Friday, April 30, 2010

Atlantic 10 Championships-DAY #2 (Premeet Day)

Part of the team stretching the day before
the Atlantic 10 Championships at the UMASS track.

The team was able to sleep in this morning before breakfast at 10:00AM. The distance runners went out for a shakeout run before breakfast while everyone else had breakfast. Although several of our team members were finishing papers and tests, the morning was pretty laid back for most of our team with nothing scheduled until 12:00PM when we headed for lunch and then to the track and field facility at UMASS in Amherst…

Throwers...Meaghan McGovern, Heather Roush and Monica Howard.

Senior, Chris Eccelston..Richmond's school record holder in the modern javelin.
Julie Rechel will run the 10K tomorrow morning.

We stopped along the way to the track at a location that included several restaurants and a Whole Foods Market. After a quick lunch we arrived at the facility and our team went through their pre-competition routine. After a couple hours it was time to head back to the hotel and relax before dinner at 6:00PM.

Senior, Heather Roush loosening up in the discus.

Two years ago we were here for the A-10 Championships and found a small Italian restaurant down the street about a mile for the hotel. We preordered our food and picked it up to bring back to a meeting room here at the hotel. It saved a lot of time and allowed our athletes to relax at the hotel this evening while our staff headed to the coaches technical meeting.

Diana Filtz (JR), Alyssa Mankin (SR), Lydia Morton (FR) and Stephanie Paradis (FR).

The coaches’ meeting was exceptionally long tonight but it eventually ended and we returned to the hotel for a team meeting to handout numbers and to make sure everyone knows the bus schedule for tomorrow since the meet starts early with the W’s Discus, W’s Heptathlon and the M’s and W’s 10K races and goes late into the early evening.

Tre Graham, Darrian Carmicheal, Michael Parker, Justin Rogers and Jon Thompson who are also members of our Spiders Football team
will run the sprints and the 4x100M relay.

Molly McGrath (FR), Meghan Hart (FR), Megan Ney (SR) and Coach L. Taylor

Here is a list of athletes we have competing and the events they will compete in over the next two days:

1. Berry, Emma (10K)
2. Caporelli, Amanda (LJ, 4x100M alt)
3. Cottle, Jasmine (4x100M, 4x400M?)
4. Defonce, Andi (4x800M, 800M, 4x400M)
5. Filtz, Diana (1500M, 4x800M?)
6. Guglielmo, Dana (3K SC, 1500M)
7. Hart, Meghan (Heptathlon)
8. Howard, Monica (DT, HT, JT, SP)
9. Johnson, X’auntasia (LJ, TJ, 4x100M)
10. Kelly, Beth (4x800M, 5K)
11. Lunny, Erin (10K)
12. Mankin, Alyssa (800M, 4x800M)
13. McGovern, Meaghan (HT)
14. McGrath, Molly (Hept, 4x400M, HJ)
15. Morton, Lydia (1500M, 4x800M)
16. Ney, Megan (HJ, TJ, LJ, 4x100M, 4x400M)
17. Paradis, Stephanie (4x800M, 800M, 4x400M)
18. Rechel, Julie (10K)
19. Roush, Heather (DT, JT)
20. Sykes, Rachel (5K)
21. Ubiwa, JoAnna (4x100M)
22. Van Alstine, Amy (5K)
1. Carmichael, Darrian (200M, 4x100M alt)
2. Cassels, Devin (Pole Vault)
3. Eccleston, Chris (Javelin Throw)
4. Graham, Garrett (3K SC, 1500M)
5. Graham, Tremayne (4x100M-Leg #4, 100M, 200M)
6. Grandt, Levi (5K)
7. Llano, Matt (10K, 5K)
8. Mello, Matt (400M, 4x800M-Leg #2, 4x400M-Leg #2)
9. Parker, Michael (4x100M-Leg #1)
10. Petrakis, Mike (4x800M-Leg #3, 1500M)
11. Quinn, Tim (10K, 5K)
12. Rachman, Steve (400M, 4x400M-Leg #1, 4x800M-Leg #1)
13. Rogers, Justin (4x100M-Leg #2, 100M)
14. Spatacco, Adam (4x800M-Leg #4, 1500M)
15. Thompson, Jon (4x100M-Leg #3, 100M)
16. York, Chris (10K)

Micheal Parker practicing his start for the 4x100M on Sunday.

Mike Petrakis (FR), Adam Spatacco (FR), and Steve Rachman (SO)
practicing 4x800M relay exchanges.

Our pasta dinners came from Primo Pizzeria...very good.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Atlantic 10 Championships-DAY #1 (Travel Day)

Our team has been in finals all week taking them before we departed for UMASS (Amherst, MA) who serves as our host for the 2010 Atlantic 10 Conference Championships. Finals continue through Saturday for the general UR student population but our track & field athletes have finished early. On one hand that’s tough because they had to move up their tests and on the other hand, now that we are on our way they are happy to be finished with tests and classes. For our seniors…Jasmine Cottle, Alyssa Mankin, Megan Ney, Heather Roush, JoAnna Ubiwa, Chris Eccleston and Garrett Graham it was the last undergraduate final ever. Hard to imagine they have been here 4 years…It goes by too quickly! I’m sure their parents are thinking the same thing.

We’ll arrive to our hotel about 11:30PM and have a shake-out day scheduled for tomorrow that includes sleeping in; something our team has not done for an entire semester with 7:30AM practices. We’ll head to the track around noon tomorrow before returning to our hotel for dinner. Competition begins at 9:00AM on Saturday (see schedule link below).

The weather forecast doesn’t matter because our team will deal the hand that’s dealt them…but it is supposed to be in the mid 80’s on Saturday and around 80 on Sunday during the competition. That’s a far cry from the 40 degree rain we saw 2 years ago. It was actually good for our distance runners but tougher for our sprinters and jumpers to warm-up properly. So, we’ll see how the weather plays a role this year. We are expecting a lot of wind since the UMASS track is in the middle of an open field and is unprotected.

Until tomorrow…read the press release and watch the video preview from our Sports Information Office posted on our website (see below).

