Monday, July 25, 2016

Pre preseason at Minnewaska

Thanks to captain Bianca Luparello for sharing this group selfie from Sunday's run at Minnewaska with her teammates Bryn Gorberg and Kerri Flynn. We'll be back there with the complete team in just a few weeks, as the beginning of preseason is a little more than three weeks from now. Neat!

Team BBQ: A few group shots

Team BBQ: The grillmaster

Organizing a team BBQ on the day we returned from family vacation was a bit challenging. Fortunately, our upperclassmen pitched in to help with the organization. In addition! I enlisted Team Dad Bob Morton (Stefan's father) to man the grill, which he did with much energy and enthusiasm. He was the "Tom Brady" of the grill ... nicely done! He received an assist from Bob Edsall (Brian's dad) midway through the BBQ. Very much appreciated. OK!

Team BBQ: Sprint team photo

Great to see this small but loyal group from our sprint/jump team. Gotta love that view!

Team BBQ: Welcoming back the Prodigal Son

Our annual summer team barbecue was Saturday afternoon down by the Hudson River. As usual, it was very hot – although there was a nice breeze along the river to keep us cooler. As usual, it was great to see everyone. We had one special guest, former Fox Nick Salamone. Nick ran for us for one year before transferring to the University of Vermont, where he has successfully continued his academic and athletic career. There were no hard feelings as Nick moved north, and we have remained in touch, and he remains a part of our Marist Track family, even though the color of his running laundry has changed.

There is always a sense of nostalgia when returning Foxes come back to the river. We felt it during the Walkway race, when the alums returned. There’s something about the Hudson that really touches our Marist students, and when they come back, they appreciate the majesty and beauty of the riverfront. Makes me think of the lyrics to a Grateful Dead song called “Brokedown Palace” … I’m sure Nick will appreciate it:

Goin home, goin home
by the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul

We wish Nick the best of luck in his final year at UVM. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016


I probably do the same post every year around Lake George vacation time – which, this year, was a few weeks later than it has been for us in the past. Where we stayed this year, there was Wifi and cell service available. But “available” was a fuzzy term, as the only places we could find passable service or signal was near the swing set (sometimes) and way out on a dock down by the lake. After a day or two of trying to connect, we adopted a “why bother” mentality and just unplugged. The laptop on which I typing? It stayed dormant in my backpack for seven days. My cell phone, which stated “no service” on the top of its screen, stayed in the cabin for hours at a time. Hey, we all need to unplug for a while, and our Lake George week allows this to happen. The other 51 weeks of the year? We are all definitely plugged in. There were a few moments, when I drove into town with strong cell service, where my phone hopped to life – piled up voicemails and texts and emails came flooding in, reminding me that life drones on each and every day in the fully connected and plugged in world. The cord is back in the outlet. We are plugged in again. Until next summer in Lake George, where hopefully we can unplug again, for at least a few days.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokemon. Yeah. OK. Now, get outta the street, will ya?

Yesterday, I was driving through campus, around the area of the chapel, when I happened upon a group of people in the road. I thought it was a tour, and I politely stopped. It wasn’t a tour. These people weren’t moving. And then, I saw Mark Valentino, who was in the group. What a TREAT! Tino is here for the week, along with others, to complete some graduate school work. He came up to my car. “Coach!” he said, ever excited as always. “We’re playing Pokemon. Have you heard of it?” Well. Yeah. Sorta. But, why were all you schmoes out on the ROAD?

I would find out further details later, when I loaded the minivan with my son Joey and his FDR cross country teammates for the New Paltz Summer XC Series at Minnewaska. I call this the “punk brigade,’’ because they are all high school juniors and seniors, and they are boys. Great kids, all of them; high achieving students, hard-working runners. Just like the men I coach at Marist. But, they are boys, and as a result, the conversations are usually steer toward, let’s just say, less mature topics. My usual strategy is to put on XM Channel 23, mellow out, and half tune them out. My ears still catch bits and pieces of the boyish banter. Among last night’s topics: Pokemon. Several of the boys are currently obsessed about it. As I was shuttling them home late at night, on a curvy, dark, back road in Hyde Park, I saw three individuals darting dangerously across the road. Pokemon. Really? GET INSIDE ALREADY, PEOPLE!

This morning, on NPR, I heard a full report on the latest Pokemon craze. Basically, it’s like a virtual scavenger hunt, utilizing an App on your smart phone. That’s about all I got for you, in the way of an explanation. If I continue further, I will sound like the uninformed idiot that I am on this topic. Anyway! It’s among the best-selling Apps of late. Everyone’s into it. Purportedly, it’s good! It gets lazy kids off the couch and outside. Sounds all well and good. Until you wander in front of an 18-wheeler in search of … whatever it is you are searching for. I think Joey (front seat in the punk brigade) summed it up best when he said this app was a fad in the same mold at Trivia Crack (remember THAT?). Perhaps he is correct. In the meantime? Please. Have your Pokemon fun, if you must. But stay the heck out of the road, and out of harm’s way. Thank you.

Will/Britt wedding

Alumni weddings are always special affairs, but last Friday in the 1,000 Islands Region of New York was an extra special night. Will Griffin and Brittany Burns become husband and wife, thus uniting several school records and two of the greatest runners in school history – but more importantly, two of the nicest and most wonderful people this program has ever known. It was a marvelous two days, as I roadtripped there and back with Coach Emeritus Phil Kelly, enabling us to catch up on a variety of topics. That alone was worth it. 

