Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cameron Greza breaks County Record in 1600m

Suncrest runner Cameron Greza laced up his flats and blazed to a 5:09 1600m this evening in a time trial on the track. He broke the Mon. County Middle School record of 5:13 with a gut wrenching 2:30 last half. Of course he won't get credit for this because this was not a middle school meet and it doesn't really count. But he did it, and because of this awesome run he earns the Middle School Athete of the Mid-Week!!! A title I just completely made up to have a reason to hype up what he did. Looks like Cameron has a realistic chance to pull off the rare sub-5 middle school mile this outdoor season. We'll ceratinly be keeping an eye out this spring to find out how he's progressing. Congrats to Cameron on a job well done.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Athlete of the Week - Jason Pyles

The AotW for January 26th-February 1st is Jason Pyles. Mr. Pyles wins his award by virtue of his 1:07:49 half marathon PR in Austin, Texas on Sunday. He was 14th overall and 3rd American. Jason is a 2000 graduate of Point Pleasant High School and 2005 graduate of Marshall. Congratulations to Jason for his race and a tip-of-the-cap to him for continuing to push on as a post-collegiate. Hopefully we'll see Mr. Pyles be part of a big WV contingent at the 2012 Marathon Trials.

Photo Courtesy:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Athlete of the Week - Kaylyn Christopher

Kaylyn Christopher earns top honors this week with her speedy win in the 1000m. at Penn State this past weekend. She took the lead early in the race, and pushed away from the pack to run 2:52 for her first collegiate win. The aggresive front running style is nothing new to those who have followed her career over the past couple of years. It was her trade mark in high school where she dominated the state for four years. Now's she just getting started on what will surely be a sensational indoor season. She will be an crucial component on the WVU DMR team, which has a chance to do some really amazing things this year. This is Kaylyn's first indoor season since entering WVU and it looks like she's going to make it a great one. Best of luck to her over the next couple of months.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Run the Arb presents - The W Awards!

Well folks, it’s now 2009 and you know what that means… it’s time for the 2008 W Awards!

Every year the best of the best in WV distance running gather in the Days Inn Conference Center in Braxton County to eat, drink, be merry and receive fabulous prizes. Now remember, only West Virginian distance runners are eligible for these fabulous West Virginian prizes.

(Note: the Parks/Metcalfe Rule applies here. If asked the simple question, “Where are you from?” the reply “Edmonton” (Metcalfe) bars you from the incredible prizes, the reply “Bruceton Mills” (Parks) lets you in on the madness that is The 2008 W Awards!)

Category: Cross Country
2nd Runner-up: Clara Grandt. 32nd place USATF XC Championships, Member 2008 WVU XC Team, 3rd place Big East Championships, 6th place Mid-Atlantic Regional, 42nd place NCAA Championships.

Runner-up: Keri Bland. Member 2008 WVU XC Team, 4th place Big East Championships, 4th place Mid-Atlantic Regional, 14th place NCAA Championships (All-American).

Winner of a genuine turkey dinner (some hunting and cooking required) and the 2008 WV Cross Country Runner of the Year: Josh Simpson. 14th place USATF XC Championships, 2nd place individual NACAC.

Judges’ Comments: Simpson wins this award in a dogfight with Keri Bland. The Scottish judge campaigned for Bland because of her consistency and great finish at NCAAs, but the Mexican judge just repeated what he said last year, “It was USATF Nationals, hombre…”

Category: Track
2nd Runner-up: Michael Hardbarger. 1:53.17 800m, 2:28.74 1000m, 3:50.29 1500m, 8:31.39 3000m, qualified for DIII Outdoor Track and Field National Championships for 1500m.

Runner-up: Keri Bland. 2:07.01 800m, 2:48.66 1000m, 4:16.05 1500m, Member of School Record indoor DMR (All-American), 10th NCAA Outdoor 1500m (All-American), 7th place in semi-final U.S. Olympic Trials 1500m.

Winner of a brand-new telephone (assembly of cans and string required) and the 2008 WV Track Runner of the Year: Josh Simpson. 28:22 10000m, 28:37 10000m, 12th U.S. Olympic Trials 10000m.

Judges’ Comments: Hardbarger out-leaned Clara Grandt and Andrew Benford for the 2nd Runner-up position. The Russian judge raved about Hardbarger, mentioning that he “haz zom veels!” Simpson holds off Keri in this award with his incredible new PR and superb placing at the Trials.

Category: Roads

2nd Runner-up: Jason Pyles, 18th place Parkersburg Half-marathon 1:09:53, 4th Charleston Distance Run 1:25:47.

Runner-up: Heather Parks, 9th place Philadelphia Marathon 2:57:02.

Winner of an authentic hand-carved wooden mug (some whittling required) and our 2008 WV Road Runner of the Year: Josh Simpson. 8th place USATF Half-Marathon Championship in 1:03:54.

Judges’ Comments: Josh Simpson had a ridiculous 2008. After not winning a single W Award in 2007, he has swept the seasonal awards. Most in the crowd at the Days Inn agreed with the Japanese judge, who said, “Why he have to race on roads too? What, must he win everything and leave nothing for the little man? I stick samurai sword in his belly.”

Category: Overall Runner of the Year

2nd Runner-up: Clara Grandt. After 16:28, 34:11 and 42nd place NCAA Cross, Clara locked down a really fantastic year. Clara is the model of consistency and every year she is stronger and faster than the year before. Best of luck to her as she continues to progress as a runner. With her award, Clara wins a fabulous hand-knit sweater (some knitting required).