Track & Field Readies for A-10 Championship This Weekend at UMass

The meet begins Saturday morning, with live video streaming available all weekend.

by Mike DeGeorge
UR Sports Information

April 29, 2010

AMHERST, Mass. - The Richmond track & field team heads to Massachusetts this weekend for the 14th annual Atlantic 10 Outdoor Championship hosted by the Minutemen at the UMass Track & Field Complex in Amherst.

The Championship commences Saturday at 8:45 a.m. with the women's heptathlon. On Sunday, the men's decathlon kicks off the final day of competition at 8:45am.
Live audio and video streaming of the two-day Championship is available for $7.95. Click the links below for live video coverage of the Championship.

Meet Information:

Schedule of Events
Watch Day 1 Live!
Watch Day 2 Live!
Richmond School Records

Redshirt junior Matt Llano, who did not compete during the 2009 Outdoor season so he could redshirt, has raced once in 2010 as he prepares for the championship portion of the Spiders' schedule. The Broadneck, MD native posted the A-10's fastest of the season in the 10,000m at the Stanford Invitational (28:51.69) and holds the 7th fastest time in the NCAA.

Also among the conference leaders on the men's side is senior Chris Eccleston, who set a school record in the modern javelin with his toss of 198'10" at the George Mason Invitational in March. He ranks second in the A-10 heading into the weekend.

Junior Tim Quinn brings the league's fourth-fastest 5,000m time to Massachusetts after running a 14:36.60 at William & Mary in early April. Senior Garrett Graham was clocked with the league's fourth-fastest 3,000m steeplechase of the season (9:16.34 at Princeton).

The men's sprinters will be aided by five members of the football team set to compete this weekend - Justin Rogers, Tremayne Graham, Darrian Carmichael, Michael Parker and Jon Thompson. At last year's A-10 Championship, Rogers, Graham, Seth Williams and Jordan Mitchell crushed the school record in the 4x100m relay (41.20).

On the women's side, a number of Spiders rank among the A-10 leaders this season including overall top marks by senior Megan Ney (long jump) and senior Heather Roush (javelin).

Ney posted her A-10-leading long jump mark of 5.84m at William & Mary, and also ranks high with the league's third-best high jump (1.65m) and third-best triple jump (12.02m - which also stands as a school record). She ranks 11th-fastest in the 200m dash (25.63).

Roush owns the league's best javelin mark thanks to her toss of 43.39m at VCU. She also ranks eighth in the discus (42.04m) heading into the Championship.

Senior Amy Van Alstine recorded the league's second-fastest 5,000m at the Mt. SAC Relays in mid-April (16:38.58), while freshman Dana Guglielmo brings the conference's third-fastest 3,000m steeplechase time to UMass (10:44.72).

Stay tuned to for complete coverage of the A-10 Championship.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Luke's Art and Fishing

After Luke's t-ball game this weekend his artwork from his kindergarten class was on display at Patrick Henry High School...Later we went fishing and caught this 6 pound largemouth bass here in Richmond. That's not nearly our biggest fish (we caught and 8 pound largemouth two years ago)... but this is our biggest bass of 2010.... We threw him back after the photos so we can catch him again.

Largemouth Bass 19.5 inches long and 6 pounds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dan Petty, '09...Recent Grad Lands Top News Job

Somehow I missed this article from earlier this month our University of Richmond Newsroom posted on former Track & Field and Cross Country runner, Dan Petty (UR '09) working for the Denver Post. Today it was announced that he has been promoted to be The Denver Post's first full-time social media editor!!

Dan Petty during the 2008 Spider Alumni XC Open

I can attest to his relentlessness as a reporter…A few weeks ago when Matt Llano competed in the Stanford Cardinal Invitational in CA, Dan flew in to support his former teammate and roommate. While Llano was on his warm-up we were standing at the track with his high school coach…as the Women’s 10K started. Dan, with his press pass, said he was going over to the finish line for the 10K races (women and men).

As the women’s 10K advanced there was a bit of excitement building as Lisa Koll of Iowa State set a pace to better the NCAA Record for the event. Dan was there taking photos and captured her celebration as she crossed the finish line. He quickly transitioned from photographer to reporter and arranged an interview with Lisa Koll and later that evening the Associated Press (AP) picked up two of his photos and a short story on Koll’s accomplishment. It took him the better part of the night to get the right person on the phone within the AP Office in NYC, but he got the story…and it went out on the AP Wire.

He takes pride in his work...and has taken the work ethic he perfected in athletics to his occupation. It was fun and impressive to watch him perform as a reporter...Something I had never witnessed as his coach.


University of Richmond

Dan Petty, '09
Recent grad lands top news job

April 6, 2010

Ask Dan Petty, ’09, what his favorite thing to cover is and it doesn’t take him long to answer.

“Breaking news. There is nothing more thrilling than a story that involves fast-moving sources and information,” is his quick response.

After a quick review of his time at Richmond—a biology and journalism double major, varsity track and cross-country athlete, Collegian online editor and reporter, amateur photographer and University Jazz and Wind Ensemble trumpet player—it’s suddenly clear why he loves covering life at high speeds.

Less than a year after graduating from Richmond, Petty now works for the Denver Post in Denver as Multimedia and Online Producer. He cites one of his biggest achievements so far as revamping the newspaper’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. He also writes freelance for Running Times Magazine, and is still an avid runner in his spare time.

While at Richmond, Petty also served as an intern at the Pennington Post, and the Associated Press, wrote for the Capitol News Service and blogged for The New York Times.

While he arrived at Richmond undecided, looking forward to a liberal arts education that covered all the bases, he says he’s always had an interest in the media.

“After I chose Richmond, I took News, Media and Society with Professor Tom Mullen,” Petty said. “Halfway through I realized that the homework and reading didn’t really feel like work. I was truly interested in everything, so I just kept taking more and more courses.”

Petty applied for a position at The Collegian after his high school track coach told him it was the best thing he had done in college, and that it created a unique connection to the community that was hard to duplicate. Petty quickly established himself as a topnotch writer and reporter, taking any assignment he could get.

After he didn’t get the job of editor-in-chief his senior year, Petty decided that rather than settling for something less, he’d take a new route entirely—modernizing the online version of The Collegian. In 2009, The Collegian won “Best Overall College Newspaper Web Site” at the Student Society for News design contest.

