Category: Athletics and Track & Field

Badeaux Declares Retirement from Position as Head Track & Field Coach

Badeaux Declares Retirement from Position as Head Track & Field Coach

In Lafayette, Louisiana, Lon Badeaux, head coach of the Louisiana track and field program for 12 seasons, has officially announced his immediate retirement, effective this Monday.

Throughout his tenure as head coach of the Ragin’ Cajuns, Badeaux mentored an impressive roster, producing 17 All-Americans, including notable athletes such as Albert Fournette, Jasmine Manuel, Maria Bienvenu (a two-time All-American), and Morgann Leleux, the 2016 NCAA DI women’s pole vault runner-up and an alternate on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team. Badeaux earned accolades as the LSWA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2022, and the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2012.

Noteworthy achievements from the past season include the Cajuns’ second-place finish at the Sun Belt Conference Indoor Championships for the men, followed by a third-place finish in the Outdoor Championships—only the second time the men secured top-three positions in both meets since 2000. The team sent five student-athletes, including Maria Bienvenu and the men’s 4×100-meter relay team, to the national championships.

The women’s team, under Badeaux’s guidance, set seven school records, with Sophie Daigle securing second place in the SBC and becoming the first female cross country runner to qualify for nationals. A total of 24 outdoor and 23 indoor records were shattered during Badeaux’s coaching tenure.

Expressing his gratitude, Badeaux said, “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve as the head track and field coach of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.” Acknowledging the demanding nature of building a successful program, he emphasized the need to prioritize personal life and health after 12 seasons. Despite stepping back, Badeaux takes pride in the recent achievements and leaves the program with optimism for its future.

As an All-American pole vaulter at Louisiana from 1992-94, 96, Badeaux coached 75 Sun Belt Conference champions and 279 All-Sun Belt Conference selections since his return to his alma mater in the 2011-12 season.

Dr. Bryan Maggard, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, expressed appreciation for Badeaux’s service and wished him success in the next chapter of life. Badeaux, who spent 12 seasons at Arkansas State before taking the helm at Louisiana, coached 69 Sun Belt Conference champions and 19 national qualifiers with the Red Wolves. Assistant coach Tommy Badon, working under Badeaux since 2018, has been appointed interim head coach.

Reference:

https://www.katc.com/sports/ul-sports/badeaux-announces-retirement-as-head-track-field-coach

https://bradleybraves.com/news/2023/11/2/bradley-soccer-head-coach-jim-derose-announces-retirement-after-28-seasons.aspx

2024 Indoor Track & Field Schedule Unveiled

2024 Indoor Track & Field Schedule Unveiled

LAKE CHARLES – Head Coach Brendon Gilroy has unveiled the much-anticipated 2024 indoor schedule for McNeese’s track and field men’s and women’s programs as the new year approaches. The schedule features two key home collegiate meets, emphasizing an exciting start to the season.

To kick off the campaign, the McNeese Cowboys and Cowgirls will showcase their talents at both the McNeese College Indoor I and the LSU Purple Tiger meets on January 12, commencing at 11 a.m. The teams will be competing separately but aiming for collective success.

Following this, the blue and gold athletes will return to their home turf for the second home meet on January 25-26, marking the fourth meet of the season. Prior to this event, they will participate in the Samford Individual on January 18-19, setting the stage for a thrilling competition.

As the regular season unfolds, the teams will embark on a road trip, participating in the Vanderbilt Music City Invite on February 9, followed by the LSU Twilight Meet on February 16.

The climax of the indoor season awaits the Cowboys and Cowgirls on February 25-26, as they journey to the Southland Conference Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, aiming for excellence on the grand stage.

For a detailed overview of the men’s and women’s schedules, refer to the information provided here.

Reference:

https://mcneesesports.com/news/2023/11/20/mens-track-and-field-track-field-releases-2024-indoor-schedule.aspx

https://southernmiss.com/news/2023/11/20/track-field-cross-country-track-and-field-releases-2024-schedule

Unveiling the 2023-24 Track & Field Schedule for the Mountaineers.

Unveiling the 2023-24 Track & Field Schedule for the Mountaineers.

In Boone, North Carolina, App State’s Director of Track & Field/Cross Country, Damion McLean, revealed the anticipated 2023-24 schedules for women’s indoor and men’s & women’s outdoor events this Monday. This spring, the Black and Gold teams will showcase their prowess by hosting a high school meet and the App State Open at the Randy Marion Track & Field Facility.

Women’s Indoor Track & Field Schedule

The women’s indoor track & field team is set for an exciting season with three visits to the JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem. Key dates include competitions on December 2 for the Visit Winston-Salem College Kick-Off, January 13 for the Mondo College Invitational, and January 26-27 for the Camel City Invitational. On January 19-20, the Mountaineers will participate in the Brant Tolsma Invitational hosted by Liberty in Lynchburg, VA. Other highlights include appearances at the Virginia Tech Doc Hale Invitational in Blacksburg, VA (Feb. 2-3) and the VMI Winter Classic in Lexington, VA (Feb. 9-10). The journey continues with the Sun Belt Indoor Track & Field Championships in Birmingham, AL (Feb. 19-20), followed by the NCAA Indoor Championships scheduled for March 8-9 in Boston, MA.

Men’s & Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Schedule

The outdoor season kicks off on March 15-16 with the Lenoir-Rhyne Open in Hickory. The team will then venture to South Carolina for the Weems Baskin Relays (March 22-23) in Columbia, S.C. and Raleigh, N.C. for N.C. State’s Raleigh Relays (March 28-30). Returning to Boone, the team will host a high school meet at the Randy Marion Track & Field Facility on April 6.

Continuing the outdoor journey, the Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational awaits on April 12-13 in Hickory. On April 19-20, the team will divide its efforts between the Georgia Tech Invitational and Wake Forest Invitational. The App State Open is scheduled for April 26-27 before the final showdown at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships in Monroe, LA (May 9-11).

As the season progresses, eyes will be on the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Lexington, KY (May 22-25), leading to the grand finale at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on June 5-8 in Eugene, OR. Additionally, the USATF Olympic Trials are set to take place in Eugene, OR, from June 21-30, adding an extra layer of excitement to an already thrilling season.
Reference:

https://appstatesports.com/news/2023/11/20/womens-track-field-mountaineers-release-2023-24-track-field-schedule.aspx https://infinitenews.biz.id/mountaineers-release-2023-24-track-and-field-schedule/ https://bvmsports.com/2023/11/14/west-virginia-university-2023-24-indoor-track-field-season-schedule-and-championships/

Syracuse parts ways with Coach Dino Babers after an 8-year tenure, marked by only 2 successful seasons.

“Syracuse parts ways with Coach Dino Babers after an 8-year tenure, marked by only 2 successful seasons.”

Syracuse bid farewell to Coach Dino Babers on Sunday after an eight-year tenure with the Orange that saw only two bowl appearances.

Babers, with an overall record of 41-55 and a 20-45 standing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, experienced a standout season in 2018 when the Orange achieved a 10-3 record, concluding at No. 15 in the AP Top 25. However, the subsequent seasons failed to match that success, with only a 7-6 record in 2022 marking his other winning season.

Despite having one season remaining on his contract, the specific terms were not disclosed by the private school.

