Youth Athletics including the Junior Olympics Programs
it was started by Nich Haber in 2012. Nich is the club’s President of the Board (on a Board that includes American Record Holder Molly Huddle!), but also serves as an acting Executive Director, managing business issues, fundraising, grant writing and maintaining relationships with partners. On top of this, Nich manages travel and race entries for the athletes, helps them obtain part-time work with their after-school partners in Woonsocket and coordinates their youth program with the Woonsocket public school system.
As you can tell, Nich wears several hats and has been working hard since 2012 to get NE Distance off the ground and growing to compete at a highly competitive level. It appears that his work has paid off by looking at the club’s current roster, which includes:
- David Goodman— The 2012 NCAA DII National Champion in the Steeplechase and a three-time USATF-NE Champion
- Henry Sterling — NE Distance’s newest athlete, he’s a Dartmouth grad who sees his potential best in the Steeplechase, but is interested in staying a well-rounded runner by competing in the mile and 5k as well
- Katrina Spratford — The 8-time All American from Shippensburg, is a 10k runner that is focusing on Cross Country in the fall and may do some road races
- Lara Crofford — A Nebraska Cornhusker, has been a strong 10k runner but is looking to move up in distance and take to the roads
We caught up with Nich on how the club has grown, what they’ve been up to. To sum it up, Nich told us that “Every year has been better than the one before it, and I know that next year will be better than this one!” His optimism and excitement is great to hear. Check out our interview with Nich below to get up to speed on the community-based distance running project.
USATF-NE: How has NE Distance grown since its founding in 2012?
NH: We started with one athlete in 2012, added another at the beginning of 2013, two more in September of 2013 and we’re looking to have eight this fall. We’ve doubled every year! At this rate, in a few years everyone on earth will be an NE Distance athlete!
Seriously, it’s been a challenge to start a group like this from the ground up and the athletes that have joined us truly believe in our mission of blending athlete development with community building. We expanded this year to include athletes that are not full athlete-in-resident fellows. They are committed to train at a high level, but do not need housing from us. We are excited as the more athletes we have in our group, the more of a critical mass we hit and the better the program is for everyone involved – the other athletes, the community and our fans who are looking for more athletes to root for.
USATF-NE: Are you actively recruiting?
NH: We have three slots open for our non-resident members. We are looking for folks who want to live in the Woonsocket/Providence area who want to compete at a high level.
USATF-NE: We saw that your team recently signed up 145 kids for a new middle school program. This is great! Any specific plans for this new program or anything in particular you’d like to share about it?
NH: This is probably our proudest achievement and is truly a culmination of what we are trying to do with the NE Distance program. Woonsocket middle school sports were all but eliminated in 2009 due to budget cuts. Our athletes moved into town and started to get everyone’s notice. We were lucky to find Performance Physical Therapy of RI who was interested in sponsoring us to restart the middle school cross country team. As soon as we announced it, a reporter from the local paper called me up and we were literally front page news.
For the public school system, they were absolutely thrilled. They were getting high level athletes who had already spent at least a year working with Woonsocket youth to come in and coach the kids at the middle school. The NEDi athletes went into the schools to sign up kids and were overwhelmed; 145 kids signed up. Lara has already started weekly runs with the kids in town and everyone will be back in Woonsocket in August gearing up to kick off the team at the end of the summer.
We are seeking a sponsor to help us continue this program for the kids into the indoor and outdoor seasons, so if anyone is interested in helping our team help these young people, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
USATF-NE: Are any USATF-NE hosted races a part of NE Distance’s upcoming race schedule – and if so, which ones, and why?
NH: Our goal is to have our athletes compete on Team USA, so the USATF-NE races are great vehicles to get us to that level. We will definitely be at the Cross Country races this fall, especially the Boston Mayor Cup and the USATF-NE Championship. The CVS Downtown 5k is in our backyard, so we’ll be there. USATF-NE hosts some of the best indoor meets in the country, so look for us at the BU Terrier & Valentine meets as well as the USATF-NE Championships. Outdoors, we’re big fans of the NBB Twilight Meets.
And be sure to look for our middle school kids to open up their season at the Ocean State XC meet in Goddard Park in Rhode Island on Friday Sept 26.
The 5000 meter race is a popular event for distance track and field athletes. However, for runners who keep to the roads and trails, many haven’t tested their strength on the flat oval. Now is their chance.
With the USATF-NE All Terrain Runner (ATR) series, distance runners test themselves on varying surfaces and distances, including the track. In fact, many athletes competing in the new series tried the distance at the recent New Balance Boston Twilight meet at Bentley University. New Balance Boston’s Marguerite Cramer took the women’s title in an impressive time of 17:49.01. But it was the men’s 5000 meter field that saw some serious depth. Twenty-eight competitors came through in under 18 minutes, with the winner Austin Gilbert crossing the finish line in 14:57.61.
