Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chapter 11: The Brian G. Story

Newspaper clipping from 1977
and one of my first track meets.
For those who have followed along know I've posted several excerpts from a project I continue to work on....basically a series of stories surrounding experiences while growing up in a small town. I've only posted a handful of the 100+ chapters and have a long way to go before finishing.  Here are links to the first few:

Chapter 5:  How the Running Taylor Family of WV Began

Chapter 8: The Paden City Fun Run

Chapter 30: The 50 Yard Line Park

Chapter 71: My Introduction to Lori McKee (25 Years Together...Our Silver Anniversary)

Reflecting on Ryan Jobes...and the Band of Brothers he formed

...And here is the latest:
Chapter 11: The Brian G. Story

“One day you could be as good as my Brian.”

In my early years, like most young kids I was learning and finding myself.  The older I got of course I grew out of playing with my toy Tonka trucks in the dirt in front of our house.  I was no longer a child but forming the outline for a young man.  The aggressiveness that you learn as a member of a large family that included five boys who worked hard for everything was becoming a little more obvious.  There were the occasional fist fights and more often my temper would show itself.  I believe all a normal part of growing up in the West Virginia hills along the Ohio River.  The things that meant nothing to me as a child were becoming more and more interesting and more and more important as I started to mature--if that is possible--in junior high school.  Fishing, hunting, motocross riding, ropes swings and mud slides into Middle Island Creek and the Ohio River and the neighbor girls started to become a little more of the focus and began to look a lot different. 

All the surroundings and events of a small town contribute to a person’s growth.  Some of those were good and some not good…most were enjoyable experiences for me and yet some were horrific, as I mentioned in Chapter 10:  Willow Island (April 27, 1978).  The darkest time in our county's history when we lost 51 members of our community including family, neighbors and friends.

This chapter or story is more of a personal look into a driving force throughout my high school running and a glimpse into how small things can and do leave a lasting impression.  Things that may have been well intended but under the circumstances or within the moment were taken out of context or heard in a different manner than intended...

The Program

In the spring of 1979 I was in 8th grade.  I had been following my brothers and cousin’s high school running careers watching them for several years win state track titles and along with Paul Reed, Scott Jemison, Gene Smith and others help St. Marys High School in St. Marys, WV win multiple state track & field team titles. There was no formal junior high program at the time in our county and I badly wanted the opportunity to race.  We had the occasional road race, however the only meet that we middle school track nuts would have the opportunity to compete in was a junior high meet at Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, WV.

I was tagging along with my brothers running road races and by now my cousins had joined in our family running craze.  My Uncle Art and Aunt Carol Taylor’s family had joined in…Nearly all of their sons and daughters (Jenny, Dave, Brenda, Rob, Jim, Sue, Tammie and Tresa) were regularly running road races…My Uncle Harold and Aunt Wilta Taylor’s four children (Dale, Kevin, Larry and Glenda) were also racers.  Then there was Uncle Frank and Aunt Shirley Taylor’s children (Brian-shot putter who we lost in the 1978 Willow Island disaster, Mark and Greg- hurdlers and Wade)… There were a lot of Taylor’s in the sport of track & field at this point...Actually, there were a lot of Taylor's period at this point.

Middle School Physical Education

Ginseng-We combed the WV hills
for this gold as youngsters.
We really had no formal training program outside of the high school level.  One of our junior high school physical education teachers had us running a little during class but that was all I was doing as far as training.  I had won some AAU races in the preceding years and felt I was doing enough.  We had no formal workout schedule and yet my brothers were always pushing me to go run, but I generally declined.  In 8th grade I was interested in other things like learning the woods and how to make some money to buy another motocross bike.  I found that avenue through ginseng.  Back before there was an actual season, my brothers and I hunted the mountain gold on Saturday’s during the summers.  As a side note, I made $400 myself, digging ginseng, in the summer of 1977 raising enough money to buy a racing bike: a Suzuki RM 80.  Wow, what a motocross bike!

