Tag Archives: track

Ambler Olympic Club competes in Disney World

Originally found at www.montgomerynews.com
Written By, Thomas Celona

Members of the Ambler Olympic Club cross country team took on the best young athletes from across the nation in the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 4 and 5.

Around 15 runners from the club ran in the annual competition, held for the first time in Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. The athletes ranged in age from 8 to 17.

“Every single athlete did very well,” said Charmaine Darden, AOC cross county program coach. “I was very happy with the result.”

Despite the rainy and muddy conditions, many of the Ambler-area athletes performed beyond their expectations, and among those successful results came a top 10 finish.

Hilary Saucy, 17, of Harleysville, finished seventh in the 5K race in the young women age group with a time of 22:02.

“It was always my goal from last year to get in the top eight,” said Saucy, who had competed in the national championships twice before. “I didn’t know if that was really possible, but it was a goal. I was never in worse than eighth the entire race, which really surprised me. I thought, ‘Wow, I actually accomplished my goal.’ I was pretty surprised.”

Along with Saucy’s performance, the club had a strong showing overall.

“Most of them came in the top 25 of their age group,” Darden said. “The rest of them ran their personal best times of the year.”

“I was really surprised how many of our kids placed in the top 25,” Saucy said, noting those who finished in the top 25 received a medal. “That was exciting for me to see my other teammates do really good. The looks on their faces when they came back with a medal, totally not expecting it, was something you’ll never forget.”

In addition to Saucy, five other members of the AOC received medals in their respective age groups: Alexandria Flint, 13, placed 16th in the 4K run; Marissa Holl, 12, placed 18th in the 3K run; Aiden Marcelis, 9, placed 18th in the 3K run; Lukas Marcelis, 11, placed 14th in the 3K run; and Ian Saucy, 12, placed 23rd in the 3K run.

Athletes qualified for the AAU National Championships by participating in the AAU Middle Atlantic regional championships, which were held at Penllyn Woods Park Nov. 14.

“This year, AAU changed the rules,” Darden said. “This year, they had to run in the regional meet, and they were automatically qualified for the national meet.”

Runners from 33 states participated in the championships, according to the AAU’s Web site.

In addition to the competition, team members had the chance to enjoy some time in Disney World and the surrounding area.

“A lot of the kids with their parents did go to the other parks,” Darden said.

The Saucy family used the competition as an opportunity for a family road trip, driving both ways.

“We did some sightseeing on the way home,” Saucy said. “It was a long drive, but I think it was well worth it.”


Cordner Nelson, 91; cofounded Track & Field News magazine

Originally found at www.boston.com
Written By, Frank Litsky

Cordner Nelson, who drew on his youthful fascination with Olympic athletes to create, with his brother, Track & Field News in 1948 and helped turn it into the sport’s premier monthly magazine, died Monday at his home in Carmel, Calif. He was 91.The cause was T-cell lymphoma, his daughter Rebecca said. Mr. Nelson became interested in the sport not as an athlete but as a teenage spectator, when his father took him and his younger brother, Bert, to track and field events at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.Sixteen years later, the brothers began publishing Track & Field News. Mr. Cordner Nelson, the founding editor, gathered track meet results and wrote stories in addition to editing. His brother handled the business side.

Covering the sport for more than a half-century, Mr. Nelson, a tall and dignified presence, attended 15 Olympics and wrote several books, including a biography of the runner Jim Ryun. He originated the magazine’s now-authoritative annual world rankings, as determined by an international panel.Today, Track & Field News bills itself “the Bible of the Sport,’’ but it struggled at first. Two months after it began, the brothers shipped 2,000 copies to the Drake Relays in Des Moines, where they were given away in the hope of landing a bonanza of subscriptions.The effort produced two, at $2 a year. Recalling the magazine’s rocky early days, Mr. Cordner Nelson said in 1998, “Even after deciding to do it, we didn’t know how to do it.’’

They looked to track aficionados for help. A coach told them about Don Potts, at 26 a full professor of mathematics at Northwestern University. Potts told them about a young Italian sports journalist, Roberto Quercetani.The two went on to contribute news, results, and perspective to the magazine for the next 50 years or more. Mr. Nelson became a pioneering writer about weight training and interval training, which involves bursts of high-intensity activity like running or rowing alternating with periods of rest or low activity. He edited the magazine through 1969, remaining as a writer afterward.

