Thursday, June 26, 2014

Running: Kim Conley Wins 10K Nationals, Loyola's Amy Horst Offers Insights

The USATF Outdoor Championships are underway in Sacramento (image / USATF)

Sacramento, CA - It's been fifty summers since current Sacramento resident Billy Mills shocked the world at the 1964 Olympics with a 10,000 meters victory. Tonight another Sacramento resident paid the effort appropriate homage. 

Olympian Kim Conley, 28, sprinted past Oregon's Jordan Hasay in the last 75 meters to become the USATF 10,000 meter national champion. Hasay had taken the lead with roughly 225 meters left in the race before Conley closed convincingly. 

Conley competed in the 5,000 meters at the London Games in 2012 and had tremendous indoor and spring seasons, setting a series of PR's and continuing a string of improvement that has been a hallmark of her career. 

The choice of 10,000 meters was no coincidence, "Since this is a non-World Championships year, athletes often choose to experiment with a different event at the national championships since there isn't as much at stake," said Conley. "I think I have the potential to be competitive at the 10k as well as the 5k so I wanted to try it out this year at the championship level and, if all goes well, have my options open for both the World Championships next year and the Olympics in 2016," she added.

That strategy appears to have played out perfectly to form. 

Conley, running for New Balance / SRA Elite turned in a 32:02.07 winning time with Hasay of Nike Oregon Project claiming second with a 32:03.28 and Amy Hastings running for Brooks and taking third with a 32:18.81.
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Loyola University Maryland women's track & field head coach Amy Horst, herself a former collegiate distance runner at MSOE and later an assistant coach at Marquette, offered insight into the tactics Conley is honing in addition to keeping her options open at the 10k and 5k distances.

Distance runners, the truly good ones, are just that - distance runners. So whether it be a 1,500 or 10k, successful athletes will be able to race a full variety and not pigeon hole themselves into one race. If you really look at the speed, the true velocity (meters/second) of a race, in a championship 10k the field will run both sedentary and world record paces all in the same race.

My coaches will talk about 'critical speed' and loosely defined, that's the speed that you must race at in the last segment of the race to be in a competitive position to win. In the 800 that may be the last 200m, the last 300-500 in the 1500, or the last 1600 in a 10k.    

- Tom Flynn

College Baseball: Vanderbilt Wins National Title, Terps Finish Season With #14 National Ranking

Vanderbilt's John Norwood celebrates the Commodores' win (photo / ncaa.com)
by Boxer Journal, July 26, 2014
The Vanderbilt Commodores baseball team earned its first national championship, and just the school's second ever, on Wednesday night when they defeated the Virginia Cavaliers, 3-2.

John Norwood, the Commodores' junior centerfielder, hit a tie-breaking home run in the top of the eighth that proved the difference. Norwood showed his quick hands and better timing as he pulled a 97-mph offering from Cavaliers' reliever Nick Howard down the left field line and into the bullpen.

For Norwood it was only his third homer of the year, and his first since April 19. Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park has become known as a graveyard for long fly balls, as it was only the third homer in 16 CWS games this year. Those were not stats Norwood had in mind after his swing in the eighth

"I thought it was absolutely gone as soon as I hit it," he said after the game.

The Commodores finished the season with a 51-21 mark, while the Cavaliers closed out with a 53-16 record.
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Closing out a season of historic firsts, the Maryland Terrapins baseball team finished the season with its highest national ranking ever, according to Testudo Times. The Collegiate Baseball News (CBN) had the Terps in the #14 slot, while the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) had them at #16.

Maryland finished the season as the ACC's second-best team nationally, behind only CWS runner-up Virginia. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

College Baseball: Virginia Deals Vanderbilt Loss, Moves to Championship Tonight

Virginia celebrates after Tuesday night's win against Vanderbilt (photo /UVA/Mark Riley)
by Boxer Journal, June 25, 2014
Omaha, NE - The Virginia Cavaliers continued to reveal the third inning of the CWS Finals opening game as the anomaly it was on Tuesday night. UVA looked comfortably the better team as they beat Vanderbilt, 7-2, to advance to the deciding third game tonight at TD Ameritrade Park.

