Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Richmond Track & Field lands 22 on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll

(Above- Megan Ney and Tim Quinn both achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA during the fall semester)

Richmond, Va. – The Atlantic 10 today announced the Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the Fall 2009 semester, honoring each student-athlete in the Atlantic 10 with a 3.5 grade point average or better.

“I congratulate the student-athletes who have been named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Balancing the demands of athletic participation and academic achievement is a difficult task,” says A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade.

“Each is a great role model for their institution and the Atlantic 10 Conference.”

Below are the 22 members of the Richmond Cross Country/Track & Field Teams earning a place on the Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the Fall 2009… The Spiders Track & Field teams have the highest number of representatives on the honor roll of the sports programs sponsored at Richmond.

“We’re proud of our student-athletes and the effort they make to excel within the classroom and on the field of competition”, said Head Women’s Coach Lori Taylor. “They understand and embrace the fact that they are here to earn a tremendous education while they compete at the highest level of athletics within the NCAA. It takes hard work in both areas, especially to balance the two. Our men and women do an excellent job of keeping both in perspective.”

Richmond XC/Track & Field
Athletes on the Commissioner’s Honor Roll
Fall 2009 (GPA above 3.5)

Lisa Auster-Gussman Fr. Lancaster, Pa. Lancaster Country Day HS, Liberal Arts
Chelsea Babcock Jr. Clifton Park, N.Y. Shenendehowa HS, Business
Andrew Benford Sr. Ravenswood, W.Va. Ravenswood HS, Psychology
Emma Berry So. Morgantown, W.Va. Morgantown HS, Biology
Amanda Caporelli Jr. Churchville, Va. Buffalo Gap HS, Business
Devin Cassels So. Lewisburg, Pa. Lewisburg Area HS, Mathematical Economics
Jasmine Cottle Sr. Pittsburgh, Pa. Penn Hills HS, Psychology
Diana Filtz Jr. Harrison City, Pa. Penn Trafford HS, Biology
Garrett Graham Sr. Brevard, N.C. Carolina Day School Math
Matt Llano Sr. Arnold, Md. Broadneck HS, Psychology
Alyssa Mankin Sr. Brentwood, Tenn. Brentwood Academy History
Matt Mello Sr. Weston, Conn. Weston HS, History
Lydia Morton Fr. Lebanon, N.H. Lebanon HS, Interdisciplinary Studies
Megan Ney Sr. McLean, Va. McLean HS, Psychology
Carter Norbo So. Roanoke, Va. Patrick Henry HS, Biology
Conor Phelan Fr. Pittsford, N.Y. Pittsford Sutherland HS, Biology
Tim Quinn Jr. Pittsford, N.Y. Pittsford Sutherland HS, Political Science
Julie Rechel Jr. Worthington, Ohio Thomas Worthington HS, Interdisciplinary Studies
Adam Spatacco Fr. Villanova, Pa. Radnor HS, Business
Sean Steller So. Kennett Square, Pa. Unionville HS, Economics
Rachel Sykes Fr. Mount Airy, Md. South Carroll HS, Biology
Jon Wilson Sr. Falmouth, Maine Falmouth HS, English

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Q & A with Spider...Matt Llano

Matt Llano (left) shown on his way to winning the 2008 Navy XC Invitational and (below) the day before the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships in Indiana.
Matt Llano (Broadneck HS, Maryland) is a distance running ace on the Spiders track and field and cross country teams... Last year Llano qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships as an individual by placing 7th at the NCAA Southeast Cross Country Championships. He was also named to the NCAA Academic All-American Team for cross country…Last spring Llano redshirted during the outdoor track & field season. He continued training and competing during his redshirt season and won the 3K at the Duke Invitational and returned 2 weeks later to run 29:06.89 in the 10K at the 2009 Mt. SAC Relays in Los Angeles… This past fall Llano and teammates Andrew Benford (13th at the 2009 IAAF World Mountain Running Championships) and Jon Wilson redshirted providing them with an opportunity to return for a season of eligibility next year. During the fall semester Llano took advantage of the opportunity to gain fitness, strength and stamina by racing several high profile road races in the eastern US…In September Llano won the 34th Annapolis 10 Miler setting a course record time (49:38) over a field of nearly 5,500 runners. He won the race by nearly 5 minutes…A few weeks later he placed 4th in the Great Cow Harbor 10K race in NY. His time was 29:48 over the hilly streets of Northport…As he progressed through the fall he and teammate Benford set 3K PR’s of 8:10 in a time-trial before the HCA 8K race in Richmond. On November 14th he placed 6th in the HCA 8K with a time of 23:25 for the roughly 5 mile event. He was the top USA finisher in the race averaging 4:41 per mile.