Our middle school did not have a track, just a loop we ran around trees on the south side of the school property.  The trees were not more than four inches in diameter and were planted in the spring/summer of 1975 the year the Pleasants County Middle School was built.  The loop around these trees wasn’t flat but it was flatter than most places.  We were actually not sure how long it was, but we were pretty sure the loop was really close to 440 yards.  Dissecting the loop at about the half way point was a sidewalk.  We always used it as the marker to start our kick on the final lap of running during physical education class...  We would run down the right side of the row of trees and grab the last tree with our left hand swinging around it and return up the ever so slight uphill other side of the trees. We alternated between running during the PE class and a game called speedball.  Speedball was a combination of soccer and football.  It’s a very fast moving game and we loved it.  Given the choice between running and speedball…we always chose speedball.

The Meeting

All I wanted to do at this point was ride my Suzuki RM 80, fish…hunt and play…not train for races.  My brothers were on me a lot about training…or my lack thereof.  A couple of my brothers were nice about it…and a couple tried to motivate me by telling me I was going to get beat if I didn’t train.  The pressure-cooker that I felt I was in mounted and eventually the comments got really old and I started to resist and rebel.  Finally I had enough and got quite mad…not that Taylor’s have a temper (LOL)…and stormed out of the house as the push to run more and to train increased.  

I didn’t know it happened until many years later, but my parents and brothers got together that evening when I was not there and made the decision to drop it.  They would no longer push me or try to force me to run or train.  They concluded that if I loved the sport and had passion for it that I would figure it out.  They concluded that if I was competitive that I would soon learn that distance running takes hard work.  Thankfully they had this meeting and let me “do my thing”.  It was clear I wasn’t training the way I needed to in order to win races and this would soon become one of the best things that could have happened to me at this age.

The Man-Brian G.

As the spring progressed we began to hear about a junior high school track & field meet to be held at Parkersburg High School (PHS).  I entered the Mile, the longest race they offered and couldn’t wait.  The big day finally arrived and my nerves were on edge.  In the weeks leading up to the meet I went to our middle school library and asked Mr. Derwin Yoak, our librarian, if the Parkersburg News & Sentinel Newspaper had arrived.  Back than if it wasn’t in the newspaper then it didn’t happen.  There was no internet for results to be posted.  I was looking for the Wood County junior high track & field meet results.  The neighboring county to us had a complete junior high track & field season.  As I looked at results and the weeks passed I noticed a 9th grader by the name of Brian G.  He was winning all the junior high Mile and 880 races and remained undefeated at that level.  He also competed for the PHS “Big Reds” as a 9th grader and was still eligible for junior high competition.

Parkersburg High School
I was in 8th grade when I walked into the PHS stadium on that Wednesday (April 18th) afternoon in 1979.  The weather was perfect.  Cool and sunny…no wind to speak of.  I’d been there countless times watching my brothers and cousins compete.  It wasn’t home but it practically felt like it.  I had seen a couple photos of Brian G. in the newspaper.  He was a strong looking athlete that appeared to me like he needed a shave, even if he was in 9th grade. As I walked in I searched the stands for him.  I wanted to see my competition and size him up.

The Meet

As the meet progressed it was time to begin my warm-up.  My 4 older brothers (Mike, Cliff, Matt and Vernon) were there, each giving me advice on how to warm-up, when to make a move in the race and what “he” would likely do.  Not that I was overlooking everyone else but based on results I’d seen, my focus was almost entirely on Brian G…

I headed out of the stadium to warm-up and as I headed through the PHS campus I noticed everything.  I kept thinking about how big the PHS school was compared to St. Marys.  I was jealous that they had a pizza place on the edge of their campus.  Heck, St. Marys did not even have a fast food restaurant at that time in our entire town.  If we wanted fast food like Wendy’s or McDonald’s we had to drive 25 miles to Parkersburg or 20 miles to Marietta, Ohio.  

As I rounded the front of their campus there were large grass fields.  The distinct smell of fresh cut April grass lingered in the air; a smell that to this day is an immediate reminder of track season.  This area is also where they threw the discus…but no worries there was plenty of additional room for warm-up.  As I continued my warm-up around these fields the 2nd time I saw ~him~.  There he was warming up in his all red PHS Big Reds sweats.  I remember thinking he was a lot bigger than me. I weighed in at 93 pounds in 8th grade.  