Runner-up: Keri Bland. 2:07, 4:16.05, three All-America awards and a semi-final appearance at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. This is almost certainly the best year any WV female distance runner has ever enjoyed. Keri’s 2008 was consistent, it was flawless, and it brought home the hardware by the truckload. For all of Ms. Bland’s troubles, she wins a genuine, previously-owned, “W”-autographed lamp (new light bulb and switch required).

2008 West Virginia Runner of the Year: Josh Simpson. It was a really simple choice, he had the best year for a West Virginian since Chris Fox and Steve Taylor roamed the Earth. 28:22, 12th U.S. Olympic Trials, 14th USATF Cross Nationals, 2nd NACAC, 8th USATF Half-marathon. Josh had a complete year, with good, tough races in every discipline. Congratulations to Mr. Simpson and, for your effort, you get a gift certificate to use W’s elliptical machine for 5 hours (redeemable at any time).

What a year for Mr. Simpson and what a year for the distance runner community in this state. Among other thrills, we got to see the WVU women’s team finish 4th (and return all their starters next year) and we got to watch Simpson and Bland fight their way to the U.S. Olympic Trials while having career-defining seasons. We also got to see the state as a whole continue to make big steps towards developing better and faster athletes. The momentum is picking up within the state and it’s a great time to be training and racing in West Virginia.

Well, that wraps it up from here in beautiful Braxton County. For all you big dreamers out there, keep dreaming every day and keep running every day… 2009’s winners are out putting in the miles right now!

Monday, January 12, 2009

High School Indoor A Go!

High School
So it has already started out as a frigid 2009, but it looks like indoor track has arrived just in time to heat things up. You can already see a huge upswing in participants from around the state (with runners from WV Flyers, Cabell Midland, St. Albans, Ravenswood and Hurricane) which will only help raise the level of competition to new heights when spring track rolls around. These guys and gals should be commended for getting out there and getting the work done in the dreary winter months. They'll get their rewards in the spring.

In case you missed the discussions on the message board, there were two high school meets this weekend that featured WV runners. The Flyers Meet in Morgantown and the Marietta High School Open in OH, which from what I hear has a pretty nice track.

The Flyers meet was kind of light on the competition but did feature an impressive line-up in the Boys 1600m. The race got out a little slow which motivated Fairmont Senior superstud David CerealO to take the lead and start laying down the hammer. After he made his intial push the front he went unchallanged to the finish line. He was able to negatvie split the race by quite a bit with an impressive time of 4:39.4 which puts him as the #1 1600m runner on the 2009 list. Wheeling Central's Rob Bonenberger stole the 2nd spot from a fading Frohnapfel with a brand new PR of 4:51.00. Keep your eye on this up and coming runner as he begins his campaign to take over the single A distance scene.

The Marietta meet saw some big names showing up to get in a rust-buster race or two. Shady Springs runner Chelsea Callaway has already returned to her regular M.O. by winning the the 1600m with a time of 5:42 and then coming back to finish 3rd in the 3200. Hurricane All-State runner Alex Dent cruised it in for the win in the 3200m. with a time of 12:24. Dent was also spotted in the 4x800 with phenom teammate Josie Crouch. Crouch went on to win the 800 with a time of 2:26 and finished 3rd overall in the 200m. If there wasn't a rule restricting it I would say let this girl run every single event and win the state meet with just her (I bet she can high jump 7 feet).

On the guys side we have another big blip on the radar from middle school runner Jacob Burcham (the previous being when he went down to Footlocker in Cross Country and won the 13 age group race). This time Jacob turned up in a nasty 1600m/3000m double where he ran 4:55 and 9:45, which is just ridiculous for someone who plays basketball and runs 15 miles a week. The other runners in the state can give a sigh of relief though, because this guy won't be unleashed on them until next year when he actually enters high school. Ravenswood runner Nathan Rees looks like he's going to be taking over the reigns as the stud of AA with his "Holy Crap" performance in the 3K and 800m where he destroyed the competition with a 9:40 and 2:03(that's the holy crap part). Job well done to Nathan who may go down as one of the best runners in Ravenswood history, which is no small feat considering the deep tradition of distance runners at that school. Cabell Midland runner Trey Beckett was spotted leading the way in the 1600m but apparently came out of the race before the finish line. Maybe he wants to remain incognito like the St. Albans guys in the 4x800 who ran a pretty studly time and gave the rest of the field a little spanking.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Athlete of the Week - Jacob Burcham

The AotW for January 12th-18th is Jacob Burcham of Barboursville Middle School. Mr. Burcham wins via his 4:55i/10:28i# double on Saturday. Jacob is the first middle schooler to win AotW and I know almost nothing about him. I do know that he won the 13-14 age race at Foot Locker South. I also know that his double over the weekend is very good for a 14-year-old and I tip my cap at him. Best of luck in the future, Mr. Burcham.

Photo Courtesy:

Athlete of the Week - Santa Claus

The AotW for December 22nd - January 11th is Santa Claus. Because of the jolly, fat man and the holiday associated with him, W spent two weeks in the Great White North, and is two weeks behind at work. As such, and in no small part to the fact that there isn't much racing in late-December, Santa gets to be the AotW for 3 weeks. Congratulations Santa, we'll see you again next year!