Were it not for largely self-induced struggles in Monday's third inning, the Cavaliers would already be college baseball's 2014 Division I champions. Since that inning they have yielded just two runs in 15 innings and as importantly have put up 13 of their own to even the series at one game apiece.

Virginia (53-15) starter Brian Waddell was much of the story as he pitched the first nine-innning complete game of his career when it mattered most. The sophomore lefthander from Houston allowed only one earned run and scattered five hits in moving his mark to 10-3 on the season. He outdueled Vanderbilt's ace Tyler Beede (8-8), who earlier this year went as the #14 overall pick in the MLB draft to the San Francisco Giants.

The Commodores (50-21) will face the Cavaliers tonight at 8 PM Eastern to decide the best of three series and the national champion.

Monday, June 23, 2014

College Baseball: Vanderbilt Wins Game One of CWS Finals

TD Ameritrade Park (photo / wikimedia commons)
by Boxer Journal, June 23, 2014
Omaha, NE - Vanderbilt topped Virginia, 9-8, in the opening game of the 2014 College World Series Finals on Monday night.

The Commodores (50-20) scored in just one frame, the third, but had nine runners cross the plate in the inning to take a 9-2 advantage. Virginia (52-15) battled back with three runs in the bottom of the third, two in the fifth, and one in the eighth, but still fell short.

Vanderbilt's nine run inning came as a result of five walks, three hits, and a hit batsman. Third baseman Tyler Campbell doubled twice in the big inning and continued to excel since replacing starter Xavier Turner, who was declared ineligible after an NCAA rules violation. Campbell's second double came with the bases loaded.

"I'm just still happy I got the the opportunity and I've been able to come in and be a solid player for the team," said Campbell after the game.

The two will resume the series Tuesday night. The CWS finals are a best-of-three format and the Commodores can capture a national title with a win.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pro Baseball: Maryland's Charlie White Signs With Cubs, Joins Jake Stinnett

Standout centerfielder Charlie White  (photo / T.Flynn)
by Boxer Journal, June 18, 2014
College Park, MD - Maryland's loss is the Chicago Cubs' gain as they signed standout centerfielder Charlie White to a contract this week. The rising senior was drafted by the New York Yankees last season in the 29th round, but opted to return for his junior year with the Terrapins.

His stock rose to the 21st round in 2014, and perhaps more importantly he was drafted by his hometown Cubs. White is a native of Naperville, Illinois, roughly 40 miles to the southwest of Wrigley Field.

"Ever since I was a little kid, the Cubs were my favorite and it's always been my dream to play in the big leagues," White told the Naperville Sun. "I'm really thankful for getting this opportunity and I'm looking forward to it."

White will be joining right-handed pitcher and fellow Terrapin Jake Stinnett in the Cubs' organization. Stinnett was Maryland's #1 starter this year and like White was previously drafted. In 2013 the Vista, California native was chosen by the Pirates, also in the 29th round. A standout senior campaign helped push Stinnett well up the ladder to the second round with the Cubs this year.

As per Maryland's sports information department both players are presently assigned to the Cubs' rookie league team in the Arizona League, which has not begun play.

They may be re-assigned to the Cubs' short season team, the Boise Hawks, who recently began their 2014 season. The pair do not appear on the Hawks' roster at present.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Soccer: NY Cosmos Dominate MLS's Red Bulls

The Cosmos dominated the Red Bulls of MLS on Saturday (photo nycosmos.com)
Hempstead, NY - In a great soccer story played out in the shadow of the opening of the 2014 World Cup, the NY Cosmos of the NASL dominated the New York Red Bulls, 3-0, on Saturday. The game was part of the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup, a tournament combining professional and amateur teams in competition and dating back 100 years to 1914.

The current Cosmos are an incarnation of a franchise that was inactive for the better part of three decades. In the fall of 2013 they resumed league play, and promptly won the NASL's autumn season.

Norway native Mads Stokkelien scored twice for the Cosmos while Alessandro Noselli had the other tally for the home club.

The NASL is considered a lower division than Major League Soccer, yet the Cosmos win was just one of three games on Saturday in which NASL teams bested MLS foes.