“I was just off an internship with the Associated Press of Richmond and after four months of covering national and international breaking news, I saw the incredible value of online reporting,” Petty said. “There was a need in our community to deliver stories minutes after they happened, even if it meant working in a tight-deadline type of environment.”

Creating the Web site wasn’t easy, and Petty refuses to take full credit, citing help from many other students along the way. He says upgrading the site was a necessary step in the paper’s evolution.

“News conversation is no longer one way, it’s two way,” Petty said. “There is real-time interaction, people are commenting, they are eager to participate in our reporting and the process of news reporting, and it’s never been easier to do that. I strongly believe if journalists are not on and using the Internet, especially Facebook and Twitter, then they are not doing their jobs.”

Petty says that using Facebook and Twitter is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to journalism—they are where most people convene in times of crisis and excitement. During Petty’s time at Richmond, one of the biggest news stories was the football team making it to the national championship, and its coverage was crucial.

“I’ll never forget the 2008 Football Subdivision National Championship,” Barrett Neale, current Editor-In-Chief of the Collegian, said. “I can’t remember ever seeing Petty more excited about an assignment. He got there before I did to shoot footage for a video, and he was up until 4 a.m. working on it and posting it on our Web site.

“When he was finally finished, he went to bed – with his shoes still on. When I saw footage of the game on ESPN, it was easy to spot him in the middle of the action, documenting the game for our readers who couldn’t make the trip to Tennessee. That game is one of my fondest memories of college, and it was helpful to have someone so dedicated to the coverage there with me.”

Ask any of his former Collegian comrades to describe Petty in one word and they all use the same one: relentless.

“There was no assignment he would turn down,” Neale said. “I’m not sure when, if at all, he had time to sleep. I remember him calling me about breaking news on weekends, in the middle of the night and even on Christmas Eve.”

“I don’t think I ever spoke with Dan at a normal time,” said Nick Mider, current Collegian online editor. “And there was no digressing with Dan Petty—well, except for with news.”

“If there were a crisis on campus, we would be hiding in the air vents and Dan would be that guy sprinting toward the action,” said Jimmy Young, current Collegian online managing editor. “He had so much self-determination, and honestly, he’s kind of our own personal UR news legacy.”

When asked about his favorite memory at Richmond, the basis of it is still in journalism. Petty doesn’t deny the “relentless” comment, and said that this determination helped him land one of his biggest stories at Richmond.

“It was a story about a lacrosse coach that resigned, and although articles had been written, they were all missing the key voice: the coach’s,” Petty said. “I tried everything—e-mail, phone calls, and finally, I got tired of it. I staked out in front of her house until I got the interview, and it made the story. Some might call me insane––I consider it a deep passion, and I think passion is what you need in this industry right now.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2010 Penn Relays--Spiders Compete

Andrew Benford places 3rd in the Olympic Development 3K Steeple

Assistant Coach, Jon Molz places 4th in the Olympic Development 3K Steeple

Meaghan McGovern places 9th in the College Hammer

Monica Howard places 26th in the College Discus

Andrew Benford and Jon Molz in the stadium
before the Olympic Development 3K Steeple

Andrew Benford, who is redshirting this outdoor season for the Spiders, opened his 2010 track season with a 3rd place finish in the Olympic Development 3K steeplechase this evening at the Penn Relays. He was followed by Spider Assistant Track & Field Coach, Jon Molz who used a great kick to secure 4th place behind Benford. Benford’s time of 8:58.00 was a solid 3rd while Molz improved upon his 9:08.08 from last week at Princeton.

WATCH the RACE on FloTrack

Benford will race a couple more track meets this season with his sights set on the USATF National Championships standard.

Andrew Benford at the 2008 A-10 Championships

Andrew Benford QUOTE on placing 3rd (8:58.00) in the Olympic Development 3K Steeple at Penn Relays: "I felt really good, especially for my first race in 5 months and first steeple race since NCAA Regional’s last May. I was really conservative early and felt very strong throughout the race. Slattery and Dutille blasted out and covered the first 400M in something around 62 seconds while the rest of us worked on getting a rhythm. With 1K to go I made a good move and started putting some distance between everyone else. I was catching second place but just ran out of room. Again, I feel good about this as a starting point and look forward to running a lot faster in a few weeks.”

Spider Assistant Coach Jon Molz QUOTE on placing 4th (9:05.10) in the Olympic Development 3K Steeple at Penn Relays: “I felt good and got near my personal best of 9:04. Over the last barrier I had a really good kick to move into 4th place right at the finish (see FloTrack video). The atmosphere here at the Penn Relays is amazing. It’s a fun and inspiring place to race.”

The Spiders, Meaghan McGovern placed 9th in the College Hammer Throw with a best of 50.93M and Monica Howard placed 26th in the College Discus Throw…After 2 fouls Howard threw 35.48M on her final throw.

Positive-Test for LaShawn Merritt

LESSON: Know what you are taking and putting into your body...

I do not typically post or respond to positive tests from professional athletes, but this one…I believe…is different. I have great respect for LaShawn Merritt and received this news as quite sad…Ultimately the IAAF, USATF and NCAA expects every athlete to know what they are putting into their body and holds the individual responsible. Over the years many of our athletes have taken or continue to take supplements in the form of vitamins/minerals to help ensure they are healthy. Iron supplements are a good example.

Here appears a situation where our Olympic and World Champion in the 400M just wasn’t thinking and took an over-the-counter supplement that contained both DHEA and pregnenolone. Athletes, parents and coaches must know what the specific ingredients are within the supplements being taken…even if they are over the counter.

It can be a daunting task to know what substances are prohibited/banned by the various governing bodies within our sport (IAAF, USATF, NCAA, etc.) but we are still held accountable…Ultimately, the athlete is held accountable and as an athlete, you must now the specific ingredients of everything you put into your body.

Here is a list of the 2010 IAAF Banned Substances

As an athlete, parent or coach should you question whether a medication is allowed or prohibited we highly recommend that you call the USA Track & Field Anti Doping hotline at 800-233-0393.

For a link to the USATF site of frequently asked questions go HERE:
The question you should ask, “Should I be concerned about positive test if the medication or supplement I'm taking is NOT on the Prohibited List?"

