Saturday, November 4, 2017

HISTORIC CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON

It was one year in the making.
At Norlo Park, near Chambersburg, the site of the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship meet on the last weekend of October 2016, Penn State Schuylkill’s women’s cross country team boarded the team bus with bitter disappointment. Much was within their grasp, but they left the race empty-handed.
Schuylkill’s top runner, freshman Alexis Luna, a Shenandoah Valley graduate, valiantly challenged the league’s top runner, Scranton’s Alicia Kasson, before falling short over the last half-mile to lose the race by a 5-second margin.
As a team, Schuylkill’s women fell to Mont Alto by a mere three points.
After avenging both defeats at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship in Virginia Beach, Virginia, two weeks later, Luna and teammates Casey Gregory and Justice Demitro vowed to exact revenge in the 2017 season.
They began their quest in early July by getting together for informal training sessions. Then, in early August, Luna texted me with an announcement that her friend and two-time PIAA Cross Country Championships qualifier Carly Teaschenko of Shenandoah Valley would be joining the team.
In addition, the team bolstered its talent by adding two local freshmen: Jennie Li from North Schuylkill and Kristen Lowe, a Minersville graduate.
The team went undefeated in PSUAC meets throughout the season, and Luna led the squad in all but one race. At the Brandywine Invitational, as she and Teaschenko paced each other, Luna announced that she, “Just didn’t have it” that day, and Teaschenko took the honors.
As the season went on, Luna earned the PSUAC Runner of the Week honor three times and Teaschenko won the award once.
Last Saturday, in the rematch at Norlo Park for the 2017 PSUAC championship, a year of hard work and determination paid off.
Luna capped a magnificent season by winning the race, with Teaschenko placing second, only six seconds behind. Throughout the race, the two teammates and friends paced each other, leaving the competition behind.
Sophomore Casey Gregory ran her fastest time of the year, placing seventh and earning first-team All-Conference honors along with Luna and Teaschenko. Team captain Justice Demitro ran her fastest 6K ever and placed 11th, while Li finished 14th. They both earned second-team All-PSUAC honors. Lowe captured 16th place.
Penn State Schuylkill won the team title and avenged last year’s narrow defeat. This is the first team in Penn State Schuylkill’s history to win a PSUAC cross country championship.
The conference champions will now compete against more than 50 teams from small colleges across the country at the USCAA National Championships in Virginia Beach on Nov. 10. Last year Penn State Schuylkill placed 16th. The Lions are aiming for a top-10 finish this year.
Stoner wins ACC
Speaking of champions, Pottsville Area’s Paige Stoner is the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference cross country champion.
Running for Syracuse University, Stoner won the conference championship last Friday, covering the 6-kilometer course in a sizzling time of 19:52. Congratulations to Paige on this remarkable championship run.
(Muldowney is an avid runner and head coach of the Penn State Schuylkill cross country teams)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

HOME GROWN



Following is my monthly running article, published in the Republican Herald newspaper.
The 2017 edition of Penn State Schuylkill’s men’s and women’s cross country teams is home grown.
Beginning my 11th year of coaching the collegiate harriers at the Schuylkill Haven campus, my veteran team features alumni from several of our local high schools.
It hasn’t always been that way.
Many of my previous teams contained local runners, but often they were mixed with student-athletes from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
After a dual victory at the Penn State Worthington Scranton Invitational last October, Schuylkill’s men’s and women’s teams earned a berth in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships, held in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There, Schuylkill’s women’s team bested all the Penn State University Athletic Conference squads, earning an eighth-place overall finish.
The women’s team was led by freshman Alexis Luna, a Shenandoah Valley graduate. At the PSUAC meet, Luna placed second, narrowly missing a state championship by a scant two seconds. She returns as a sophomore, seeking to improve on last year’s finish.
Also returning to the team as a sophomore is Pottsville’s Casey Gregory. Gregory joined the team during the middle of last season, and emerged as a formidable runner.
At Shenandoah Valley, Carly Teaschenko punched several tickets to the PIAA Cross Country Championships. A good friend and former teammate of Luna, Teaschenko promises to be one of the conference’s top runners.
Justice Demitro, from Pottsville, is a senior and is the captain of the women’s team. Her leadership and dedication is an inspiration to the rest of the squad.
Jennie Li is a freshman runner from North Schuylkill. Her running skills will add to the depth of the women’s team.
Another newcomer is Kira Reedy from Pottsville. Kira is currently a Penn State student who is training for the United States Marine Corps.
Nico Granito, a junior and a Blue Mountain graduate, is the captain of the men’s team. Joining him is another Blue Mountain graduate and former 400 and 800-meter standout, Tristan Dickey.
Nativity cross country and track is represented by sophomore Brett Rushannon.
Another veteran of last year’s squad, Josh White, is not only a cross country runner, he is also a member of Schuylkill’s basketball team.
Ian McGowan and David Chesakis are freshmen newcomers. McGowan ran track and cross country at Schuylkill Haven. Chesakis participated on both the cross country and soccer teams. They will join a member of last year’s team, Matthew Renninger, another Schuylkill Haven graduate.
Vincent May, from Gordon, is the “veteran” of the team. May served honorably in the U.S. Army, and is running as a sophomore this year.
Rounding out the squad are Pottsville’s Jake Kerby, and wrestler/runner Vraj Patel.
The Schuylkill League has produced many excellent runners who are, in the fine tradition of the Coal Region, admired for their hard work and dedication. Former Moravian College cross country coach Mark Will-Weber once told me he enjoys coaching runners from our region because, “They always give you an honest day’s work.”
My 2016 team worked hard, and this year, both the men and the women have but one goal — a PSUAC state championship team title.
If they accomplish that goal, it will have been achieved with home-grown talent.
(Muldowney is an avid runner and the head coach of the Penn State Schuylkill cross country teams)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

