Sunday, November 29, 2015

Training Advice from Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan

Relax your way to success: Training Advice from Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan HERE.

Spear Chucking: How Mac Wilkins Became a Discus Thrower

Last week the European Javelin Symposium was held in Finland.  If you've ever been to a big meet in Scandinavia you know how much the fans and the athletes appreciate the event.  While it was a big surprise that this year a Kenyan won the gold and an Egyptian the silver in the men's javelin, it was no surprise that their coach is a Finn.

The takeaway theme from the Symposium was that concentrating on technique is currently believed to be the way to achieve the best results in the event.  That brings up a story 1976 Olympic champion in the discus, Mac Wilkins told last year at the Minnesota track coaches clinic.  We had been talking about his early career and Mac noted that he started as a javelin thrower.

More accurately, the javelin appeared to be his best event.  When he got to Oregon, it looked like his future would be in the javelin.  The javelin was his "natural" event, said Wilkins, and is the toughest field event in terms of what it requires from your body.  Javelin throwers put their entire body to work in launching the spear.  It was Wilkins' technique, or should I say, defects in that technique, that ended his "spear chucking" career.

His sophomore year, he was out throwing with his coach, Bill Bowerman, observing when his elbow "blew."  There was no "Tommy John surgery"/repair back then in the early '70s, said Wilkins, so, instead of being Olympic champion in the javelin, Mac continued his career as a discus thrower and shot putter.   He won national championships in both events, but the discus was where he had the most success. He began beating the top discus throwers in the world.

One of them, Sweden's Ricky Bruch, invited Mac to come to Europe and throw on the circuit.  Bruch figured that an American competing with the Europeans would increase the visibility of the event and that both he and Wilkins could get more money from the meet promoters.

On May 1, 1976, Mac broke the world record for the event three times.  He went on to defeat his friend and rival, the GDR's Wolfgang Schmidt, in Montreal for the Olympic gold medal.  Not bad for spear chucker.

Shot Put Olympic Champ Adam Nelson Writes about Athlete Rights and How to Grow the Sport

Shot Put Olympic Champ Adam Nelson Writes about Athlete Rights and How to Grow the Sport HERE.

Wayzata Earns at Large Bid to NXN

List of At Large teams HERE.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lance Elliott's Lifetime Fitness 5K Photo Gallery

Lance Elliott's Lifetime Fitness 5K Photo Gallery  HERE.

Updated: Abbabiya Simbassa and Heather Kampf Lead the Way in the Lifetime Fitness 5K

Team USA's Abbabiya Simbassa won the men's race(14:44) and Heather Kampf the women's(17:11) in the Lifetime Fitness 5K.
Results are HERE

At least one issue with the results.  The number worn by Joe Klecker(1294) is listed as third place, but the name associated with the number is "Bridger Pavelka,"  and the photos show Klecker finishing second.  A Joseph Klecker, who is listed with race #1293, is credited with 25th place overall and a time of 17:13.

Second place finisher with the  name Javier Escobado was a Masters runner in the area in 2013 who was not fast enough to run the time listed.  And this year's Javier Escobado lists a California adddress.  In short, there are some issues with  the accuracy of the results posted.

Bates, Van Beek, and Peyton in Top Ten at Manchester Road Race

Emma Bates finished third in 24:44; Maddie Van Beek fourth in 25:04; and Meghan Peyton was ninth in 25:26 at the 4.748 Mile Manchester Road Race.
Full Race Results are HERE

Happy Thanksgiving

Excuse Me.  What day is this?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NCAA DII Indoor Track Pre-Season Rankings

More Recruiting Updates

Strib Feature/Interview with Heidi Keller Miler

Strib feature/interview on Heidi Keller Miler HERE.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November. 25, 1985: A Day of Triumph and Tragedy

This article, since updated, was originally published in the April-May 1996 issue of TAC Times.
By Chris Celichowski

Thirty autumns ago, Monday, November 25, 1985, a slate grey sky hung over Dretzka Park in Milwaukee. As it had many cold November days before, nearby Lake Michigan pumped icy, moist air through skin into bone. For Minnesotan Bonnie Sons, the weather foreshadowed a tragedy whose memory three decades later still casts a melancholy pall over her heart.

Seven cross country runners from Iowa State University had just conquered the elements, their opponents, and their own limitations to earn second place at the 1985 NCAA Division I National Cross Country Championships. But runners Sheryl Maas, Julie Rose and Sue Baxter, coaches Ron Renko and Pat Moynihan, and student trainer Stephanie Streit could not outrun Fate. Hours after living out their dreams, they died before creating new visions, victims of a tragic plane crash.
ISU’s 1985 NCAA CC Championship runner-up team.
Front row, from left, Tami Prescott (Colby) and Julie Rose.
Back row, Charlene Elyea (Lentzring), Sheryl Maas, Bonnie Sons,
Sue Baxter and Jill Winter (Slettedahl). (Photo Geraldine Sons).

