Sunday, December 3, 2017

ACC CHAMP AND ALL-AMERICAN

Following is a column I wrote, which was published today in the Republican Herald newspaper.

While some college students were spending their final days of summer vacation at the beach, Pottsville’s Paige Stoner, a senior cross country runner at Syracuse University, spent her August mornings and afternoons grinding out 70-mile weeks.
On the weekends she would toss in her weekly long run, a distance of 18 miles, in preparation for a season of high expectations.
After a successful track season, in which she placed 15th in the steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, for her 2017 cross country season, Stoner and her coaches, Chris Fox and Brian Bell, had mapped out an aggressive training plan that they hoped would maximize her extraordinary running skills.
Her season began with an invitational meet at Penn State. Still logging long, intense miles during the building block phase of her training, she placed second at the 6K distance.
Building speed and strength for races against the best runners in the country centered around workouts on Sweet Road, a challenging incline near the Syracuse campus. A typical workout would consist of a 4 to 5 mile run, with four minutes of hard running, followed by a short rest before beginning another four-minute interval. As the sessions neared their end, Coach Fox instructed Stoner to run at all-out race pace for the final four minutes.
Stoner’s next meet was held in Boston where she placed 24th, in a race that included many of the runners she would face at nationals.
On Oct. 28, Stoner ran the Atlantic Coast Conference championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky.
Her coach instructed her to, “Be patient, hang with the leaders, and don’t make a move until you have about 800 meters to go.”
She ran most of the race in a pack with four North Carolina State runners and a runner from Louisville. At the 4K mark, the race came down to Stoner and her Louisville adversary. With 300 meters to go, the Louisville runner surged into the lead, but Stoner responded, passing her with 100 meters to go and winning the ACC cross country championship with an extraordinary time of 19:52 on the 6K course. She finished a mere three seconds ahead of her opponent.
At the Northeast Regionals, held in Buffalo, New York, Stoner braved 20-degree temperatures and 30-mile-per-hour winds to place second and qualify for nationals.
A week later at the NCAA Championships held in Louisville, Kentucky, Paige Stoner, from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, faced the best collegiate runners in the nation and placed 17th, earning All-America honors.
Stoner is an exceptional runner and an excellent student. More than that, she is a humble young lady who, when asked what advice she would give to young runners who want to run like Paige Stoner, replied, “Don’t overdo it in high school. Run 30 to 35 miles a week, and keep it fun. Do other things. Swim and play Frisbee.”
We haven’t heard the last of Stoner. Track season is coming up in 2018, and she has another year of track eligibility in 2019.
Oh, and the next Summer Olympic Games will be held in 2020.

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