Athletic director John Wildhack expressed gratitude, stating, “I appreciate everything Dino, his wife Susan, and their family have done over the last eight years for Syracuse Athletics, Syracuse University, and most importantly, our student-athletes.”

The decision came after the Orange dropped to 5-6 with a 31-22 loss to Georgia Tech. To secure bowl eligibility, they now need a win at home against Wake Forest in the upcoming game. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile will step in as interim head coach for the final game.

Syracuse recruited Babers from Bowling Green in 2015, where he had a successful stint with an 18-9 record and a Mid-American Conference championship.

While Babers initially brought a wide-open, fast-paced offense, he had to adapt his style over the years. Syracuse struggled to find a consistent formula for success, with challenges exacerbated by evolving transfer rules and changes in players’ ability to earn money through name, image, and likeness.

Babers, earlier in the season, expressed concern about the team’s depth being affected by players entering the transfer portal.

Syracuse has faced difficulty achieving success since joining the ACC in 2013, with only three winning seasons and five since their last 10-win season in 2001 while in the Big East.
Reference:

https://www.wralsportsfan.com/syracuse-coach-dino-babers-fired-after-8-years-with-school-just-2-winning-seasons/21158006/

https://www.beloitdailynews.com/fastbreak-syracuse-coach-dino-babers-fired-after-8-years-with-school-just-2-winning-seasons/article_655259be-8745-11ee-907d-17b679516c98.html

The Las Vegas Grand Prix now stands as the contemporary equivalent of the Super Bowl.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix now stands as the contemporary equivalent of the Super Bowl.

The narrative surrounding Formula One’s revitalized Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday night hinted at a spectrum ranging from catastrophe to disappointment, largely fueled by the repeated declarations of F1’s top driver, Max Verstappen, in the lead-up.

Verstappen emphasized that the race was “99-per-cent show and 1-per-cent sporting event,” expressing concerns that drivers were being portrayed as “clowns.” He stressed the importance of conveying the true essence of the sport to fans.

With Verstappen adding his voice to the skepticism, every glitch during rehearsals was magnified as a potential disaster. Challenges, such as negotiating fees with trackside restaurants, constructing grandstands causing traffic chaos, and a loose maintenance-hole cover during the first night’s practice, were highlighted, with costs reportedly soaring to a staggering US$700 million.

What ties these challenges together? Media coverage.

Five years ago, Formula One lost its U.S. broadcast partner and transitioned to ESPN, which acquired the rights for free. The landscape shifted when Netflix’s docuseries, “Drive to Survive,” turned F1 drivers into charismatic figures, resonating with a younger audience.

Race-car drivers, traditionally aware of their performative role, understand the connection between performance, sponsor appeal, and longevity in the sport. F1 now boasts the youngest fan base (average age: 32) among major leagues, capitalizing on the sports-content boom with no pretense of sporting scruples.

If F1 falters in the U.S., it could easily relocate to the United Arab Emirates, benefiting from its lack of a fixed home stadium and thus no entrenched constituency.

Las Vegas embodies the flip side of this success story, transforming from a sports pariah to hosting an NFL team, an NHL champion, and potentially an MLB team. F1 and Vegas epitomize 21st-century sports trends – content creation and the influx of legalized gambling money.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix, positioned as a potential failure, defied expectations with its impeccable aesthetics, blurring the line between reality and video games. Unlike typical F1 races, this event was rife with incidents and controversy, elevating it to a major championship level.

The rivalry between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, spiced up with post-race comments, adds a scripted yet compelling layer to F1. In a period of relative calm in the global sports calendar, the Las Vegas Grand Prix emerges as a new Super Bowl, boasting glamour, a strong sense of place, recognizable figures, and a keen focus on monetizing attention. It epitomizes the distilled essence of sports business, now a present reality rather than a vaguely understood future.
Reference:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/article-the-las-vegas-grand-prix-has-become-the-new-super-bowl/

https://newchinaenergy.biz.id/the-las-vegas-grand-prix-was-the-new-super-bowl/

Quaker Valley sports enthusiasts prioritize sportsmanship during WPIAL summit.

Quaker Valley sports enthusiasts prioritize sportsmanship during WPIAL summit.

Quaker Valley’s athletic prowess took center stage at the 14th annual WPIAL Summit on Sportsmanship, held on November 8 at the Senator John Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum. Over 400 student-athletes from schools across Western Pennsylvania convened for this event, sponsored by The Wilson Group and the WPIAL sportsmanship committee.

Representing Quaker Valley were seniors Zach Djedid (football, basketball, track & field), Katelyn Clark (volleyball), Bennett Haas (soccer), Madison Chapman (basketball), Gavin Fallgren (baseball), and Taylor Cupelli (lacrosse), accompanied by Mike Mastroianni and Christina Johns from the QV athletic office.

Djedid, a versatile 17-year-old three-sport athlete, found the summit to be a valuable learning experience. He appreciated the insights shared by former athletes and coaches on the significance of respect and sportsmanship, particularly recalling a speaker’s anecdote about treating the garbage man with kindness and gratitude.

For Djedid, football holds a special place, and he aspires to continue his career at a Division III college, majoring in cybersecurity. Inspired by his older brother Abe, a former Quaker Valley football standout, Djedid strives to match and even surpass his sibling’s achievements.

Clark, a standout 5-foot-11 middle hitter on the QV girls volleyball team, expressed her enjoyment of the event. A first-team all-section selection and third-team WPIAL 2A all-star, the 17-year-old found the speakers’ messages motivational and eye-opening. Her college plans involve majoring in chemistry, with applications to several East Coast schools.

The summit covered various topics related to sportsmanship in athletics, and the WPIAL recognized the winners of the 2022-2023 WPIAL Sportsmanship Award, presented by The Wilson Group. Armstrong, Elizabeth Forward, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, and South Fayette were among the recipients.

Attendees also engaged with the WPIAL Equity Council for Diversity & Inclusion and explored the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, identifying “Game Changers” during the tour. Djedid’s Game Changer was leaving an impact on the field through good sportsmanship and respect for the opposing team.

The event featured a lineup of distinguished speakers, including retired athletic director Dan Cardone, marketing manager Alaina Ferry, and rules analyst for CBS Sports Gene Steratore, among others. Topics ranged from sportsmanship in athletics to diversity and inclusion, providing a comprehensive and enriching experience for the attending student-athletes.
Reference:

https://tribhssn.triblive.com/quaker-valley-athletes-focus-on-sportsmanship-at-wpial-summit/

Runner Caster Semenya rejects the intersex label and opposes compulsory medical interventions.

Runner Caster Semenya rejects the “intersex” label and opposes compulsory medical interventions.

Cis lesbian South African runner Caster Semenya has made it clear that she does not identify as intersex in a compelling essay published in The New York Times, adapted from her upcoming memoir, “The Race to be Myself.” The two-time Olympic gold medalist emphatically states, “That identity doesn’t fit me; it doesn’t fit my soul. I know I look like a man. I know I sound like a man and maybe even walk like a man and dress like one, too. But I’m not a man; I’m a woman. I’m a different kind of woman, I know, but I’m still a woman.”

