn't want to go. She wants to stay inside where it's warm. Who can blame her?

IC4A/ECAC tailgate

One last time with the XC tailgate ... Kathy Gould will coordinate once again. Anyone interested in contributing, please contact her at Let's make is an early Thanksgiving feast for our athletes! Thanks to the Goulds for their constant and loyal support.

Monday, November 17, 2014

IC4A/ECAC Championships on Saturday

Here is the race schedule for Saturday. We are hopefully anticipating a large turnout of family, friends and alumni.
9:30 a.m.: Women's Open Race, 5 kilometers
9:40 a.m.: Men's Open Race, 5 miles
11:30 a.m.: Women's University Championship, 5 kilometers
12 noon: Men's University Championship, 5 miles

Sunday, November 16, 2014

NCAA Regionals: Some final thoughts

The NCAA Northeast Regional meet (check out this AWESOME video shared by team captain Mark Valentino) always brings with it an intense range of emotions. It’s a unique meet, and our region is perhaps the most difficult in the country to navigate because of its sheer size. Are we the most competitive region in the country? That is subject to debate. In the neighborhood where we reside – more or less the middle of the pack -- I would argue that it is. Most other regions have in the area of 30 teams. We have more than 40 teams. The middle third of those teams represents a swath of solid, mid-major (for lack of a better term) programs – of which I would consider us one.

When you have key athletes sitting out for a variety of very valid and unfortunate reasons (as we did on the women’s side) or one of your key cogs has a rare off race (as was the case on the men’s side), it’s so easy to play the what-if game and surmise a higher or lower place based on hypotheticals. Because of that swath of teams in the middle, such vagaries can sometimes make for potential big swings of team placement. However, the “law of unintended consequences” teaches us the fallacy of playing the what-if game. The “if/then’’ logic might seem to make sense, but that aforementioned social science theory tells us it’s not as tidy as we think.

So, rather than go through that mind-numbing exercise, I’d rather reflect on the many positives we can take out of this meet, and realize that strong teams have athletes pick up for other athletes and forge on in the most positive manner possible. Much like the MAAC meet, the efforts were great and the results were an improvement over 2013. We look forward to one more shot at Vanny to close out what has been, by and large, a positive fall XC season for the program.

Remembering Reese: A void at Vanny

Note: This is the next in a series of posts in remembrance of Greg Salamone (Class of 2001), who passed away in October at the age of 35 after battling melanoma for eight months.  

I knew it would happen. Friday was the first time we returned to Van Cortlandt Park since the passing of Marist Running Alum Greg Salamone, and it was odd and sad not to have him there with us. Vanny was the site of some of Greg’s greatest successes in the red and white from 1997 through 2000 (see photo with this post, with Greg grinding it out in front of the competition at Vanny). His final XC race, the 2000 IC4A Championships, ended in triumph as he was part of the team that won the University Division title. The 14th anniversary of that race is coming up.

As stated in previous remembrances, Greg almost never missed a Vanny meet, even if it was on a Friday when he was supposed to be working. He always seemed to be able to play hooky for a few hours to come and watch his old team. He lived in Marble Hill, very close to Vanny. He loved XC and he loved the Marist Red Foxes. We miss him every day, but especially on the days we are at Van Cortlandt Park.

I'm a ram. Yes I am.

Many alert blog followers may know that my favorite band is Gov’t Mule, led by the inimitable and awesome Warren Haynes. I do not attend many rock concerts anymore, but if I have the opportunity to see the Mule, I will do my best to get there. Friday night, the band was placing at the Palace Theatre in Albany. Although it was a long day at regionals, I figured out a way – with an assist from Marist Running Alum Billy Hild – to get there.

Essentially, Hild was my caddie and my taxi. He’s not a Mule fan but I thought he might enjoy the hard-rockin’ style. And he did. I’m glad he liked it and I’m even more glad he drove me home as I was approaching more than 20 hours of being awake by the time the concert ended. As usual, Warren and the boys played two long sets and an encore, for close to three hours of excellent and unique music. And in case you are wondering, the title of this post is taken from one of their regular concert songs that was a highlight on Friday night – “I’m a Ram.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

NCAA Regionals: Men's results

All spring, summer and autumn, the theme for our program has been BE BETTER. Much like at the MAAC meet two weeks ago, our men's XC team lived and breathed it today. How's this for BETTER?

