Saturday, March 27, 2010

Stanford Invite Day #2= Llano runs 28:51.69 for 10K…What a night!

Early in the Stanford Invitatioanl 10K, Llano is at the front.

The pack dwindled by the midway point with Llano still pushing.

At the finish Llano crossed with the 7th fastest time in the NCAA.

Matt Llano hours before his 28:51.69 effort in the 10K at Stanford...
Shown here with Alcatraz Island in the background.

When we went to bed last night it was raining and cold. Not what we flew across the country to face. I was not too concerned since the local weather forecast called for clearing overnight. Still, you do not want to fly across the nation to face adverse conditions when the goal and purpose for the trip is to run fast. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the 10K and 5K races on the track are different animals than any other track event. To run a fast one you have to find the right race and weather. The only place in the US that you can find both on a consistent basis is this meet (Stanford Invitational) and Mt. SAC Relays in the suburbs of Los Angeles three weeks from now. Again, the key is consistent weather. When you find a place with consistently ideal weather…the athletes to make the race will follow.

I was woken this morning to the sound of a roaring car engine and bright sunlight coming through the window. Our hotel is very nice, but it’s next door to a car garage and today must have been “hot rod” Friday. For some reason the car engine they were working on needed to be tested by accelerating the engine to near RPM capacity and quickly letting off the gas pedal causing it to rumble like a locomotive while backfiring through the engine. It really wasn’t a concern for me but I was concerned that Matt had to listen to the roar. He informed me later that he never heard it….which is a good thing.

Fisherman's Warf in San Francisco.

Alcatraz Island and Prison.

Matt’s race wasn’t scheduled to start until 9:36PM (PST) so he had the entire day to either sit around the hotel thinking about the race or to go sightseeing. I recommended the later so he and his parents had breakfast and then went into San Francisco to Fisherman’s Warf to walk around. It was a great escape for a few hours and a nice way to take his mind off the race for just a little while.

Lombard Street...America's crookedest street.

The sea lions at Fisherman's Warf in downtown San Francisco.

At 7:15PM we headed to the track. The sunny day lost its way into evening. Once the sun dropped below the horizon the temperatures cooled into the 50’s and the winds disappeared all together. We arrived and Matt checked in with the clerk while the 3rd section of the women’s 5K was on the track. The night was electric. You could feel this night would be the night.

As Matt continued stretching his former teammate and 2009 Richmond graduate, Dan Petty arrived. He flew in from Denver where he works as a journalist for the Denver Post to watch matt race. The intensity in the air continued to grow. The fastest section of the women’s 10K was on the track and the announcer seemed to know that the night was about to see something the NCAA had never seen before. Iowa State’s, Lisa Koll took the lead from the gun and continued on her mission for the following 25 laps. With 8 laps to go the announcer started telling the crowd that she had a shot at the NCAA Record of 31:25 set by former Texas Tech runner Sally Kipyego in 2008. Koll continued her assault and set the tone as she crushed the NCAA record by running 31:18.07.

Matt before the race...called to the start line.

When the announcer called the men’s 10K race to the line, he called out the entry list. It was a great field with most of the NCAA’s top 10K runners on the line. The race started and Matt settled into his race plan of running 69 seconds per 400M lap. The Stanford athletes had drums and metal trash cans they began to beat in rhythm...The cadence was perfect for sub 29:00 pace...By 1400M into the race he moved into 3rd place on the shoulder of Jesse Cherry (HPU) and stayed there as they passed 1600M in 4:37.5. He continued… and passed the 3200M in 9:15.1, 3 miles in 13:51.8 and the 5K, or halfway point, in 14:25. By 5K he moved into 2nd place. From the 5K point to the finish every distance he passed he did so at a new personal best. He hit 4 miles in 18:27.9 and 5 miles in 23:04.8. Just before 5 miles the pace quickened as the lead pack started throwing in 68.0 second laps. Matt continued to race and fight running 69.2, 70.0, 70.2 and 70.2 for the next four laps as he passed 6 miles in 27:45.6 with 1 lap to go. He kicked it in covering the final lap in 65.2 to finish in 28:51.69. His finish time was a personal best and currently ranks him #7 in the NCAA National Rankings and #1 within the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Matt Llano Quote: “I felt good. Running 69’s felt easy but as soon as we started dropping 68’s I felt it. I’m pleased with a new PR (personal best) and look forward to late season races.”