As they answer on the USATF site, "Yes, you should be concerned because there is no complete list for prohibited substances. New names and new products are available daily, and foreign drugs may not appear in U.S. drug reference books. The list of prohibited substances is subject to change without notice. In addition, drugs not listed or different formulations of the same brand name may not be allowed. For any of these reasons, a "complete" or "safe" list is not available for distribution. You should call USADA's Drug Reference Hotline at 800-233-0393 to find out the current status of any substance you may consider taking."

Track & Field News PRESS RELEASE (April 22, 2010)

LaShawn Merritt shocked and saddened at positive tests due to inadvertent use of DHEA contained in over-the-counter male enhancement product, accepts provisional suspension.

Los Angeles, CA (April 22, 2010) - 400-meter gold medalist LaShawn Merritt has accepted a provisional suspension as a result of positive drug tests caused by his use of an over-the-counter male enhancement product that he used intermittently following the completion of the 2009 outdoor track & field season. This over-the-counter male enhancement product contained DHEA and pregnenolone, which caused LaShawn Merritt to test positive on 3 successive tests in October 2009, December 2009, and January 2010. LaShawn Merritt was not notified of any of these positive tests until March 2010, and was made aware only days ago that DHEA was the cause of the positive result. Recent investigation revealed that it was the over-the-counter male enhancement product that contained DHEA.

LaShawn Merritt’s use of this over-the-counter male enhancement product was completely unrelated to athletics, and occurred at a time that he was neither seriously training nor competing. His voluntary acceptance of a provisional suspension means that he has chosen not to compete until the case has been decided. In the interim, he will continue to train hard and take classes towards his degree requirements.

LaShawn Merritt issued this statement:

“As an athlete, and strong advocate of fair competition; I have worked very hard to push myself to the outer limits of my physical abilities without any performance enhancement drugs. I've always prided myself on doing what's right, and will continue to do so.

To know that I've tested positive as a result of product that I used for personal reasons is extremely difficult to wrap my hands around. I hope my sponsors, family, friends and the sport itself will forgive me for making such a foolish, immature and egotistical mistake. Any penalty that I may receive for my action will not overshadow the embarrassment and humiliation that I feel inside.

I am deeply sorry and hope that other athletes who take these types of over the counter products will be even more cautious and read the fine print, because if it can happen to me, it could happen to you.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Q&A with Richmond's Andrew Benford

Thursday evening University of Richmond standout Andrew Benford and Spider Assistant Coach, Jon Molz will compete in the Penn Relays Olympic Development 3K Steeplechase in Philadelphia.

Andrew Benford (Ravenswood, WV)
remembers his roots...
Shown on his way to the 2009 USATF WV State 5K Title

Andrew Benford (Ravenswood, WV) is a steeplechase and long distance runner on the Richmond Spiders track and field and cross country teams. This past fall (2009) he represented the USA at the 2009 IAAF World Mountain Running Championships in Italy leading the American team with his 13th place finish and tomorrow night (Thursday 4/21) he will compete in the Olympic Development section of the 3K steeplechase at the Penn Relays.

This past spring he was selected the 2009 Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Year for the Atlantic 10 Conference after winning the 3K steeplechase and 5K races at the championships. He also won the USATF West Virginia 5K Championships in Huntington, WV and has personal best times of 8:52 in the 3K steeple, 14:09 in the 5K and 23:44 for 5 Miles. He has also been selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers as the “2009 Track & Field Athlete of the Year” representing the top athlete within the state.

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

In 2009 Benford was selected the
"Outstanding Track Performer"
for the Atlantic 10 Conference

Question: Last spring you were selected the “Outstanding Track Performer” for the A10 Conference and narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the steeplechase. How do you feel about your season?

Benford: I was extremely honored to receive that award at the A10 conference meet. I hadn't run very well up to that point in the season and I told Coach Taylor that I wanted to run both the 3K steeple and the 5K at A10s and that I wanted to win both races. Fortunately, things fell into place and I had good races on those days. However, it turned out to be bittersweet because I missed qualifying for nationals by less than 2 seconds. Since competing at nationals is always my ultimate goal for any season, I can't really say I was happy with how my season turned out, but it does serve as motivation for my upcoming seasons.

Question: This fall (2009) you represented the USA in the IAAF World Mountain Running Championships in Italy and were the top finisher for the team. How did you qualify for the USA Mountain Running Team? Was this part of your plan for the fall?

Benford: To qualify for the US Team, I had to compete in one of two qualifying races (one in New Hampshire and one in Colorado). I had to place in the top 3 in the New Hampshire race or place in the top 2 in the Colorado race. I went to Colorado Springs, CO in late June and trained there for about a month to get acclimated to the altitude and terrain before racing in that qualifier and placing 2nd overall. After making the decision to redshirt cross country in the fall, Coach Taylor and I talked about trying to qualify for the US Mountain Team, and we agreed that it would fit nicely into my schedule for my redshirt season.

Question: What was the experience like competing for and representing the USA? Was it your first USA team?

Benford: The opportunity to compete for and represent your country is one of the most rewarding and gratifying experiences for an athlete. When I put on my USA singlet on race day, it made me think back to all of the people who have helped me throughout my running career – my family, my high school coaches, my current coaches, my teammates, and countless others who have supported me along the way. I was a member of the Junior US Mountain Running Team in 2006 and competed in Turkey during the fall of my freshman year. That experience was special, but being selected to that team was based on my running resume rather than an actual qualifying race. On the other hand, I told myself at the beginning of this past summer (2009) that I wanted to make the Senior Men's team and represent the US in Italy. Since I accomplished those goals, it made the experience that much sweeter.

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...RESULTS

Question: What is your most vivid memory of your trip to Italy?

Benford: The race course was a 4.3K loop that we ran 3 times. We climbed roughly 1300 ft for the first half, and then dropped back down to complete the loop. On the third and final loop, I was in 15th place at the top of the climb with my American teammate Joe Gray and a Ugandan that I had been battling the entire race who was about 30 meters ahead of me. I passed Joe with about a mile to go in the race and set my sights on the Ugandan. I slowly closed the gap and by the time we reached the final steep descent that led to the finish I was within 15 meters of him. When we came down off the mountain, there were about 75 meters of flat ground before the finish line. I saw my brother and my friend pointing ahead and going crazy. I'll never forget the intense look on my brother's face! I dug deep and gave it one last push to edge the Ugandan at the line and finish 13th.