We sat down to ask him a few questions about his experiences and future plans...

: Since this was posted Matt had a great set of races at the 2010 Atlantic 10 Conference Indoor T&F Championships. He was brilliant in the 5K and took the title. After a very slow 4:57 opening mile of the 5K the pace quickened to a 4:42 on the 2nd mile. From there Llano and 2 other athletes separated from the field making it a 3 man race for the title. Llano took the lead with 800M to go, covering the final mile in 4:23...

Llano’s 5K splits (2/19/20100 at URI): 37.1/37.6/35.8/36.7=2:28.0 at 800M/36.5/37.8/37.2/37.3=4:57.6 at 1600M/37.2/36.0/35.1/34.7/34.4/35.5/34.5/35.5=9:39.0 at 3200M/32.5/32.9/33.6/33.4/33.3/34.6/33.2/32.1=14:04 at 3 miles/31.2 for last 200M=14:37.32 (4:23 for the final 1600M)

He returned the next day to face a great field in the 3K... Again, another slow start in the 3K of 35.5/37.2/36.2/34.8 (2:23.7 at 800M) turned around quickly as Llano took the lead and started clicking off 32 second laps. Llano took the lead and started clicking off 32 second laps. Only one athlete covered his asserted effort. He covered the final mile in just under 4:20 and led until the final lap when he was passed. He finished 2nd in 8:22 to also break the old meet record of 8:25.98 set by Mark Vilardo of West Virginia University set in 1995.

Llano’s 3K splits (2/20/2010 at URI): 35.5/37.2/36.2/34.8/33.4/32.8/31.9/32.1/32.5/33.1/33.3/33.4/32.9/31.4/31.5 = 8:22.3 for 3K

Question: You qualified for the NCAA Championships last fall (2008) in cross country and then redshirted the outdoor track & field season while running 29:06 for 10K. This fall you ran great races on the roads that culminated with you finishing as the top USA runner at the HCA 8K where you ran 23:25. How did you prepare differently for the road races and what goals did you achieve during those redshirt seasons?

Llano: The biggest difference between my redshirt and regular seasons was that I was much more relaxed when I was redshirting. I didn’t feel the pressure of having to compete at such a level as to qualify me for a national meet, and ironically, I think this sense of calm propelled me to achieve more than I ever have before. I was able to really listen to what my body was telling me and to adapt workouts slightly without being overly concerned about having a race right around the corner. My level of training soared as a result.

During the 2009 outdoor season, I was able to substantially lower my 10K personal best by 72 seconds, which made me incredibly confident that I was ready to compete at the next level, and that success continued throughout the fall season in my road races. My main focus was to try to develop alternate approaches to races that would enable me to be more relaxed going into them, because overanalyzing has definitely been my downfall several times in the past.
Question: Why did you and your teammates Andrew Benford and Jon Wilson redshirt this cross country season?

Llano: Andrew (Benford), Jonny (Wilson), and I actually decided separately that we wanted to redshirt, and when one of us brought it up on a run one day, we all burst with excitement that we all wanted to do it. Running is our passion, and we recognized the potential that our program has for next year, leading us to make the decision. We have big goals for 2010 and really hope and plan on putting Richmond on the national running scene. We know that we have the talent and determination to get there, and with an extra year under our belts, we can really make an impact and want to see the team achieve great things.

Question: As an older, more experienced runner, what do you tell your younger teammates to help prepare them for college athletics and adjust to a new training system?

Llano: I really try to convey the importance of communication with your teammates and coaches. Having that whole web of trust and support is an integral part of achieving success at the highest level.

Question: Have you decided what you will do once you graduate?

Llano: I would like to continue running and hopefully I’ll be offered a professional contract shortly after graduating. I will most likely eventually attend graduate school, but I am going to focus on running for now and see where it takes me.

Question: What has been your most memorable experience either in cross country or track at Richmond?