Everything about this meet was perfect, especially the weather. It is not possible to find better conditions anywhere in the world than we had here tonight. The athletes know they are here to run fast and they get on the track and don’t mess around. They put the hammer down from the start and run their guts out. Matt did exactly that…He ran his guts out and moved to another level here tonight. He ran against the very best in the Nation and for the longest time was in 2nd pushing the pace. He’s not afraid of anyone and makes people beat him. That might seem simple but it’s a huge concept that some athletes never grasp. If someone is going to beat him they have to earn it...the hard way. I’m really proud of and happy for him. This race has taken him years of training and sacrifice to achieve. Most people are just not willing to make the sacrifices Matt has to achieve their goals. Now he can concentrate on the Championship meets coming at the end of the season.

Matt Llano’s 10K splits for the 2010 Stanford Invitational: 70.0/69.3/69.5/68.7=4:37.5 @1600m

/68.9/69.7/69.1/69.3=9:15.1 @3200m

/68.4/69.1/69.1/69.1=13.51.8 @3miles/14:25@5K

/69.1/67.3/68.7/69.1=18:27.9@4 miles

/69.6/68.1/69.2/69.7=23:04.8@5 miles

/69.2/70.0/70.2/70.2=27:45.6@6 miles /65.2=28:51.69@10K

The results...Llano is 8th over-all and 7th in the NCAA.

LINK TO RACE VIDEO from Flotrack:

Matt Llano and me after the race.

After the race was over we stood there talking with Matt’s parents and Daniel Petty. Dan graduated last spring and as I mentioned earlier, took a job as a journalist for the Denver Post. As we talked Dan told us that he "scooped" the Associated Press story for Lisa Koll’s NCAA 10K record. He came to watch his former roommate run the 10K and while waiting on Matt’s race he realized what he was witnessing as Koll smashed the NCAA record in the 10K by running 31:18.07. She eclipsed the previous record of 31:25.45, held by former Texas Tech runner Sally Kipyego, set on May 4, 2008. Dan’s photos of Lisa Koll’s post race celebration are on the Associated Press wire going around the globe (see link: ).

(AP Photo/Daniel Petty)

So, when you see an Associated Press photo in a newspaper or online of Lisa Koll celebrating after her race you will know it was taken by Richmond Track & Field graduate Daniel Petty.

I think it’s awesome. What a night!

The perfect palm tree??...The consensus is "yes" it is.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Stanford Invitational (Day 1=Travel Day)

Stanford's signature building...

Our Travel Day to the Bay City...

The day got off to an early start with our 6:00AM flight departure from Richmond to Chicago to San Francisco. The only good thing about a flight that early is that we arrived into the Bay Area by 11:15AM. From there we headed to baggage claim and immediately on to the rental car place. A few weeks ago I signed up for the Avis Preferred service and it proved well worth it today. When we arrived at the Avis Center the waiting line was very long. Not good but the signs told us to proceed directly to our car. Nothing to sign…no lines…nothing. We just walked to our car and drove away. All I can say is Avis preferred is seriously the way to go. It’s the little things in life and 45 minutes of my life were saved by not standing in line waiting to get our car.

Off we went…We plugged in my Garmin…typed in the address for our hotel and we were on our way down the 101 to Stanford and Sunnyvale where our hotel is located. We stopped along the way and picked up a sandwich before checking in. The hotel was great. I’d called yesterday to request an early check in and sure enough they had the keys ready. Smooth and no hassles… By chance…just across the street there is a Safeway (grocery store). Again, it’s the little things in life…Convenient.

Matt Llano during prerace day...

We settled in and Matt got a short nap while I caught up on the 77 e-mail messages that I received during our flights. Hard to imagine that in the 12 hours since I last checked my e-mail that many messages came in. I sorted through the messages and it was time to head to the track & field facility for prerace.

The perfect palm tree?

Stanford is about 7 miles from our hotel and directly down the street…No turns…just several stop lights. Once we arrived we walked in. The wind was gusting but good temperatures for racing…at least distance events. We picked up our packet from one of the Heath Brothers who struck up a conversation with Matt about the 10K race, indicating he might be one of the rabbits tomorrow evening.

Llano stretching before his prerace workout...

As Matt began to stretch it was obvious the magnitude of the meet as several Olympians walked by or completed their prerace rituals on the track. After a stretch Matt headed out for his own prerace ritual. It really is a ritual…since it doesn’t change. After years of training and racing athletes know what to do and what they need. They’ve been through the routine countless times and actually they want to do everything the same. It’s a reminder to the body and the mind of what is to come…both as important as the other. Mind and body both have to be ready for what the athlete will face and the limits they will push themselves beyond.

After completing a run and strides we were off to the hotel to meet Matt’s parents for dinner. We noticed an Italian Restaurant called “Frankie Johnnie & Luigi Too‎” on the way to the track. It looked like a good place and was later recommended by the folks at the front desk. We knew when we pulled into the lot that it was going to be exactly what we wanted. The aroma in the parking lot was superb. They seated us right away and shortly after athletes from schools across the nation started to arrive. The food was great…the service was perfect…and we ate our fill.

