Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spiders at the 2010 Colonial Relays (April 2-3)

Megan Ney was the 45th Colonial Relays
Long Jump Champion

----Megan Ney crowned Colonial Relays Champion in the Long Jump with a career best.

-----Dana Guglielmo’s 2nd place finish in the 3K steeple…20th best time within the NCAA DI this year…#2 on the Spiders All-Time list…AND #1 among NCAA DI Freshmen this season.

----Good 5K for the Spiders…Amy Van Alstine 2nd in a great field…while Beth Kelly, Erin Lunny and Emma Berry set personal bests.

----Chris York’s 10K performance is #10 among NCAA DI Freshmen this season.

In the middle of last summer we were putting the final touches on our 2010 track & field schedule and discussed breaking the recent tradition of traveling to Duke and instead heading down the road to William & Mary for the Colonial Relays. Back when Lori and I were in college the Colonial Relays were the destination on this weekend for track & field programs from the Eastern US. Then a stretch of bad luck with weather and facility construction took some of the luster away from the meet and placed it on the Duke Invitational.

We decided it was time to go back to the Colonial Relays for the 45th edition. The level of competition was excellent with 20+ teams that included our Spiders, Fordham, Georgetown, George Mason, Iona, JMU, Maryland, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Joseph’s, Temple, Villanova, Virginia, Virginia Tech, VCU, and host William & Mary.

We traveled down the's a short 50 minute drive to the land of our rivals. In an attempt for our athletes to attend as many classes as possible we split into smaller travel groups spaced throughout the day. Especially since some of them were not racing until after 8:00PM. It was also a little tricky since our current sophomores were scheduled to register for fall classes at 3:00PM. Everything worked as planned until we found out the Colonial Relays meet management made some last minute schedule changes and elected not to send coaches a notification message to coaches. Regardless, everything eventually worked out and our athletes competed and overall performed well.

Meaghan McGovern and Monica Howard started things off with in the Hammer Throw. McGovern, a sophomore placed 6th with a throw of 48.75M…while Howard a junior placed 12th in 42.67M.

On the International level, meets were having trouble with athletes throwing the javelin too far making it dangerous for competition within stadiums. So, twice since the 1940’s the IAAF has redesigned the javelin to prevent it from flying as far. As most of you that follow our program know, two weeks ago, senior Chris Eccelston set our school record with the modern javelin at the George Mason Invitational with a throw of 60.60M. At the time he was maxing out his javelin designed to fly 60M. Since the GMU meet, we have placed a new javelin designed to fly much further into Chris’s hands. Of course with a new design it takes some getting used to. He’s still searching for the proper release point, but when he finds it we’ll see something special. Yesterday he didn’t quite find that sweet spot, as golfers would call it, and he threw 53.28M to placed 10th.

Sophomore, Devin Cassels is our lone pole vaulter and he’s in a similar situation as Chris. He was basically maxing out his vault pole so we have him on a new one that seems to be making a difference. The opening height yesterday was 14’03” so it’s tough to come in at a height that’s basically your best ever. Regardless, Devin wasn’t concerned…He’s gaining confidence each week and I believe can get to his goals at the right time…the A-10 Championships. He had a good attempt at 14’03” this weekend…

Our lone champion in the meet was senior, Megan Ney. She is a excellent leader for our program and holds 3 school records in the Outdoor High Jump (1.70M), the Outdoor Triple Jump (12.01M) and the Indoor 4x400M Relay. At the Colonial Relays this weekend she jumped brilliantly taking the individual title in the Long Jump in a career best 5.84M (~19’02”). She’s a competitor and exceptional student-athlete for our program and University as you know from her recent Q&A (link: ). Lori and I have no doubt Megan is going to be an exceptional teacher next year after graduating. Along with Ney, junior X' auntasia Johnson also competed in the long jump with a leap of 4.85M.

Our middle distance crew is coming along. They are getting there and we believe on the verge of breaking through. They are all hovering around their personal best marks while having better and better workouts. It’s our belief that once one of these athletes runs fast the others will soon follow. This weekend Andi DeFonce (2:17.66), Stephanie Paradis (2:19.98) and Alex Hacket (2:25.13) in her first ever track season, ran in the 800M.

Rachel Sykes ran the 1500M.