His special interest in the mile led him to write “The Jim Ryun Story’’ (1967), “The Milers’’ (1985), and other books.Cordner Bruce Nelson was born in San Diego and grew up in Riverside, Calif. He graduated from the College of the Pacific (now part of the University of the Pacific) in 1940. After college, he managed his family’s farm near Stockton, Calif., and served in the Army from 1941-45.He was elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1988.

Mr. Nelson was also a pioneer in fantasy sports, now widely popular among football and baseball fans. Jim Dunaway, a veteran track and field writer, said in an interview that in 1956 Mr. Nelson wrote to eight other track and field fans and suggested a game in which fantasy teams of American athletes would be scored by the results of the annual NCAA and Amateur Athletic Union outdoor championships.“The players drafted their teams until each had a roster of 60 athletes, and the first fantasy competition ended on June 22, 1957, in the AAU championships,’’ Dunaway said. Others followed, and similar fantasy track and field events have since been started.


2010 Great Lakes Indoor Track & Field National Championship

The first annual great lakes indoor Track & Field National Championship will be held on February 12-14, 2010 , at the state of the art  GaReat Sports Complex in Geneva Ohio. There are no prequalifications to compete, only an AAU membership is required.

For Event Information and Schedule Click Here.
For Online Registration Click Here.

For a Facility Overview Click Here.
For a Facility Video Click Here.

For more information please visit www.aauathletics.org


The Running Tigers

Originally found at www.wfaa.com
Written by Staff Reports

Who they are: The Running Tigers, a Dallas youth track team that competed in the AAU Junior Olympics.

What happened: Three athletes won gold medals – 10-year-old Alexis Duncan of Lancaster in the 80-meter hurdles in the sub-midget girls division, 15-year-old Kenneth Minkah in the long jump and 110 high hurdles for the intermediate boys division and Timothy Young in 110 high hurdles for the young men division. Devin Fields and Taije Jordan each won two bronze medals, and Adrianne Mosby and Young each won one bronze medal.

Inside the accomplishments: Duncan’s time of 12.88 was nine-hundredths of a second off the national record for her age group. Minkah had barely practiced the long jump before winning his gold in the event.

Right now: Young, a college freshman, will run track at Texas State. Minkah and Mosby are juniors at DeSoto, where Mosby runs cross country in addition to track. Fields and Jordan go to Lancaster.

Coach said: “This was a noteworthy year. I’ve never had this many people in the finals. We’ve never had more than two gold medals.” – coach Fahim Minkah


St. Regis track a phenomenal success

Originally found at www.aodonline.org
Written by Michelle Samartino

Bloomfield Hills –Behind the sweat and determination of the track athletes at St. Regis Elementary School are more stories of success – from a potential Olympic athlete to another who believes he’d be on the streets if not for the caring ways of his coaches and school values.

Former St. Regis students Kendall Baisden, now a freshman at Detroit Country Day, and Michael Belton, a senior at Brother Rice High School, say it began with the guidance of their track coach, Deanna Wile, who joined the track program at St. Regis nine years ago.

Along with her co-coach, Tom Gorman, Wile says their philosophy is simple: “We believe you have to make a difference in a kid’s life from the bottom up. And many of them have gone on to have stellar high school careers.”

Managing 200 athletes with 13 coaches is a tremendous feat in itself, but the program continues to reach new heights. “We were small little fish in a big pond,” Wile recalls. “Then the program took off.”

To date, St. Regis has won five CYO championships, been CYO championship runners up five times, and won eight undefeated Catholic League championships. To say the program is a run-away success would be an understatement.

Wile remembers first meeting Baisden in 2005, who came in as a fourth-grader from Kensington Academy in nearby Beverly Hills. Baisden had wanted to improve her tennis game, and heard that track was one way to do so.

“She was a skinny little thing,” says Wile. “Her dad said he didn’t know anything about ‘this track thing,’ but that she wanted to improve her tennis game and heard track would help her speed.”

Tennis wasn’t her only talent.

Baisden’s introduction to the St. Regis family blossomed. She transferred to St. Regis School, and was baptized at the church the following year.

She most recently broke the national record for 14-year-olds by winning the youth division 400 meters at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympics with a time of 53.05, and was featured in Sports Illustrated magazine.

“She’s probably a heartbeat away from being on the Olympic team,” Wile says. “She is just brilliant.”

The pride in her voice is apparent when she speaks of Baisden: “She is so humble, a sweet girl. She has no attitude. Her mother has done a phenomenal job with her.”

And Baisden’s admiration for Wile runs deep. “She actually found my talent for track. She’s such a caring coach,” she says. “She does everything for each person on the team, and it’s such a big team. You would think she would not know everybody’s name, but she takes the time to know everybody and helps them out and encourages them as well.”