As if all that weren’t enough? Officiating the wedding was Marist Running Alum Matt Janczyk (the Rev. Brother Jacob Bertrand Janczyk, actually, who is on target to be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in the Dominican order within the next year). Matt did a wonderful job; this, of course, is a biased opinion, but it is one that was shared by many wedding attendees who did not know him. He has a great future as a priest, and we are thrilled for Will and Britt, who have a great future as a married couple. Nicely done!

Twitter handle

Sorry, I have been away from the blog for awhile and I saw several comments from my social media post of last week. The program's official Twitter handle is @MaristXCTF. Don't expect much action from there during the summer, but we'll be Tweeting away once the season begins.

Boilermaker results

Solid results from Utica’s famous Boilermaker 15km race (9.3 miles), where the weather was not too hot for a change in this event on Sunday in Central New York.

--Rising sophomore Emily Burns was third of 279 in the 15-19 division in 1:03:43 (6:51 pace). She is clearly recovered from the Junior Nationals trip and well on her way to a great summer and 2016-2017.
--Rising sophomore Dan Hillman was eighth of 331 in the 15-19 division in 54:45 (5:53 pace), with progressively faster 5km splits of 18:26, 18:20, 18:00. Love that!
--Rising senior Taylor Mueller was 54th of 654 in the 20-24 division in 1:13:17 (7:52 pace).
--Adelphi alum (and friend of the program) Nick Filippazzo was fifth American in the race, blitzing the course in 46:41 (5:01 pace).

Nicely done to one and all. OK!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Olympic Trials: Hakim in Jamaica

While the United States Olympic Trials for track and field are taking place in Oregon, the Jamaican trials were just completed, and our program was represented by multiple school record holder Hakim Cunningham. Hakim placed second in the second heat of the trials with a personal-best time of 14.49 seconds for the 110-meter hurdles. In the finals, he placed seventh with a time of 14.56 seconds. Nicely done, Hakim!

Yo! This was a great promotion

When the New York Mets' promotional schedule was released way back in the winter, our youngest son James had circled the date of Sunday, July 3 as one he would like to attend. It was Yoenis Cespedes arm sleeve day -- as you can see! A unique and interesting promotional giveaway, to be sure.

We had to hold off on purchasing tickets because James made the Hyde Park 9-10 All-Star team (he was the starting third baseman), and we weren't sure if and when their All-Star run would end. Well, it ended with a thud last Wednesday night (the final score was football-esque ... at least for the winning team, which was NOT from Hyde Park), and so we were able to get tickets to Sunday's game. We got some really good seats near the leftfield foul pole for a very reasonable price, and James is seen here in his Lucas Duda shirt and his two arm sleeves (he's wearing mine). We picked a great game -- good weather, and a blowout of the Cubs to finish a 4-game sweep.

Let's Go Mets.

Social media

During our recently completed trip out to the Fresno area for USATF Juniors, I became unusually proficient at Twitter. I was Tweeting from my laptop, from my phone, posting photos, posting videos, and otherwise "going HAM" (Marist sports info terminology) out there, to the delight of those sports info guys. Being an older guy, such things don't come easily to me. And as usual, it has led to the soul searching of whether this very blog is a bit outdated in the 140-character world of Twitter and other short-form Social Media platforms. The number of views per post has dwindled of late, especially the CA posts -- most of which were preceded and/or complemented by Tweets. I will continue to post here, but with the knowledge that we need to continue to expand our Social Media skill set in order to spread the word about our fine athletes in this program.

Bicentennial minute

Happy Fourth of July to one and all. Sorry for the lack of posts. It's that time of year. Not much going on about which to post, but I'll try to keep it going through the next 1.5 months, before things start to get busy again with the beginning of preseason XC camp. This weekend, my favorite radio station has been doing sets of 1976 music (Spirit of 76) in honor of the Independence Day holiday. It just dawned on me today that the Bicentennial Year of 1976 was 40 (FORTY!) years ago. Although I was just a kid back then, I remember that summer like it was last year. The buildup to that big July 4, 1976, was huge. I remember watching the "Bicentennial Minute" on TV during the year leading up to the big day. My brothers taped them on little cassette players. How quaint, huh? Fun fact! Some Founding Fathers thought this holiday should have been celebrated on July 2, but it wasn't to be. Besides! The Second of July just doesn't sound right. Anyway! I hope you had a great day and you were able to celebrate what was a beautiful weather day here in the Northeast.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

USATF Juniors: Farewell from Fresno

We are in the Fresno Airport now, getting ready to depart to Phoenix and then a redeye into Newark. It was a long, fun and successful trip. We were able to squeeze in one more fun outing this afternoon before packing up and starting the long journey home. It will be good to get back home, but it was a great trip just the same. Proud to have had four fine athletes out here.