In the 1500M we watched freshman, Rachel Sykes run 4:48.60. She had a great cross country season and is coming back from injury. The 1500M is not her specialty but her time here is equivalent to a 1600M personal best. Another freshman, Lydia Morton ran 4:53.56. Lydia is a freshman but graduated in 2008 and spent a year doing mission work for her church. We’ve been pleased with her development the past 7 months since she had a year off prior to that. Senior, Alyssa Mankin ran 5:08.80 to complete our entries.

Our men’s 1500M runners handled a tough situation. They were scheduled to run at 6:00PM on Friday but a schedule change by meet management moved their races up to 10:40AM on Friday morning. None of the coaches were contacted or told and I did not find out until Kevin Romesser and Adam Spatacco rushed into my office at 10:20AM Friday morning in a panic. I looked at the clock and said, “Men, we can’t get you there and warmed up in 20 minutes.” They kept a good attitude about it and thankfully the meet management placed them in a race that evening as it was originally scheduled. Freshman, Mike Petrakis ran 4:10.02, junior, Kevin Romesser hit 4:12.33 and freshman, Adam Spatacco ran 4:13.83. Again, sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and forget about what’s changed and get on the track and compete.

Following the 1500M races the sun set to the west and the temperatures began to drop. It was in the 80’s during the day but quickly fell after the sun went down. Even though it was cool and almost cold for those of us just standing around…it was nearly perfect for the distance races (3K steeple, 5K and 10K) that would follow.

Dana Guglielmo ran her first 3K steeple...
with the fastest time in the NCAA for a freshman this season.

Freshman, Dana Guglielmo got things started. She has expressed interest in the 3K steeplechase. It’s an event that very few high school athletes have the opportunity to compete in since it’s not held at many of the high school state championships…I believe New York and Connecticut are about the only states on the East Coast to sponsor it.

Regardless, Guglielmo has wanted to run the 3K steeple and she and Lori talked about the possibility of giving it a go this weekend. There were some circumstances that made this a bit tricky and the biggest was the fact that our water barrier had been smashed by construction equipment building our new stadium making it impossible to set to the women’s height. We made some alterations using our movable barriers and had he practice. Her hurdling skills were very good and she has gotten better in the last month…The main issue was the water barrier and making sure she was comfortable with it. We got to the meet…she warmed up and after 5 passes acr oss the water she went to the line.

The women’s steeple had a very good field that included a couple of All-Americans. Dana raced the event maintaining 2nd place for the majority of the race. Her hurdling was solid but can certainly can and will get better before the end of the season. In her first ever steeplechase race...Freshman Guglielmo ran 10:44.72 to move to #2 on the Spiders All-Time performance list. Her time of 10:44.72 ranks as the #20 performance on the NCAA DI National List and is the #1 time in NCAA DI for freshmen! Again, it was a fun race to watch and she competed very well throughout.

Amy Van Alstine opened the outdoor season in 16:55.07 for the 5K.

The next race on the track was the women’s 5K. We had a good group of Spider women on the start line including Amy Van Alstine, Beth Kelly, Erin Lunny and Emma Berry. Amy Van Alstine opens her outdoor season here. Another excellent field was on the track. She went to the front of the race behind the leader and started clicking off 79 second 400M’s through 3200M. She went on to place 2nd in 16:55.07 to Villanova All-American-Bogdana …again in a very good field of athletes. It’s not a PR but a good opener.

Amy Van Alstine's 5K Splits: 79.2/83.7/81.0/79.8=5:23@1600M/80.0/81.6/79.0/10:02.4 at 3K/80.4=10:44.5@3200M/82.6/82.9/83.3/83.2=16:16.7@3miles/37.3=16:55.07@5K

Beth Kelly ran 17:22.50 in the 5K.

Also in the race was sophomore, Beth Kelly. She ran a personal best by over 40 seconds. Her time of 17:22.50 puts her high on the A-10 season best list. It also puts Beth in the position to look toward running sub 17.

Beth Kelly’s 5K Splits: 80.5/83.6/81.0/81.9/82.9/82.9/83.1/10:16.2@3K/83.6/84.5/85.0/85.0/40.2=17:22.50@5K

Junior, Erin Lunny also ran a very good race with a personal best of 17:45.11.

Erin Lunny’s 5K splits: 80.5/83/81/84/86/85.5/86.4/10:29@3K and 11:16.5@3200M/87/87/87.5/86/41.8=17:45.11@5K

Sophomore, Emma Berry nearly cracked the 18 min mark with her personal best 18:08.12. We thought she was going to go sub 18 with 1K to go but came up just a little short. Still, all 4 of these women ran well and competed from start to finish.