Semenya, a cisgender South African Olympic gold medalist, has been engaged in a lengthy battle against World Athletics’ discriminatory regulations. She has been assigned female at birth, raised as a girl, and consistently identified as a woman. Her struggle to compete alongside other female athletes in elite track and field events, including the Olympics, began in 2009 when it was revealed that she was born with differences in sex development (DSD).

The piece elaborates on her experience of being subjected to medical testing at the age of 18, prompted by speculations regarding her sex and gender by fellow athletes, sports officials, the media, and fans in advance of the 2009 Berlin World Championships. The results of these tests, which were leaked to the media that same year, disclosed that she had XY chromosomes instead of the typical female XX pairing and elevated testosterone levels resulting from undescended testicles she was unaware of. She was advised to undergo surgery to remove them if she wanted to continue competing as a woman.

Semenya reveals that she declined to have the surgery, as she was healthy, cherished her body, and saw it as the source of her success. She questioned why she should modify her body to conform to someone else’s rules. Instead, she chose to take medication to artificially lower her body’s natural testosterone levels to meet the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF, now World Athletics) requirements for female athletes, despite potential side effects that made her feel unwell.

Throughout this period, she endured ongoing scrutiny and was subjected to derogatory labels. Despite the challenges, she remained steadfast in her self-identity, stating, “I wasn’t going to take on an identity that did not fit my soul because some doctors had taken my blood and images of my organs. I was not a hermaphrodite or anything other than a woman.”

In 2015, inspired by Indian runner Dutee Chand’s successful challenge against the IAAF’s requirement to artificially lower her testosterone levels, Semenya ceased taking the medication and continued to compete in prestigious events.

In 2018, the IAAF introduced new regulations that prevented Semenya from competing against other women in her events, which were further expanded and made stricter in subsequent years. She criticizes the IAAF for allowing natural physical advantages in some athletes while compelling her to modify her own body.

She also highlights the disproportionate scrutiny faced by female athletes from Africa and Asia, who were subjected to “sex testing,” “gender verification,” or “femininity testing.” She argues that athletes like her and Dutee Chand faced public humiliation, while those who had used illegal drugs were often portrayed as victims.

Semenya additionally rejects the IAAF’s offer to allow female athletes with DSD to compete in male categories or a hypothetical category for intersex runners, as this would mean accepting discrimination and giving up her true identity.

Despite the difficulties, Semenya refuses to resume medication to lower her testosterone levels, leading to her exclusion from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. While she lost appeals to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court in previous years, she secured a significant victory in an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the recent past. The ECHR concluded that Semenya’s complaints of discrimination had not been adequately examined and ordered the Swiss government to pay her 60,000 euros for related costs and expenses. Nonetheless, the rules of World Athletics have not changed, and Semenya remains unable to compete against other elite female athletes.
Reference:

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2023/10/runner-caster-semenya-rejects-intersex-label-forced-medical-interventions/ https://www.npr.org/sections/tokyo-olympics-live-updates/2021/07/28/1021503989/women-runners-testosterone-olympics

UTSA soccer concludes its season with a final match at Park West and then heads to Rice for the regular season finale.

UTSA soccer concludes its season with a final match at Park West and then heads to Rice for the regular season finale.

San Antonio, TX – The UTSA soccer team wrapped up its final two home games of the season, going head-to-head against American Athletic Conference (AAC) opponents. In a weekend that showcased their resilience, the Roadrunners played out a goalless draw against Florida Atlantic (FAU) and fell short with a 1-0 loss to South Florida (USF).

The showdown against FAU, on Thursday, ended in a 0-0 stalemate as both teams fought fiercely but failed to break the deadlock. Although the Roadrunners had a substantial share of opportunities, including 11 set pieces, they couldn’t capitalize and put the ball past FAU’s goalkeeper.

South Florida, on the other hand, proved to be a formidable adversary. In a closely contested match, the Bulls seized a chance from a free shot. Vivianne Bassette, a skillful defender, launched the ball towards the goal, and Madison Schwartzenberger was right there to secure a vital goal for South Florida. The ball found its way to the bottom left corner of the net, sealing a 1-0 win for USF.

Despite their determined efforts, UTSA’s Jordan Walker couldn’t extend her streak of scoring for the third consecutive game against FAU. She took six shots during the match, but the ball eluded the net each time, leaving the Roadrunners without a goal.

The Roadrunners’ transition to the AAC has presented new challenges, with their home game success rate dropping from 78% at Park West Athletics Complex in their final year in Conference USA (C-USA) to 50% in the AAC. After winning the C-USA championship the previous year, this season’s performance saw them taking a step back in the conference standings.

As the regular season comes to a close, UTSA soccer is gearing up for their final challenge before the AAC Championships next week. They will face Rice in what promises to be a competitive showdown. The match against the Owls is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday at Wendel D. Ley Track & Holloway Field.

With the regular season behind them, the Roadrunners will be eager to make a strong showing in the upcoming AAC Championships, aiming to leave their mark on their inaugural season in the AAC.
Reference:

https://paisano-online.com/36958/sports/utsa-soccer-plays-final-game-at-park-west-travels-to-rice-for-regular-season-finale/

https://www.utsa.edu/today/2022/11/story/2022-football-UTSA-vs-UTEP-preview.html

https://goutsa.com/news/2022/10/23/leaving-a-legacy-on-utsa-soccer

Norfolk Education Awards The Recipient of the Commitment to Sport Award Announced

Norfolk Education Awards: The Recipient of the Commitment to Sport Award Announced

The Nest, a community hub located in Horsford and affiliated with the Community Sports Foundation, has been declared this year’s recipient of the Prestigious Commitment to Sport Award, generously sponsored by The Centre of Excellence for Sport, Outdoor Leadership, and Uniformed Services at Easton College, as part of the Norfolk Education Awards.

Situated on a sprawling 22-acre property, The Nest boasts an impressive array of sports facilities, including a well-lit 3G pitch and top-notch grass football fields. Its diverse offerings cater to a wide spectrum of individuals, encompassing kids’ football courses, walking football, group fitness classes, and free running groups that prioritize mental well-being. Beyond its role as a sports facility, The Nest takes immense pride in fostering a vibrant community spirit, supporting and enriching the broader sporting community throughout Norfolk.

The panel of judges was highly impressed by The Nest’s unwavering dedication to providing sports activities for all age groups, citing strong evidence of its commitment to community engagement. The judges also underscored the pivotal role played by The Nest’s free activities centered around mental health, recognizing their growing importance in today’s society.

Reflecting on this significant achievement, Stevie Bramble, Director of Education & Programs at The Nest, expressed profound gratitude, remarking, “It means a lot for The Nest in terms of how far we’ve come in the last four to five years as a venue that started off as a derelict piece of grass. It’s really a reward for all the partners that have helped us get there.

Whether it’s those that have donated financially or those that have undertaken incredible feats like climbing mountains and running 10k races to raise funds for our development. The Nest is a venue, of course, but the magic that happens is because of the people that work with the young people that we’re engaging with.”

For additional information regarding the Norfolk Education Awards, please visit the official website. To explore more about this year’s distinguished winners, kindly follow this link.