Llano: In cross country, my most memorable experience is definitely the 2008 NCAA championship meet. Although I did not perform as well as I wanted to, it has definitely helped to motivate me in my training and has enabled me to elevate myself to a higher level over the past year. In track, the 2009 Mt. SAC Relays race where I ran 29:06 is the most memorable experience. During the pre-race run the day before the race, I said to my teammate Tim Quinn, “I’m going to run 29:07 tomorrow.” I now believe I was in better shape than that, but doubted and therefore limited myself at the time. From that race, I learned that my body is capable of a lot more than my mind probably wants to think.

Question: Has there been a specific season that stands out in your mind as the “best”?

Llano: I think each season just keeps getting better and better as I move through my career at Richmond. The one that has been the “best” so far for me was this past fall when I redshirted. I am more confident than ever and I have made incredible jumps in my training over the past few months. I’m really excited for what the rest of this year will bring and for what I’ll be able to accomplish on the track.

Question: Has Richmond been what you expected it would be when you entered as a first-year student-athlete? If so, why or why not?

Llano: I wasn’t sure what to expect out of college in general or out of Richmond specifically, but what I have experienced has been nothing short of amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better team, coach, group of friends, or school. I wouldn’t trade what I have at Richmond for anything else.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Richmond senior Benford wins McCoy Award

Andrew Benford (shown here ready to pass Martin Toroitich from Uganda)
on his way to a 13th place finish in the 2009 IAAF World Mountain Running Championships in Italy...for complete results:

Richmond senior Benford wins McCoy Award
Published: February 10, 2010, 11:55 pm ET
Collegian Reporter

University of Richmond senior Andrew Benford was recognized as this year’s McCoy Award winner, an honor given yearly to the best male track and field athlete from West Virginia.

Benford said he was humbled by the award.

“It was a pretty big surprise,” he said. “Awards like this are voted on by sportswriters and definitely aren’t in the plan.

“It’s a great honor, and I’m really proud to win this award. … I’m proud of my roots in West Virginia. I’m proud to win an award that [former Spider] Ryan Jobes won. That made it even more special.”

Benford got off to a strong start in 2009 by dominating the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Charlotte, N.C. He won both the 5,000-meter run and 3,000-meter steeplechase. As a result, he was awarded A-10 Outstanding Track Performer of the Year.

Later in 2009, Benford traveled to Colorado Springs to train for mountain running competitions. He took advantage of the altitude and hills to prepare for international contests. While in Colorado, he won the USATF West Virginia 5K Championship.

In September, Benford flew to Madesimo, Italy for the IAAF World Mountain Running Championships. He was the youngest of six runners selected for Team USA. Despite his age, he finished first on the team, and 13th overall with a time of 58 minutes, 9 seconds in the 12.9-kilometer race. His 13th-place finish was the highest ever by an American in the WMRC.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Q&A with Spider...Megan Ney

Coming off a strong win in the Long Jump at this weekend’s Vince Brown Invitational, Megan Ney is this week’s featured athlete. As she moves into her senior season for the Spiders she looks to lead the team in the jumps. A high jump specialist in high school she has expanded her jumping to include success in the long and triple jumps for the Spiders. She was honored as the Spiders Outstanding Field Performer during the 2008 & 2009 Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field seasons her sophomore and junior years. Ney holds Spider school records in three events…The Outdoor High Jump (1.70M), the Outdoor Triple Jump (12.01M) and the Indoor 4x400M Relay. We had the opportunity to ask Megan a few questions recently:

Question: During the fall semester you completed your student teaching. How did that impact your training? What did you do to adjust to the schedule change?

Ney: It was difficult not being able to train with the team and get to know the newest members, but the most important thing was to follow the schedule and complete as many of the workouts as possible. After practicing for three years at 7:00 AM it was odd to workout in the afternoon and essentially eliminated second and special practices. Despite this, I combined as many of the workouts throughout the weeks and used the weekends to catch up. While I thought working out after eight hours of teaching would be difficult, practicing was, in fact, cathartic.

Question: As you go into your senior year what are some of your expectations and/or goals for the indoor and outdoor seasons?

Ney: Because it is my final season, my main goal is to perform by best. This includes such things as training as hard as possible and setting as my personal records throughout the season. The past few years I set a few outdoor records and would really enjoy challenging my self to beat my personal bests.