After getting back to the hotel we watched a bit of the NCAA basketball tournament. Since it’s a NCAA violation for coaches and/or athletes to complete the brackets we are not into it like most people…especially since our beloved Spiders are no longer in the tournament. BUT let me add that they were in the tournament and had a great year. They were fun to watch this season and we congratulate the team and staff.

Until tomorrow….I need sleep.

The Stanford Track & Field Facility...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Q&A with former Spider David Hille

The former Spider Track Athlete...
is enrolled at the University of Oxford, England

The University of Oxford, England

One of the University's older and most central colleges, Old Souls College...

David Hille came to the University of Richmond in the fall of 2007 as an exchange student from Curtin University in Australia. Hille joined the Spiders track & field team after a lengthy exchange of e-mail recruitment by Spider track & field coach, Steve Taylor. Not only did he join the Spiders program he immediately became one of the top sprinters for the team during the indoor and outdoor seasons in the spring of 2008. While at Richmond he studied mathematics and finance before returning to Australia to finish his undergraduate work and then enrolling in the MSc. in Applied Statistics program at the University of Oxford in England this past fall (2009).

Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and is unique with much history. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed as far back as 1096. During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Oxford added to its core a major new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences, including medicine. In doing so, it has reinforced and intensified its role as a prominent international university of higher learning and scholarly debate.
David returned to Richmond while on Spring Break and we had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his experiences.

David Hille (pictured left) and a couple of his classmates
at the University Of Oxford.

Where in Australia is your home?

I live in the southern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. Perth is the only metropolis on the west coast. With a population of 1.65 million, it's the fourth largest city in the nation. Perth is the most isolated major city in the world. We're right on the coast and enjoy a Mediterranean climate and all the benefits of the Australian beach lifestyle. (If you see former UR track-star Jon Molz in the street, remind him of that fact, I'm trying to get him to come out for a visit.)

Radcliffe Camera

Keble College

You came to the University of Richmond as an exchange student. Can you share a couple of your most memorable moments and what you remember the most about your time as a Spider?

When I think back to the time I spent at Richmond I think about all my good mates on the track team. A lot of the my most enjoyable moments were simply things like hanging out at track meets, cheering each other on, and enjoying long dinners at D-Hall joking around with each other. But a couple of specific moments come to mind...

I should preface this first story by noting that prior to coming to the United States I hadn't seen snow – at least not at an age when I could remember it. A couple of months into the Fall semester I went up to the Shenandoah National Park near Charlottesville with a couple of my mates on the team, Neil Slotterback and Calvin Virgilio. It was a crisp morning and there was a little bit of fog in the air, so I wondered if this might be the day I got to see some snow. As we pulled up to the check-point the ranger told us that the snow cover would increase as we ascended the mountains. At this point I began to behave less like a college student and more like a toddler who just had his first taste of soda – I was so excited. The park didn't disappoint. We went on a great hike and I got to see a lot of snow. I still rate the Shenandoah National Park as one of my favorite places in the United States.

Another experience that I recall fondly is the outdoor A-10 championships up in Amherst, Massachusetts. I had suffered an injury during the outdoor season which meant that I missed a few meets leading up to the championships. My injury had rehabilitated well, just in time, thanks to the great staff in the sports medicine department, and the coaching staff gave me one last chance to race for Richmond. I was particularly close with the graduating seniors on the team so I was, and still am, very grateful that I got an opportunity to join them at that last meet. The atmosphere at a meet like the A-10 championships really goes above and beyond to help promote sense camaraderie amongst's a lot of fun.

The University of Oxford

What led you to Oxford and what area of study are you pursuing? When do you expect to complete your program and what do you intend to do after graduating?

For quite some time I've been fascinated with the University of Oxford, its old buildings, rich traditions, and outstanding academics. This, coupled with the fact that my time at Richmond showed me what a great opportunity studying in a foreign country can be, made the thought of another year abroad was very enticing. My field of study was something that I was interested in from the early stages of my university career. Statistics can sometimes be a little dry, but it can become quite engaging when you see how and where you can apply it to real life problems.

I expect to complete my program in September. My post-Oxford plans aren't exactly set in stone right now, but I'd like to think that I'll return Australia and work for the Australian Government, in an area like the Department of Defense...taking some vacation time every now and then so I can come back to the United States and see my mates.

David Hille (2nd from right) and a few classmates with a constable at the University of Oxford.

You’ve studied in Australia at Curtin University, here in the US at the University of Richmond and currently in England at the University of Oxford ….What are some of the major differences between these universities and how difficult has it been to adjust to social differences?