About the Sponsor: Easton College is set to launch a groundbreaking Centre of Excellence for Sport, Outdoor Leadership, and Uniformed Services in 2024, building upon the college’s established reputation, outstanding facilities, and collaborative partnerships in these domains. The college offers a curriculum that strongly emphasizes equipping students for successful careers in the sports industry, catering to aspiring professional athletes and those interested in coaching, sports therapy, as well as various roles within sports management and administration.

The forthcoming Centre of Excellence aims to inspire success, challenge minds, and secure futures by harnessing superb facilities, sharing expertise, and cultivating robust relationships with employers in the sports, outdoor activity, and uniformed services sectors.

Finalists:

  1. Athletics Norfolk Athletics Norfolk engages in strategic collaborations with key partners to advance the realm of athletics, including track and field, road running, cross country, and disability athletics. The organization works closely with schools and delivers supplementary programs at venues across the county, such as the Quadkids athletics initiative. Additionally, they organize county championships, school championships, and open meetings throughout the year. The judges commended Athletics Norfolk for hosting open meetings that encourage aspiring athletes to explore various events, in addition to their specialized work with schools and championships.
  2. Wymondham High Academy Wymondham High Academy has established a sports department that champions inclusivity, equality, and aspirational concepts. The academy encourages students at all skill levels to engage in a diverse range of activities. Furthermore, they invite professional athletes to provide inspiration and coaching to students, a program that has proved immensely popular in fostering a deep-rooted passion for sports. The judges noted Wymondham High Academy’s commitment to involving students of all abilities in various activities, also highlighting the wealth of extracurricular options offered to students.
    • Reference:
  3. https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/23869727.norfolk-education-awards-commitment-sport-winner-named/
  4. https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/applying-to-oxford/teachers/oxford-university-inspirational-teachers-award/previous-inspirational-teachers-awards
Reyes Takes Role as Senior Assoc. AD for Student Life at Pitt

Reyes Takes Role as Senior Assoc. AD for Student Life at Pitt

PITTSBURGH – Liz Reyes is the new Senior Associate AD for Student Life in the Cathy & John Pelusi Life Skills Program at the University of Pittsburgh. This announcement came from Director of Athletics Heather Lyke. Reyes joins Pitt after her role as Associate AD, Illini Way Student-Athlete Development at the University of Illinois since August 2020.

Director of Athletics Heather Lyke expressed her excitement, stating, “We are thrilled to have Liz Reyes join our leadership team at the University of Pittsburgh. She brings a strong background and experience to lead our nationally acclaimed Life Skills department. She will work alongside a talented staff dedicated to enhancing the student-athlete experience and preparing them for successful careers upon graduation from Pitt.”

Reyes will manage the Cathy & John Pelusi Life Skills Program and contribute to Lyke’s Executive and Leadership Teams. She will also focus on Pitt’s DEI initiatives through Panthers United.

Reyes shared her enthusiasm, saying, “I’m eager to work with the dedicated team in the nationally recognized Cathy & John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program. Enhancing inclusion and belonging within our Panther community is a fantastic opportunity. Let’s elevate the college experience for our Pitt Panther student-athletes!”

During her time at Illinois, Reyes oversaw the Illini Way Student-Athlete Development program, providing holistic support for Fighting Illini student-athletes in their collegiate experiences. She was also part of the leadership team of DIA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Before joining Pitt, Reyes worked with the Cleveland Browns as the Manager of Community and Alumni Relations. She also served in the Office of Student-Athlete Success at the University of Arkansas, where her roles included Assistant Director – Employer Relations for the Student-Athlete Development program.

Reyes has held positions in academic support, including Assistant Director for Academics – Football at Arkansas and Academic Counselor for Men’s and Women’s Track and Field at Baylor University. She began her career in Student-Athlete Academic Services at the University of Washington.

Reyes holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Education in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership from Washington. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Sport Management at the University of Arkansas. Additionally, Reyes serves on N4A’s Executive Team as Vice President 2 and has received scholarships and awards, including the NCAA Dr. Charles Whitcomb Leadership Institute in 2019, the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association Rudy Keeling Postgraduate Scholarship in 2018, and two scholarships from Women Leaders in Sports.
Reference:

https://pittsburghpanthers.com/news/2023/10/24/general-reyes-named-senior-associate-ad-for-life-skills-at-pitt.aspx

Prachi Yadav's Second Gold at Hangzhou Asian Para Games Fuels India's Medal Tally to 17.

Prachi Yadav’s Second Gold at Hangzhou Asian Para Games Fuels India’s Medal Tally to 17.

The Asian Para Games’ fourth edition commenced on October 22, marking the start of medal events.

India’s impressive track record at the event includes 14 medals in 2010, 33 in 2014, and a remarkable 72 in 2018. At the inaugural games in Guangzhou, India clinched just one gold medal, while that number rose to 15 in Indonesia. In Jakarta, India secured the 9th position overall in the medals tally.

Track and field have traditionally been India’s major contributor to the Asian Para Games medal count, with 60 of India’s total of 119 medals before the 2023 edition coming from athletics.

On Day 2 of the fourth edition of the Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, Indian athletes earned an additional 17 medals, comprising three gold, six silver, and eight bronze medals. Prachi Yadav, who opened India’s medal tally at the Games, secured a gold medal to accompany her earlier silver. Pistol shooter Rudransh Khandelwal also claimed his second medal of the Games.

Once again, track and field events brought joy to India with 10 medals, including a podium clean sweep in the Men’s Discus Throw-F54/55/56 category led by Neeraj Yadav. Deepthi Jeevanji secured gold in Women’s 400m-T20.

Here’s a list of India’s medalists from October 24 at the Hangzhou Asian Para Games:

Athletics:

  • Gold: Deepthi Jeevanji, Women’s 400m-T20
  • Gold: Neeraj Yadav, Men’s Discus Throw-F54/55/56
  • Silver: Yogesh Kathuniya, Men’s Discus Throw-F54/55/56
  • Silver: Simran, Women’s 100m-T12
  • Silver: Ajay Kumar, Men’s 400m-T64
  • Silver: Parmod, Men’s 1500m-T46
  • Silver: Ravi Rongali, Men’s Shot Put-F40
  • Bronze: Rakesh Bhaira, Men’s 1500m-T46
  • Bronze: Muthuraja, Men’s Discus Throw-F54/55/56
  • Bronze: Ekta Bhyan, Women’s Club Throw-F32/51

Note: Shankarappa Sharath Makanahalli finished first in a close Men’s 5000m-T13 Final, but the gold medal hasn’t yet been reflected in India’s medal tally on the official games page due to it being a two-member race.

Canoe:

Ashley Charters Officially Enshrined in the Washington Athletic Hall of Fame

Ashley Charters Officially Enshrined in the Washington Athletic Hall of Fame

Washington softball legend Ashley Charters received the prestigious honor of being formally inducted into the University of Washington Athletic Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place at the Alaska Airlines Arena within the Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Charters was among the distinguished group of athletes inducted into this year’s class, which included Ryan Brown (track & field), Steve Pelluer (football), Cody Pickett (football), Paige Mackenzie (women’s golf), Jim Smith (wrestling), Isaiah Thomas (men’s basketball), and Krista Vansant (volleyball). The 2023 class has solidified its place in the history of Husky Athletics by contributing to multiple national championships, adding to the university’s storied athletic legacy.