As I sized him up from my wrestling background I figured he was about 5’08” and 140 pounds.  As I got closer to him we looked each other in the eyes as we passed.  He had curly black hair…high cheek bones and looked smooth running.  I said, “Hi” as we passed and he just looked at me and never even acknowledged that I was there outside of looking at me as I approached him.  No acknowledgment in the slightest, he just kept running on by without a word.  “Oh, that’s the way it’s going to be”, I thought.  I was immediately mad because I spoke to him and he did not in return.  In an odd way it was like I showed a weakness and he showed strength in return.  In our family we were brought up to speak when spoken to and to say “hello” to everyone.  It’s funny how his actions would motivate me in the years to come.  As this lack of exchange took place I felt the nerves a little more in the pit of my stomach. As I went into the stadium it hit me, “did he actually have facial hair…a slight beard?”

I didn’t have spikes, just regular running shoes handed down to me by one of my brothers.  They were about 1 1/2 sizes too big.  As I tightened the laces, people around me were talking about Brian G.  I remember a large group of 6-7 girls standing along the fence around the track waiting to see him.  They were giddy about him and I was amazed this guy could have a group of girls there to see him. It actually impressed me on one hand and made me jealous on the other.  Heck, I couldn’t even get one girl interested in me let alone a whole group.  As I walked onto the track I knew this was it…It was show time.

The Race

The starter called us over to give us instructions then we lined up on the cinder track to run the Mile.  Four laps I thought….I wished it was 8 laps instead.  The longer the better; this would be more like a sprint.   The third lap would be a key my brothers told me.  I looked down at the black cinder track and the chalk used to mark the lane lines was powder dry. So dry that it filled your nostrils like the smell of a dirty chalkboard eraser.   When I stepped on the line a puff of white dust covered the end of my shoe.  The starter called us to our mark; I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled as he fired the pistol. The moment of truth was upon us…or at least upon me.

I went out hard and Brian casually settled on my shoulder.  He and I separated from the other runners within the first half a lap.  We came through the 1st lap and he remained on my shoulder.  I continued to push the pace and he just sat on my shoulder.  He didn’t offer to help with the pace as we finished the 2nd lap.  On the third lap I tried harder to get away from him but he remained quietly tucked onto my shoulder and didn’t seem to be hurting.  He was smooth and as I labored for oxygen, he seemed to be effortless. As we came around to start the final lap the starter fired the gun signifying one lap to go…he continued to sit on my shoulder.  Down the back straight we raced. As we came off the final turn he pulled ahead of me by 1 step…then 2 steps…then 3...right there in front of my family and the whole world.  He crossed the line in front of me by 2 1/2 seconds.  Even though we both broke their Wood County junior high record, I was devastated. I had lost!  

His Mom’s Words

As I walked off the track I went to him and congratulated him.  He just smiled as I looked into his eyes and shook my hand with a dead-fish handshake and then he walked off to the group of anxious girls waiting. Oddly, a lot about this night has stuck with me and his weak handshake was one of them. Yet there he was the victor, surrounded by lots of pretty girls!

I went to the stands where my family sat.  No one said much except “good race” and “that was exciting” and “you looked good”. The crap you don’t want to hear when you’ve just LOST. That’s when I turned and saw a middle aged woman walking my direction.  I didn’t know it at that moment but it was Brian G.’s mother.  She came over and introduced herself by saying, “My Brian was the one that beat you.”  Ouch! That stung.  I didn’t care much for that statement, but the truth hurts I thought.  She continued with blah, blah, blah and then as she wrapped up the one sided conversation she said the words that I’ve never forgotten: “Don’t worry honey, one day you could be as good as my Brian”, as she patted me lightly on the left shoulder.  Those words and actions were unbelievable to me.  They really rubbed me the wrong way and stuck with me throughout my running career.  They were like salt into an open wound.  To this day my cousin Rob throws those words at me as a joke when we get together…We chuckle now, but not back then.  My parents, brothers, aunts and uncles all heard her say it.  All I could think to do was smile and say “thank you.”