For Bonnie Sons and the remaining members of the Cyclone women’s cross country team, 30 years have scarcely dulled the sharp pain of that day. Sons, the 1983 Class A two-mile champion from Central High in Norwood, was a junior at Iowa State and the Cyclones’ top finisher at the national meet. She now lives in Shorewood, Minnesota, and runs for Team Run ‘N Fun in local and regional road races. Three decades later, details of the race have become a blur, yet the crash remains a vivid specter.

"When I eulogized Ron [Renko] at the ISU memorial service, I called it ‘A day of triumph and tragedy.’ I guess that’s the way I’ll always remember it," Sons said.
Ron Renko

The second-place finish at the Division I meet capped a tremendous year for Sons and her ISU teammates. With "Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride" as the team anthem, the Cyclone lady harriers won ISU’s fourth Big Eight CC Championship in Renko’s seven seasons. They captured their fourth consecutive NCAA Region V title. Although Renko coached ISU to an AIAW national title in 1981, the team’s finish in the ‘85 NCAA meet marked the school’s best finish in that meet. He did it with only one all-American finisher (Sons) and a pack of strong, determined young women, including: Tami Prescott (Colby), Charlene Elyea (Lentzring), Julie Rose, Sue Baxter, Cheryl Maas, and Jill Winter (Slettedahl).

After the meet, Sons and her excited teammates returned to the hotel, dressed, packed and left immediately for the airport.

"Normally, we would eat after we showered, then return to Ames. But that day, Ron decided we would have a dinner celebration when we got back to Ames," Sons recalled. "We never got to celebrate."

Iowa State owned three seven-seat Rockwell AeroCommanders, operated by university pilots. The Cyclone basketball team needed the planes the same day. The men’s cross country team got on one plane, and a few remaining members of the men’s team got on the second plane.  Sons boarded the third plane with Maas, Rose, Baxter, Renko, Moynihan, Streit and pilot Burt Watkins. Elyea and Winter drove home to Iowa and Minnesota, respectively, with their parents. After Sons placed her bag on the third plane and took her seat, the pilot of the second plane, Bill Brock, asked Sons, who earned her license during her first two years of college, if she wanted to ride in the co-pilot’s seat of the second plane. She accepted the invitation and took her bag to the second plane. Brock, needing to fill his plane, also asked Tami Prescott to join them. She left her bag on the third plane.  Brock’s invitations saved, and forever changed, Sons’ and Prescott’s lives.

When the three planes left Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, the pilots knew a wall of bad weather stood between them and Ames. As they cruised above the clouds in pristine stillness, weather forecasters from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told them the wall contained a mixture of sleet, ice and snow. They advised the ISU planes to divert from landing at the small municipal airport in Ames and land in Des Moines, a larger airport equipped with an Instrument Landing System which would aid the pilots’ landing in bad weather.

As they approached the Des Moines airport, the three planes were in frequent contact with the tower and each other. The first plane landed. Sons’ plane, the second one, began its approach. The third plane followed them about 10 or 15 minutes behind.

"I’ve never been so terrified in my life," Sons recalls. Outside, the mixture of precipitation made visibility nearly impossible and the sky’s ceiling was too close to the ground. "I was gripping the front dash of the plane. Bill asked me to look out the front window and guide him. When I finally saw the landing lights, I told him we were already over the runway and not too far off the ground. We landed long on the runway, but safely. When we got out of the plane, the ground was like a skating rink."

They went to a nearby fixed base operator (FBO), joined the occupants of the first plane, and waited for the third plane. Ten minutes passed, then 15. As they waited, they could not hear the exchange between Burton Watkins, the pilot of the third plane, and the Des Moines tower:
Watkins: OK, we’re cleared to land. [Other radio traffic.] Des Moines. Five eight nine. I seem to have some real trouble here...ah, I’m, ah...I’m in severe turbulence.
Tower: Commander five eight niner, Roger, ah, can you climb and maintain three thousand feet?
Watkins: I’m trying, but I’m not doing very well.
Tower: Commander five eight niner, Roger, ah, fly heading three six zero, if able climb and maintain three thousand feet. [Delay.] He’s losing it.
Approach: What’s the problem?
Tower: He’s getting severe turbulence.
Watkins: I can’t do anything. I’m in the trees now.
Tower: Commander five eight niner, Des Moines. [Delay.] AeroCommander five eight niner, Des Moines! [Delay.] I think he crashed.

After 25 minutes, a nervous pilot Bill Brock called the tower to check on the status of the third plane. When he returned to the FBO, the waiting runners and coaches saw Brock’s ashen face and learned the third plane went down. It had crashed in a sparsely wooded residential area, slamming into a homeowner’s front lawn on Country Club Boulevard, less than three miles from the airport. Maas, Rose, Baxter, Renko, Moynihan, Streit and pilot Watkins died immediately. So did a part of each remaining member of the Cyclone women’s cross country team.

