As many college athletic programs around the country begin to compete again, the local Monmouth University Hawks prepare for a potential winter cross-country season.
Head Coach Mike Nelson, who is going on his second year as coach at the local college, said, “I’m both excited and a little apprehensive about the potential season. Anything could happen but I think if protocols are safely executed, like testing, wearing masks, etc. racing as a full team is a huge possibility.”
He continued, “I want the men and women to know that this season is not the same from seasons in the past; arbitrary features like time might not be as important. Just go out there, have fun, and run your best.”
Monmouth University, like most other universities, had to suspend their athletic competitions last spring due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, with new additional safety precautions, athletes at Monmouth University were fortunately allowed to practice as a team during last year’s fall semester.
Nelson explained how the season is going to unfold, “The plan now is we want to complete two meets before the championship in March. We plan on hosting a home meet at Monmouth Park Racetrack on February 13. Then another meet either in New York state or a race on the track (possibly a 5k or 8k) with another team. These are subject to change but we will see how it plays out.”
Junior Lou DiLaurenzio, one of the captains noted, “We're looking forward to this season, obviously it’s a little different from most years but we’re training to the best we can.”
He added, “It’s an odd season because we only have three races this year, but we will use every opportunity to earn some good performances.”
The MAAC conference is scheduled to host the Cross Country championships for March 5 at Seaview Golf Club in Galloway, New Jersey.
The team's Outdoor Track and Field season is also around the corner. As of now, their opening meet is scheduled for March 13.
Article written by: John Spinnelli
MU student athlete and SAC volunteer
BY ELLIOTT DENMAN
"It's been crazy," Ajee' Wilson tells you, by way of telephone interview.
Which isn't exactly late-breaking news.
Then again, when you are the Number One-ranked athlete in the world in a prime event on the program of the "flagship sport of the Olympic Games,"
a very good guess is that the last year has been a whole lot crazier for you than it's been for so many of your contemporaries.
At 26 - she'll be 27 on May 8, 2021 - the stellar speedster from Neptune, New Jersey, a Temple University graduate who now lives and trains in Philadelphia, is already the owner of 11
USA Track and Field national championship gold medals, holds both versions of the American record for the 800-meter distance (1:55.61 outdoors, 1:58.29 indoors), and a young veteran of both the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and five editions of the World Championships, And, too, she ran off with the top spot in the most recent complete edition - 2019 - of the Diamond League circuit of high-stakes global invitational meets.
That's already a career dossier that already puts her right up there with the best of the best in American track annals.
Nevertheless, she hasn't competed in nearly a year and can't really tell you "where I am" heading into the New Balance Grand Prix meet at Staten Island's Ocean Breeze complex, on Saturday, Feb. 13. Her 2021 debut will thus be more than interesting as the track and field world - and her legions of fans everywhere - catch up on her exploits and she catches up with her own sport.
Her most recent competitive outing was at the USATF Indoor Nationals, Feb. 15, 2020, in Albuquerque, N.M. Of course, she won it. In 2:01.98, and at altitude. It came a week after she'd won at New York's Millrose Games, in 1:58.29, an American record, which held up as number two world time of the indoor season, back only of Great Briton Jemma Reekie's 1:57.9, and the top USA women's time all of Covid-racked 2020, indoors or outdoors. She'd opened her 2020 season with a 2:02.37 win Jan. 25 at the New York Armory's Dr. Sander Invitational.
Before that, her last prior major outing was her third-place finish at the 17th edition of the World Outdoor Championships, Sept. 30, 2019, at Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar.
So that adds up to just three major competitions in a year and just four in nearly 16 months. What can the track and field world expect?
Wilson can't really tell you - other than saying "I'm pretty healthy, I've been training well, not bad at all (with her training group partners and coach Derek Thompson, almost always outdoors in Phiily, no matter the weather.)
"I don't have any issues, no nicks, no nacks."
Yes, there were "some nicks, some nacks" for a brief stretch last summer but they're long gone now and she's more than anxious to get back into real racing.