Baisden says her Catholic faith has enriched her life as a result of her education at St. Regis: “I learned the beliefs and really liked it. I felt it was the religion for me.”

And, she adds, “My faith is important. St. Regis taught me values to live by.”
The teen also has an angel one of her mother’s co-workers gave her that Baisden always holds before every meet. “I call her my little angel,” she says.

Her plan after high school is to be a part of the Olympic team, “if I’m able,” she says. “I want to work on a professional track career without injuring myself.” She would like to eventually study architecture.

Another promising athlete comes by way of Michael Belton, an instrumental part of the St. Regis track program who also helps coach.

Originally from St. Bede Elementary School in Southfield, “I was in seventh grade and my friends kept telling me how fast I was,” Belton recalls. As a result, he was introduced to Wile, and so began their familial relationship. Every Christmas since seventh grade has been spent with the Wile family. “I love their family to death,” he says.

He admitted that track was initially something to fill his time, but he came to truly love the speed and agility it gave him. “I was meant to do the sport,” he says.

When he runs, he says he tries to not pass out. “I think about getting to the finish line and happy thoughts,” says Belton.

He is grateful to Wile for many reasons, though he admits that Wile can be intimidating on first glance. “You’d think she’s a serious coach, and she is, but she’s more concerned with the kids and treating them well. I’ve loved her since then. They’re like an extra set of parents,” referring to Wile and her husband, Tabb.

Belton, who was part of Boys Hope Girls Hope, a program designed to help young children realize their full potential, when he first joined the track club, said things would be a lot different if not for the influences of St. Regis. “If it wasn’t for the program and had I not met Mrs. Wile, I’d be on the streets somewhere. Mrs. Wile shaped me.”

He hopes to continue at an out-of-state art school and study graphic design.

Of Belton, Wile couldn’t imagine life without him. “The Lord sent Michael to us for a reason,” Wile says. “He has left a footprint in my life.”

The coaches and the athletes are what make the program so successful, says Wile. “These are great people helping kids trying to succeed in running. It’s been wonderful on so many levels.

It’s been a storybook year.

“We have had tremendous athletes come through the program,” she adds, “and we have had the incredible experience and opportunity to give the best we have to make an impression on their lives.”


Lakewood Ranch’s Zarella in the fast lane

Originally found at www.heraldtribune.com
Written By Chris Dell

Kristin Zarrella is immune to the pressure.

The freshman at Lakewood Ranch High has ice in her veins every time she steps onto the track. There’s no more pre-race jitters for the five-time AAU state champion and Junior Olympic All-American.

Zarrella recently won her fifth consecutive AAU State Championship in the 1,500 and 3,000-meter runs at the University of Florida.

“It was great … it was a really competitive meet and I had a lot of fun,” said Zarella, who trained all summer with the Mustangs’ cross country team. “Running at the school gives you that extra push.

“There isn’t much pressure anymore because now I know what I can do. I’m more used to it. But there’s always a little pressure to being the defending state champion.”

In Lakewood Ranch’s first two varsity practice runs, she finished first in each race. She adds speed and stamina to a young but talented Mustangs squad.

The Mustangs’ 6- to 8-mile practice runs throughout the week have improved Zarrella’s overall time and helps her down the stretch of a race. She ran more than 300 miles this summer with the Lady Mustangs.

“It’s great to be training four days a week with the team,” Zarrella said. “Everyone is so nice, and we all have outgoing personalities so we have fun out there.

“We have a lot of talented athletes, and running longer distances is going to really help me with my base.”

At the University of Florida, Zarrella was clocked at 5 minutes, 16 seconds in the 1,500 and 11:14 in the 3,000 to claim her 10th gold medal in the past five years. She finished both races at least 50 to 100 meters ahead of second place.

She also wants to play soccer as a forward or midfielder after the cross country season. Her first varsity meet is on Monday — the Labor Day ‘Canes Classic.

Zarrella, 14, won her first state title when she was just 9 years old and says she wants to run for the Florida Gators some day.

“I’m definitely going to try out for soccer and do track after that,” Zarrella said. “I’m just going to continue to run and focus on those sports.”


Broward JGA presents special awards

Originally found at www.miamiherald.com


Shanell Atkins of West Pembroke Pines Optimist Track & Field set a national record in the shot put during the Amateur Athlete Union Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa.

Atkins was one of several athletes from the West Pembroke Pines track & field team who performed well at the national event.