Don’t Be Like That

I was determined after that experience to try to be gracious in defeat and victory.  I did not want to do or say anything to give my opponents a reason to come after me in their training. Win or lose, I would shake my opponent’s hand after the race…and before the race if they extended it.  From that point until I graduated college I chose to abide by that rule.  If I lost a race I wanted to look the man that beat me directly in the eyes, congratulate him while at the same time telling myself internally to never let it happen again.  The fact that Brian G. did not speak to me before the race motivated me for years…Those words from his mom were like fingernails on a chalkboard and they carried me in a lot of training runs during my high school days. And of course, I had a lot of brothers and cousins that would take every opportunity to share his mom’s words with me every chance they got….which was often. It was pure motivation.  

The Embarrassment

The meet ended and the days following were filled with embarrassment for me.  I had lost.  My brothers didn’t lose very often and by this time I felt winning was expected in our household, yet here I started my career with a loss...a loser.  Yes, even in 8th grade I thought this and was embarrassed by it.  I slept with the vision of him pulling away from me in the last 100 yards and became obsessed with turning the tide and never going into another race under prepared as I had on that night against Brian G. I learned that night that, especially in the sport of distance running, you must prepare.  In that one race he put me in my place and taught me that I could not live off my brothers and cousins name in this sport. When you step to the starting line it's you against them.  Pure...clear and primal.  Looking back, I’m now thankful that he beat me and for exposing to me my own weakness and at the time, shortcomings with my running.   

We faced each other several times after that initial meeting and Brian beat me on another occasion in my career…The experiences that change you as a person and especially as an athlete can often be subtle.  You must pay attention and grab those moments. As I reached my junior year of high school I won the West Virginia AAA State Cross Country meet and Brian was over 75 seconds behind me.  That state cross country win (Chapter 25) at Camp Virgil Tate taught me that your body is capable of tolerating much more pain than your mind typically believes and three weeks later gave me confidence to win the 1981 Kinney (now Foot Locker) Northeast Region race in Van Cortlandt Park in NYC.  I then went on to place 7th at the 1981 Kinney National Championship as a junior and 3rd at the national finals the following year in 1982…but those chapters are many experiences later in my life.

On this particular afternoon I learned many things…things that took me years to fully understand. Three of the most important things I learned that afternoon? First, be humble. Don't be your opponent's reason!  Second, as an athlete you go from being a runner to a racer the moment your mind is stronger than your FIT body.  To reach that level you must train the body and mind; callousing both through the introduction of discomfort in the form of tolerable dosages of pain during training.  This pain must be embraced and welcomed often in order to become indifferent to it and ultimately providing you with a mind and body driven with the sole focus of achieving success at the highest level.  And third, as my brother Cliff reminded me that night, "if you want the girls attention, you gotta win gotta win!"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Richmond Spiders Win 55th Annual William & Mary Invitational

The Spider's men's and women's teams
following the 55th annual William & Mary Invitational

We traveled East this past weekend (9/21/2013) for the 55th annual William & Mary Invitational.  This year both the men & women ran 5K as part of a combined race with lots of high school teams watching as part of the high school division.  As our 2nd meet of the season we continue to work on specific aspects of the races.  Both teams are in a good place, although we recognize we have areas we need to improve.

Our women's team won the meet with 21 points over William & Mary, Hampton and VCU sweeping the top 4 spots in the race.  Tara Hanley, Jill Prentice and Marisa Ruskan ran well, taking the lead of the women's race from the start (Prentice, who finished 2nd, ran as an unattached athlete.).  Completing the top four overall for the team was Clare Moretz.  The former U.S. Mountain Running Team (@USMRT) member was conservative early, before getting aggressive the last mile of the race.

For the men; Jason Skipper, Matt McKenna and Adam Owens all pushed to the front of the pack finishing 1st, 4th and 5th overall leading us to 2nd place behind William & Mary.  Good racing by these three and excellent running by Skipper to take the title.  He was determined and did a great job striking late in the race.

Here are several links to articles on the races and a video recap which was featured on the scoreboard before the UR vs Liberty home football game:

Richmond Women's Team, Hanley and Skipper Win William & Mary Invitational

Photo Gallery from the William & Mary Invitational

Hanley, Skipper and Ruskan Receive A10 Honors

Saturday, August 24, 2013

2013 Spiders XC Begin Preseason

We traveled to Mountain Lake Lodge located in Giles County, Virginia for our preseason camp.  The area offers everything we look for in a preseason training area...lots of trails, big mountains, elevation, spectacular views, water falls and the New River all just beyond the lodge doors.