Emma Berry’s 5K Splits: 80.4/85.8/83.1/87.5=5:36.8@1600M/83.2/90.1/87.4/10:41.2@3K...
.../88.7/90.3/90.4/89.3/88.4/ 43.2=18:08.12@5K

Tim Quinn ran 14:36.60 in the 5K.

After the women it was time for our two men…Junior, Tim Quinn and sophomore, Levi Grandt to step to the line in the men’s 5K. Tim has been running some very good workouts that are indicators that he is ready to breakthrough. Tonight wasn’t to be the night for him. Even though he ran 14:36.60 in the 5K to place 10th it’s not what he was looking to run…but still a solid effort and tune-up for the 10K in Los Angeles in 2 weeks at the Mt SAC Relays.

Tim Quinn’s 5K Splits: 68.2/68.8/67.5/68.6=4:33.1@1600M/69.5/70.5/71.8/8:40.4@3K/72.1=9:17.5@3200M...

Sophomore, Levi Grandt is coming off an odd thigh injury that occurred during the XC season. We decided to redshirt him during the indoor season since he intends to return to Richmond for his 5th year. He is literally just getting back into training shape and still ran 14:54.42. He would agree it’s not fast but a solid run and also a good tune-up for his specialty event the 10K in 2 weeks at Mt SAC.

Levi Grandt’s 5K splits: 69.2/70.2/70.0/70.2=4:40.6@1600M/71.2/72.0/71.2/73.1=9:29.3@3200M...

Chris York, shown here during the fall XC season...
ran his first 10K on the track.

The last event of the night was the 10K….the 25 lap event that takes as much mental toughness as physical toughness IMO. Freshman, Chris York would be tacking the event for the first ever. He’s also been training at a high level and appeared ready to run well. I weighed the factors and told Chris I thought he could run 32:10-32:20. I also told him to go out at 16:00 pace for the 1st 5K. It’s not often an old coach misses the mark…Chris was out in 5:00 for the opening mile and kept rolling like a metronome setting a personal best at every distance after the opening 5K.

Last year in high school he ran 15:36 for the 5K…Here in the 10K he went through the first 5K in 15:48.7 and picked it up covering the 2nd 5K in 15:41.6. His total time was a very good 31:28.32 to place 14th. As most of you know, the 10K is an event that athletes get better as they mature. It's early in the season but currently his time of 31:28.32 currently ranks as the 10th fastest 10K performance this season for the freshman class of NCAA DI runners.

Chris York’s 10K Split’s by 400M: 76.9/72.7/75.5/75.1/76.1/77.9/75.3/76.4/75.9/76.1/76.1/76.1/75.9/75.1/76.1/...

Chris York’s 10K splits by mile:
….5:04.2=15:10.8@3miles (15:48.7@5K)
….68.3=31:28.32@10K (15:41.6 for 2nd 5K)

Lori Taylor Quote: “I’m really happy with the overall effort today. Megan Ney won the Long Jump moving up on the Spiders All-Time performance list…Dana Guglielmo has the fastest time within the NCAA for freshmen in the 3K steeple and our 5K runners nearly set personal best across the board. I’m excited about the way they competed.”

Steve Taylor Quote: “It was a good night…Along with Megan Ney winning the long jump our distance runners performed really well. Chris York looked a mature 10K runner with his consistency tonight. It’s not often you witness a freshman negative splitting his first 10K. He was 15:48 for the 1st 5K and 15:41.6 for the 2nd 5K….It was great to have Levi (Grandt) back out there racing. He is a competitor.”

Today (Saturday) we returned with a much smaller group of athletes to run the 4x100M and 4x400M relays while X’auntasia Johnson competed in the triple jump, Monica Howard threw the discus

Monica Howard, school record holder in the discus, placed 5th

Monica Howard placed 5th in the discus throw with a mark of 42.31M. Improvement from last weekend in her specialty event…we know she looks to throw much further this season.

Our 4x100M relay of JoAnna Ubiwa, Megan Ney, Meghan Hart and X’auntasia Johnson ran 50.59 to place 17th and our 4x40M relay of Andi DeFonce, Megan Ney, Stephanie Paradis and Molly McGrath ran 4:00.30 to place 15th.

Next weekend we’ll travel down I-64 an hour in the opposite direction to the University of Virginia. Until then….

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