She's grateful, too, that, even through this brutal stretch of overlapping universal economic slowdown, and the devastations of the pandemic, the adidas co, has stayed with her and lent the ongoing support appropriate to a world-class athlete.
After the Staten Island start, she hopes - tentatively - to run The Texas Qualifer, a brand new outdoor meet in the Austin area - exact location undisclosed - on Feb. 26-27 designed to help Tokyo Olympic hopefuls post qualifying marks.. Focusing on events from the 800 up to 10,000 meters for men and women, the meet will be USATF-sanctioned, spectator-free and fully observant of Covid protocols.
"Hopefully" - a word almost all the global elite uses regularly these challenging days - the meet will evolve into a major stepping stone on the way to Japan in July.
Of course/of course/of course, it's still "The Big One" - the Olympic Games - that awaits her most definitive performance,
Like every global Games candidate, she has no firm idea if the Tokyo Olympics (now booked for July,23- Aug. 8, 2021 after the Covid-19 cancellation of 2020) will actually transpire as scheduled. And if so, in what form? As a strictly-for-TV extravaganza? As a spectator-free production? In a who-knows-what format?
"I'm just hopeful," said Wilson. "Whatever they (the leadership of Japan and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, the moguls of the International Olympic Committee, TV's major media magnates, international health organizations, et al) decide, that's fine with me. " What more could an athlete do, anyway?
"It's obviously a bigger call than any of us can make."
With emphasis on that single word - "obviously."
Rio 2016 wasn't what she'd hoped it would be. After running a sterling second place in that March's World Indoor Championships, that wasn't "the real Ajee" her legions of fans
saw bowing out in the semifinals of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad six months later in Brazil.
But the 2019 outdoor campaign saw Wilson rising to the top of the world elite - with firsts in Kingston, Jamaica (1:59.22) and USA Nationals in Des Moines (1:57.72), the Herculis Monaco Meet (1:57.73) as well as the Diamond League finale in Brussels (a strategic 2:00.24.) (All this as 2012-16 Olympic 800 champion Caster Semenya was seeing her own hopes of a "three-peat" at the two-lap distance ruled out by a Swiss court, which determined that the cisgender South African woman, born with XY chromosomes, had naturally elevated testosterone levels which created unfair physical advantages.)
The World Championships 800 final in Doha 2019 didn't go to plan.
As the official IAAF report told it, "from the gun, Wilson ran with purpose to take the lead at the break and control the race....
"Through the final turn, (Uganda's Halimah) Nakaayi worked her way up to Wilson's shoulder, shadowed by (Uganda teammate Wiinnie) Nanyondo.
"The diminutive Nakaayi executed the classic pass off the turn. Wilson had no answer.
"(USA teammate Raevyn) Rogers was sprinting down lane four, passing Nanyondo, passing Wilson, and getting to within a meter of Nakaayi before the finish."
"Very disappointing," third-placer Wilson admitted afterward. "But a lesson learned, too."
Yes, there's always somebody coming up on you in this sport. Never/ever are there givens. Press clippings get you nowhere.
But always to be remembered - every starting gun answered represents a whole new chapter. It's no wonder Ajee' Wilson's can't wait for the 13th of February, 2021, to roll around.
Great article written by Jeff Benjamin on www.lifetimerunning.net on our very own, Harry Nolan. Train non-stop for close to 60 years and you pile up 145,000 miles of running. Race like a warrior, and you earn several national championships as well as world championship medals. Read the full article here.
Led by Shore Athletic Club "alumna" star Ajee Wilson's 1:58.29 800-meter clocking, Shore AC proudly announces that
nine Varsity Team and "alumni" members achieved USA nationally-ranked performances through the Covid 19-curtailed
2020 track and field campaign.
Indoor season action shut down the second week of March and the outoor season that followed provided only intermittent opportunities to
achieve top quality performances. And, of course, the Tokyo Olympic Games were postponed to (optimistically) 2021 and such major
events as the Penn and Drake Relays, USA Olympic Trials and our own New Jersey International Meet were cancelled.
