Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 USATF National Championships-Eugene, OR (Day 1-PreRace)

The University of Richmond Spiders have 3 athletes competing in the 2011 USATF National Championships in Eugene, Oregon (June 23-26):  Andrew Benford (Ravenswood HS, WV) will compete in the Senior Men's 3K Steeplechase...He has a best this year of 8:39.71 in the event. Nicol Traynor (Ridge HS, NJ) will compete in the Senior Women's 3K Steeplechase.  She has a best of 10:02.15 which she ran at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, IA.  And Ryan Lee (Archmere Academy, DE) will race the Junior Men's 5,000M. He ran 14:33.61 in the event at the Mt SAC Relays in April.


Senior Men's and Women's meet Information HERE

Junior Mens Meet Information HERE

Spider freshman Ryan Lee will compete in the junior men's 5000M race on Saturday evening at 8:30PM.  Officials had to change the time of the race to accommodate the large number of entries in the event.  In total 46 athletes have declared to race the Jr men's 5K.  Ryan Lee will be in the 2nd heat with the fastest seeded athletes based on his 14:33.61 effort at the Mt SAC Relays earlier this season.

(L-R) Ryan Lee (Jr 5K), Andrew Benford (Sr 3KSC), Nicol Traynor (Sr W's 3KSC) and Coach Molz Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Nicol Traynor and Coach Lori Taylor clear their watches as she does a light workout at Hayward Field.

Nicol Traynor will return to Richmond next fall as one of the most decorated women in school history...Before then she will compete in the 3K Steeplechase at the 2011 USATF National Championships.  Two weeks ago she earned 2nd team All-America honors by placing 11th in the finals of the event at the NCAA Championships.

Traynor between intervals...

Andrew Benford will conclude an amazing career for the Spiders this week at the USATF National Championships.  Benford also earned 2nd team All-America honors in the 3K Steeplechase this season.  He also won the Penn Relays 3K Steeplechase Championship in April and ran 13:55 for the 5,000M race at the Mt SAC Relays.

Ryan Lee changing spikes before his workout...

Andrew Benford doing is prerace workout at Hayward Field.

Ryan Lee ready for the remainder of his workout...

Coach Lori Taylor

Hayward Field

Andrew Benford and coach Taylor talk about tomorrows semi-final race.

Coach Jon Molz (UR '08)...

Team members went to visit "Pre's Rock" after their workout...The site of Steve Prefontaine's fatal car accident on May 30, 1975. 

(L-R) Coach Jon Molz, Andrew Benford, Ryan Lee and Nicol Traynor at "Pre's Rock".

Andrew Benford visits Pre's Rock...

Nicol Traynor at Pre's Rock...

Ryan Lee at Pre's Rock...

Coach Jon Molz at Pre's Rock...

"For your dedication and loyalty
To your principles and beliefs...
For your love, warmth, and friendship
For your family and friends...
You are missed by so many
And you will never be forgotten..."

The original designation on the rock was a simple white finger painted "PRE 5-30-75 R.I.P." Many years after his death the current monument (above) was placed because so many people visited the site while in Eugene. It's a tranquil place that you can't help but find yourself asking: "What if?"...and...."How different would our sport be today?"

A bronze statue is affixed to the stone wall...
From one of my earlier posts....
One of the famous photos of Pre racing in front of his home crowd at Hayward Field on his way to one of his many American Records. The quote: "A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts."

Brash and yet charismatic Pre raced hard and competed harder...but they say he always had time for his friends and fans after his races.

My Memory of the News of Steve Prefontaine's Death

By the year 1975 my 4 older brothers were beginning to run up a storm in our hometown and state (For a couple of detailed stories go HERE to read "My First Roadrace" and HERE to read "The Challenge")...As their little brother I was becoming more and more interested in the sport of choice for our family.

As a family of 5 boys we shared, as a large bedroom, the upstairs of our home.  A set of bunk beds and three single bed's in the upstairs served as our sleeping arrangements. In May of 1975 I clearly remember my brother Matt waking up and reaching for his hand held radio as he did every day. It was Saturday morning, May 31st, 1975. As I lay there in bed in our room, we listened to the music from a newly formed FM radio station (95.1-WXIL) in Parkersburg, WV near my hometown of St. Marys. It was 7:00AM and the top of the hour as the ABC News came on the radio...Matt had the volume turned up high enough for my brother Vernon and I to hear. That’s when it came on the air...The news that only years later would I understand and fully comprehend...

As we lie there looking at the ceiling the reporter said, “Great American distance runner Steve Prefontaine is dead.” He went on to explain that “Pre” was killed in a single car accident the night before (May 30) while driving to his home in Eugene, Oregon. As I listened I recall Matt’s disbelief. He and Vernon began to talk rapidly about the news. As their little brother I wanted understand and know who this Steve Prefontaine was. After several minutes Matt began to explain Steve Prefontaine was the greatest American Distance Runner ever...a title that lives on even today some 36 years later in the minds of most middle aged men. At one time he held American Records in every distance from the Mile through the 10,000 Meters. He was also the first ever Nike sponsored athlete...and today he is even more legendary. His race toughness and competitiveness helped build a reputation for the Nike Athletics Empire that was in its infancy at the time. I can still hear the words coming from the radio and that was 36 years ago...

"Fire in the Track"

"PRE LIVES" on a Nike poster of a picture of his last race earlier in the evening of his death (May 30, 975)...As the crowd stood cheering their one was in sight behind him. "His" people, as he called them...couldn't get enough. In his lifetime he lost only 3 races on the Hayward Field Track...They were all at the Mile distance which was certainly not his best event. In his career, he won 120 of the 153 races he ran (78 percent)...One of his most famous quotes: "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift."

And there's his quote before one of his American Record performances...When asked by the media what his race strategy was going to be, he calmly and confidently replied, "Well, my plan is pretty simple", he said. "I want to start out at World Record pace...and then pick it up."
Three Spiders In Track Town, USA For USATF National Championship
The event runs Thursday through Sunday in Eugene, Oregon.

By Mike DeGeorge
June 22, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. - Senior Andrew Benford, junior Nicol Traynor and freshman Ryan Lee are making final preparations for the 2011 USA Track & Field National Championship in Eugene, Ore. this. Benford and Traynor are competing in the National Championship, while Lee is in the Junior Nationals meet.

Read More HERE.

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