As you might imagine our teams spend a lot of time running...that's what we do after all.  Checkout our photo album from our week in the mountains:  2013 Preseason XC Camp  

Check out these articles:

Spiders Start Preseason Camp

XC Women Tabbed First In A-10 Preseason Poll

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The lost Prefontaine Photo from the 1970 NCAA XC Championships

For obvious reasons, in recent months I've been digging and searching through old photos provided by Richmond Track & Field alumni.  Many of these photos have been in the archives for decades and haven't been seen by anyone's eyes for many, many years.

Over the past several months (and years) I've learned a lot about the history of those who walked these hallways before us.  As a coach, it's my belief that our current men and women within the team should know who came before them and follow in their footsteps while forging their own path to success.  What I've found has been inspiring...Great men and women, remarkable achievements and success stories across the board.

As I looked over hundreds and possibly thousands of photos, imagine my surprise, fascination and intrigue when I came across these two photos labeled only as "NCAA XC Meet-70":

When I came across this photo in our Richmond Track & Field archives and saw the title  "NCAA XC Meet-70" I knew immediately knew who it was. 
Another photo in our Richmond Track & Field archives
labeled "NCAA XC Meet-70".
A list of who's who in US distance running history are in the front
of the race held in Williamsburg, Virginia on November 23, 1970 .
At first glance some may think the top photo is simply a blurry shot taken on the last open film space on someone's camera...and when developed, only partially came out...However, as I looked at it, it was obvious what I saw.  Through the blur his arm carry, hair and facial features tell those of us who grew up trying to emulate his approach to competition exactly who this is. I looked at this photo and the title ("NCAA XC Meet-70") and immediately thought...wait a minute.  Who wore bib #506 in the 1970 NCAA Cross Country Championships?  ...None other than the legend...Steve Prefontaine (See my June 8, 2010 blog post "Remembering PRE").

by The Happy Rower

Pre wins 1970 NCAA Cross Country Championship 6 mile race, Williamsburg VA, Nov. 23rd. Pre won the race in 28:00. AP photo in the Nov 24, 1970, issue of the Eugene Register-Guard.

This was the first of Pre's three NCAA cross country championship victories: 1970. 1971, 1973 (Pre placed 3rd in 1969; he did not compete in races in the fall of 1972 in order to protect his eligibility to compete in the Fall of 1973).
The 1970 NCAA Cross Country Championship was held at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. The top contenders for the team championship were University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), which had won the crown in 1969 and returned all 5 top finishers from that race, Oregon, 3rd in 1969 and led by the iconic Steve Prefontaine, and Villanova, which had won the title in 1966, 1967, 1968 and finished second behind UTEP in 1969. By all accounts, though, Villanova was in something of a rebuilding phase in 1970 and most observers had UTEP as the pre-race favorite.
Oregon, though, had seemingly pulled the upset. Steve Prefontaine, 3rd the year before, won the race in 28:00 and Oregon was declared the team champion, beating Villanova 86-88. UTEP was third. The championship trophy was awarded to Bill Bowerman and his Ducks, the top teams stood atop the podium, and the press conference was held. Oregon departed for the airport, trophy in hand, believing it had won the championship.
However, when Les Nagy, Villanova's 5th finisher, look at the results board, he noticed that several runners he knew he had beaten were listed ahead of him in the list. Nagy claimed that after having crossed the finish line he had fallen to the ground, and several runners had passed him in the finish chute prior to the runners having gotten their place cards. Villanova filed a protest of the results and refused to leave the site until the 8mm film of the finish line was reviewed. Sure enough, Nagy was correct. After reviewing the film, Nagy was awarded 62nd place overall, instead of 67th, and as a consequence Villanova was declared the team champion 85-86 over Oregon. Bowerman and the Ducks filed a protest, but to no avail. Villanova's squad -- Donal Walsh, Marty Liquori, Wilson Smith, Chris Mason, Les Nagy, Jerry Bouma, and Dave Wright -- had won its 4th national title in 5 years.
Here are the top 25 finishers in that 1970 championship race:
1. Steve Prefontaine, Oregon 28:00
2. Donal Walsh, Villanova 28:08
3. Don Kardong, Stanford 28:10
4. Greg Fredericks, Penn State 28:12
5. John Bednarski, UTEP 28:14
6. Keith Munson, Oregon State 28:22
7. Bob Berlesen, Ohio 28:28
8. Sidney Sink, Bowling Green 28:30
9. Marty Liquori, Villanova 28:37
10. Scott Bringhurst, Utah 28:40
11. Jerome Howe, Kansas State 28:43
12. Richard Sliney, Northern Arizona 28:44
13. Don Smith, Washington State 28:45
14. Jerome Liebenburg, Western Michigan 28:46
15. Kerry Pearce, UTEP 28:47
16. Mark Covert, Cal State Fullerton 28:48
17. Mark Hiefield, Washington State 28:48
18. Gary Harris, Western Michigan 28:50
19. Dennis McGuire, Iowa State 28:50
20. Ken Popejoy, Michigan State 28:55
21. John Cragg, St. Johns (Minn) 28:58
22. Greg Carlberg, Nebraska 28:56
23. Wilson Smith, Villanova 28:56
24. Edmund Norris, Kent State 28:59
25. Ron Martin, William & Mary 29:00
TOP 5 TEAMS: Villanova (85), Oregon (86), UTEP (124), Indiana (195), Western Michigan (214)
After the race Villanova coach Jack Pyrah commented: "We were really surprised to win it. UTEP had everyone back and Oregon had its usual fine personnel. We really don't have a cross country runner except for Walsh. The rest of our runners are half-milers and milers who are suited more for the track. Marty doesn't like to run cross country. He doesn't like to run hills -- in fact, we didn't even run him in the IC4A meet the week before at Cortlandt Park in New York because the course has so many hills. He has muscle problems in his leg and a hilly course aggrevates it. But the course at Williamsburg was pretty flat."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Spiders Welcome Marisa Ruskin (NJ) and Maddie Wittich (VA)