Nevertheless, many Shore AC athletes "found a way."
When Neptune Academy of Health and Science and Temple University graduate Ajee' Wilson won the 800 meters in the USATF Indoor National Championships,
staged Feb. 15 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it represented the 11th Senior National crown of her illustrious career, seven of them at Indoor Nationals and
four at Outdoor Nationals. And, at age 26, her best of all running years seem to be just ahead. Her best 800 time of 2020, 1:58.29, came at the Millrose Games at
New York's Armory Track Center on Feb. 8 and represented the only sub-2 clocking by a U.S. woman, indoors or outdoors, all year.
When Shore AC star Amina Smith cleared 6-3 1/2/ 1.92 meters, at the Terrapin Invitational Meet on Jan. 18, it was a mark topped only by Olympian Vashti Cunningham's
6-5 1/2 / 1.97 on the U.S. year list.
Shore AC's top-rated men's performance was A.J, Gruttdauro's 1:28:46 in the 20-kilometer racewalk, number two in the nation bested only by
Emanuel Corvera's 1:26:38. Gruttadauro also ranked fourth at the other Olympic distance of 50K, with his 4:42.32.
The women's U.S. 50K racewalk list saw Shore AC's Erin Taylor-Talcott in third place at 4:47.01. Her en-route time of 1:54.28 ranked ninth at 20K.
Also on the men's 50K list for 2020 were Shore AC teammates Michael Mannozzi (now on active Air Force duty after winning 15 National titles in previous years), sixth at 5:02:01;
and Masters stalwarts Dave Talcott, seventh at 5:06:52, and Barry Blake, 11th at 6:25:47.
Shore AC veteran Brandon Roulhac, a Nationally-ranked performer for over a decade, recorded a 54-1 1/4 / 16.49 mark at Indoor Nationals for the eighth best U.S. triple jump
performance of 2020.
Shore AC teammate Corey Murphy, the former IC4A and Penn Relays champion at Monmouth University, was 36th in the men's shot put at 63-1 /3/4 / 19.24 for his
Listed at 39th in the men's pole vault at 17-3 3/4 / 5.38 was Shore AC member Scott Houston, the 2018 USA National Indoor champion.
Monmouth University graduates Dylan Capwell and Allie Wilson, both now representing the Atlanta Track Club, gained National recognition at 800 meters.
Capwell's 1:47.68 put him 18th on the men's list; Wilson's 2:02.95 put her 23rd on the women's list.
Red Bank Catholic High School and Columbia University graduate Rob Napolitano of Brick Township and the Hoka One One team, posted the number five men's mile
in the nation, 3:56.56. He was also fourth at 1,000 meters at 2:18.36 and 19th at 1,500 meters at 3:38.03.
Also making the men's National lists were a pair of Christian Brothers Academy grads, Andrew Liskowitz and Tim Gorman. The rapidly-improving Liskowitz, now a senior at Michigan, had the nation's fifth best shot put mark, 68-11 3/4 / 21.02; Gorman, who competed collegiately at Dartmouth and Oregon, was listed 29th at 1,500 meters (3:41.45) and 46th at the mile (4:00.12.)
Surprise World Number One mark in the men's hammer throw was the late-season performance of 264-9 / 80.70 notched by former Cornell and Rutgers star Rudy Winkler;
Sam Mattis, his East Brunswick training partner and 2019 National champion, was second in the discus at 204-11 / 62.46.
Attached please find the RESULTS of the 57th Asbury Park Polar Bear 5k Run. As you know, this year was much different from the other 56 editions of the race due to COVID restrictions, but we were able to keep the tradition going as the oldest road race on the Jersey Shore, one which has never been canceled. Ironically, the eighteen participants was not much less than the number who ran in the first ever Polar Bear in 1964.
I especially want to thank all of the runners who turned out on a chilly morning, and Walter, Elliott and John Kuhi for helping to manage the event. Some of you who have been attending the event for many years like Elliott (the event founder in 1964) , John and Phil Hinck know that the event has been held from sub-zero up to eighty degree weather, in rain and snow storms, and ice covered boards, but it has always been held. Hopefully, in 2021 we will be back up to the 500 plus Polar Bear runners that Erin was able to attract in 2019.