If you’ve already completed your 5000 meter track race and are looking to score it in the ATR series, be sure to submit your time through our web form.
As a reminder, USATF-NE members may submit their own 5000 meter result from any USATF sanctioned track meet between May 5 and July 20. A competitor may complete several outdoor 5000 meter races. However, only the fastest time will count in the final scoring.
With several USATF championship events coming up, both at the regional and national levels, we wanted to make sure no important entry deadlines are missed. We’ve
outlined some key upcoming events below, with the deadlines bolded. Be sure to mark your calendars and check out each event link for more details. See you out on the track or the roads soon!
- USATF-NE Open Indoor Track & Field Championships, Feb. 23 at Harvard University – Entry deadline: Feb.19
- USATF Northeast Zone Youth Indoor Track & Field Championships, Feb. 22-23 at the Bennett Center in Toms River, NJ – Entry deadline: Feb. 19
- USATF National Masters Indoor Championships, March 14-16 at the Reggie Lewis Center - Entry deadline: Feb. 21
- USATF-NE 10 Mile Championship: Jones 10 Mile, Feb. 23 at Amherst Regional High School - Entries accepted until race day
Local scholastic runners turned in impressive performances at the recent Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) Northeast Qualifier at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY. The meet was one of the eight qualifiers, and included the six New England states, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The top two teams and several at-large teams from around the country, plus the top five individuals from non-qualifying teams advance to the final on December 14th in Oregon.
Four top ten finishes in the girls race came from the following New Engalnders: Race runner-up Abbie McNulty (Bishop Feehan – Attleboro, MA), fourth place finisher Autumn Eastman (Champlain Valley Union HS, VT), Fifth-place Emma McMillan (Barrington, RI) and Hannah Parker who came in at 10th place (Coe-Brown – Northwood, NH). Additionally, three New England teams placed in the top five: Black Bear XC / Coe Brown Northwood, NH (3rd); Rocks XC / Bishop Feehan, Attleboro, MA (4th); and Eagles / Barrington, RI (5th).
The boys race saw Christian Stafford of Pembroke, MA come in 4th place and Nick Carleo of Newburyport, MA in 10th, with Titans of Pembroke being the top New England team in 7th place.
At the Foot Locker Northeast Regional Qualifier at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City, Anoush Shehadeh, a junior at Phillips Academy Andover, placed second — the sole New England association runner to advance as a top 10 finisher. Three runners each from Connecticut and Maine will also go to the 35th annual National meet in San Diego, CA on December 14.
Attention all USATF-NE members, our annual meeting is coming up, so don’t forget to pencil this into your calendars. The meeting will be held on Sunday, September 22 at the Westin Waltham Hotel, where there will be ample food and a cash bar. So join us, grab a beer and discuss the issues that are top of mind for you with fellow association members, teammates and friends.
During just the first two days of competition at the USATF National Junior Olympic Championships in Greensboro, NC, five New England association athletes earned medals.
Emma Fitzgerald (Braintree, MA) won the 15-16 heptathlon with 4698 points for the gold to date. Alva Hicks (Providence, RI) earned silver in the 15-16 hammer throw, 160’2″, and Owen Russell (Attleboro, MA) took bronze in the 15-16 hammer throw at 175’9. Also making the medal podium with 7th place finishes were Nolan Allen (Arlington, MA/Waltham TC) in the 3000m race walk, 17:53.80, and Kyle Faddis (Boxford, MA/BAA Masconomet) in the 13-14 pentathlon, 2586.
Over 5,000 athletes are entered at this year’s nationals, which continues through Sunday. The Junior Olympics includes a series of meets progressing in meets from association level to regional to national. Athletes compete in two-year age groups from 7-8 to 17-18.
A free live online broadcast of the Championships is available at www.USATF.tv
Nominations are open for the 2012 Male and Female Athlete of the Year as well as Club of the Year. The deadline for submitting nominations is January 1st, 2013. USATFNE members may submit a nomination by email to the Board of Directors, by posting a comment nomination on the USATF-NE Facebook page, or by tweeting your nomination to us with our handle in the tweet (@usatfne).
Who impressed you in 2012? What stories really stick out in your mind? There were outstanding performances by association members from high school through college and on up to the pros, so don’t be afraid to go beyond the Grand Prix standings for your nominations. Speaking of the Grand Prix, you can find final standings for road racing, MUT and cross country on the USATF-NE website to help you jog your memory.
The final 5 nominees for each category will be announced January 3rd and YOU will have the opportunity to vote for your athlete and club of choice.
Stay tuned for more information in upcoming days, including a link to where you can vote.
In the meantime, make sure you purchase your tickets to the USATFNE Awards Banquet in advance here: http://www.usatfne.org/news/aom/banquet.html
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