Question: You specialize in the jumps (Long Jump, Triple Jump and High Jump). Do you favor one event over another?

Ney: I favor one event over another whenever I start performing better in a particular event. For example, last year I struggled in all three events throughout the season which in the end simply made me work harder knowing that I may actually perform to my best eventually (at the end of the season it was definitely the triple jump).

Question: You’ve had a successful career as a student-athlete at Richmond. What are your most memorable moments?

Ney: My most memorable moment is definitely winning my first collegiate event at the Lou Onesty Challenege at UVA. I broke my own personal record by 2 or 3 inches and, honestly, I never expected to jump that high ever, which only made it more exciting. I have also really enjoyed running on so many different relays with so many different teammates over the years.

Question: Has anyone outside of Richmond impacted or influenced your career leading to your competitiveness and success?
Ney: I have been asked this question several times over my years of competing and it is always the same: my brothers. I have three older brothers and have always felt the need to perform to their standards. Currently, my oldest brother holds five school records and continues to hold this over my head because I only have three (I also know, that he is gloating right now as he reads this, but he won’t be if I get my fifth record).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spider Cross Country Announces 2010 Recruiting Class

The class is among the most-decorated in program history
L-R: Roxanne Henningson and Jillian Prentice during their senior year.

Feb. 8, 2010

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND - The University of Richmond cross country team has announced the signing of five student-athletes, who have each signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University and run for the Spiders next season. The class enters Richmond in 2010 as one of the program's most decorated in history.

The five incoming cross country runners are: Roxanne Henningson (Grenwich, N.Y./Greenwich HS), Brennan Long (Roanoke, Va./Roanoke Catholic HS), Ryan Lee (Claymont, Del./Archmere Academy), Alli Mannon (Lititz, Pa./Warwick HS) and Jill Prentice (Skillman, N.J./Montgomery, N.J.).

"I'm really excited about this group of athletes, said men's head coach Steve Taylor. "We expect they will immediately help our team to its goals, especially towards a team spot at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. We've been thrilled with the response of top athletes and their realization that we have everything here at Richmond that the elite student-athletes are looking for in a college experience."

"We are thrilled with this group of young women," said women's head coach Lori Taylor. "They are very talented and add depth to our program as the most decorated recruiting class of distance runners we've had join us. The potential is there for some great accomplishments especially with a look at our returning class. From the new stadium around our track & field facility to the local areas we have to train and the quality of the education offered here at Richmond, we are proving the nation's top prospects are finding what they are looking for in a college experience here at Richmond."

Ryan Lee comes to Richmond as one of the top prep runners in Delaware history. He is a 2009 Nike Cross National Championship qualifier, is the 2009 State Cross Country Champion and the Gatorade Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year for the state. Lee placed sixth at the Nike Southeast Regional Championships, making him the first ever Delaware runner to qualify for the national championship race. For more on Lee, click here:

"Ryan has been making a statement throughout this year," said Taylor. "During the outdoor season last spring he began to drop his times and as the fall cross country season started, he really began to excel and show how talented he is. As the first-ever individual male qualifier from Delaware to reach the Nike Cross Country Nationals, it shows how much he's improved. We felt the connection to Ryan when he visited this fall and believe he has the hard-nosed competitive mentality we look for in athlete."

Roxanne Henningson is a standout distance runner who qualified for the 2008 Nike Cross National Championships as an individual. She began the indoor track season in late December and recently (January 15, 2010) ran 10:01.76 for 3,000m at the Yale Invitational - a time that currently ranks No. 5 in the nation for that event. For more on Roxanne, click here:

Brennan Long is a middle distance standout who was crowed 2009 Virginia State Independent School Champion in the 800m. She has a personal record of 2:17.13 at the 2009 Milestat Elite Invitational here in Richmond.

Alli Mannon is a distance standout that ran 10:53 for 3,200m at the PIAA State Championships last spring. For more on Alli, click here:

Jill Prentice is also a distance ace, who placed fifth at the 2009 National High School Indoor Championships in the 5,000m (17:53). In the spring, she ran 10:42 for 3,200m at the 2009 New Jersey Meet of Champions and followed that with a ninth place finish in the 5,000m at the Nike Outdoor National Championships. For more on Jill, click here: