SHORE A.C. ATHLETES REGISTER FIVE FIRST-PLACE PERFORMANCES
AT 122ND EDITION OF CLASSIC PENN RELAYS AT FRANKLIN FIELD !!!
Report by Elliott Denman
Shore AC athletes, who have been competing at the classic Penn Relays for well over half a century, turned in one of their best-ever team performances at the 122nd running of the famed meet on April 27-30, 2016.
Five first-place finishes highlighted the Shore AC showing in the Franklin Field meet that again attracted the nation's largest track and field crowds including over 44,000 at the Saturday finale session, along with national and international TV audiences. All competed in Penn's Olympic Development division.
Shore AC's men ran off with the men's shuttle hurdles title in 59.07 (time beaten only by college powers Houston and Cornell) to net their third consecutive title in this event at Penn and ninth all-told since the first in 1985.
Shore AC delivered the two Olympic Development long jump winners, too. Lavon Allen won the men's LJ event at 25-6 and Shameka Marshall won the women's LJ at 20-3.
Racewalking events kicked off the Saturday morning slate and Shore AC's A.J. Gruttadauro won the boys scholastic 10K in 48:12.42 and teammate Susan Randall the women's Masters 5K crown in 25:03.50. For A.J., it was a final start before the IAAF World Team Championships in Rome, Italy, May 7-8, where he'll represent the USA in the Junior 10K; clubmates Michael Mannozzi and Erin Taylor-Talcott are American (and Shore AC) delegates to the 50K, where Erin will make history as the first woman ever to compete in the World 31.1-mile event!
In Olympic Development individual events, Jeff Milliron (187-0) placed second in the men's discus throw; Brian Richards (14.37) and Josue Louis (14.82) went 3-5 in the 110 high hurdles; Tezz Petty ran sixth in the 100 (11.08.) The women's Open Mile went to SAC alumna Ashley Higginson, the Pan Am Games steeplechase champion, in 4:33.91 as SAC's Kristin Andrews, running despite illness, ran a solid 10th in 4:56.26.
Shore AC's women claimed third in their 4x100 relay final (47.66) and Shore AC's men ran sixth in the 4x400 (3:21.72.)
Not to be outdone by their younger teammates, Shore AC Masters runners produced a string of great performances. First of all, special cheers for Shore AC Hall of Famer Harry Nolan, running his 50th consecutive Penn Relays! At 69, and racing against many much younger guys, Nolan and teammates Noah Perlis, Spider Rossiter and Mark Chiusano, placed 11th of 19 in the 50-up 4x400 relay.
And more special applause for Shore AC's Michael McDonnell, Michael Kish and Noah Perlis, our standout Masters dashmen. Facing multi-world-record-holder Bill Collins in the M65 100 meters Friday, SAC's Kish ran a close second, in 13.39 to Collins' 12.57, with Perlis fifth (14.46.) fifth.
A new major Saturday feature at Penn was the Masters 80-up 100 and SAC's McDonnell ran a fine 20.42 in fourth, just 1.16 out of medal range. This, of course, was the event that spotlighted 99-year-old Champion Goldie (46.70) and 100-year-old Ida Keeling (1:17.33.)
In other men's Masters relay action, Shore AC placed 16th in the M50 4x400, as Bill Hughes, Keith McQuitter, Duncan Littlefield and Dave Friedman went 5:03.86. The M60 4x100 saw SAC's Perlis, David Gritz, Spider Rossiter and Michael Kish run third in 55.67, trailing only National rivals Houston Elite 50.37 and So Cal Striders (50.90.)
All in all: another great Penn Relays for Shore AC !! Cheers to all !!
PLUMMER, GALARZA WHIRL TO DISCUS VICTORIES
The discus ring at The College of New Jersey again saw Shore AC athletes at their best.
Competing in TCNJ's Lions Invitational Meet, on Saturday, April 30, SAC's James Plummer captured the men's title with a big toss of 201-2 (61.33 meters) and Sylvia Galarza continued her unbeaten 2016 campaign with a women's win at 168-1. Both are former stars at Rutgers University.
In just his second meet of the year, Plummer continued his planned march on the USA Olympic Trials, where he's closing in on the automatic qualifying distance of 62 meters (203-5.)
Placing second at 183-5 was SAC's Jeff Milliron and teammate Aaron Braxton sixth at 149-7.
Elsewhere at TCNJ, SAC's Jon Kalnas went 60-3 3/4 for second in the shot put; Justin Frick shared best HJ mark of 6-11 1/2, but placed second on countback. Shore AC Hall of Famer Mike Bersch, a TCNJ alumnus and now Masters star, went 112-10 in the hammer.
Other Shore AC men's marks were Kelton Cumberbatch's 49.85 400, and Kareem Mickens' 53.16 400. Multi-Masters National champion Maurelhena Walles ran 1:03.35 in the women's 400.
NENI LEWIS CLAIMS 3 WINS
AT NATIONAL MASTERS AND
IS SHORE AC ATHLETE OF WEEK
The very good news is that Shore AC throwing events great Oneithea "Neni" Lewis has rebounded from her injuries and is back in top competitive form.
The even better news is that she is continuing to break records, just as she has in every step up the 5-year Masters age-group ladder she has climbed over the years.
Now 56 and competing in the W55 category of the USA Masters Outdoor National Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 14-17, our "Neni" was once again sensational, taking three first places,breaking one American record and adding one second place.
For all this, and more, we are proud to honor "Neni" as our Shore AC Athlete of the Week for the week ending July 31, 2016.
She's come up through the ranks from her high school days at Port Washington, NY High School (where she was coached by the famed Bruce MacDonald) and then at St. John's University and has been sensational every step of the way.
"I just want to let you know I had a good weekend at the Masters National Championships," she wrote us.
Did she ever!
Her wins came in the shot put (11.61 meters), hammer throw (46.36 meters) and the weight throw,and that's where she raised the American record to 15.50. Only thing there is that she'd done even better in the weight at the Masters East Region Meet three weeks earlier.
Her second place (to old rival Carol Finsrund) came in the discus, where she whirled the platter 31.50 meters.
At that Masters East Region Meet (held June 26 in Chester, Pa), "Neni" told us "I had another good meet." Yes, indeed, it included wins in the hammer, the weight, and the superweight events. She upped the national record in the weight throw no less than five times.
She's already a National Masters Hall of Famer and a Shore AC Hall of Famer, as well as many-many time USA and World Masters champion. And we all know she will keep on winning for years and years and years.
With just a relatively small delegation competing in Grand Rapids, Shore AC still rolled up 127 points over the four days of the meet and wound up placing 10th in the nation! There were a total of 113 club teams from around the nation taking part. Wow! Yes, yes, our Shore AC athletes continue doing so many outstanding things!!. Cheers to all !!! Terrific-terrific-terrific !!
SLOW SPRINTER URGES
FAST ACTION TO SAVE
HIS MARSHALL ISLANDS HOMELAND
THE RICHSON SIMEON STORY ...
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
RIO de JANEIRO – Richson Redmond Simeon doesn’t stand alone as the slowest man in the
No, it’s a tie.
Simeon, representing the Marshall Islands, ran the 100 meters in 11.81 seconds, placing eighth in the first heat of the Preliminary Round of the event Saturday morning at Olympic Stadium.
Then it was the turn of Etimoni Timuani, another South Pacific islander, representing Tuvalu. Running the third and final heat of the Preliminary Round, he placed seventh, clocking an identical 11.81.
“It’s an honor just being in the same event as Usain Bolt,” said Simeon.
Usain Bolt hasn’t yet said it’s an honor being in the same event as Richson Simeon.
Just a few months ago, Simeon had never dreamed such a thing could actually happen.
It’s the International Olympic Committee’s emphasis on its first title word – International – that has made Simeon’s presence at the Games possible. Globalism is the name of these Games – sort of.The more flags flying over Olympic Stadium, the more teams marching into Maracana for Opening Ceremonies, the better the IOC likes it. NBC too, likely.
Thus, when they count ‘em all up, the Marshall Islands flag and the Tuvalu flag rank as highly as USA’s, or Brazil’s, or Great Britain’s, or China’s, or Germany’s, or Australia’s, or Canada’s, or France’s, or anybody’s.
The medals table? Well, that’s a bit different story.
Simeon’s story, however, is of solid gold quality.
He’s really a California kid, still just 18 until October 5th, and a student at Sacramento City College.
But his mother is a Marshallese – as these islanders are termed – while his dad is Trukese, which is someone whose heritage stems from Truk Island.
Born in Costa Mesa, California, Richson lived for a stretch in the Marshalls, and for another stretch in Hawaii, before moving to Sacramento with his family. Typically Californian, he dabbled in football, tennis, basketball and soccer.
At C. K. McClatchy High School, football coaches noted his basic speed, and he scored a few as a running back for the McClatchy Lions.
It was track coach Rob Dewar, though, who sped Richson’s path to Rio.
“Coach Dewar saw that I had some speed,” said Simeon, in the mixed zone in the basement of Olympic Stadium, where media masses gather to grab their quotes from the Usain Bolts of the world.
Just a handful, though, bothered to hear out the Marshall Islands delegate. One was from Guam, one from France, one from New Jersey.
Once he learned of Simeon’s Marshallese heritage, Coach Dewar dotted his I’s and crossed his T’s and got all the paperwork done that was needed to expedite his athlete’s journey to Rio. Simeon had done all those other sports, you know, but he’d never done any track until maybe six-seven weeks ago.
His first recorded 100-meter was a 12.3; Usain Bolt was probably running 12.3s in third grade.
Still, it was promising and, while not really a fast runner, Simeon began proving himself a fast learner.
He learned how to start a race, how to rush through those middle meters, and how to maintain his relative speed to the finish line.
Having no other viable candidates, sports officials back in the Marshalls quickly made him Olympic-eligible. When the confirmations came through, he still thought “it might be some kind of joke.”
But it sure isn’t - so here he is Rio – unconcerned with Usain Bolt, leaving that to the Justin Gatlins of the world – but making his mark everywhere in his Olympic travels nevertheless.
Especially at Opening Cerermonies. He’d wiggled one finger on his right hand, five fingers on his left, as the world’s TV cameras zoomed in on Team Marshall marching proudly in the parade of nations.
And he told his three interviewers just why those wiggling fingers in the mixed zone.
“I was telling the world ‘1.5,’ as in 1.5 meters, as in any more rising sea than that, and the Marshall Islands are gone, flooded over, gone, maybe forever.
“That’s what global warming is doing, that’s what’s happening to our homes, our islands, everything we have.
“I wanted the world to know. It’s important.
“We normally have a population of 60,000, maybe 70,000, I don’t know exactly.
“But some people are leaving already. To Hawaii, to California, to America.
“They’re afraid they’ll have no country in a few years.”
Through earlier history, the Marshalls – 29 main coral atolls, along with 1,150 other islands, some inhabited, some not, shuttled between periods of control by Spain, Germany, Japan, and now, as as a signator to a Compact Of Free Association With The United States.
Occupied by Japan through the early years of World War II, the Marshalls, whose best known islands are Eniwetak and Kwajelein, suffered hugely and were eventually freed by the invasion of America and its allies.
Later, the Mashalls were the sites of numerous nuclear tests, and all the horrors they left behind.
But now, for another reason, the Marshall Islands’ future is as dire as it’s ever been.
It took a non-fast kid from California to remind the rest of us that we’d better take some fast action, or there will be no Marshall Islands team at the next Olympic Games, and no Marshall Islands, either.
“Remember what I’m telling you,” said Richson Simeon. “Remember that 1.5. Any more than that and we’re gone.”
Giant Great Blozis Named to Track's Hall of Fame
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
(Reprinted courtesy of Asbury Park Press.)
Early in his brilliant two-sport career, they called Albert Charles Blozis "The Hoya Hercules."
Soon, that changed to "The Human Howitzer."
And then he became "a Giant of Giants."
He was voted a member of the National Football League's all-decade team for the 1940s,even though he played just two full seasons and a bit of a third for the then-Polo Grounds-based Giants. He was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his All-America deeds at tackle for the Georgetown Hoyas of 1939-40-41.
Now, the late Al Blozis can properly be called a Track and Field Hall of Famer, too.
The mighty 6-foot-6 1/2-tall Blozis, a graduate of Jersey City's Dickinson High School,was the greatest shot putter of his day and would surely have been a leading Olympic gold medal candidate if the 1940 Games had not been cancelled by the onset of World War II.
"The Big Guy," as he was called, of Lithuanian-American heritage, won everything in sight - IC4A, NCAA, Penn Relays, National AAU championships - in 1940-41-42 in the shot put and was a champion discus thrower, too. His best "official" shot put performance was 57-0 3/4 and only technicalities prevented some of his other performances from being recognized as world records.
"One of his greatest marks didn't count because he did it off the pitcher's mound at the Polo Grounds," remembers famed track historian Ed Grant of Madison. "Another didn't count because he did it from a discus circle on a rainy day when the shot put ring was all mud."
While few ever doubted this athlete's amazing abilities, it still took long years for him to be elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, located at New York's Armory Track and Field Center.
Justice was at last done with the announcement Tuesday that Blozis - along with such notables as Allen Johnson, Hollis Conway, Ralph Mann, Jack Torrance and Harry Gill - were voted into the Hall by a nationwide panel of experts, and will be duly inducted at a gala "Black Tie and Sneakers" ceremony at the Armory on Thursday evening, Oct. 29.
With no Olympic Games to aspire to, Blozis gave up his Olympic eligibility to sign with the Football Giants in the fall of 1942 and enjoyed two stellar all-pro seasons at tackle.
Early after the start of World War II, he attempted to join the Army, but was rejected for his excessive height. At last, though, the military relented and he accepted an Army lieutenant's commission in the 28th Infantry Infantry Division.
He still was able to play three games for the Giants while on furlough in 1944, before
being sent off to action. In January 1945, just six weeks after his arrival in
Europe, with his platoon scouting enemy lines in France's Vosges Mountains, two of his men, a sergeant and a private, failed to return from a patrol. Seeking them out, Lt. Al Blozis never returned, either.
First listed as missing, his death in action was not confirmed until April 1945. His body was at last found and is now buried with full honors at the Lorraine American Military Cemetery in France.
His "32" jersey has long been retired and the Giants' Mara family has forever cherished his memory, along with that of Jack Lummus, another Giant - and one of the NFL's 20 - killed in WW II.
His memory is also kept alive by the staging of the Al Blozis Memorial Shot Put event at the New Jersey International Track and Field Meet, hosted by the Shore Athletic Club, each June.
MANNOZZI, RANDALL WIN 40K RACEWALK TITLES
Shore AC teammates Michael Mannozzi (3:31:05) and Susan Randall (3:59:21) cruised to decisive victories in the 77th annual USATF National 40-Kilometer Racewalking Championship last Sunday at Joe Palaia Park, Ocean Township. For Mannozzi, it was his third straight 40K crown and 10trh national title over-all; for Randall, it was her first National walk victory.
Second places in the 24.8-mile event went to Shore AC's Dave Talcott (3:53:11) and Tennessee's Amanda Prince (4:29:17.) Host Shore AC won both the men's Open and Masters team titles, with Tom Quattrocchi (4:41.51) and Tim Chelius (4:51:11) joining Mannozzi and Talcott. For Quattrocchi, it was his 20th consecutive completion of the 40K.
Guest walker Jorge Pineda of Colombia sped to a world-class 4:10.37 50K performance.
SHORE RACING SEASON CONTINUES BUSY
The Jersey Shore continues as one of the nation's busiest racing locales with an array of events every weekend.
Ex-Villanova star Amanda Marino (19:12.4) and Temple grad Jenna Dubrow (19:46.5) went 1-2 in Jersey Shore Running Club's Saturday in the Park women's 5K at Holmdel.
Recent winners have included Howell's Jon Smolenski (17:12) and Toms River's Carolyn Rogers (22:25) in the Eatontown Recreation Labor Day 5K; Jeff Propert, Wall (36:24) and Beth Marzigliano, Lake Como (40:14), in the Brielle Challenge 10K, and Smolenski (16:46) and Barnegat's Jenn Nelson (19:23) in the Jersey Shore University Medical Center 5K.
NEW JERSEYANS POWER TEAM USA
The DecaNation seven-country scored team meet at Charlety Stadium in Paris last Sunday saw three New Jersey athletes register key team points for winning Team USA. Princeton grad Donn Cabral of Clinton won the men's 3000-meter steeplchase (8:25.67); Manalapan's Robby Andrews (1:48.96) ran a close second to Russia's Kontantin Tolokonniyov (1:48.26) in the men's 800, and Colts Neck High and Princeton alumna Ashley Higginson took third (9:45.63) in the women's steeplechase.
Team USA netted 131.5 points to win the meet, with Russia second (120.5), host France third (80) and Ukraine, China, Japan and Italy next in line.
KUDLAK, O'NEAL LEAD 5K RUN,
SOUCHECK, PAUL PACE 10K WALK
AT 51ST ANNUAL CAPTAIN ZINN RACES
WALL TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Zach Kudlak of Long Branch (17:44) and Erin O'Neal of Port Monmouth (19:00) led the way in the 5K run at the 51st annual Captain Ronald Zinn Memorial Races staged April 21 at the Wall Municipal Complex.
Top honors in the co-featured 10K walk went to John Soucheck of Little Silver (55:53) and Maria Paul of Long Branch (1:16:53.)
The Zinn Races, again staged by Shore Athletic Club and sponsored by the New Jersey Natural Gas Co., once more honored Capt. Zinn, the West Point graduate and two-time USA Olympian, who was killed in action in Vietnam in July 1965, as well as all Vietnam veterans.
Joseph Renzella of Neptune City, an honored, decorated and Purple Heart Army veteran, once again served as the race's spokesman and marshal. Proudly carrying the American flag for his 35:53 run around the Wall park, he later said, "this race helps all Americans remember what we went through in Vietnam; many in the younger generation now are unaware,
we cannot let that happen."
Athletes came from all over New Jersey and were youngsters to senior citizens. The 52nd annual Captain Zinn Memorial Races will be held in April 2017.