The crash occurred while Sons’ parents, Tom and Geraldine, drove from Milwaukee to their farm in rural Norwood, Minnesota. They stopped for dinner and Tom Sons called his son, Greg, to check on the farm. Fortunately, Bonnie called Greg soon after she found out about the crash. He told his parents about the crash and told them Bonnie was okay. When they got in the car after supper, they turned on WCCO. Details of the crash led the news.

"I still don’t know what made me get off that plane..." Sons said softly. "It scares me to this day--’Why did I get off that plane?’" After a moment lost in thought, her suddenly empty expression disappeared and she continued. "It’s made me realize you better enjoy each day you have, because you don’t know when..." Words failed, but her emotion completed the sentence.

For Sons, losing Renko and her teammates marked the end of a chapter in her running career and her life. "We [Sons and her surviving teammates] tried to put it behind us, but it was very hard," she said. "For certain, the crash affected our track season the following spring." Even today, she finds it hard to talk about the experience.

"There was and will always be a void there. It was like losing my family. At school they were my family. When I got to Ames I knew nobody. Then all of a sudden we lost two coaches and three teammates." The mother of four knows the loss experienced by the parents of the three runners and two coaches was worse than the loss she and her teammates experienced. She reflected, "To have them snatched in the prime of their lives must have been very hard to take."

Sons remembers Anoka native Renko as an outgoing, intelligent and intense coach who knew how to motivate his charges. "Ron could convince you that you could do anything. He convinced me, this skinny, little farm girl from Norwood, Minnesota, that I could run with the best--that I could be one of them."

When Dickens wrote the immortal beginning lines of "A Tale of Two Cities," "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," he could have been writing about November 25, 1985. It was a day of triumph and tragedy. A day when Fate stilled seven Cyclones.

More on Effects of Caffeine Use and Endurance Performance

More on effects of caffeine use and endurance performance HERE

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Anatomy of a Championship

UW Eau Claire coach Dan Schwamberger describes their championship season and how they put it together on race day.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Updated: Josh Thorsen Leads UW Eau Claire to NCAA Men's DIII Title; St. Olaf 4th

Josh Thorsen finished second to lead UW Eau Claire to the team title in the NCAA DIII Men's race.  St. Olaf's Jake Campbell(5th) and Paul Escher(6th) helped St. Olaf to a fourth place finish. Carleton's Hart Horner was 7th and Bethel's  Matt Berens 9th.
Luther's Tyler Broadwell 82nd.
Full results are HERE.

Updated: Ruth Steinke 5th to Lead Carleton to 17th in NCAA DIII Women's XC Champs

Carleton's Ruth Steinke 5th to lead the team  to 17th in NCAA DIII women's XC Champs. St. Thomas 26th and St Olaf 27th in team race.  Macalester's Kimber Meyer 30th.  Bethel's Annika Halverson 32nd.

Full results are HERE

Updated NCAA DII Women:U-Mary's Lexi Zeis Wins Individual Title; UMD 7th in Team Race

Updated: U-Mary's Lexi Zeis Wins Individual Title; UMD 7th, U-Mary 12th, and Augustana 13th in Team Race

Full results HERE.

Updated: Augustana 7th, MSU Moorhead 21st in Men's DII NCAA XC Champs

Augustana 7th, MSU Moorhead 21st in Men's DII NCAA XC Champs

Full results HERE.

Updated: Gopher Men 19th at NCAAs

SDSU's Trent Lusignan 24th. Michigan's Mason Ferlic 67th.

"It was a tough day for Mason," Michigan coach Kevin Sullivan explained. "His goal coming in was to be a top-10 performer today and the pace was really, really hot from the gun. He made an effort to go with the leaders and really only faded in the last half mile, otherwise we would have seen another All-American performance. This was a testament to his season though, he wanted to be top 10, and he had to put everything out there in order to be there and he came up a little short. But I think after reflecting on the disappointment of not finishing where you want to, it was better for him to try and be in that positon than to settle for 30th or 40th place."

Results are HERE

Updated: Gopher Women 18th at NCAA XC Champs; Shakopee/Virginia's Maria Hauger 176th


Maria Hauger 176th.  Hauger's stats HERE.

Friday, November 20, 2015

MN Attorney General Takes Action Against Mud Run Series Owner

Minnesota Attorney General is taking action against a St. Cloud resident, Frrederick Kellogg, who is charged with  violation of Minnesota’s charitable solicitation and consumer protection laws and for deceptive trade practices.  Runner's World article is HERE

Gopher Women's NCAA Preview

Video Look at the NCAA DI Course

More Recruiting News

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gophers Adam Zutz Male USATF MN AOW

Gopher Men Use " Homegrown Talent" at NCAAs

NCAA DIII XC Champs Preview

US Olympic Trials Marathon Course Revealed

Gophers Liz Berkholtz is USATF MN AOM