USATF Juniors: Katie Miale 11th in racewalk

Although it was relatively early in the morning, the intense sunlight played a role in this morning’s 10,000-meter racewalk. There’s something different about the sun out here. I know that sounds odd. But it feels like the sun is about 10 feet above your head. There is no protection, and the intensity of the direct sunlight led our other athletes here to scurry to find what little shade they could during the long race. AND THEY WEREN’T RACING. Imagine what it was like, then, for our own Katie Miale, for the 25 searing laps. It was tough. Early in the race, she was in major distress. We thought she might drop out. It seemed imminent. But, as you’ll see in the race splits below, she was able to summon herself to some faster laps, especially after the 5km mark. I tried to enlist the old ultra motto of “it never always gets worse” to keep her encouraged and going around the track. She battled and persevered and got to the finish line. Nowhere near the time that she was looking for, but as was the case with all our athletes this weekend, it was more about the effort and the experience than the time and place.

USATF Junior Championship, Day 3
Sunday, June 25, 2016
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Buchanan High School, Clovis, CA
Women’s 10,000-meter racewalk
11. Katie Miale 1:04:01.82
Official race splits
2:17.191 (2:17.191)     4:32.745 (2:15.554)     6:47.341 (2:14.596)
   9:06.116 (2:18.775)    11:35.197 (2:29.081)    14:10.943 (2:35.746)
  16:46.864 (2:35.921)    19:24.267 (2:37.403)    22:02.175 (2:37.908)
  24:42.997 (2:40.822)    27:18.403 (2:35.406)    29:51.759 (2:33.356)
  32:24.787 (2:33.028)    34:58.175 (2:33.388)    37:32.712 (2:34.537)
  40:11.767 (2:39.055)    42:48.746 (2:36.979)    45:30.304 (2:41.558)
  48:12.250 (2:41.946)    50:54.481 (2:42.231)    53:38.342 (2:43.861)
  56:20.726 (2:42.384)    59:00.430 (2:39.704)  1:01:36.632 (2:36.202)
1:04:01.819 (2:25.187)

USATF Juniors: Emily Burns 12th in 3km steeplechase

The weather was a bit more of a factor on the second night of the meet, as the air temperature stood at about 93 degrees when the gun when off for Emily Burns in the 3,000-meter steeplechase race at 8:45 p.m. Emily started out at the back of the pack and moved her way through, passing several runners despite very choppy form – especially on the water jump. While this was nowhere near her best time, her race effort was above average and she represented the school well in this meet. And, she made history by becoming the first Marist woman to qualify for and compete in this event at this championship. Well done, kid.

USATF Junior Championship, Day 2
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Buchanan High School, Clovis, CA
Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase
12 of 17. Emily Burns 11:29.81

83, 2:48 (85), 4:17 (89), 5:49 (92), 7:23 (94), 9:00 (97), 10:38 (98), 11:29.81 (49.81)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

USATF Juniors: Tonight's schedule update

Next up for the Running Red Foxes here in sunny Clovis: Emily Burns in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase. The updated race time is now 8:45 p.m. Pacific (11:45 p.m. in the East). Again, due to heat concerns. The forecast high today is a bit warmer than Friday -- today is supposed to get up to 103 degrees. The real heat wave here arrives next week when the temperature could approach or exceed 110 degrees. For today, though, we'll try to keep everyone hydrated and cool, and hope for conditions similar to last night -- which, all things being what they are, were about as good as we could hope for. OK!

USATF Juniors: Men's 10km results

Yes, it was warm for a 10,000-meter race, but honestly the conditions were not a major factor on a beautiful night. The humidity was low and the sun had set and it was a nice night for distance races. Our guys competed well, finishing 20th and 21st out of a field of 23 runners. I’ll be honest when I say they were not physically prepared in an adequate manner for the rigors of the fast-paced, championship-style race. That’s by design, as it is June and we are in the relatively early stages of cross country base buildup. It’s the constant dilemma of having athletes compete at this meet. But again, our guys knew what they were up against, knew what they were doing out there, and they proudly represented our school. Good for them, and good for us. They walked away satisfied with their effort on this night, and eager to really ramp up their summer training in preparation for the fall 2016 XC season.

USATF Junior Championship, Day 1
Friday, June 24, 2016
Veterans Memorial Stadium
Buchanan High School, Clovis, CA
Men’s 10,000-meter run
20. Matt Baffuto 33:07.05
77, 2:31 (74), 3:45 (74), 5:00 (75)
6:15 (75), 7:30 (75), 8:46 (76), 10:03 (77)
11:20 (77), 12:39 (79), 13:58 (79), 15:17 (79)
16:37 (80), 17:57 (80), 19:19 (82), 20:39 (80)
22:00 (81), 23:22 (82), 24:46 (84), 26:09 (83)
27:34 (85), 28:57 (83), 30:21 (84), 31:43 (82)
33:07.05 (84.05)
1600m splits: 5:00, 5:03, 5:14, 5:22, 5:30, 5:34
21. Riley Hughes 33:30.75
77, 2:31 (74), 3:45 (74), 5:01 (76)
6:17 (76), 7:35 (78), 8:54 (79), 10:14 (80)
11:35 (81), 12:56 (81), 14:17 (81), 15:39 (82)
17:00 (81), 18:22 (82), 19:44 (82), 21:07 (83)
22:30 (83), 23:53 (83), 25:15 (82), 26:39 (84)
28:03 (84), 29:25 (82), 30:46 (81), 32:10 (84)
33:30.75 (80.75)
1600m splits: 5:13, 5:25, 5:28, 5:32, 5:31

Friday, June 24, 2016

USATF Juniors: Schedule change

As mentioned previously (and just Tweeted), the men's 10,000-meter run with Riley Hughes and Matt Baffuto racing tonight was pushed back to 9:25 p.m. Pacific (12:25 a.m. Saturday in the East) due to heat concerns. The forecast high today here is 98 degrees. The extra hour will allow for the sun to go down and alleviate the bright, direct sunlight. The temperature does not drop that quickly in the early evening, so the race conditions for 25 laps of hard running will still be far from ideal, but this is a smart adjustment. Our goal for the men is for them to manage the conditions to the best of their ability and to compete to the best of their ability as well. It won't be easy; it rarely is.