The AAU JO had more than 15,000 athletes competing in various sports with a little more than 8,500 participating in track and field.

West Pembroke Pines track and field took nine athletes, including some Junior Olympic first-timers. They brought home seven medals.

The AAU Junior Olympics awards medals to the Top 8 finishers in each event. Although all members of the team did not receive medals, they performed very well, establishing personal bests in several events.

West Pembroke Pines is coached by Lucian Reyes, Denise Reyes and Marvil Tatham. The new season begins in January. WPPO results: Girls: Sub-Midget: Shanell Atkins, first in shot put with national record 38 feet 10 inches, breaking the mark of 37-5. She won gold for the fourth consecutive year in shot put. She also took fourth in pentathlon and in discus.

Boys: Sub-Bantam: Garrett Ricardo, in his AAU JO debut, sixth in 1,500 meters. Sub-Youth: Rasheed Tatham, fourth in pentathlon, fifth in 200-meter hurdles and seventh in 100-meter hurdles.

First-timers Ashyra Martin, 200 meters; Dominique Edwards, shot put and discus; Sarah Wollaston, 400 and 800 meters; and Tyler Muraido, 1,500 and 3,000 meters set personal bests as did Ibrahim Dodo, 100 meter hurdles and long jump, and Cole Moxie, pentathlon.


Thomas claims victory in 1500

Originally found at news.youthrunner.com
written by Chris Vogt

Darius Thomas is making a name for himself pretty fast. Almost as fast as his latest 800 and 1500 meter results.

Hitting the national spotlight just hasn’t been a burst off the starting line for the soon-to-be Macomb High freshman. It’s become motivation for Thomas to get to the finish line quicker.

The 14-year-old track star has recently shown his ability to compete against the nation’s top runners.
“This has made me stronger running with other people from the same level from all over the country,” said Thomas, who competed in the AAU Junior Olympics held in Des Moines, Iowa last week. “It’s just made me a better runner. I’ve seen that I can run with them.”

In his age division, Thomas finished first in the 1500 meter run with a 4:24.45 at the Junior Olympics, earning him the No. 1 ranking nationally in the event.
But it wasn’t easy. Nor was it painless.A day before competing in the 1500, Thomas, in route to finishing the 800 meter run, tripped before hitting the finish line.

“It puts a lot on your mind when you take a big fall like that right in front of the finish line and have to come back from it,” Thomas said. “It takes a lot to get over that. It would have been close, but I know I would have had first or second.”Darius’ father Jack Thomas, a former high school and college track standout himself, was right there for support.

“He was actually favored to win the 800,” said Jack, who is Western Illinois University’s Provost and Academic Vice President. “But coming down to it, neck and neck with the guy who won it, he tripped at the finish line. I said, ‘Hey, what you have to do is show that you can come back. You’ve got to keep your composure.’ He came back the next morning and won the 1500.”

After gaining more of an interest in the sport when he moved from Tennessee to Macomb in 2008, Darius said performing under pressure hasn’t been an issue. The youngster has recently been exposed to enough competitive meets.In late July, Darius won both the 800 and the 1500 at the Russell Blunt East Coast Invitational at Duke University.

“At first I would get nervous, but when you get on the track, it’s like you’re the only one out there,” Darius said. “You really don’t notice the others running with you.”Darius earlier boosted his résumé when he set a state record in winning the 800 and placed second in the mile at the 2009 IESA State Meet this past spring. He also placed second in his age group in both the 800 and the 1500 at the USA Outdoor Youth Track and Field Championships in Ypsilanti, Mich. more than a month ago.

“I think the USA Outdoors meet opened the floodgates for Darius,” Jack said. “He was running against the top runners in his age group. Even though he didn’t win, he saw that he could compete with them.”
Asked if he could pinpoint any certain strategy that helps him on the track, Darius said, “I won’t know until I run.”But what Darius does know is that keeping his body in shape is key. He’ll be participating on the Macomb High cross country team this fall.

“I’m bad at practicing, so I’m going to use cross-country to work on my form. It’s going to be like conditioning,” he said. “It builds my base so that I can have a lot of endurance and keep my speed for a long time.”


Big summer for Hall, others

Originally found at www.courierpostonline.com
Written by Gus Ostrum

Several South Jersey track and cross country stars — including Haddonfield senior Marielle Hall in the Junior Olympics AAU meets — turned in impressive performances this summer.Hall, a Group 2 state champion in the 800-meter and 1,600-meter events this past spring for the Lady Bulldawgs, won the young women’s division titles in the 3,000 meters (9:56.10) and the 1,500 meters (4:33.62) at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics in Greensboro, N.C., in early August.
“My primary goals in running the summer races were to work on improving my times and staying in shape,” Hall said. “I’m looking forward to helping our cross country team this season and to keep lowering my times.”