New York will now face the winner of tonight's game between the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) and the Philadelphia Union (MLS) in the Fifth Round next week.

The Red Bulls exited the single-elimination tournament with the loss.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

College Baseball: Terps Drop Final Two, End Historic Run

The Terps ended their historic campaign on Monday (photo / T. Flynn)

by Boxer Journal June 10, 2014
Charlottesville, VA - After jumping out to the lead in the best-of-three Super Regional series against Virginia, the Maryland Terrapins dropped the final two games to end their historic season.

On Monday the Cavaliers (49-14) handled the Terps (40-23), 11-2, to close out the series and move on to Omaha and the College World Series. UVA also had won on Sunday, 7-3, to tie the series at 1-1 and force a decisive game three.

The game was the last for Maryland representing the ACC, and fittingly was against the only other ACC left in the tournament. The Terps will move to the Big-10 next season, while Virginia will continue play this season in Omaha as one of eight teams in the College World Series.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

College Baseball: Terps beat Virginia, 5-4 in Game One

by Boxer Journal June 7, 2014
Charlottesville, VA - "First-time" is increasingly becoming a meaningless distinction for the Maryland Terrapins baseball team as they continue to play in the postseason like they've been there many times before.

The Terps beat the Virginia Cavaliers, 5-4, in Charlottesville on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Super Regional. It was their first-ever appearance in a Super Regional game.

Jake Stinnett (8-6) got the win by pitching six strong innings before yielding the mound to Bobby Ruse followed by Kevin Mooney to close. Charlie White again paced the Terps by lacing three hits and making a diving catch in centerfield before throwing to his cut-off man to cut down the tagging Virginia (47-14) runner at home.

The two teams will resume action tomorrow at noon and Maryland (40-21) will send Freshman All-American Mike Shawaryn (11-3) to the hill. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2.

Friday, June 6, 2014

College Baseball: Maryland Faces Virginia for College World Series Slot

Maryland faces Virginia in a best-of-three series (photo / umterps.com)
by Boxer Journal June 6, 2014
Charlottesville, VA - Two ACC foes will battle in the NCAA Super Regional this weekend for the right to represent the league in the College World Series in Omaha.

Maryland takes on Virginia at the Cavaliers' Davenport Field in Charlottesville. Six ACC teams qualified for the NCAA tournament's field of 64, but of that group only the Terps (39-21) and Cavs (47-13) remain. The winner will advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Projected starters for the Terps are senior Jake Stinnett (7-6, 2.65 ERA), freshman Mike Shawaryn (11-3, 2.81), and sophomore lefty Jake Drossner (4-1, 2.45).

The two teams faced only one time this year, with the Terps coming away with a 7-6 victory in the ACC tournament.

The series is scheduled to air on ESPN2

Saturday June 7 - Noon
Sunday June 8 - Noon
Monday June 9 - 4 PM*

*If necessary

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maryland Terps Stun South Carolina to Advance

Maryland continues to win away from the friendly confines of Shipley (photo / T. Flynn)
by Boxer Journal June 01, 2014
Baltimore, MD - This year's Maryland Terrapins are removing any doubt that they are the best in the program's history.

Tonight they beat South Carolina (43-18) in Columbia for the second straight evening to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. Maryland dogpiled onto the field, and then walked off it with a convincing 10-1 victory in hand.

No Terps team has ever advanced past the regionals and this year's club continues to break the record for wins in a season with 39 to date, against 21 losses.

Tayler Stiles won the game in relief for the Terps to move his record to 5-2. Leadoff hitter Charlie White paced Maryland offensively with three hits and was hit by a pitch to reach base four times.

Shortstop Blake Schmit drove in three runs for the Terps including their first two in the fourth to stake the Maryland to a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish.

Maryland next faces Virginia (47-13) at Charlottesville in the Super Regionals next weekend. The Terps and Cavs faced only once in ACC play, and that was during the ACC tournament. The Terps, won 7-6.

Another Western State Adds Varsity Lacrosse

For several years I've contributed lacrosse articles to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).  This week I w...