Question: Why did you and your teammates Matt Llano and Jon Wilson redshirt this cross country season?

Benford: The idea first came up after our junior cross country season. We had just finished a disappointing third at the Atlantic 10 conference meet, but came back to run well at NCAA Regional’s by finishing 8th. Our two main goals since our freshman year have been to win the Atlantic 10 Championship and to qualify as a team for the NCAA National Championship. We talked it over with Coach Taylor and decided that redshirting this past fall would give everyone on the team one more year of training and experience, which would make us a much stronger team next year. In addition, some talented freshmen recruits will be joining our squad next season which will also provide additional depth.
Benford hammering the hills
during the 2008 Navy XC Invitational

Question: What were your goals for the fall (2009) since you redshirted and did you reach those goals?

Benford: The purpose of our redshirt season was to continue to train hard as if we were racing the fall season in order to improve our strength and fitness. While we did not compete in the cross country meets with the team, we entered a few road races to stay competitive and gauge our fitness. Personally, my goals were to improve both physically and mentally, and to gain more experience and confidence in my training. I feel that the redshirt season served its purpose and was a great success. I set personal records over 3K, 8K, and 10K distances, and I learned a lot about myself as a runner.

Question: The Spiders distance program continues to improve even though the men do not offer athletic scholarships. How do you account for your team success and the improvement?

Benford: I think not having scholarships makes us work even harder. While scholarships would help us immensely in recruiting, it is clear that everyone on our team is here because they are passionate about the sport and are dedicated to our team 100%. It's not like other scholarship teams where people are bound to the team and school because they are receiving an athletic scholarship. As athletes, the only thing we have control over is how hard we work and how we compete. It definitely makes us hungrier when we compete against other teams in the conference and region that are fully funded with scholarships because we know that nobody works harder or wants it more than we do. We're doing this because we love it.

Benford and Amy Van Alstine
were named the Atlantic 10 Conference

"2006 Rookie's of the Year' as freshmen

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

Benford: In cross country, it was the 2007 Atlantic 10 Conference championship at Belmont Plateau in Philly. Everyone in the conference had written us off and we weren't even considered a contender. Due to heavy rains leading up to race day, the course was a muddy mess and there was torrential rain throughout the race. Jon Molz placed 3rd to lead us to a runner-up finish, our best team finish in program history. The race was fun and the atmosphere intense, like all A10 conference meets.

In track, the 2009 Atlantic 10 Conference Outdoor meet was definitely the most memorable experience. We had multiple conference champions and the most exciting thing was that our men's team placed 4th as a team, our highest finish in years. Everyone stepped up, and we also got some help in the sprinting events and field events from some of the guys on our 2008 National Championship football team.

USA Flag on the Mountain during the
2009 World Mountain Running Championships in Italy
where Benford led the team
with his 13th place over-all finish in the senior men's race.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spiders Run the 2010 Boston Marathon

Sherry and Matt Hannay, Jeff Watson and Seann Mulcahy after Boston

Seann and Sherry are all smiles after the Boston Marathon.

Spider Assistant Cross Country and Track & Field Coach, Sherry Sikora Hannay (UR '03) and a group of former cross country and track standouts competed ealier today in the 114th running of the Boston Marathon.

Former UR cross country and track & field teammates, Sherry Sikora Hannay, husband Matt Hannay (UR '03), Seann Mulcahy (UR '04), Jeff Watson (UR '03), Sarah Taylor (UR '03) lined up on a chilly day, with temperatures in the 40's for today's Boston Marathon...A blustery wind from the north, greeted the 25,000 runners who assembled in Hopkinton for the start. The race began at 10:00AM and was loaded with all the drama that has come to be traditional at the world's oldest annually held marathon.
Sherry (Right) and Matt Hannay (Center)
finished the Boston Marathon today in 2:59:08

Running with her husband, Hannay went through the 5K in 20:58, 10K in 40:22, 15K in 1:03:36, 20K in 1:24:47 to hit the 1/2 marathon point in 1:29:24. They continued running even splits the 2nd half, including the Newton Hills to finish in 2:59:08. It was her personal best and the first time she has run under 3 hours. Hannay is the former Spider record holder in the 3K steeple.

Seann Mulcahy on his way to running 2:39:07 at the 114th Boston Marathon.

Mulcahy, shown here running for the Spiders on 10/03/03,
ran 2:39:07 at the 114th Boston Marathon.

Joining the Hannay's were UR teammates Sean Mulcahy, Jeff Watson and Sarah Taylor who ran 2:39:07, 2:45.38 and 3:26:07 respectively (see splits below).

Jeff Watson (UR '03) running the 2010 Boston Marathon in 2:45:38.

Name Age M/F City Stat
Hannay, Sherry 29 F Richmond VA
5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
20:58 42:22 1:03:36 1:24:47 1:29:24 1:45:59 2:07:26 2:28:54 2:49:46
Finish Pace Official Time Overall Gender
6:50/Mile 2:59:08 1227 place overall... 73rd Female

Hannay, Matt 28 M Richmond VA
5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
20:58 42:22 1:03:36 1:24:47 1:29:23 1:45:58 2:07:25 2:28:53 2:49:44
Finish Pace Official Time Overall Gender
6:50/Mile 2:59:08 1225th place

Mulcahy, Seann 27 M New Haven CT
5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
18:23 37:01 55:23 1:13:49 1:17:50 1:32:11 1:50:56 2:11:59 2:31:01
Finish Pace Official Time Overall Gender
6:04/Mile 2:39:07 188th place

Watson, Jeffrey 28 M Stamford CT
5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
19:28 39:13 58:29 1:18:00 1:22:11 1:37:20 1:57:11 2:17:16 2:37:08
Finish Pace Official Time Overall
6:19/Mile 2:45:38 357th place

Taylor, Sarah 29 F Arlington VA USA
5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
22:35 45:45 1:08:39 1:32:19 1:37:22 1:55:57 2:21:21 2:47:59 3:14:45
Finish Pace Projected Time Official Time Overall Gender Division
7:52/Mile 3:26:07 5788th place 882nd Female

Spiders Win Eight Events At VCU Ram Invitational (April 17, 2010)

Chris Eccelston won the Javelin
as he moves back to winning form.