There are major differences, both academically and socially. At Richmond the classroom education was the most intimate of the three, with assessments spread over the semester. At Oxford a lot of the assessment is weighted towards the exams, and Curtin was somewhere in between the two. Socially, the three countries share a lot of similarities (often being referred to as “cultural cousins”) but it's the tiny differences that are most fun. My mates in the US like to joke about some of the funny words I have for certain things – or just the accent in general. And, of course, I used to love getting them to try Vegemite (an Australian spread)...just ask Coach Taylor.

Christ Church College and Quad

I left Richmond as a big fan of the American college experience. Having played sports for all three universities (and three different sports for that matter) I got to see how the facilities and opportunities differed from country to country, and the US has to take the cake. Being an athlete at Richmond gave me exposure to great coaching staff and excellent facilities. The intimate Richmond campus really helped me foster great relationships with my teammates, and that provided a great chance to unwind and relax, outside of the athletics and academics.

University of Oxford photo

Oxford is renowned historically throughout the World for its academic traditions. Can you share some of the traditions they continue to follow and embrace?

Most of the traditions seem to involve bow ties and gowns. Every Wednesday my college (the University of Oxford is made up of 38 colleges), St Edmund Hall, has a formal dinner for the fellows and students. We dress in formal attire with our academic gowns, and are served a four course meal. Graduate students have the opportunity to dine with the fellows at “High Table” which is an elevated table at the front of the dining hall. After dinner, those at “High Table” retire to the candle lit Old Library and enjoy a second desert.

Another quirky tradition is one that requires students to wear “sub-fusc” dress to exams. This consists of a dark suit, a white shirt, a white bow tie and an academic gown. In addition to this, although it is not required, students wear a carnation flower; white for your first exam, pink for a middle exam, and red for your final exam. I'm afraid I don't know the origin that one.

The Parks...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

School Record, Three Wins Highlight Track & Field's Outdoor Opener

Chris Eccleston opened the season with a personal best
and school record in the modern javelin.

Three Spiders won events Saturday at the Patriot Invitational.

Along with the Spiders...athletes from Georgetown, Virginia, George Mason, Air Force, Fordham and Towson competed in the meet.

By Mike DeGeorge
Richmond Sports Information

March 20, 2010

FAIRFAX, Va. - Chris Eccleston set a school record in the modern javelin throw, while Megan Ney, Dana Guglielmo and Meaghan McGovern won events as the Richmond track & field team opened its outdoor season at the Patriot Invitational Saturday at George Mason.

Ney was the victor in the long jump, Guglielmo won the 3,000m, McGovern took the hammer throw to highlight Saturday for the women.

On the men's side, Eccleston's throw of 60.60m (198'10") set a modern-day school record for the Spiders - and the longest throw by a Spider in 75 years. The original mark of 65.13m was set in 1935 by Woodrow Clark - before the NCAA and IAAF redesigned the javelin.

Eccleston's toss was good for second-place.

"We had a pretty good day that was highlighted by Chris's javelin," said men's head coach Steve Taylor. "That is an excellent throw that he has worked hard to achieve. I'm happy for him."

Also for the men, Sam Weber took second in the in long jump (5.78m) and Steve Rachman was sixth in the 200m (23.22).

(L-R) Julie Rechel (3rd-10:05.86), Dana Guglielmo (1st-9:52.61)
and Erin Lunny (6th-10:25.66) led the Spiders in the 3K.

Guglielmo won the 3,000m and led three Spiders in the event with her personal-best time of 9:52.61. Julie Rechel was third (10:05.86) and Erin Lunny was sixth (10:25.66)

In the hammer, McGovern won the event with her mark of 53.34m, and she was followed by Monica Howard, who took fourth (46.34m).

Ney enjoyed a big day for the Spiders as she won the long jump (5.74m), placed tied for second in the high jump (1.65m) and finished seventh in the 200m with a personal-best time of 25.63.
"This was a good start to the outdoor season. I'm pleased with the competitive attitude of our team," said women's head coach Lori Taylor. "Everyone competed with intensity, which is what we wanted."

Also for the women, Heather Roush was third in the javelin (36.57m), Andi Defonce was fourth in the 800m (2:18.07) and Stephanie Paradis was fifth in the 800m (2:18.76).

Sophomore, Andi DeFonce ran the 800M and the 4x400M

Complete Results:

Read More:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cross Country Earns Eighth-Consecutive All-Academic Team Award

The men's and women's cross country teams at
preseason camp in Madison County, VA,
Shown here at White Oak Canon Falls.

Both the Spider men's and women's teams were honored by the USTFCCCA.