USATF Juniors: Side trip to Yosemite

The temperature was pushing 100 degrees, the sun was
unrelenting and there wasn't much to do, so we made the game time decision yesterday to take a side trip to Yosemite National Park, which is a little more than 60 miles away from Fresno/Clovis. What a great decision! We barely scratched the surface of this amazing place. As my friend Eric said, "Too bad Heidi wasn't there, she'd have 50 pix on Facebook." At least! Hey, there's a reason Ansel Adams made an entire photographic legacy out of the place. It's truly amazing. Words and a few photos -- and a few hours -- cannot do it justice, but at least we were able to get a small glimpse of it. OK!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

USATF Juniors: Walk practice at Clovis North HS

Since Katie Miale's 10,000-meter racewalk race isn't till Sunday morning, she has plenty of time to get acclimated to the dry heat and searing sunshine. This morning, she did a 200-meter repeats workout at Clovis North High School. Fun fact! Clovis North High School's campus is larger and more sprawling than Marist College, and their athletic facilities are collegiate level for sure -- you are looking at a 9-lane track!

USATF Juniors: Barefoot strides at Clovis North HS

After a 40-minute run under the blazing California sun, distance runners Riley Hughes, Matt Baffuto and Emily Burns did barefoot strides on the grass field at the Clovis North High School track. They also ran past a brush fire off in the distance. In other news! Riley and Matt's 10,000-meter race on Friday night was pushed back an hour to 9:25 p.m. local time, when it will still be around 90 degrees. But at least the sun won't be beating down.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

USATF Juniors: Greetings from Gate C135

Here is our travel party for this week/weekend. We are at Newark Airport, where (surprise, surprise!) our flight is DELAYED. It wouldn't be a trip to USATF Juniors without some travel snafus. As of now, we should be OK to make our connecting flight in San Francisco to Fresno. But of course this could change. We'll get there, eventually. Nicely done!

Marist Running at Yellowstone

Thanks to David Marthy for sending along these photos of him and Gregg ("Bryan Buttigieg") from Yellowstone, where they did and saw some really neat things. Good stuff!

Monday, June 20, 2016

School's out already?

Summer has officially begun -- on the calendar, and in our house. Only our youngest son James is still bound by the shackles of the public school calendar. The older two are out of school now; how did that happen already? So what better use of a graduating 8th-grader's time than to help her Old Man with the recruit mailings, right? Here, Natalie is assisting with the addressing of envelopes to prospective student-athletes. Sammie is clearly not interested in helping in this process.

Friday, June 17, 2016

USATF Juniors: Four’s a crowd!

As has been our tradition most years, we will be traveling to the USATF Junior Championships next week. This year’s championship is in Clovis, California – near Fresno – at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Buchanan High School in Clovis. Because it is an Olympic year, the Junior Championships stand alone and are not held in conjunction with the Senior Championships, because that meet is actually the U.S. Olympic Trials.

An astute follower of our program, and former USATF Junior qualifier and participant, pointed out to me earlier in the week that this is the largest contingent of athletes (four) we have ever brought to the meet. Neat. Many years, including last year with Dietrich Mosel in Oregon, it is just one athlete. This year, we are fortunate enough to have four Marist competitors at this meet. Here is the rundown of athletes, in order of competition.

Men’s 10,000-meter run, Friday, June 24, 8:25 p.m. (Pacific time): Riley Hughes and Matt Baffuto. These two men become the 16th and 17th men in school history to qualify for this meet in this event.
Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, Saturday, June 25, 7:45 p.m. (Pacific time): Emily Burns. Emily becomes the first woman in school history to qualify in this event at this meet.
Women’s 10,000-meter racewalk, Sunday, June 26, 8:30 a.m. (Pacific time): Katie Miale. Katie joins teammate Kristi Licursi (2014) as the only two to qualify in this event in school history. This is Katie’s third consecutive Junior Championship, as she qualified during her final two high school seasons.

We look forward to having a nice trip out to the Fresno area, where the forecast highs each day are well over 100 degrees. So, expect some whining/weather related posts from deep in the Central Valley. But hey. It’s dry heat. 

Of mice and men

We’ve got a mouse problem at our house. This has been an on-and-off issue for the more than 20 years we have lived at our home at the end of the street, which is bordered on the west side by woods and the north side by a field of high grass, owned by a Tree Guy who disposes his old timber there. A ha! You are thinking. There’s the problem! The mice come from the woods, and from the old timber piles, and maybe from the small crack between our garage door and our driveway, or maybe through the holes in the pipes in the basement, etc. You may be right on one or all of these counts. But, here’s the thing! Who cares? My issue now is disposing of them. While I favor the “catch and release” plan, this humane approach concept is not shared in my house. But! This post is not intended as a referendum on rodent removal ethics.