We competed across the nation this weekend at the Mt. SAC Relays in Los Angeles, Princeton's Larry Ellis Invitational and at the VCU Ram Invitational. Previous blog posts covers the othe rmeets...This post is a summary of our athletes performances at the VCU Ram Invitational held in Richmond on Saturday, April 17, 2010…

The first part of the post is a summation of tweets from our Twitter Page and the second is an article written by Mike DeGeorge in our Sports Information Department (SID)…
From Steve Taylor's Twitter:

Summary of VCU Invitational...

Coach Lori Taylor Quote on VCU: “Our throwers had a good weekend and that is a key to our team success. Monica, Heather and Meaghan we need them to go after new PR’s and focus on the A-10 Championships…It’s great to see X’auntasia Johnson jump well this weekend. She had two good events… the Long and Triple Jumps…Also, our 4x100M relay dropped nearly 2 seconds off their mark from earlier this season. Overall, it was a good meet for us.”

Coach Steve Taylor Quote on VCU: "I'm happy to see Chris Eccelston gaining the feel for his new javelin. He has 2 more weeks to perfect it for a very competitive javelin field at the A-10 Championships and move into NCAA Regional position. Going into this weekend he sits as the #55 in our East Region and the top 48 make it in. I believe if he throws 62.75M he’ll make it in…Chris York’s 5K win was good. As a freshman he is gaining confidence and gaining the understanding of the different competitive levels of DI. He’s making good progress and I’m happy about that and what it can mean for next XC season…It’s also great to have Tre, Jon and Darrian out from our football team. The coaching staff is very supportive of our program and provides opportunities for their team members that want to compete for our track & field team to be involved. It helps going into the A-10 Championships.”

Meaghan McGovern (52.33M) and Monica Howard (44.67M) go 1-2 in the Women's hammer. Both McGovern (52.43M=172'00") in the hammer AND Heather Roush (43.79M=143'08") in the javelin won their events. Monica Howard (43.37M) and Heather Roush (42.04M) took 1st-2nd in the women's discus. Heather Roush (43.39m) and Monica Howard (33.76m) place 1-2 in the Women's javelin...Molly McGrath (21.69m)

Spiders Assistant Coach, Kunlee Lawson wins the Men's hammer (45.86M) and Men's Discus (45.58M).

Chris Eccleston is getting the feel for his new javelin...He won the men's Javelin Throw in 58.66m (192'05")

Our m's 4x100M (Chris Eccleston, Tre Graham, Darrian Carmichael, Thompson) ran 43.12 to knock the rust off... 4x1 members Tremayne Graham, Jon Thompson and Darrian Carmichael are members of our Spiders football team. It's great to have them out! Tre Graham ran 10:93 and Jon Thompson 11.20 in the 100M to place 4th and 7th...OK since they have not been out of blocks yet in training...

Improvement for our women's 4x100M (Ney, Ubiwa, Johnson, Cottle) from earlier in the season to 48.65.

Devin Cassels place t-2nd in the pole vault with 4.15m

X'auntasia Johnson had a good series
in the LJ and TJ

X'auntasia Johnson had a great day placing 2nd in the Long Jump (5.56M) and 3rd in the triple Jump (11.76M). Megan Ney leaped 11.86M to place 2nd in the triple jump...Johnson 3rd (11.76M). Johnson was followed by Amanda Caporelli (3rd in 5.33M), who is making her comeback in the long jump who placed 3rd (5.33m)

Freshman, Chris York won the 5K...He ran behind the leaders for 2 miles opening in 5:00 for the first mile...5:05 for 2nd mile...from there he opened a lead, extending it through the run 15:40...Not fast, but it's a win and good work for the strategic races we'll likely see in 2 weeks at the A-10 Championships. York ran 31:28 for 10K two weeks ago at Colonial Relays.

Sophomore, Beth Kelly won the 1500M...
leading a Spider sweep.

Spiders sweep the Women's 1500M...Beth Kelly (4:45), Rachel Sykes (4:48), Steph Paradis (4:53),Alex Hacket (4:55), Diana Filtz (4:58), Lydia Morton (4:59) and Kaitlyn Oliver (5:00).

Andi DeFonce was 2nd in the 400H...Her 2nd time competing in the event.

Freshmen, Mike Petrakis (4:09.7) and Adam Spatacco (4:10.1) just set slight PR's at VCU in the 1500M.

Tough day in the high jump...McGrath (1.50M) to place 2nd...Ney NH'ed


Spiders Win Eight Events At Ram Invitational

Richmond heads to the Penn Relays next weekend.

By Mike DeGeorge
Richmond SID

April 17, 2010

RICHMOND - The Richmond track & field team capped a busy weekend battling VCU in what amounted to a dual meet between the city rivals at Sports Backers Stadium downtown. The Spiders walked away with eight wins Saturday afternoon.

The Penn Relays next weekend will serve as Richmond's final tune-up before the Atlantic 10 Championship May 1 in Amherst, Mass.

Meaghan McGovern won the hammer throw, Heather Roush and Chris Eccleston each took the javelin events, Monica Howard won the discus, Chris York was victorious in the 5,000m, Beth Kelly won the 1,500m, Alyssa Mankin won the 800m and the women took the 4x800m relay.

McGovern posted a mark of 52.43m in winning the hammer, followed by Howard in second (44.67m). Howard later won the discus (43.37m) and was second in the javelin (33.76). Roush was the victor in the javelin (43.49m) and was second in the discus (42.04m).

Richmond continued strong showings in the field events as Eccleston took the men's javelin with his toss of 58.66m. In the pole vault, Devin Cassels was second with his mark of 4.15m.

In the women's long jump, X'auntasia Johnson was second (5.56m) and Amanda Caporelli was third (5.33m). Johnson followed that with a third-place finish in the triple jump (11.76m) and Megan Ney was second in the same event (11.86m).

Molly McGrath was second in the high jump with her leap of 1.50m.

Moving to the track, Chris York trailed the leaders for much of the race, but closed hard to win the 5,000m in a time of 15:40.67. Also for the men, Mike Petrakis was third in the 1,500m (4:09.76), Adam Spatacco was fourth in the 1,500m (4:10.64) and Matt Mello took fifth in the 400m (51.69).