By Mike DeGeorge
Richmond Sports Information

Link to this article on Spiders Sports Network:

March 10, 2010

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND - For the eighth season in a row, both the University of Richmond men's and women's cross country teams earned the All-Academic Team award from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

For a team to be considered for the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team award, they must have competed and compiled a team score at an NCAA Regional Meet. The team must also have a minimum 3.00 team cumulative grade point average.

The men following the 2009 Atlantic 10 Championships.

"We are proud that our teams have earned All-Academic Team honors," said head men's coach Steve Taylor. "Each year we place this as a goal for our men's and women's teams. It shows that our men and women balance intense, competitive athletics with exceptional academic achievements. As a non-scholarship program our men compete to bring recognition to our University's cross country and track & field teams and continue to excel in both."

The men accumulated the highest team GPA of any Virginia Division-I program.

"We are proud of the academic achievements of our programs," said women's coach Lori Taylor. "As a team it is their expectation that our team achieves at the highest level academically and athletically. They have established a tradition that we intend to continue."
The women shown on the start line
at the University of Virginia Invitational.

This announcement by the USTFCCCA comes on the heels of 22 Spider runners being selected to the Atlantic 10 Commissioners Honor Roll for achieving a 3.5 GPA or greater during the fall semester.
Garrett Graham has one of the top men's GPA's...
...and Julie Rechel holds the highest individual GPA on the women's team.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Community Service Based Activities by current Track & Field and Cross Country Student-Athletes

Garrett Graham (center of back row) served as a volunteer
English teacher for the children of migrant
laborers at “Grace School” in Kunming, Yunnan, China (PRC).

Thinking Locally and Acting Locally
.....Thinking Globally and Acting Globally

Too often people outside our world of athletics do not realize how involved our track & field and cross country student-athletes are within our communities as volunteers. They are visibly seen during their competitions as athletes and seem to be often overlooked for their achievements outside of athletics. They do not seek attention for their work and they do not try to draw attention to how much volunteer work they do. They place value in the area of civic engagement and quietly take care of business athletically, academically and with regard to volunteering. Over the past several months the members of our track & field and cross country teams have contributed to numerous community service projects here in the Richmond area, their hometown communities and countries throughout the world.

Having the opportunity to hear some of the stories and to learn about outside cultures our men and women have participated in continues to be a highlight for both Lori and I. We have been impressed and often amazed at the leadership our men and women show outside of athletics. We have always and continue to believe athletics is the best classroom there is within an educational setting. It teaches countless lessons including the obvious: team work, unity, self confidence, self and team reliance, goal setting, the ability to adapt to deadlines, handling pressure, time management and numerous others. Then they carry those skills over into all other aspects of their lives, including the reason they are here in college…and that is to earn a valuable education. The participation of young men and women within athletics is invaluable and leaves no doubt why businesses contact us asking if we have anyone graduating we could recommend for their firms. Those professionals know when they get a successful student-athlete from the Richmond Track & Field program they are getting an exceptional young man or women dedicated to success.

As I get back to the point and off the tangent and before talking about their community service work it’s important to explain a typical academic year for our track & field and cross country athletes. First, they are never “out-of-season” as it pertains to competition. They are always in their competitive season. There are times we envy those 1 season sports and their unlimited opportunities to recruit during the off season. Lori and I chuckle when we hear them talk about how busy they are. I’m always tempted to explain what our athletes do, but every coach seems to think his/her athletes are the most dedicated. I know our men and women are dedicated. After all, name me any other sports team that arrives in mid August for preseason cross country camp and remains constantly in their competitive season representing their University until the middle of June…10 months later.

To outline my point…Cross Country season starts with the team’s arrival 9 days before classes start in the fall and ends on the Monday before Thanksgiving in November. Cross Country ends with the opening (2 weeks later) of the competitive segment of the indoor track & field season which goes from the first weekend in December through mid March…Meanwhile, the outdoor qualifying window for the NCAA Outdoor T&F Championships overlaps by opening on March 1 and concludes with our National Championship meet in mid June. Our athletes are competing and representing our University during the entire 10 month period.

Our typical week includes our primary practice each morning from 7:30AM until 10:00AM, followed with 2-3 days of lifting before classes. Each afternoon they have another workout based on their level of development. For some it’s another run, while others incorporate a cross training workout. This afternoon workout is arranged based on their individual schedule and is to be completed anytime between 2pm and 7pm. Following their afternoon workout it’s time for them to study and prepare for the next day and the competition on the approaching weekend.

Making this community service list even more impressive is the fact that these young men and women have earned the distinction of US Track Cross Country Coaches Association (USTCCCA) All-Academic Team” for the 8th consecutive year for maintaining a cumulative team GPA above a 3.0... Additionally, our cross country/track & field teams placed 22 on the Atlantic 10 Conference Commissioners List for earning a 3.5 GPA or better during the fall semester (Megan Ney and Tim Quinn achieved perfect 4.0’s)...(article link: ). These student-athletes are achieving greatness in the classroom while balancing the demands of DI athletics and commitment to our communities. Again, it’s remarkable.