This remarkable class includes players from volleyball and men’s basketball, whose jerseys already hang in the rafters at Alaska Airlines Arena, two of the most successful quarterbacks in Husky Stadium’s history, an exceptional distance runner, a national college golf phenom, a key member of the 2009 softball national championship team, and a college wrestling icon.

Ashley Charters played a pivotal role in Washington’s journey to its only national championship in school history, achieved in 2009. Hailing from Beaverton, Oregon, Charters was a four-year letterwinner who became the program’s fifth-ever three-time All-American (in 2006-07 and 2009). She also earned the title of a three-time All-Pacific-Region and four-time All-Pac-10 honoree.

In addition to winning the national championship in 2009, Charters helped lead the Huskies to the Women’s College World Series in 2007, where she received WCWS All-Tournament honors in both 2007 and 2009. She left an indelible mark on the program with a UW record of 133 stolen bases, ranking third all-time in hits (315), and second in batting average (.396).

Following her illustrious career at Washington, Charters continued to make her mark on the world of softball. She represented Team USA Softball from 2009 to 2010 and went on to play in the National Fastpitch League from 2011 to 2013.

The Husky Hall of Fame was established in 1979, with new inductees named every other year in recent times. The previous class in 2021 was highlighted by “1969 – The Five Who Dared,” featuring four Washington football players and one assistant coach who used their platform to protest racial injustice during the social turbulence of the late 1960s.

The selection process for the Husky Hall of Fame includes soliciting nominations from the public. For the 2023 class, the selection committee, consisting of two Husky Hall of Fame members – Sonny Sixkiller (football) and Danielle Lawrie (softball) – along with athletic department staffers Erin O’Connell, Chip Lydum, and Jeff Bechthold, and Hall of Fame curator Dave Torrell collectively chose the new class of inductees.
Reference:

https://extrainningsoftball.com/ashley-charters-officially-inducted-into-washington-athletic-hall-of-fame/

https://gohuskies.com/news/2023/9/5/husky-hall-of-fame-welcomes-class-of-2023

Honoring student-athletes for their contributions to the community.

Honoring student-athletes for their contributions to the community.

The 2023 Utah Athletes in Service Award celebrates the dedication of student-athletes to community involvement. Within the University of Utah community, comprising students, faculty, staff, and alumni, these athletes find substantial support. In return, many of them generously contribute to our local community in diverse ways.

During the California vs. Utah football game on October 14, the Bennion Center, in partnership with U of U Athletics, presented the annual award to Summer Stanford and Madeline Woznick.

BobbiJo Kanter, Director of the Bennion Center, emphasized, “The Bennion Center promotes community engagement as an integral part of the educational experience at the U. These student-athletes are not only dedicated to excelling on the field, court, track, and pool, and maintaining demanding academic schedules, but they are also committed to making meaningful contributions to the community. Student-athletes serve as role models on our campus, reminding us all that addressing justice-related issues is essential for building strong communities.”

Summer Stanford, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in information systems and a three-time NCAA Qualifier on the Women’s Swim team, dedicates her time and energy to the UFIT program. This program is designed for children with intellectual disabilities to engage in physical activities in a fun, non-competitive environment. She is also an active volunteer at the FeedU Food Pantry, ensuring that this valuable resource remains open and accessible to those in need. Additionally, Stanford actively encourages other athletes to join her in these efforts. As a Crimson Council (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) Community Engagement Executive Member, she looks forward to helping student-athletes engage in the FeedU pantry’s efforts to combat food insecurity while seeking opportunities aligned with their passions.

Madeline “Maddie” Woznick, a fifth-year senior majoring in kinesiology with a minor in integrative human biology, holds the third fastest 100 free time in Utah history. She is also a CSAA Scholar All-American and Pac-12 All-Academic selection. Woznick is a dedicated volunteer with the UFIT program and passionately describes her experience: “Being able to help has allowed the children to feel like they can do things and show the world they aren’t ruled by their disabilities. My service has impacted my future plans because I would love to continue to work with these communities to make a difference in their lives and to make them feel like they belong.” Woznick has also contributed her time to the Utah Food Bank, Lodi Fire Foundation, and Plaza Robles High School.

Both awardees have been actively involved with the Bennion Center as well, participating in Community Partnership Programs such as UFIT and Feed U Food Pantry. They have also attended Saturday Service Projects and Service Corner events. Stanford acknowledged that “the Bennion Center is a valuable resource to help students discover opportunities for community engagement. They support a wide range of issues, including sustainability, health, youth, food insecurity, and more, offering a variety of opportunities based on various interests and levels of commitment.
Reference:

https://utahutes.com/news/2023/10/24/womens-swimming-diving-student-athletes-awarded-for-giving-back

https://www.ncaa.org/news/2022/12/2/media-center-student-athletes-give-back-to-community-at-dii-festival.aspx

Esteemed Track Coach Commemorated in a Special Ceremony

Esteemed Track Coach Commemorated in a Special Ceremony

In a heartwarming turn of events, what was initially anticipated as a typical Homecoming football game on a Friday night took a special twist as the community came together to honor Coach Jim Anderson, a legendary figure in the world of track and field. Anderson’s unwavering commitment to guiding and inspiring youth athletes led to a surprise ceremony that left him both delighted and speechless.

The centerpiece of the event was the unveiling of the brand-new “Jim Anderson Vertical Jumping Area.” This remarkable addition showcased state-of-the-art high jump and pole vault pits and standards, expertly manufactured by UCS. What’s truly remarkable is that this essential equipment was acquired through the generosity of private donations, with absolutely no cost to the Sisters School District.

Jim Anderson’s coaching journey began in Sisters back in 1994, following a successful career in teaching and coaching in Clackamas County. Throughout his tenure, he became a beloved and iconic figure in Oregon’s track and field community. Anderson, although dedicated to his craft, had no inkling of the incredible surprise that awaited him.

One enthusiastic onlooker couldn’t help but exclaim, “This was better than any surprise party, ever!”

The idea to honor Coach Anderson and replace the aging, unsafe pits had its origins in conversations among Dennis Dempsey, Sarah Thorsett, and Jim Reiss, who all contribute to coaching the high school track team. Anderson had frequently spoken about the urgent need for pit replacements. Thus, the plan to not only procure new equipment but also celebrate his legacy took shape.

Dempsey initiated the process of pricing the high-quality equipment, revealing that the cost could exceed $60,000. A turning point came when Dave Turnbull, Summit High’s coach, suggested obtaining the pits that were used at the USA National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in July at a potential discount.

Dempsey, having already secured some donors, created an account through the Sisters Schools Foundation, and funds began pouring in to cover the $39,000 required for the new pits.

On July 31, Dempsey, along with Jim Reiss, Rob Phelps, and Curt Scholl, orchestrated the transportation of the pits from Hayward Field to Sisters, where they were kept under wraps. Meanwhile, High School art teacher Bethany Gunnarson and her students crafted a sign to display on the track’s fence, as fundraising efforts continued and plans for the grand ceremony were fine-tuned.

When it came to planning the surprise ceremony, Dennis Dempsey played a clever trick on Anderson, luring him to the football game under the guise of needing assistance. In the background, Anderson’s son worked diligently to rally other family members to join the ceremony, all while keeping the secret safe.