Rather, this is about the assignment of blame, and the need for reason and rationality in an oftentimes irrational and random world. Random. We are so afraid to face this reality: Life is full of myriad random events and activities. Some are linked. Some have reasons for their actions. But so many times, the randomness stands alone as, well, random. And we, as rational humans, cannot grasp that and refuse to come to grips with that. We try to make sense of the senseless, all the time. This is what drives the 24-7 news cycle, talking heads, bloviating Social Media posts, and all the rest.

I think I’ve referenced before one of my favorite books of all time, called “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives.” This is written by physicist Leonard Mlodinow. As a math/science guy, one of his functions is to provide order and meaning to things through math and science. But, as he points out in his book (which is far more complex than to be summarized here by a dimwitted track coach in a simple blog post), sometimes math, science – and everything else – fails to explain why things are.

I thought of this as the mice ran wild in our house last night. “We’ve got a BIG problem, we better call an exterminator or something,’’ my oldest son exclaimed in exasperation. Fun fact! He hates and fears mice. My daughter scurried to her room, cowering with the dog for safety. Good luck with that. My youngest son yawned and offered this bit of wisdom: “Mice are cool. So what?” And then he reverted to watching our favorite pitcher (Bartolo Colon of the Mets). “We leave too much food and too many clothing lying around,’’ my beautiful wife surmised. Highly accurate statement! However, is this the REASON for our scampering friends, who somehow elude our barking and excitable hound dog Sammie? Possibly, but probably not. The woods. The slight crack between the driveway and our garage door. The field in the back. The pipes. All more plausible theories. How about this one? We live in a rural area. We have mice in our house. A lot of them this year. It happens. We deal with it. And then, we do our best to cope with and deal with the next, most likely random, thing with which to deal. OK! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Walkway races: Marathon results

It was a joyful weekend for marathon winner Katie Messina. She was in a great mood – BEFORE the race, on Saturday night and Sunday! So much for pre-race jitters for your first marathon, kid. We were so thrilled to see her smiling from ear to ear and making her marathon debut in her home away from home on the banks of the Hudson River. Love this photo taken by Marist Sports Information staffer Harrison Baker: Katie being greeted by Bianca after the race. You can see the pure joy exuded in this picture. Welcome home, Katie. Come back anytime.

Marathon results and notes
--David Swift (Marist Running Alum/Middle Aged Machines) 3:09:46, 11th overall, third in 40-49
--Katie Messina (Marist Running Alum) 3:14:00, first overall
--Kara Lightowler (Marist Running Alum) 3:27:22, first in 19-29
--John Mckee (Middle Aged Machines) 3:34:18, third in 50-59
--Kent Rinehart (Marist Alum, Dean of Admission at Marist) 3:52:08

Walkway races: Half marathon results

Great day for several women in our program: Recent graduate Christine Coughlin was third overall in her half-marathon debut (1:29:05). Rising senior and XC captain Bianca Luparello (1:31:31) was fourth overall and first in her age group, and this clearly shows she’s ready for a breakthrough senior year. Marist Running Alum Dayna McLaughlin had a great race 1:35:14, second in the 19-29. Marist Running Alum Kelley Gould had a tough day but her superior fitness level still enabled her to get third in the 19-29 (1:38:34). And recent grad Lizzy Peper (1:39:39) had a strong PR effort.

Our men (current and former) dominated the top finishers and the age-group awards. However, if it weren’t for that pesky Sammy (Sam I Am) Heraghty, Marist Running would have had a clean sweep of the top spots in the half marathon. This may have been cause for consternation somewhere, but not here! We watched Sam grow up at the Spackenkill track under the watchful eye of Mr. Bucket and with behind-the-scenes guidance from Hild. Now a rising junior at Geneseo, Sam has developed into a solid long-distance runner, the type of hard-working kid that has inhabited our program through the years at Marist. And so with him taking the top spot in the half marathon in 1:16:57, wearing his trademark bandana, he nudged by the Running Red Army of alums and current team members behind him. Sam was wearing the colors of the Middle Aged Machines (a misnomer for the college-aged kid) and he did the MAMs proud. He trains with those men (of which Bucket is a member) and they were thrilled to see one of their own take the top spot. Nicely done, Sammy!

Many other results here, but a personal highlight was hanging out with Lurch (“Todd Coulson”) for much of the day on Sunday. Lurch graduated from here 20 years ago, but he is aging better than most of us and remains loyal to his Foxes.