A pair of football players ran sprit events as Tremayne Graham was third in the 100m (10.93), followed by Jon Thompson in fourth (11.20). The men's 4x100m relay finished second in 43.12.

For the women, Kelly led the way as the Spiders swept the top eight spots in the 1,500m with her winning time of 4:45.16. Rachel Sykes was second (4:48.39) and Stephanie Paradis was third (4:45.47).

Mankin took 2nd in the 800m in 2:26.00, followed by Chelsea Babcock in third (2:37.09). Andi DeFonce was second in the 400m hurdles (1:08.88), McGrath was third in the 200m (27.19) and JoAnna Ubiwa was fourth (27.48).

The women's 4x100m relay placed second (48.65) and the 4x800m relay finished first (9:42.91).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mt SAC (Day #3)-W's 5K and Princeton-M's Steeple and W's 5K

Race Day for...
Amy Van Alstine (16:38) at the 52nd Mt. SAC Relays
Garrett Graham (9:16), Jon Molz (9:08) and Erin Lunny (17:45)
at Princeton's Larry Ellis Invite

The Mt SAC Relays are the place to run fast...

Our last competitor in the 52nd annual Mt SAC Relays was Amy Van Alstine. She spent the day relaxing and preparing at the hotel. Lori took her to the track early this morning before her race for a short run. We are staying in Pomona, which is very hilly…No need to run hills the morning of the race. So, they headed over to the track where she loosened up since her race was scheduled for 9:45PM (PST)….That’s 12:45AM East Coast time. We encourage our athletes to change their watch when they arrive in California and lock into this time zone…Otherwise you can drive yourself a bit crazy thinking about how late it is.

Amy Van Alstine (shown in 4th) in Mt SAC's Open 5K
on her way to a personal best 16:38.58

She (shown in 2nd) was tough early...
passing the 1600M in 5:19

...tough in the middle...
passing 3K in 10:02
and 3200M in 10:42.1

...and mean at the end
running her personal best (16:38.54).

Amy was in the Open 5K race with 44 other runners. It was another crowded track race. The event started with 2 unattached athletes taking the lead and the chase pack forming with Amy very near the front (in 4th-5th place). She looked good as she passed the 400M in 78.6…800M in 2:40.3 and 1600M in 5:19.7 an honest pace that looked extremely easy for her…at least from where we were watching. The chase pack reeled in the athlete in the second place and replaced her by placing their focus on the leader.
Amy crossed the 3K in 10:02.1 and the 3200M in 10:42.1. She was clipping off even splits…again looking very easy in the process. With 1K to go Amy with the chase pack caught the leader and then the racing began. Amy closed her final 1K in 3:15 and her last 600M in 1:55 which is sub 5:10 pace. She crossed the 3 mile mark in 16:00.5 and closed in 38.0 to finish in 16:38.58 for 8th place.
Going into this weekend her time would rank her 43rd on DI NCAA DI National Ranking. Her time is a personal best by over 15 seconds. The senior will return next year to complete her eligibility since she has redshirted a cross country and track season while at Richmond.

Amy Van Alstine’s 5K splits at Mt. SAC

78.6/81.6/80.0/79.4= 5:19.7 at 1 mile
80.5/80.3/80.6/80.8= 10:42.1 (5:22.2) at 2 miles (10:02.1 at 3K)
80.0/80.2/80.3/77.7= 16:00.5 (5:18.2) at 3 miles
38.0= 16:38.58 for 5K

Dana Guglielmo, Tim Quinn, Amy Van Alstine
and Levi Grandt after Amy's 5K race.
Princeton’s Larry Ellis Invitational (Princeton, NJ)

Spider Assistant Coach, Jon Molz
shown here at the 2009 Bronx 1/2 Marathon,
opened his track season
with a 9:08 3K Steeple in Princeton

The first race for the Spiders at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton University was the men’s 3K steeplechase which included Spider Assistant Coach, Jon Molz and one of our team captains, Garrett Graham. Another deep field was assembled for this race. It was a close, competitive battle throughout with Molz finishing 7th in 9:08.08 and Graham finishing 12th in a personal best 9:16.34 out of the 45 runners in the event.
Garret Graham (above) shadowed Molz
for much of the 3K steeplechase
to set a personal best 9:16.34

"I felt really good and stayed relaxed early in the race”, said Graham. “It was sooo crowded throughout the race that I had to step on a couple of the barriers. I also hit every water barrier with my non-dominate leg. It was a competitive race."

For Molz this was his first track race in several months. “I plan to race the steeple next week at the Penn Relays” said Molz. “I wasn’t sure I would compete here until a couple of days ago but I felt good tonight.”

Erin Lunny tied her personal best in the 5K
at Princeton running 17:45.25

The night concluded for us at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton University with Erin Lunny in the Invitational 5K. She ran a good personal best two weeks ago at the Colonial Relays and wanted to return home to improve upon that mark of 17:45.11.

With good conditions in Princeton the race went with Erin covering the opening 1600M in 5:29, followed by a 5:41 as she passed 3K in 10:27 and the 3200M in 11:10. From there she wasn’t able to hold on. "I felt great through 3K”, said Lunny. “My first mile was 5:28 and I felt good...That's the fastest I've ever gone out...I lost contact after 3K and was running alone. I just needed to stay with those girls."

Lunny’s 5K splits at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton:

80/82/83/83= 5:29 at 1 mile
84/84/84/87= 11:10 (5:41) at 2 miles
90/89/90/86= 17:05 (5:55) at 3 miles
38.5= 17:45.25 for 5K

Lori Taylor quote: “That was a personal best 2 weeks ago and she matched it again tonight off a faster pace. I believe Erin is ready for another break through. Her training has progressed and she is gaining confidence.”

Tomorrow is another big day with our team competing at the VCU Invitational in Richmond and standout distance runners, Julie Rechel competes in Lubbock, TX at the College National Triathlon Championships...She was third at the National Championships last year...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mt. SAC Relays (Day #2)- 3K Steeple and 10K Races

Race Day for...
Dana Guglielmo (FR)
Tim Quinn (JR)
and Levi Grandt (SO) in Los Angeles...

The barrier...
Dana know's it a little better than she really wanted to.