Regarding her summer activities, consider it mission accomplished for Hall. Her sparkling performances, in fact, caught the attention of Sports Illustrated, which featured Hall in its “Faces in the Crowd” section in its Aug. 17 edition.Hall came into her own in the South Jersey Group 2 track championship races at Buena High in May. Her times in the 800 (2:12.44), 1,600 (4:53.88) and 3,200 (10:52.32) races earned her top seeds for all three events in the Group 2 state championships at South Plainfield the following weekend.

In the state championship meet, she broke two of records of Olympian Erin Donahue — a Haddonfield graduate — to place first in both the 800 and 1,600 events.Hall also ran in the World Youth Trials in Michigan in July and qualified for the World Youth Championships, held in Northern Italy, also in July.”It’s been a productive summer and I’m ready for my senior year,” added Hall, who is undecided about her college choice.

Other South Jersey stars also performed well in the Greensboro meet. They included Oakcrest graduate Nijgia Snapp, who placed third in the AAU Junior Olympics 1,500 meters in 4:58.12 and was second in the 800 in 2:12.36. Snapp, a Group 4 state champion in the 400 meters and a star 800-meter performer, will run for Seton Hall’s track program this coming season.

In the Young Men’s 400 meters AAU race in Greensboro, Egg Harbor’s Harold Lathan clocked a time of 53.02 to finish second in the 400 meters. Winslow sophomore Stey’ce McNeil placed ninth in the Young Women’s low hurdles in 14.59 and was third in the 400 meters in a time of 55.15.
In the AAU Junior Olympics held at Drake University in Iowa in early August, South Jersey witnessed a rising star in the making in Washington Township’s Trae Brown. The Bunker Hill Middle School student, running for Trinity Track Club, captured a bronze medal in the 400 meters (Youth Division) in a swift time of 51.10 seconds. The winner of the race was Baton Rouge’s (Louisiana) Jason Cole in 49.58.
Brown, an eighth grader at Bunker Hill School, also competed in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4×400 meter events for the Trinity Track Club, which is based in Blackwood. He is undecided as to where he will attend high school once he graduates middle school.


Spring youth earn all-American honors

Originally found at www.hcnonline.com
Written by Community Reports

The Texas Stallions Youth Track Club ended its season on a high note.

While no medals were earned this year at the Amateur Athletic Union’s (AAU) Junior Olympics, one athlete was named a National Elite Youth All-American and three athletes were named to National Elite Youth Honor Roll.

“These accomplishments are impressive in that the entire Stallion’s Junior Olympic team and National Youth Elite Ranking System selections are first time track and field competitors,” said assistant coach Lavoxkeia Carnes, “These athletes are among the best of the best and are ranked against all track and field athletes in their age group in the AAU, USA Track & Field and CYO”.

Seven of the nine qualifying athletes competed in the 2009 Junior Olympic Championships in Des Moines, IA where 8,199 athletes representing 42 states and Washington D.C. were in attendance.

The Stallions Junior Olympic team consisted of Lavoxkeia Carnes, Brittany Collins, Christopher Collins, Freddie Moore, Harrison Moore, LaKayla LaFrance and Lamont Grow.

“I’m pleased with the way all of our athletes competed. They worked hard and gave everything they had. This was a new experience for all of them. I am so proud of them. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish next year,” said head coach Paul Durisseau.

All American Lavoxkeia lead the team by finishing 10th in the Primary Girls 400-meter dash with a personal best of 1:11.68. Lavoxkeia was also named on the Honor Roll in the Long Jump for her regional record-breaking jump of 11 feet, 4 1/4 inches.

Harrison Moore a primary boy finished 13th in the long jump at the Junior Olympics, was named on the Honor Roll for his Gold Medal jump of 11 feet, 11 3/4 inches at the Regional Championships in July.

Midget girl, Zhanna Brooks, qualified for the Junior Olympics, but did not compete was also named on the Honor Roll in the 1500-meter race walk for her debuting race at district with a time of 10:33.26.

“We also want to thank our sponsors, without them some of our athlete’s would not have been able to attend,” said assistant coach James Carnes. “Sponsors for the team included West Tabernacle Church, Wellness QB, Robert Harris Realty and many others. We would like to thank everyone for the contributions given to help the Stallions complete a very successful season.”