Half marathon results and notes
--Billy Posch (Marist Running Alum) 1:17:30, second overall
--Steven Morrison (rising junior, XC/track) 1:18:56, third overall
--Nick Webster (Marist Running Alum) 1:19:36, fourth overall, first in 19-29
--Mark Valentino (Marist Running Alum) 1:19:36, fifth overall, second in 19-29
--Dietrich Mosel (rising junior, XC/track) 1:20:08, sixth overall, third in 19-29
--Palmer Weimann (rising sophomore, XC/track) 1:21:14, seventh overall, fourth in 19-29
--Patrick Hickey (rising junior, XC/track) 1:22:37, eighth overall, fifth in 19-29
--Kyle Hannafin (Marist Running Alum) 1:23:40, ninth overall, sixth in 19-29
--Dan Hillman (rising sophomore, XC/track) 1:24:55, tenth overall, seventh in 19-29
--Christine Coughlin (Marist Running Alum) 1:29:05, third overall
--Will Duggan (rising junior, XC/track) 1:30:09
--Bianca Luparello (rising senior, XC captain) 1:31:31, fourth overall, first in 19-29
--Michel Joseph (Middle Aged Machines) 1:33:03, second in 40-49
--Billy Hild (Marist Running Alum) 1:34:27, 27th overall
--Anthony Ferreri (Marist alum) 1:34:55, third in 50-59
--Dayna McLaughlin (Marist Running Alum) 1:35:14, second in 19-29
--Todd Coulson (Marist Running Alum) 1:36:12, third in 40-49
--Neil Grencer (Middle Aged Machines) 1:36:50, fourth in 40-49
--Kelley Gould (Marist Running Alum) 1:38:34, third in 19-29
--Kieran Stack (Iona College alum, parent of incoming XC freshman) 1:38:34, fourth in 50-54
--Lizzy Peper (Marist Running Alum) 1:39:39, sixth in 19-29
--Kim Bartlett (Marist Running Alum) 1:52:43
--Bernice Patten (Marist Running Alum) 1:57:54
--Elizabeth Edwards (Marist Running Alum) 2:06:06
--Aarti (Kapoor) Comstock (Marist Running Alum) 2:06:40
--Alli Kline (Marist Running Alum) 2:14:29
--John Peper (Lizzy’s dad) 2:19:24
--Susan Grencer (Neil’s wife, cancer survivor, first half marathon) 2:37:43

Walkway races: 5km results

My concern with posting results on this blog is that I will leave someone out. So here goes, with three posts on the three races, the first of them from the 5km. Complete results are at

5k results and notes
--Steven Rizzo (rising junior, XC/track) 15:52, first overall, defending champion
--Stefan Morton (rising senior, XC track captain) 16:21, second overall
--Mike Slinskey (friend of the program) 17:10, third overall
--Brian Halling (friend of the program, FDR HS head coach) 17:54, fourth overall
--David Osterhoudt (Middle Aged Machines) 18:47, eighth overall
--Alex Cuesta (Marist Running Alum; assistant coach) 19:15, 10th overall, third in 20-29
--Emily Ferreri (Tony’s daughter, Catherine’s sister) 20:52, second overall
--Saad Baig (rising senior, XC/track captain) 21:47, 26th overall
--Zach Toner (rising senior, XC/track) 21:47, 27th overall
--Jordan Casey (rising sophomore, XC/track) 22:04, third overall
--Shea Bohan (rising sophomore, XC/track) 22:04, first in 15-18
--Connor Dodge (Marist Running Alum, sprinter) 22:14, ninth in 19-29
--Catherine Ferreri (Marist Running Alum) 24:32, fifth in 19-29
--Danielle Asaro (Marist Running Alum, record-setting sprinter) 30:49
--Carol Hild (Hild’s mom) 34:34

Walkway races: Trending

Heard around the McCann Center this morning: Apparently, the Walkway Marathon races and Marist’s participation in them was a hot trend on Social Media. According to one person with knowledge of these statistics, one of the hashtags (presumably #WalkwayMarathon) was trending fourth in the world on Social Media (presumably Twitter) on Sunday. Of course! I’m too lazy to corroborate this as factual information, and I’m sure somebody will want to prove me wrong on this fact. As I like to say with such factoids: That, and $1.30, will get me a cup of coffee at Stewart’s. However, for the Important People Who Care About Such Statistics, this is and was a Big Deal. And as a result, we are well pleased.

On a more relevant note, in the old-school meaning of “trending,” an informal polling of former and current team members leads me to believe that this event will be trending positively among both groups. As in: Our participation will continue to grow. That’s the goal, anyway. Everyone involved from the Marist Running Family had a great weekend – no matter the race outcomes, which were mostly pretty strong. My Fancy Alumni Reception in the historic Cornell Boathouse never really materialized. But as the aforementioned “person with knowledge of these statistics” said, if we just rename it the “Marist Track/XC Alumni Hospitality Area,” that would be more appropriate. Yeah. I like that. Besides! It gave you all a convenient and private place to use the facilities pre- and post-race. Right? Right. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Walkway races: Katie wins!

The sheer, boundless joy of marathon winner Katie Messina is evident in these photos. We are so proud of her, taking top honors in her marathon debut, running a solid 3:14:00 on a less-than-ideal day. Katie has a great future at these long distances.

Please give me some time to sort out the final results and posting them here. I will try to be as inclusive as possible.

It was a great day for the Walkway races, the local running community and the Marist Running family. To one and all: NICELY DONE!

Walkway races: You go, girl!

Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club member Lori Decker was at the top of the hill near the finish line, imploring runners to sprint to the finish. If you ran in the race, you know what I mean. She was great!

Walkway races: Lurch!

One of the highlights of the day was seeing and hanging out with Lurch ("Todd Coulson") before, during and after the races. Lurch graduated Marist 20 years ago and remains a loyal alum and dear friend. He is shown here after his solid half marathon, with his two young daughters. Nicely done, Lurch!

Walkway races: Goofy start photo

This one went viral on Twitter, for obvious reasons ...

Walkway races: At the starting line

A few shots of the Marist-dominated starting line of the half marathon and full marathon.