Here is a list of several, but not all of the Community Service Projects our Track & Field and Cross Country student-athletes have contributed to during the past 24 months:

Date(s) Community Service Events

Ongoing: Volunteer math coach at St. Catherine's middle school. Helping students with problem sets and practice tests to prepare them for local, state, and national math competitions (Richmond, VA)

Ongoing: Volunteer tutor for Richmond City Schools. Helping students advance their knowledge in all subjects (Richmond, VA)

Ongoing: Multiple Volunteers at local nursing homes…Hospice Work plus Reading, listening, sharing (Richmond, VA).

Ongoing: Volunteer Medi Home Health and Hospice Care …Hospice Work plus Reading, listening, sharing with terminally ill patients (Richmond, VA).

Ongoing: Volunteer “Cross Over Clinic West” (Richmond, VA)

Ongoing: Volunteer for “Habitat for Humanity” (Richmond, VA)

Ongoing: Volunteer International Hospital for Children (IHC) visiting and transporting patients and families (Richmond, VA)

Ongoing: Volunteer “Carver Promise Mentoring Program” at George Washington Carver Elementary School (Richmond, VA)

Ongoing: Multiple volunteers “Virginia Special Olympics” (Richmond, VA)

Ongoing: Volunteer translator for the “Cross Over West Clinic”…a clinic for families without Medical insurance (Richmond, VA)

Jan-March: Volunteer helping raise money locally for an orphanage/school in Kampala, Uganda (Richmond, VA)

Jan & March: Volunteer “Clothes Closet” a nonprofit organization providing free clothing to those in need (Churchville, VA)

January: Volunteer with the “LA Dream Center”…helping with food drives and homeless outreaches within community (Los Angeles, CA)

March-May: Volunteer English teacher for the children of migrant laborers at “Grace School” in Kunming, Yunnan, China (PRC).
See Garrett Graham photo top of this page.

March-June: Partnered with “Free Wheelchair Mission” to deliver wheelchairs to developing nations...helped raise over $38,000 resulting in about 770 individuals outside the USA being provided new wheelchairs (Orange County, CA).

March-August: Volunteer for “Leaders Inspired For Transition (LIFT)” (Richmond, VA and Washington, DC)
Link to "LIFT" video with Spider Track & Field athlete Matt Mello

March: Volunteer Medical Service Trip to Belize to provide free surgery at
the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga and teach health classes to the local elementary schools (Dangriga, Belize)

Conor Phelan on a volunteer medical service trip to Dangriga, Belize.

March: “Kyle's Run for a Memory” to benefit Kyle's Benevolent Fund, set up to aid
Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (Pittsford, NY)

March: Volunteer “Wade Center”… to promote and nurture the growth of the
children, teens and young adults of the Greater Bluefield Community through practical programs and mentoring relationships (Bluefield, WV)

Sarah Nuttycombe volunteering at the "Wade Center" in Bluefield, WV.

April: Community Volunteer to raise money for a Community Health Center in the country of Burundi (Country of Burundi)

May: “Dragon Slayer 6K” to benefit the American Liver Foundation (York Beach, ME)

May: “Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure” to benefit Cancer Research (Pittsburgh, PA)

May: “Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure” (Philadelphia, PA)

May: “Kennett 5K” to benefit multiple social nonprofit organizations within the community (Kennett Square, PA)

May: Volunteer “Medved Lilac 10K” (Pittsford, NY)

June: Volunteer laborer in the nation of Vanuatu (helped build a church, repaint buildings, paint signs and village activities)…(Country of Vanuatu).

June: “Relay For Life” Volunteer (Lancaster, PA)

June:Eastside YMCA Invest in Youth 5K” (Penfield, NY)

June: Habitat for Humanity volunteer (Deep Creek Lake, Maryland)

June-July: Volunteer “Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission” (Harrison City, PA)

June-August: Volunteer at “Carroll Hospital Center” (Carroll County, MD)

July: Volunteer “Pacific Discovery Volunteer Conservation Program” as part of the New Zealand Department of Conservation…helping plant trees and shrubs in the conservation effort (Nelson, New Zealand)

Julie Rechel (right) and Diana Filtz (center) participating in "Pacific Discovery Volunteer Conservation Program" in Nelson, New Zealand.