Our athletes took care of their prerace throughout the day while Lori and I caught up on our e-mail and phone mail...We started with Dana Guglielmo heading to the track at 5:00PM for her race, the 3K steeplechase.

Dana ran her first 3K steeple in 10:44 two weeks ago at the Colonial Relays, so this was an opportunity for her to see a more competitive field...and a much larger and deeper field of athletes. As we experienced in San Francisco three weeks ago, when the sun set the temperatures dropped to nearly perfect race conditions.

When the race started, Dana went to the front setting on the shoulder of the leader. The first 200M the runners do not hurdle any barriers…but as soon as they cross the finish line the first time through the 7 ½ lap race they encounter the barriers. The first barrier was fine…then the runners really bunched up and Dana had to scramble to cover the second barrier…As they approached the 3rd barrier a lot of shuffling was occurring. Dana’s steps were off and she had to literally stop and step over the barrier. Surprisingly it did not cost her much time or many places within the race. Then it got tricky for her. As she moved back up through the race she was on the inside rail as she approached the water barrier for the first time. As she tried to move out to have an open line into the water barrier an athlete from behind clipped her as she started to hurdle. That caused Dana to lose her balance and footing right in front of the water barrier…The result was her crashing at full speed into the barrier just in front of the water hazard.

Lori and I were watching and knew something happened but we didn’t know what. She went from being in 4th-5th place in a mass of 25 runners to literally disappearing. One moment she was there on the track and in a blink of an eye she vanished. It was strange…As the runners exited the water…Dana was nowhere to be seen. We were looking for her and after the last runner was 80-90 meters away from the pit we looked towards the water and saw Dana stand up from behind the barrier. She jumped into the water and took off after the pack that was now 100M away from her. She moved fast and started catching runners 2 laps later and eventually passed 4-5 athletes before the finish. Unfortunately, a personal best was not to be under the circumstance. She still ran 11:10, which is respectable…especially given the force she collided with the barrier. She has my respect for finishing after that…She is certainly a tough young woman. After the race her knees were scraped up…but she was more concerned with her chest and ribs from the collision. Today (Friday) she is doing fine…Just very stiff and sore.

The start of the women's 3K steeple...
Guglielmo in 2nd.

Dana after the fall...She lost 15 seconds on the 2nd lap.

...She continued to catch people throughout the race.

Dana's knees...but her ribs and chest took the impact.

Tim Quinn was a blur early in the 10K Invitational.

The next race was the Men’s 10K Invitational with Tim Quinn. He ran 30:24 here last year and was looking to improve upon that. The race went out on 29 flat pace with Quinn looking for 29:20-29:30 range. He looked fine through 2 miles but then it started to be more of an effort to hit the pace than it should have been. After opening in 4:41…followed by 4:42 for the 2nd mile…he ran 4:48, 4:56, 4:56 and 5:09 to close in 66.2 for the final 400M. His finish time of 30:17 is a personal best but I know he was looking to run much faster and put himself in position for the NCAA Super Regional Championships. Going into this weekend his time would rank him #56 on the NCAA DI National list.

Quinn’s Splits for the 10K:

73.3/70.3/68.5/69.3= 4:41 at 1 mile
69.5/70.4/70.3/71.9= 9:23.4 at 2 miles (4:42)
71.3/71.8/73.4/72.1= 14:11.8 at 3miles (4:48) (14:48.3 at 5K)
72.5/73.0/73.1/73.2= 19:05.1 at 4 miles (4:56)
73.4/73.0/75.3/74.3= 24:01.2 at 5 miles (4:56)
78.2/79.2/77.2/75.2= 29:11.5 at 6 miles (5:09)
66.2 for final 400m--30:17.5 for 10k...unofficially

Levi Grandt in 6th early in the 10K Open.

Our last race for Thursday night was Levi Grandt in the Open 10K scheduled to start at 10:00PM (PST)…which is 1:00AM for us East Coasters… Levi has been coming back off an injury that came on in Cross Country season. It was a strange quad issue that took a lot of time to mend. Ultimately, we redshirted him during the indoor season and have slowly brought him back into race form. He’s healthy now but a little behind were we would like him to be with his fitness. He’s coming a long though.

His started in the middle of the pack of 40 runners to start his race. Another very large field but it soon became single file and everyone hitting their splits. Levi came through the first mile in 4:49, flowed by a 4:53 to hit the 3200M in 9:42. From there he ran a 4:55 to cross the 3 mile point in 14:37 (15:12 at 5K)…followed by a 5:01, 5:05 and a 5:11 to hit 29:54 at 6 miles. He covered the last 400M in 75.2.

Levi’s Splits for the 10K Open

72.2/72.9/73.3/71.4= 4:49.6 at 1 mile
73.6/73.3/73.1/72.4= 9:42.5 at 2 miles (4:53)
73.8/74.1/73.1/73.1= 14:37.8 at 3 miles (4:55) (15:12.3 at 5K)
74.1/75.1/74.1/75.1= 19:38.2 at 4 miles (5:01)
75.1/75.1/76.1/76.2= 24:43.4 at 5 miles (5:05)
78.2/78.2/78.2/76.2= 29:54.9 at 6 miles (5:11)
75.2 for the last lap= 31:10.3 for 10K …unofficially

Dana Guglielmo, Tim Quinn and Levi Grandt
at Newport Beach, CA

After Dana, Tim and Levi raced in the Thursday night races we headed to Newport Beach on Friday so they could get in a run in the sun. According to Wikipedia: “As of February 2010 ranked Newport Beach, California the richest U.S. city. The city's median family income and property values consistently place high in national rankings making Newport Beach one of the wealthiest communities in California, and in United States overall. The Daily Pilot, Costa Mesa, CA a neighboring city newspaper reported more than a quarter households have an income greater than $200,000, and the median value for homes exceeds $1 million.”

Newport Beach, CA

The Pacific Ocean from Newport Beach...

Levi, Dana and Tim on Newport Beach.

Levi, Tim and Dana make a run for the ocean.

Luke thinks the Pacific Ocean is cold.

Using our Garmin we searched for Lido Diner
in Newport Beach...but couldn't find it
so we settled on Woody's Diner...
and it was excellent.
Inside "Woody's Diner"...
we found a sign that read...
"Lido Diner".
I guess we found it after all.