The secrecy surrounding the event worked like a charm. As Anderson realized that the sign bearing his name was just the beginning, he was temporarily rendered speechless. Over a dozen current and former Outlaw pole vaulters and high jumpers, along with a similar number of family members, surrounded him at midfield.

Remarkably, Anderson hadn’t even noticed that a dozen of his family members were sitting just a few rows away in the stands during the first half of the game.

Raising the necessary funds was a heartwarming community effort. Families of current and former track athletes, community partners, and high school athletes themselves eagerly contributed to honor Anderson, often referred to as “the Pied Piper of Pole Vault” due to his remarkable ability to attract and nurture young athletes’ love for the sport.

During the ceremony, the athletes’ affection for Coach Anderson shone brightly. Gracie Vohs, a senior jumper and homecoming court member, rushed down the track in her dress and tiara to embrace Anderson as he made his way to midfield. This was just the first of many heartfelt hugs from the athletes he has coached and the fellow coaches he has worked with over the years.

Norah Thorsett, a sophomore vaulter, shared her sentiments, saying, “I have been vaulting with Anderson since fourth grade, and his love and commitment to track and field and the kids have truly inspired me to do my best.”

Mae Roth, a junior, added, “Not only has Coach Anderson made me fall in love with track and field, but he has shown me and so many others unconditional kindness and support. I will forever be thankful for him.”

Sarah Thorsett aptly summarized the evening, saying, “Family, community, and service are the words that came to my mind as I observed the ceremony.”

Jim Anderson, despite his impressive 86 years of age, remains resolute in his commitment to coaching middle and high school pole vaulters. He emphasized that the celebration should not be misconstrued as his retirement. Each year, he is greeted with enthusiasm from young athletes eager to learn, which fuels his enduring passion for coaching.

Reflecting on the surprise ceremony, Anderson expressed his gratitude and amazement, stating, “I was completely blown away by all of this and totally surprised. I see God’s hand all over this happening.”

He continued, “I have a lot of people to thank. It’s wonderful for me, but it means so much to the kids as well, for them to know that people are so generous and care enough about their safety and performance.”

While most of the funds have been raised, approximately $4,000 is still needed to complete this heartfelt project. Donations can be directed to the Sisters School Foundation at P.O. Box 2155, Sisters, Oregon 97759, ensuring that Coach Jim Anderson’s legacy continues to inspire future generations of athletes.
Reference:

https://www.nuggetnews.com/story/2023/10/25/sports-and-rec/beloved-track-coach-honored-in-ceremony/35742.html

https://www.bhsu.edu/about-bhsu/news-events/2022/09/BHSU2022SwarmDayshonorsalumni?image

USU Athletics Teams Up with Intermountain Health for a Suicide Prevention Workshop Featuring the Defensive Line

USU Athletics Teams Up with Intermountain Health for a Suicide Prevention Workshop Featuring the Defensive Line

Utah State, in collaboration with Intermountain Health and The Defensive Line, took a significant step in promoting suicide prevention within the world of athletics. This initiative was highlighted by a workshop and panel discussion held on a Monday evening, aimed at delivering a powerful message about the importance of suicide prevention within the athletics department.

The Defensive Line, an organization founded by Solomon Thomas, a defensive lineman for the New York Jets, played a central role in this event. Solomon, along with his parents, Chris and Martha, embarked on this mission after the tragic loss of his sister, Ella, to suicide in 2018. Their commitment to spreading the message of suicide prevention, especially within the context of young people of color, is driven by the desire to transform how society discusses and engages with mental health.

Solomon Thomas and his parents were joined by Blake Anderson, the head football coach at Utah State. Coach Anderson himself has a deeply personal connection to the cause, having tragically lost his son, Cason, to suicide in 2021. Their voices united in an hour-long panel discussion, held at the Eccles Conference Center, to raise awareness and advocate for mental health and suicide prevention.

This vital message is part of a broader mental health series known as “The Strongest Play Is Asking For Help.” It underscores the critical importance of addressing mental health concerns and seeking help when needed.

The workshop and panel also featured the active participation of Utah State student-athletes Stephen Kotsanlee from the football team and Djamilliah Paepke-Chile from women’s track & field. Alongside them, behavioral health experts from Intermountain Health lent their expertise to this crucial conversation, ensuring a well-rounded and informed discussion.

This collaborative effort not only sheds light on the significance of mental health and suicide prevention within the realm of athletics but also emphasizes the importance of open communication and support. By sharing their stories and experiences, individuals like Solomon Thomas, Chris and Martha Thomas, and Coach Blake Anderson are breaking down barriers, reducing stigma, and encouraging those in need to seek help.

As this initiative continues to gain momentum, it’s a reminder that we can all play a part in creating a supportive and compassionate community where mental health is a priority. For more updates on Utah State Athletics, fans can follow the Aggies on Twitter (@usuathletics) or on Facebook by searching for Utah State Athletics.

The event was a significant step towards creating a culture of understanding, empathy, and support within the athletics department and, by extension, the wider community.
Reference:

https://utahstateaggies.com/news/2023/10/24/general-usu-athletics-intermountain-health-host-suicide-prevention-workshop-with-the-defensive-line.aspx

https://ksltv.com/596907/utah-state-university-hosts-panel-on-suicide-prevention-for-student-athletes/

Profile of Tameka Roberts A Member of the Inaugural Hall of Fame Class at UTSA Athletics

Profile of Tameka Roberts: A Member of the Inaugural Hall of Fame Class at UTSA Athletics

UTSA Athletics is set to enshrine its inaugural Hall of Fame Class during Homecoming Weekend on October 27th and 28th. This inaugural class comprises remarkable individuals who left an indelible mark on the university’s sporting history. Among the distinguished inductees are McKenzie Adams, known for her prowess in volleyball and women’s basketball, Devin Brown, a standout in men’s basketball, Marcus Davenport, a force to be reckoned with in football, and Tameka Roberts, who excelled in women’s track and field as well as women’s basketball. In addition to these athletes, the Hall of Fame will also recognize the outstanding contributions of former head football coach Larry Coker and former athletics director Lynn Hickey.

The much-anticipated UTSA Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, October 27th. The following day, the Hall of Fame plaques will be unveiled at the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence. To cap off this celebration, the inductees will be honored on the field during the East Carolina football game at the Alamodome on Saturday afternoon.

This week, UTSA Athletics will spotlight each member of the Hall of Fame Inaugural Class. Today, we focus on the remarkable career of Tameka Roberts.

Tameka Roberts Women’s Track & Field (1995-98) Women’s Basketball (1997-98)

Tameka Roberts left an indelible mark on UTSA’s track and field program during the 1990s. This remarkable sprinter and jumper earned the title of an eight-time All-American and clinched an impressive 17 individual and relay conference titles throughout her illustrious career.