July: Volunteer “Preble Street Community Shelter” in Portland, Maine for homeless and low-income residents (Portland, ME)

July: Volunteer “Camp Good Days and Special Times” a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for children, adults and families whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life challenges through summer camping experiences and year-round events and activities (Rochester, NY)

July: Volunteer “Good Neighbors Inc.”…Good Neighbors Inc. provides home repair, financial guidance and financial assistance to those who do not have the physical or financial means to make necessary repairs to their homes. (Chester County, PA)

July: “Church Work Camp” Volunteer…Multiple churches working together to help low income families…Much like Habitat for Humanity (Kennett Square, PA)

Kevin Romesser shown building a handicap ramp for a family in the community of Kennett Square, PA as part of "Church Work Camp".

August-May: Sole Volunteer geometry and upper-level math teacher for inner-city youth at Church Hill Academy in Church Hill (Richmond, VA).

September: “Annapolis 10 Mile Race” to benefit the Anne Arundel Medical Center specifically, AAMC’s new Cardiac Rehab Facility and the Oncology Center (Annapolis, Maryland).

September: “Great Cow Harbor 10K” to benefit the NY Special Olympics (Northport, NY).

September: “Tiger Trot 5K Race” to benefit Hanover County Elementary Schools (Ashland, VA)

September: “?Que Pasa? Festival” Volunteers…A Hispanic Cultural Festival - celebrating Hispanic heritage (Richmond, VA)

September: “Hispanic Heritage Celebration” Volunteers…similar to “?Que Pasa? Festival Celebration of Hispanic heritage (Richmond, VA)

September-May: Volunteer Tutor at Maybeury Elementary School -helping 2nd grade students in reading (Richmond, VA)

Megan Ney and a student participating in "Book Buddies" at Maybuery Elementary School in Richmond...a volunteer tutoring program to develop reading skills of students.

September-December: Volunteer Tutor at Chamberlayne Elementary School -helping 2nd grade students in reading (Richmond, VA)

September-June: Volunteer Tutor-English as Second Language (ESL)- at local High Schools (Richmond, VA)

September-June: Volunteer Tutor-English as Second Language (ESL)- at local Elementary Schools (Richmond, VA)

September-Novovember: Volunteer Tutor-English as Second Language (ESL)- at J.L. Francis Elementary (Richmond, VA)

September: “Belle Island 5K” to benefit Tinna Q. Cade Foundation for helping families overcome infertility

October-May: Volunteer "Character First"…lessons in a public elementary school one afternoon per week (Richmond, VA)

November:HCA 8K Road Race” to benefit “Donate Life”, the official race charity of the event…Working to increase organ, eye and tissue donation in Virginia and across the United States (Richmond, VA)

Jon Wilson, Matt Llano and Andrew Benford (L-R) were part of the team involved in the 2009 HCA 8K Race in Richmond benefiting "Donate Life"

November:Greensburg Turkey Trot” to benefit Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program of local YMCAs (Greensburg, PA)

November: Volunteer “Nancy King Memorial Fund” (Falmouth, Maine)

December: Manual laborer for “Fountain of Hope”, a Christian organization in
Honduras; brought medical and construction supplies; assisted in manual labor and rural health clinic (Country of Honduras).

December:Hollidaysburg Area New Year’s Eve 5K” to benefit local YMCAs (Hollidaysburg, PA)

December: “Ryan Jobes Memorial 5K”…a community race remembering Richmond Spider standout track and cross country student-athlete Ryan Charles Jobes. (Williamstown, WV)

Team members (shown here in 2006) continue to participate in the "Ryan Jobes 5K" in Williamstown, West Virginia. The race honors Richmond standout track and cross country team member Ryan Charles Jobes who died in a car accident on December 20th, 2005 on his way home from Richmond.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Llano and Quinn at Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame

(L-R: Matt Llano and Tim Quinn)

We headed to South Bend, Indiana for the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame on Thursday afternoon. We flew to Chicago and then drove the 90 minutes over to South Bend. It was pretty easy trip. Kind of funny that I’ve wanted to get a Garmin GPS for traveling and decided I would make the purchase before the trip…So, I went to Wal-Mart on Wednesday afternoon and started my search. The particular model I was looking for was listed at $169.99 and I did not particularly want to spend that. To my surprise the man working that section of the store informed me that the model was on sale for $99.00…Ooohhh yea…that’s more like. I made my purchase and was on my way.

The next day when we got to Chicago it was 5:30PM and the peak of rush hour. We plugged the Garmin into our rental car and searched for the nearest Olive Garden…Matt Llano and Tim Quinn’s choice for their prerace dinner. Let me tell you, the GPS paid for itself that night. We got off the highway and the bumper-to-bumper traffic and zipped right over to the nearest Olive Garden….had dinner and by the time we finished the traffic was over…then we had a smooth and easy drive on over to South Bend.