--A 20th place finish, seven places higher and more than 170 points better than 2013
--Mark Valentino and Pat Rynkowski lopping more than a minute off their 2013 Regional race performances (a MINUTE!)
--A 1-through-5 spread of 25.31 seconds (remember, this is a 10k!). The only team that had a better spread was meet champion Syracuse.

Better indeed. Very proud of our men today ...

NCAA Northeast Regional
Friday, November 14, 2014
Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Men’s team standings
1-Syracuse 45, 2-Providence 48, 3-Iona 60, 4-Columbia 126, 5-Cornell 141, 6-Harvard 178, 7-Yale 200, 8-Brown 274, 9-Dartmouth 286, 10-Canisius 309, 11-Army 334, 12-Boston University 344, 13-Binghamton 352, 14-Buffalo 403, 15-Fordham 463, 16-UMass Amherst 506, 17-Central Connecticut 531, 18-Quinnipiac 538, 19-Stony Brook 563, 20-Marist 570, 21-New Hampshire 597, 22-Maine 620, 23-Connecticut 658, 24-Northeastern 659, 25-Boston College 674, 26-Vermont 693, 27-Fairfield 722, 28-Siena 742, 29-Albany 844, 30-Holy Cross 849, 31-Manhattan 944, 32-Rhode Island 982, 33-Niagara 1025, 34-Colgate 1032, 35-Hofstra 1055, 36-Bryant 1063, 37-Hartford 1156, 38-St. Bonaventure 1164, 39-Sacred Heart 1184, 40-Wagner INC
Men’s individual results, 10km course
102-Ken Walshak 32:14.40
106-Spencer Johnson 32:20.63
112-Mark Valentino 32:23.67
121-Ryan Colabella 32:29.80
129-Pat Rynkowski 32:39.71
147-Johnny Lee 32:55.82
207-Steven Morrison 33:54.19

NCAA Regionals: Women's results

Here are today's results from a sunny, chilly and breezy Van Cortlandt Park. Our women improved from last year's 23rd place finish and 670 points. We were hoping for better, but we had a lot to overcome in terms of key members not being able to race. Classmates Michelle Gaye and Christine Coughlin had breakout efforts on this day -- top-50 for Michelle!!!! We are proud of our ladies, and we look forward to a strong finish next week at ECACs.

NCAA Northeast Regional
Friday, November 14, 2014
Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
Women’s team standings
1-Iona 91, 2-Providence 128, 3-Dartmouth 136, 4-Syracuse 154, 5-Boston College 180, 6-New Hampshire 183, 7-Columbia 205, 8-Brown 209, 9-Cornell 257, 10-Yale 270, 11-Harvard 283, 12-Connecticut 307, 13-Boston University 389, 14-Army 441, 15-Stony Brook 475, 16-Sacred Heart 553, 17-Quinnipiac 575, 18-Albany 591, 19-Buffalo 600, 20-Vermont 611, 21-Marist 633, 22-Holy Cross 649, 23-Central Connecticut 658, 24-Rhode Island 661, 25-Northeastern 675, 26-UMass Amherst 700, 27-Fordham 738, 28-Canisius 773, 29-Binghamton 833, 30-St. Bonaventure 846, 31-St. John’s 851, 32-Siena 929, 33-Fairfield 947, 34-Bryant 959, 35-Manhattan 994, 36-Hartford 1002, 37-Maine 1021, 38-Colgate 1133, 39-Niagara 1156, 40-Hofstra 1269, 41-Wagner INC
Women’s individual results, 6km course
48-Michelle Gaye 21:28.00
121-Christine Coughlin 22:22.32
122-Mara Schiffhauer 22:22.44
170-Janelle Solviletti 23:07.74
177-Jenna Robinson 23:11.08
219-Kim Schwartz 21:58.25
229-Annie Gould 24:11.22