Hailing from Corpus Christi, Tameka Roberts showcased her talent on the national stage, earning three All-American accolades in 1996. She finished sixth in the long jump (6.21m) at the NCAA Indoor Championships, claimed the ninth spot in the 200 meters (23.43), and secured 11th place in the long jump (6.41m) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Her journey to All-American status began in 1995 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the long jump (5.84m). In 1997, she shone brightly, achieving three All-America awards by placing fourth in the 200m at the NCAA Indoor Championships and earning recognition in the 100m and 200m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Tameka Roberts also finished fifth in the 200m (23.26) at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Her list of accolades within the conference is equally impressive, including three Southland Conference Indoor and two Southland Conference Outdoor Athlete of the Year awards. She was honored as the Southland Conference Outstanding Track Performer on five occasions and was named Southland Conference Field Performer once. Tameka Roberts was the high-point scorer at the conference meet four times and played a pivotal role in securing league outdoor titles for the Roadrunners in 1996 and 1997.

Notably, Tameka Roberts still holds school records in the outdoor 100 meters (11.25), 200 meters (22.94), long jump (6.66m), and indoor 200 meters (23.26).

In addition to her exceptional track and field career, Tameka Roberts was a two-sport athlete at UTSA, also contributing to the women’s basketball team in the 1997-98 season. In this capacity, she recorded 47 points, 48 rebounds, 13 assists, and 20 steals, demonstrating her versatility as an athlete. Her enduring impact on UTSA’s athletic legacy is undeniable, and she was rightfully recognized as one of the UTSA Silver Anniversary Top-25 Former Student-Athletes in 2006, earning the second spot on the prestigious list.

Tameka Roberts’s remarkable journey and enduring legacy make her a deserving member of UTSA Athletics’ inaugural Hall of Fame Class, where her achievements will be celebrated for generations to come.
Reference:

https://goutsa.com/news/2023/10/24/utsa-athletics-inaugural-hall-of-fame-class-profile-tameka-roberts

https://www.kens5.com/article/sports/utsa-sports-hall-of-fame-2023-class-devin-brown-coker-davenport-san-antonio-texas/273-38beb61d-fafa-4306-9345-ecc52f57cd78

Mark Schuck Outdoor Track & Field Dedication Ceremony Announced by MSU

Mark Schuck Outdoor Track & Field Dedication Ceremony Announced by MSU

“MANKATO, Minn. – On Friday, October 27th at 11 a.m., Minnesota State Athletics will honor the enduring legacy of Mark Schuck, the renowned Maverick cross country and track & field coach who has earned a place in the hall of fame. For over four decades, Mark Schuck’s name has been inseparable from the program.

The event will witness the presence of Coach Schuck, along with distinguished figures such as Dr. Edward Inch, President of Minnesota State University, Mankato, Kevin Buisman, Director of Athletics, and Mike Turgeon, the current head coach of Maverick Track & Field.

The ceremony is open to the public and is expected to last approximately 30 minutes. One of the highlights will be the unveiling of a sign in honor of Mark Schuck at the facility. Situated behind the football practice fields, off Stadium Road, the facility has been the home of Maverick outdoor track & field since 2009. It boasts a 400-meter track surface, a natural grass infield, lighting, long jump and triple jump pits, as well as a pole vaulting area.

Under the guidance of Coach Schuck, MSU’s cross country and track and field programs emerged as dominant forces, both regionally and nationally. In his 34-year tenure as men’s cross country coach (commencing in the 1979-80 season), MSU clinched nine North Central Conference cross country titles and one Northern Intercollegiate title. Coach Schuck was named the league cross country coach of the year on eight occasions and steered the Mavericks to victory in the NCAA Division II cross country national championship in 1988. Over the years, Minnesota State made 25 NCAA appearances and secured 16 top-10 finishes.

Additionally, Schuck served as the head coach of MSU men’s track and field for 15 years and earned accolades, including being named the conference indoor coach of the year ten times and outdoor coach of the year four times. In 1989, the Mavericks achieved a second-place finish in the nation, and Schuck was recognized as the national coach of the year during the 2006 indoor season.

Beyond his coaching roles, Coach Schuck contributed to the university in multiple capacities, including serving as the interim Athletic Director, dedicating over 25 years to being the Student Relations Coordinator for the College of Allied Health, teaching physical education, and acting as an assistant track coach. During his coaching years, he established and managed numerous high school indoor track meets, providing thousands of young athletes with the opportunity to compete and share in his passion for Minnesota State.

As a former student-athlete, Schuck participated in cross country, track & field, and basketball before graduating in 1969. He was rightfully inducted into the Minnesota State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014. Hailing from Nicollet, Minnesota, Schuck’s coaching journey commenced at Mankato Wilson High School, where he also served as the athletic director for eight years.

“In the world of athletics, there are coaches who train, those who inspire, and then there are those rare few like Coach Schuck, who leave an indelible mark not just on the track but in the hearts of all they encounter,” remarked Turgeon. “His legacy at MSU Cross Country and Track & Field wasn’t just about winning races, but about building a family and community. Through every stride and lap, his influence echoed, bridging the gap between the past, present, and future of the program.”

Visitors heading to Minnesota State for the ceremony are encouraged to utilize the free parking available in lot 7. For those unable to attend in person, the event will be live-streamed [link provided].”

https://msumavericks.com/news/2023/10/24/general-msu-announces-mark-schuck-outdoor-track-field-dedication-ceremony.aspx

https://bhsuathletics.com/news/2023/1/27/track-and-field-set-for-weekend-meets-at-msu-mankato-and-chadron-state.aspx

Former Olympian leverages his expertise to guide his athletes toward success on the track and in life.

Former Olympian leverages his expertise to guide his athletes toward success on the track and in life.

Rod DeHaven, the coach of South Dakota State University’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams, embodies the spirit of never giving up, both in his own athletic journey and in his coaching career.

Under DeHaven’s guidance, the men’s and women’s cross-country teams have been achieving remarkable success this season, consistently securing top-10 placements. The culmination of their hard work and dedication will be on display when they host the Summit League Cross Country Championship on Saturday, October 28th, at 11 a.m. DeHaven is eagerly anticipating this championship event and is brimming with confidence.

DeHaven’s own running career began at a young age. Born in Sacramento, California, he relocated to Huron with his mother at the age of four. He took his first strides in middle school, participating in track meets. His passion for long-distance running ignited during the Jackrabbit 15 Road Race. In high school, he excelled in cross country and track, earning a state championship in cross country during his senior year and clinching the 1,600- and 3,200-meter state track titles.

DeHaven’s academic journey led him to South Dakota State University, where he obtained a bachelor of science degree in computer science. His collegiate running career was illustrious, making him one of the most decorated runners in Jackrabbit history. In cross country, he achieved:

  • 20 North Central Conference individual titles
  • 4 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Division II National Championships
  • 16 All-American titles
  • 7 school records in middle-length events (four of which still stand)

Following his college years, DeHaven ventured to Madison, Wisconsin, working as a business systems analyst. His passion for running remained, and he set his sights on the Olympics. Seven years after graduation, DeHaven qualified for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Unfortunately, he had to drop out due to minor injuries. “The biggest thing is always timing,” DeHaven remarked.

However, DeHaven’s Olympic journey didn’t end there. He qualified for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, in peak condition and without injuries. The lead-up to the Games was an adventure in itself. Marathon runners had to depart for Australia 20 days early on the last flight arranged by the Olympic committee. DeHaven found himself in the Olympic Village, where, at the age of 33, he adjusted to the unusual experience of sleeping in a bunk bed.