Walkway races: How to start the day ...

... at 4:30 a.m., at Stewart's, getting a box of coffee to go along with the other food and drink for our alumni/team area in the historic Cornell Boathouse on the Marist College riverfront. Don't worry. There was none remaining by the end of the morning.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Walkway races: Another view from the expo

Poaching the following photo from Marist Athletics' Twitter feed (I'm sure they won't MIND). Some of the boys at the Expo, picking up their bib numbers. From left: Rizzo, Deet, Hickey, Tino. Rizzo is the defending 5k champion and will be running that. The other guys are running in the half marathon. Neat!

Walkway races: View from the expo

Thanks to my good pal, the Selfie King, Krys "StalwartDog" Wasielewski for sending me this photo from today's pre-race Expo at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. He stopped by the Advocare booth and saw Chuck. We look forward to a fun weekend. Will post results and photos as we can. OK!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Walkway races: See you Sunday!

We are looking forward to a strong turnout of team members and alumni for Sunday's races. The excitement is building in the local running community for this second annual event. Because the races start and finish at the Hudson River on the Marist College campus, we as a Marist community are pretty pumped for this race. Folks across campus were pressing me for a number in terms of participation from the Marist Running family. I estimated around 75, and this has become the narrative in several press releases. After reviewing the final entry list for all three races, it appears we will be just a little short of that number. By my count, we should have between 60 and 65 alums or current team members entered in the race. That's still a great showing. We kindly ask that all affiliated with Marist Running wear something Marist -- loud and proud. We will be gathering at the Cornell Boathouse for an informal reception after the races finish -- see me or Coach Chuck for a "fancy wristband" to get in there -- and please stick around for photos. We look forward to having a nice turnout, no matter the final number. OK!

Crew view

My daughter Natalie has just completed her first season as a member of the rowing (crew) team at FDR High School. She's still in eighth grade, and already she has participated in three sports on the varsity level -- swimming (fall), bowling (winter), crew (spring). Of course, being the Goofy Dad in the Tube Socks, I am proud of all her pursuits. Above, the novice (8th-grade) team took a final plunge in the murky Hudson River on Monday afternoon. To the left, Natalie strikes a contemplative pose after a recent race. Of course, my compass is dialed to track, but I must say that there are many similarities between crew and track in terms of camaraderie and family support. We like the view from the shore, and here's to a few more years with the rowers.

Omar on the Left Coast

Our boy Omar Perez is spending the summer in California, doing all sorts of environmental/trail stuff out there. We'll have him fill us in completely on the adventure in the fall. I think this photo was taken in Santa Cruz, a funky coast town that Justin Harris and I visited way back in 2002, when he qualified for the USATF Junior Championships at Stanford. Speaking of which! We have four athletes traveling to California in two weeks for the Juniors (more on that in future posts?). Anyway! We miss Omar. Aside from being a loyal and dedicated team member for four years and 12 full seasons (including a senior season as team captain), we were so accustomed to seeing him around the McCann Center during the summer months as part of Randy's Crew. So, it's odd not having Omar around. Even though he graduated a few weeks ago, he'll be back for a fifth year of track eligibility, and we couldn't be happier with this. Be safe out there, Omar!

Grilling season

This rather questionable photo was sent to me via text from our good friend Mike The Bus Driver, who has apparently discovered a new way to "grill and chill" this summer. I'll let you draw your own conclusions on the originality of this setup. Knowing Mike, he might load this into the bottom of one of our busses and fire this baby up while we are running at a track meet. Happy summer.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The greatest

The old, Italian barber had trembling hands. He was in his mid to late 80s, and he was cutting my hair. This was about 25 years ago. His barbershop – now owned and operated by his son, my current barber – was adorned with old photos of boxers and baseball players. But the old barber, he was all about boxing. All he ever talked about was the great Rocky Marciano, with a few sprinklings in there about Rocky Graziano, Primo Carnera, Jake LaMotta. Italian boxing legends, every one of them.

The old barber’s son, at the time a young barber, told the old man that I was a sportswriter. “A sportswriter, huh,’’ the old man sniffed. “OK, son, who was the best boxer who ever lived?” Reflexively, without even thinking, I blurted out: “Muhammad Ali.” The old barber, hands trembling, holding sharp scissors, stopped cutting my hair. He had a serious look on his face as he stared into the mirror at me. I’m thinking, “Oh s—t, I’m in trouble here. You’re Italian, you idiot! Why couldn’t you mention one of the Italians? He’s wielding sharp objects!” Then, the old, Italian barber, he breaks into a smile, pats me on a shoulder and says: “You’re right, son. Ali was the greatest who ever lived.”

I woke up this morning to the news of Muhammad Ali’s death. For the past 30 years, he has been a sympathetic and inspirational figure – a “secular saint,” the New York Times wrote. That belies a very complicated early life. Very complicated. But as a child of the 1970s, when the heavyweight boxing division was big news, there was no character bigger than Muhammad Ali. His epic battles with Frazier and Foreman were pure blood sport. The savage beatings that he dished out and received left him a frail and trembling man in his older years. A 15-round bout with Chuck Wepner, known as the “Bayonne Bleeder,” was the impetus for the series of “Rocky” movies; those who know me realize I love those old movies.