CARD BLOCR

My 20th century wallet has finally gone the way of the flip-phone.

The bulky dinosaur has bulged from my back pocket for years, and it was time to move on.

When I purchase an item, since I rarely use cash these days, I fumble through my credit cards, or flip to the other side of the leather leviathan in order to find my driver's license.

And, during a workout, I refuse to carry a bulky wallet.

So, I have happily leaped into the 21st century with my recent purchase of the Card Blocr, by Conceal Plus.

The Card Blocr is made from a sleek aluminum and titanium alloy. It is lightweight, thin, and will fit into an arm band, with my phone, during a workout.

Card Blocr protects your important plastic cards against distortion and break. It also shields against NFC (Near Field Communication) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification).

Card Blocr can hold up to 6 cards. I usually carry my bank card, a credit card, and my driver's license, and I'm good to go.

Cards slide out easily, using the handle at the bottom of the Card Blocr. Use your card, lightly press the cards, and they will lock into place after use.

The Card Blocr can be cleaned with a soft cloth and rinsed with cold water. Just let it dry and it is ready to be used again.

I like the light weight and the convenience of the Card Blocr. It really makes carrying a wallet a thing of the past.

Go to www.amazon.com, and type: 'card blocr.' The card blocr credit card holder will come up.

You will be glad you purchased this great new product.

                                                                  My Old Wallet
                                                                      Card Blocr
                                                                      CardBlocr-Open

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

RUBY THE RUNNER...FIGHTER

Sharp Mountain, with its many trails, sits directly behind my house. For many years, I ran the trails to find solitude, and soft-surface comfort for tired legs. My Redbone Coonhound, Ruby, logged many miles on those trails with me. Last November, she was diagnosed with a severe liver disease, was given only two months to live, but she fought, and finally lost her battle on Friday. Since her illness, she was reduced to walks rather than runs, and last Wednesday she took her final walk, a brave, but fun, 1-mile trek.
Run with your pups as long as you and they are able. It is good for them and it's good for you. I hope Ruby is running trails and sniffing rabbits in doggy heaven.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

DIVERSITY

Running is a sport of great diversity. It is definitely a "One size fits all" endeavor.

Following is my monthly running column that appeared in the Republican Herald newspaper today.

More Americans than ever are running and participating in races these days, at distances from 1 mile to the 26.2-mile marathon, and longer.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this popularity is that running is a relatively simple endeavor. It requires placing one foot in front of the other and going as fast as you can for as long as you can.
Running a race is an exercise in pure democracy. Everyone lines up at the same starting line, with the same opportunity to reach the finish line.
And if you’ve ever watched a running race, you will observe that all runners are not skinny. Runners come in all shapes and sizes and have one goal in common: to cross the finish line as quickly as possible.
Bobby Mulhall, 51, of Shenandoah, is not your prototypical runner. He is a bigger guy who has been running road races for more than 21 years and has more than 300 races to his credit. Recently, he shared his thoughts with me about runners who carry a few more pounds with them.
“I think it’s important to get the message out there that you don’t have to be thin to be fit and healthy,” Mulhall said. “There is a misconception out there that thin people are fitter and healthier than bigger people. This isn’t always true.
“Thinner is better, but just because you are a bigger person it shouldn’t stop you from running or exercising. My philosophy on weight is that you should eat healthy, exercise and let your body weigh what it wants to weigh.”
There are a few races out there that recognize the efforts of larger competitors.
“The only local race I know that has a ‘Clydesdale’ division is Shenandoah’s Coal Cracker 10K,” Mulhall said. “I wish more races would add a Clydesdale division.”
Typically, a Clydesdale category includes men weighing 200 or more pounds, and an “Athena” division includes women weighing 150 or more pounds.
Mulhall adds, “By adding a Clydesdale division to races, I think it would attract more runners who might be intimidated to race against smaller, faster competitors. For bigger runners like me who usually can’t earn a medal against smaller runners in our age groups, we would still have a chance to place against our bigger peers.”
Mulhall’s experiences as a larger runner have been positive, for the most part.
“One of the things I love about racing is being around the friendly runners and the positive energy I get from them,” he said. “There was only one time that I can remember someone making a comment to me that alluded to my size.
“Two years ago I was running a 5K in Mount Carmel. There was a woman that I passed about a half-mile from the finish. She then passed me right in front of the finish line. A few minutes later she walked up to me and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t be beat by someone like you.’ Other than that, I don’t remember anyone else ever saying anything about my size. There were a few times over the years though when I was registering for a race, they assumed that I was a walker and I had to correct them.”
If you’re intimidated about becoming a runner or participating in a race, take the advice of Bobby Mulhall.
All you have to do is lace ’em up and get out the door.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