The village experience was communal, but a flu outbreak meant fewer athletes were present. After a week in the village, he traveled to New Zealand based on advice from fellow competitors. Upon returning to Sydney, he stayed in a construction trailer with members of the shooting team.

Race day at the 2000 Olympics brought its challenges, including unexpected intestinal problems. “Race day came, and unfortunately, I had some intestinal problems at the wrong time. It was a struggle, but I got the race done,” DeHaven recalled. The 2000 Olympics didn’t go as planned, but DeHaven considers himself lucky to have had the experience, being the sole U.S. Olympian in the race.

After the Olympics, DeHaven’s path led him to coaching, with SDSU encouraging his involvement in university events. The turning point came when Paul Danger encouraged him to consider coaching after his induction into the NCAA Division II Cross Country Hall of Fame. It was believed that having an alumnus in the room was essential.

In 2011, DeHaven was appointed as the coach. Since then, he has earned the title of conference Coach of the Year 13 times. He has led both the men’s and women’s teams to multiple Summit League titles in 12 of those seasons.

As the director of track and field and cross country for over 17 years, DeHaven’s aim is for all his runners to excel, both athletically and academically. He instills in them the belief that they are capable of achieving more than they may realize as student-athletes, all while emphasizing the importance of academics and family as their top priorities.

One of his athletes, Emma Gonzalez, a sophomore distance runner at South Dakota State, attests to DeHaven’s influence, saying that he teaches them to “lay the bricks of our futures even when things are difficult.” The team’s camaraderie and support for one another have created a family-oriented atmosphere throughout the school year.

Rod DeHaven’s remarkable journey from an aspiring young runner to an Olympian and dedicated coach exemplifies the power of perseverance and the impact of a supportive mentor. His legacy at SDSU continues to inspire and guide the next generation of athletes to reach for their goals and face challenges head-on.
Reference:

https://sdsucollegian.com/25247/sports/ex-olympian-uses-experience-to-help-his-athletes-succeed-on-track-in-life/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/training-and-preparation-helped-me-succeed-as-an-olympian-and-in-my-life-after-sport-1.6892302

Sun Belt Conference Recognitions Unveiled at Autumn Gatherings

Sun Belt Conference Recognitions Unveiled at Autumn Gatherings

During the annual Fall Meetings held in Atlanta, the Sun Belt Conference officially acknowledged the recipients of awards for the 2022-23 season at the Sun Belt Honors Banquet.

South Alabama secured the conference’s most prestigious accolade, the Vic Bubas Cup, which represents the Sun Belt’s all-sports championship trophy. This esteemed award is presented each year to the conference’s top-performing athletics department, determined by a points-based system. Remarkably, this marked the 16th time that the Jaguars had claimed this honor, solidifying their status as leaders in the conference. Impressively, South Alabama, which sponsors 17 out of the Sun Belt’s 19 sports, tied for the Sun Belt regular-season men’s tennis championship and achieved top-four finishes in various leagues, including football, men’s cross country, women’s soccer, men’s indoor track & field, women’s indoor track & field, men’s golf, softball, men’s outdoor track & field, and women’s outdoor track & field.

Keith Gill, the Sun Belt Conference Commissioner, expressed appreciation for the dedication and achievements of all the honorees for the 2022-23 season. He noted the honor in recognizing and celebrating their accomplishments during the event in Atlanta. The Sun Belt also unveiled its Student-Athletes of the Year, with Karly Heath from Louisiana (softball) and Carlton Martial from Troy (football) earning these distinctions. Additionally, the conference recognized its previously announced Postgraduate Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Korie Kreps from ULM (softball) and Kacper Dworak from Louisiana (men’s tennis). Notably, the conference also acknowledged its NCAA Woman of the Year Nominees, including Macie Majoy from Marshall (women’s track & field) and Katelyn Cartwright from Southern Miss (women’s cross country). Furthermore, the 2023 Sun Belt Conference Faculty Member of the Year was Dr. Zachary Farris, an Associate Professor of Public Health & Exercise Science at App State, and each institution’s nominee received recognition.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee honored Louisiana with both the Community Impact and Community Service Awards, while James Madison received the Student-Athlete Graduation Rate Award. Jeff Bourne, Director of Athletics at Dukes, was acknowledged for his remarkable 25 years of dedicated service to the institution, ahead of his scheduled retirement in Spring 2024.
Reference:

https://sunbeltsports.org/news/2023/10/24/general-sun-belt-conference-honors-presented-during-fall-meetings.aspx

Ekiru's ten-year suspension reveals the intricate nature of doping within Kenyan athletics.

Ekiru’s ten-year suspension reveals the intricate nature of doping within Kenyan athletics.

The imposing 10-year suspension handed down to Kenyan marathoner Titus Ekiru by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has unveiled another layer of the doping crisis that has gripped Kenya’s athletics scene for nearly a decade.

In a statement released in the Kenyan capital, the AIU clarified that this stringent penalty, the longest ever imposed on a Kenyan athlete, was the result of a thorough investigation. This inquiry unearthed that the 31-year-old athlete had actively obstructed the investigation into two failed drug tests. It was disclosed that Ekiru had colluded with a senior doctor in Nandi County, located in northwest Kenya, who administered triamcinolone acetonide injections to Ekiru on two separate occasions, namely April 29 and May 6, 2021, during unrecorded hospital visits.

The AIU statement revealed that the senior doctor contended that these visits went undocumented by the hospital because Ekiru had arrived early in the morning before the registration offices were open. Consequently, Ekiru tested positive for prohibited substances or their metabolites and faces a ban from June 28, 2022, to June 27, 2032.

The AIU also announced that all of Ekiru’s results from May 16, 2021, onwards have been disqualified, leading to the forfeiture of prizes and earnings. This includes his remarkable victory in the 2021 Milan Marathon, where he clocked 2:02:57, a performance that would have ranked him as the seventh-fastest marathoner of all time. Likewise, his triumph in the Abu Dhabi marathon in 2021, where he finished in 2:06:13, has been nullified, erasing his name from the record books.

In a detailed report released in May, the AIU expressed its growing concern that doping in Kenya had evolved from isolated incidents into a complex and highly profitable industry, with cheaters reaping substantial financial rewards. Ekiru’s case now highlights the depth of this crisis, leading to Kenya being categorized as a high-risk country for athlete doping since 2017.

Reflecting on Ekiru’s case, local television journalist James Wokabi expressed his astonishment on social media, emphasizing the athlete’s extensive efforts to conceal his misdeeds and the relentless determination of the AIU and the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) in uncovering the truth.

Prior to his downfall, Ekiru had secured victories in marathons in Seville (2017), San Diego, Mexico City, and Honolulu (all in 2018), and repeated his success in Milan and Honolulu in 2021. He also clinched the Half Marathon gold medal for Kenya at the 2019 All-Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco.

This case serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive issue of doping in the world of athletics, underlining the critical role that rigorous investigations and anti-doping organizations play in preserving the integrity of the sport.
Reference:

https://www.thestatesman.com/sports/ekirus-10-year-ban-exposes-complexity-of-doping-in-kenyan-athletics-1503232379.html