Happy New Year.
A huge congratulations to Jess Abbott for becoming a National Champion again while Liliah Gordon snagged 5th place at the USATF Junior Olympics XC Championships! Phenomenal job, girls - we are so very proud of you!
Shore A.C. extends a huge congratulations to Beth for officially winning the 2020 virtual Boston Marathon! Beth ran away with a new PR of 2:45.54! That is a 6:19 pace for 26.2 miles! Impressive work - a truly incredible accomplishment!!
Matt Cola at St. John's send Elliott Denman this wonderful press release
Aliann Pompey Promoted to Associate Head CoachLongtime assistant and former Olympian elevated to new role
The St. John’s Athletic Department recently announced that four-time Olympian Aliann Pompey has been elevated to the position of Associate Head Coach.“I have to thank Mike Cragg and Coach Hurt for this honor and I am appreciative of them for their support and tutelage,” Pompey said.“They’re both part of the reason why I am able to continue doing what I love here at St. John’s University. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward working closely with our administration on continuing our tradition of success.”
Since joining the St. John’s track and field program as an assistant coach in 2014, Pompey has seen her athletes break the Red Storm’s indoor records twice in the 200 and 400 Meter Dashes while also eclipsing previous program bests in the 60 Meter Hurdles, 500 Meter Run and the 4×200 Meter Relay.
Pompey has also helped the Johnnies’ sprints and hurdles squad break outdoor records in the 100 Meter Hurdles, 800 Meter Run, the 4×200 Meter Relay and the 4×100 Meter Relay.
Most recently, Pompey guided Leah Anderson to three gold medals at the 2020 BIG EAST Indoor Championships, as she took first place in the 200, 400 and the 4×400 Meter Relay.
Anderson was named the conference’s most outstanding performer in track events and earned the BIG EAST High Point Performer Award, leading the field with 22.5 points. Pompey’s sprints and hurdles squad accounted for at least 60 percent of St. John’s total team points at the meet.
“I am very pleased and proud to have Coach Pompey become our associate head coach as she is exceptional in every way,” said Head Coach Jim Hurt.
“She is a great and winning coach, keenly intelligent and insightful, and a person of great character. She has made a significant impact on our program over the past six years and will continue to do so in the years to come.”
In 2017, Pompey assisted Adriana Wright in capturing the indoor BIG EAST High Point Performer Award after winning three gold medals in the 60 Meter Hurdles, 60 Meter Dash and the 200 Meter Dash. The following year, she helped Maya Stephens earn the conference’s Most Outstanding Co-Performer Award in track events accolade for her wins in the 200 and 400 at the 2018 indoor championships.
AS YOU SURELY KNOW, I HAVE FOREVER BELIEVED THIS ADAGE:
"Keep Walking New Jersey."
(New Jersey and everywhere else, too..)
So when the Johnnie Walker truck pulled up to Tim McLoone's Pier House, on the boardwalk in Long Branch, NJ,
this morning, it was the perfect occasion to advertise this point.
So here is the photo (attached above) attesting to all this..
Of course, my favorite beverage remains orange juice but if these challenging days continue for too long into the future, there's a possibility that Johnnie Walker may take a higher rung on my list of favored liquid refreshments.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Douglas Friedman.)
AUGUST 17TH SAW THE CREW OF SAC PRESIDENT WALTER MACGOWAN, YOUTH XC DIRECTOR LESTER WRIGHT, HALL OF FAMERS HARRY NOLAN AND HOYLE MOZEE AT LAKE TAKANASSEE FOR A SYMBOLIC 2020 EVENT. HARRY AND WALTER TOED THE STARTING LINE TO KEEP THE LONG AND STORIED TRADITION OF THE SERIES RUNNING. HOPE WE CAN GET BACK TO NORMAL NEXT YEAR.