And so today, we lose the man who called himself the “Greatest of All Time.” In his prime, in the 1960s and 1970s, he was a man who was larger than life. For those in my age category, he was a huge character in our youth, in our formative years. When historical figures like Muhammad Ali die, a little part of that youth goes will it and we realize the relentless march of time. The greatest is gone. There will never be another like him. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Walkway Marathon: Come home to run!

The Walkway Marathon races are less than two weeks away. We are looking forward to what we hope will be a strong alumni turnout at the event. I just posted this on Facebook (a rare FB post for me, for those keeping score at home), and I figured I’d post it here on the Fancy Blog for those who are not on Facebook or do not check it frequently. Anyway! The race is Sunday, June 12. There is a 5km, half marathon and full marathon. Please note! If you have not yet registered, entries close on June 4. Unlike last year, when the race filled up and closed out very early, you should be able to register until that time. However! After that date, you will not be able to register.

In other news! We are planning an informal Alumni Reception at the Cornell Boathouse, as the races are finishing. Yes. There will be food and drink, but not of the “adult” variety. Hey, it’s a Sunday morning. Please plan on attending this, and getting together/meeting with current team members who will be running in one of the races as well. Please, please, please … wear your Marist gear with pride – before, during and after the race. We want to have a strong Marist Running representation at the Walkway races. Some more Fun Facts about the Walkway races:

--There is a pre-race expo on Saturday from noon until 8 p.m. You must pick up your bib number and packet at that time, unless you want to pay an extra $25 to pick it up on the morning of the race (and really, who would want to do THAT?). While at the expo, stop by and say hello to Coach Chuck, who will be working at the expo all day.
--The half marathon and full marathon starts and finishes on the Marist riverfront near the Hudson River. Keep in mind that the first two miles are essentially uphill. Of course! This means the last two miles are essentially downhill. In between, on the rail trails and Walkway, the race is mostly flat.
--The 5km starts on the Highland side of the Walkway. It is a point-to-point race and finishes at the Marist riverfront at the same finish line as the other two races. It’s a pretty fast course, with mostly flat and downhill terrain, but a fair amount of sharp turns in Poughkeepsie. Rizzo is the defending champion.
--The races start early (7 a.m. for the long races) so the heat shouldn’t be an issue … unless it’s as hot as it was this past weekend. Yikes!

I will pass along more updates if needed as race day gets closer. Hope to see many of you there.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Vuono wins academic honor -- again!

For the second year in a row, Mark Vuono has won Academic All-District honors. The award honors someone who combines superior academic success with athletic success and Vuono certainly has done that. The photo above is of Vuono receiving his baccalaureate award from President Murray last Friday; he had the highest GPA among all graduating accounting majors. As you can read in the press release here, Vuono was my "never say no" guy ... always ready to run a strong relay leg, or anything else, with his laid back, breezy style. And he wasn't just a good guy; he was fast, too! In short, a great citizen of our program. We are confident that Vuono will continue both successful paths after graduation -- he's already got a job lined up with KPMG in his native Rhode Island, and he and Ricky Willi are signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October. Nicely done, Vuono!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Family update #3: Our chill third baseman

Our youngest son James and his team have had an excellent Little League season, when the games haven't been rained out. His team tore through their division undefeated, until they lost to a similarly undefeated team from a neighboring town in a riveting game with a playoff atmosphere (this other town actually had MUSIC blaring in between innings). Our favorite third baseman had a great game in the field but a rough night at the plate, culminating with a game-ending strikeout. Hey, he went down swinging. Such an ignominious ending would leave many Little Leaguers really bummed out, and to be sure James and the team were not pleased with their first loss of the season. But the mood changed quickly when I reminded him that he gets 50 cents off on ice cream at Stewart's if he goes in wearing his Little League uniform. Play ball!

Family update #2: Confirmation

That old guy in the photo is what I look like when not wearing a hat, two shirts, baggy pants/shorts and tube socks. Pretty scary stuff, I know. The real star in the photo is our 13-year-old daughter Natalie, who made her Confirmation at church last week. We are proud of her, as she completes eighth grade and heads into high school -- presumably, getting a ride into school from her older brother?

Family update #1: A new driver

Our oldest son Joey passed his driving test on Monday and is now a junior licensed driver in New York State. My feelings are mixed on this. This nice grandpa car will be his ride to and from school and track practice, thus alleviating the need for constant drop-off and pick-up. But! It does not alleviate the need to worry about a young driver out on the road in a jungle of reckless and distracted drivers. As my wife Heidi posted on Facebook, this is just another is a series of parent-letting-go moments that start pretty much at birth. Be safe out there, kid.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in: Conor, 1:08:41!

Several Marist Running alums raced at the Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday. Conor Shelley (right) was 13th overall in 1:08:41. Tim Keegan (left) had a tremendous comeback effort with a 1:17:05. Speaking of comebacks? Luke Shane (not pictured) returned from major injury with a near PR (1:18:31). Pat Duggan (center) ran 1:31:40 and certainly enjoyed the company of his Forever Fox teammates. Nicely done, one and all!

Commencement 2016: Some photos

There are many photos out there -- on Facebook, Instragram, on parents' cameras and iPads, etc. -- here is a sampling from Saturday's cloudy but very nice graduation. As always, we will miss our graduating seniors but we welcome them to the growing family of loyal Marist Running alums.