TOM AUSHERMAN 5-MILER

There is something for everybody at this race, which is one of the finest, well-organized, runner-oriented races on the East Coast.

Each year, the Ausherman race adds amenities for runners. This year, it's free massages for race participants. If you haven't run the Ausherman 5-miler, you're missing out on a great race.

Take a ride to beautiful Chambersburg, a quaint community nestled in the hills of south-central Pennsylvania, for this fine race.

www.ausherman5miles.com



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

FAITH, FAMILY, FORTITUDE

Following is my column from the Republican Herald newspaper, which was published today.
Paige Stoner is a very talented, dedicated runner. The sky's the limit for this young  athlete.

Faith, family and fortitude.
Pottsville’s Paige Stoner has been guided by these beliefs throughout her stellar running career.
Stoner began running at the Hershey Youth Track and Field competition at the age of 10. By the time she reached eighth grade, she had won the state championship in both the 800- and 1,600-meter races. At Pottsville Area she won the Schuylkill League Cross Country championship all four years, earned the District 11 championship twice, and placed second at states as a freshman.
Her high school track credentials include league championships in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races from freshman to senior year, a 3,200-meter relay team championship at the District 11 meet as a sophomore, and a 1,600- and 3,200-meter first-place medal as a senior.
At states, she placed third in the 3,200 as a senior with a time of 10:41. In her senior year at leagues she ran her personal-best 1,600-meter time of 4:56.
She credits the high level of competition in Pennsylvania as excellent preparation for collegiate running.
Stoner began her college career at Lipscomb University, a private Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee, where she competed for a year and a half. During that time, after turning in grueling months of high mileage training, she placed second in the Atlantic Sun Conference Cross Country Championships, as well as second in the 5K and steeplechase at the conference track and field championships. Unfortunately the mega-miles took their toll, and she suffered a stress fracture of her foot during her sophomore year.
Stoner decided to transfer to Syracuse University. Today, however, she still maintains friendships with many of her Lipscomb teammates, who share her deep Christian faith.
Syracuse head track and cross country coach Chris Fox knows a little something about running. He has run a 2:13 marathon and enjoyed a very successful 18-year professional running career.
Stoner credits the rigorous but sensible coaching of Fox and assistant coach Brien Bell as the reason for her success and her good running health at Syracuse. Intense six-mile hilly tempo runs, workouts that simulate the steady pace of racing, speedy track interval sessions and weekly long runs, as well as easy rest days, comprise her 60- to 65-mile training weeks.
During the 2016 cross country season, Stoner earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors, placing 17th in the ACC and 11th at regionals. She achieved a personal best of 20:32 in the 6K and missed nationals by a mere .02 of a second.
After a successful indoor track season in which she ran a personal best time of 16:05 in the 5K — good enough to place third in the ACC Indoor Championships — she set her sights on outdoor track.
Her 2017 outdoor track achievements include a personal-best time of 33:55 in the 10K and qualifying times for nationals in the 5K, 10K and the steeplechase.
At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in June, Stoner placed fourth in her heat in the steeplechase and 15th overall with a Syracuse school record time of 10:02. She missed qualifying for the finals by two seconds.
Stoner’s immediate goals include placing in the top three at the ACC Cross Country Championships and advancing to Nationals. In track, she is not sure if she will run the steeplechase or the 5K, but she would like to place in the top 10 at nationals.
For the long term, she would like to compete as a professional runner and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Although they are extremely proud of their daughter, Stoner says her parents “never pressured me.” Her deceased grandfather, Bob Stoner, a member of the Pottsville Area High School Football Hall of Fame and a track runner, was, according to Paige, “her biggest fan.”
Paige Stoner is a humble champion. Faith, family and fortitude will always be the keys to her success.