Marisa Ruskin (Bridgewater-Raritan HS, New Jersey) has completed her Early Decision Application and committed to join the Spiders next fall. 

The Bridgewater-Raritan High School senior capped an exceptional fall cross country season with an 18th place finish in the most prestigious high school meet in the nation-the Footlocker National Finals in San Diego, CA.  She currently (as of January 4, 2013) has personal best marks of:
1,600 Meter Run
3200 Meter Run
Three Mile Run
5,000 Meter Run

Marisa Ruskin's Track & Field and Cross Country Profiles HERE

"Ruskin rallies to girls race win in Somerset championships"
Maddie Wittich (West Springfield HS, Virginia)  has also completed her Early Decision Application and committed to join the Spiders next fall.  

She capped a stellar senior XC season with a 12th place finish to earn 2012 VHSL All-State honors, a personal best of 17:45.0 at the VHSL Northern Region Championships and also placed 22nd in the 2012 Footlocker South Regional with a time of 18:01.0. Ranked as one of the top 10 distance prospects for 2013 in Virginia, Wittich is an exciting addition to the Spiders line-up for next fall.

Maddie Wittich's Track & Field Profile HERE
Maddie Wittich's Cross Country Profile HERE 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ron Jones Announced as Spiders Track & Field Assistant Coach

Ron Jones returns to the Richmond Spiders staff

Courtesy:Richmond Athletics 

RICHMOND, Va. - After six years at VCU as an assistant, Ron Jones returns to the University of Richmond where he served as assistant coach from 2000-2004.  He will work primarily with the sprints, hurdles, jumps and multi's groups. 

 "Steve and I are thrilled to have Ron back on staff.  He has tremendous experience, knows the University of Richmond and this city along with what it takes to win," said head coach Lori Taylor. " He understands the dynamics of coaching athletes to achieve their best."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spider Women Open 2012 Indoor Season--Allen Named A10 Rookie of the Week

Congratulations to the Spider women's team and Mary Allen.  Allen earned Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week honors for her performances in the open 200M and the anchor leg of the 4x400M relay...