We got to our hotel, the Residence Inn and checked in. They were expecting us and had the keys ready. When I got back to the car I gave Matt and Tim their choice of rooms…#411 or #412. The front desk informed me they were identical and next to each other. Matt and Tim chose room #412…So, I had the other. We walked up to their door and opened the door and to my surprise there in the room was a 42” flat screen TV and a gas fireplace…Wow, a fireplace I thought. I turned and opened my room’s door expecting the mirror image of #412. Not quite…there sat a 22” box TV and no fireplace. I informed Matt and Tim who found a great deal of humor in this and then informed me, “We chose wisely.” That’s one of my favorite things to say in a situation like this…I guess they enjoyed it…and their fireplace.

The next 15 hours were uneventful…as they were supposed to be. I call it, “the calm before the storm”. I believe this is the hardest time for an athlete. Before this, they are busy with school work and don’t have a lot of time to dwell on the race and the pain that is coming. Then they arrive at the hotel and wait and wait and wait. Both Matt and Tim have learned how to handle this. We work on it in practice and talk about the steps necessary to keep those emotions in check. There’s a huge difference between practice and race day though. Both Matt and Tim are mature and confident and handle it well. They got in a 3 mile run to get the trip out of their legs the morning of the race and then studied for a few hours before we departed for the track & field facility at the Loftus Center on the Notre Dame campus. The track is nice. It’s 320M in length surrounding a “Field Turf” football field.

When we walked in the building was pretty quiet. Athletes from over 75 Universities we scattered around preparing for their competitions. The 5K race was 15 2/3 laps total…Not your typical indoor track length. The atmosphere, although initially quiet, soon became fevered with the banging of drums and tables during the women’s 5K. As Matt and Tim returned from their warm-up the crowd was beginning to get larger by the minute as the two track events to be contested on this evening were in motion….The 5K for women and men, followed by the Distance Medley Relay Races for women and men.

As the started called the men’s 5K racers to the line I could hear the men from Flotrack getting more and more excited as they talked about the depth of the field as they began their live coverage. It was clearly the best men’s 5K race assembled so far this indoor season. I spoke with a couple of coaches to confirm Patrick Smyth would serve as the rabbit taking the leaders through 3K in the 8:10-8:12 range. As the gun sounded the track was full with 28 men answering the call. They juggled back and forth for position and eventually found the pace. Matt and Tim were together through the 800M going through in 2:14.6 and then the drummers began to bang away to the cadence of 65 second 400M pace.

By the 1600M Matt was running in roughly 12th place as he went through in 4:25.4, while Tim was 4:29.2. The race rolled along like clock-work. Matt kept pace hitting 3200M in 8:55.2. Tim was 9:16.4 at 3200M. They ended with solid performances even though they both expected to be faster. Matt ran 14:11.19 and Tim 14:42.41.

Matt’s time of 14:11.19 was just short of the NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 14:10.00. Even though he was close to the provisional mark we knew it would take in the 13:55 range to make the NCAA Championships. Both ran hard and competed well…they just weren’t able to hold on over the final 1600M.

Since the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships Tim’s had excellent workouts and looked ready to run 14:20-14:28…but it wasn’t there tonight. Matt on the other hand has been on the opposite side of the training curve the past two weeks. I believe he’s been on the verge of getting sick but has done a great job of getting his rest and not letting it get a hold of him. IMO this race says a lot about their goals and competitiveness. They got in there and raced without fear and remembered the purpose… I believe this is a good indicator of things to come this outdoor season.

Matt Llano’s 5K Splits by 400M: 68.8/2:14.6/3:20.4/4:25.4 at 1600M/5:31.1/6:38.1/7:46.9/8:55.2 at 3200M/10:04.7/11:15.4/12:27.6/13:35.4 at 3 miles/14:11.19 at 5K

Tim Quinn’s 5K splits by 400M: 68.9/2:15.3/3:22.4/4:29.2 at 1600M/5:38.4/6:49.9/8:02.4/9:16.4 at 3200M/10:30.6/11:45.3/12:58.3/14:09.7 at 3 miles/14:42.41 at 5K

Again, there was a great field here this evening. Many of the best distance runners within the NCAA were here and there were some great races. Matt and Tim stepped out there and competed well and raced hard. Matt narrowly missed the NCAA provisional qualifying mark on a night that he would agree was not his best. That speaks volumes to the level he has elevated himself as a distance runner. The atmosphere was electric. The beating drums continued to grow in tempo and rhythm throughout the races, especially the men’s 5K. No wonder it was the fastest NCAA 5K race of the year.

Watch a video of the 2010 Alex Wilson Indoor 5K race:

For those watching, Llano run’s in the 12th position for most of the race…