Here are links to articles:

Mary Allen earned Atlantic 10 Conference Rookie of the Week honors
in her first meet as a Spider.
Allen Collects First A-10 Rookie Honor
Courtesy:Richmond Athletics

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va.- Following a second place finish at Saturday's CNU Holiday Classic, freshman Mary Allen was named A-10 Rookie of the Week by the conference office on Monday.  The award was the first of her collegiate career, and the Spider's first award of the indoor season.

Allen clocked a 25.46 to take second in the 200-meter dash on Saturday in Newport News.  Her time currently ranks as the fastest time in the A-10 this season.

The Richmond native anchored the 4 x 400 meter relay, clocking a time of 57.5.  

Sophomore Alexis Williams 
Richmond Track Starts Indoor Season Strong At CNU
Courtesy:Richmond Athletics

NEWPORT NEWS, Va.- The Richmond women's indoor team started the winter campaign with a strong a showing at the CNU Holiday Open on Saturday in Newport News.  Freshman Mary Allen and junior Alyson McGonigle earned second place finishes for the Spiders.

" As a staff we are pleased with the effort of these women," said head coach Lori Taylor. "It was an opportunity for us to see several of our athletes, including our freshman compete for the first time.  We've been looking forward to seeing how these women respond to competition and how they have progressed through the fall training cycle.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Pole Green Cross Country Course (Mechanicsville, VA)

Here's a look into the site of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country Championships...Pole Green Park is one of the premier cross country facilities in the Eastern U.S.:

DATE:  Saturday, November 2, 2013

LOCATION:         Pole Green Park
                          Cross Country Course
                          8996 Pole Green Park Lane
                          MECHANICSVILLE, VA 23116

10:00AM- Men's 5 Mile
10:50AM-Women's 5K



This video is a link to the LIVE stream for the 2013 Spider Alumni Open held September 6.

COURSE MAPS: (Double click on photos to enlarge)

Mile 1-Red
Mile 2- Blue
Mile 3-Green
Mile 4-Orange
Mile 5-White
Mile 1-RED
Mile 2- BLUE
Mile 3- GREEN
Finish- WHITE
View of western the left of the start line.

Layout of parking lot for Atlantic 10 Conference Championships.

Start Line (view to center)
...550 Meters to the first turn
Start Line (view to right)
...Finish Line is adjacent to the Start Area.
Course is flat.
Groomed grass surface...leads to the 1 mile of both races.
Hanover County Parks & Recreation mow
once per week making a perfect running surface.
35 feet wide in it's narrowest place...
Multiple locations for coaches to access the course.
800M from the finish for both races.
Grass surface for the entire course...with two road crossings. 
1st turn is 550M after the start.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Richmond Spiders...One Team-One Family

A look back at the... 
Richmond Spiders 
Cross Country Season...

Special thanks to Tom Prentice for all the photos and putting this together!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Richmond Women 2nd, Men 3rd at 2012 William & Mary XC Invite

Stephanie Paradis led 5 Spiders
across the line in 7 seconds.
The Richmond Spiders traveled to Williamsburg for the 2012 William & Mary Cross Country Invitational this past weekend.  The women's team placed 2nd with a 7 seconds split between their 1st and 5th runners.  Stephanie Paradis led the way for the Spiders placing 8th (6th in team scoring)...

Watch Video Highlights from the meet HERE

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012 Richmond Spider's Preseason XC Camp (Mountain Lake, VA)

The 2012 Richmond Spider's Cross Country Teams
traveled to Mountain Lake, VA for their
preseason training camp. The resort is well known
for the classic movie "Dirty Dancing"
however the Spiders fell for the mountains
and trails.
2012 Spider Cross Country Preseason Training Central
Courtesy:Richmond Athletics 

YouTube Video of Day 1 & 2 Photos 

YouTube Video of Day 3 Photos 
YouTube Video of Day 4 Photos 
****Must See ****

Three Spiders Compete in 2012 World Mountain Running Championships in Italy

Billy Fayette, Clare Moretz and Jordan Chavez
competed for the U.S. at the
2012 World Jr Mountain Running Championships
in Ponte di Legno, Italy
Richmond Trio Represents Team USA At Junior Worlds

Jordan Chavez (right) placed 17th to lead
the U.S. Jr Men's team to a 6th place team finish
and Spider teammate Billy Fayette placed 39th
to roundout the U.S. team scoring.