As anyone who has competed might attest, but this year especially on its 30th anniversary, an illustrious cast featuring current and former scholastic and collegiate standouts (and not-so-standouts) is expected to toe the line for the annual Bill Markiewicz Memorial/Rockland County Alumni Cross-Country Run on Nov. 24 at Bear Mountain State Park.
The three-mile run, including a jaunt around spectacular Hessian Lake, begins at high noon come rain or shine. Registration begins at 11 a.m. at the picnic tables next to the carousel. There is no entry fee, but parking is $8. Any alumni of any school in the nation can compete, and competitors have come from such distant universities as Stanford and Southern California.
One of two stalwarts never to miss an alumni run promises to take another shot at Father Time.
“I’m going to jog it, yeah,” says Albertus Magnus HS alum Larry Beckerle of Nanuet, who later ran for Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., in his junior and senior years. “And he’ll be there, too. The elusive ghost will show up just before the gun. I’m counting on him being there.”
The “Elusive Ghost” happens to be Pat Chambers, also an alum of Albertus Magnus (Class of ’76), and a graduate of Rutgers University who won the inaugural Alumni Run back in 1983, and who will most likely answer the starter’s gun once more.
Beckerle, a self-proclaimed “mediocre runner” in high school and “mediocre” again in college, adds that every year he vows to get in better shape to race and lower his time.
“Somehow it just doesn’t happen,” laughed Beckerle. “But if you ask me how many years I’ll keep coming, I’ll ask you how many years are they going to have it.”
Beckerle once held, in part, the unofficial family participation honor, running alongside his brothers Stephen (Albertus Magnus Class of ’74) of Stony Point, Mike (Nanuet HS Class of ’79) of Pearl River, and Matt (Nanuet HS Class of ’83), also of Pearl River. They have all run together several times, following in the footsteps of their dad, Pete, Spring Valley Class of ’48 but now a resident of Pearl River.
“Dad will show up, but he’ll probably just watch now,” offers Larry, whose Beckerle Foursome was later matched by the Newsomes of West Nyack – George, Dawn, Kim and Jennifer.
Veteran roadrunner Jamie Kempton of Nanuet, another Albertus Magnus alum who competed at Bucknell University, will run despite a lingering knee injury.
Kempton long ago ruined his chance to reach local Alumni Run immortality when he had the temerity to skip the race in 1987, the only time he has been absent.
“Yeah, he had the nerve to compete instead at the National Cross Country Open Championships,” kidded Larry Beckerle.
“I never thought this race would last as long as it has, and it was way back – I decided to run the nationals instead. It was at Van Cortlandt Park (Bronx), so I chose to go. There’s been no end to the grief I’ve taken. In hindsight, I would have chosen the Alumni Run that I missed.”
Art Gunther of Upper Nyack, a teacher in the South Orangetown Central School District, only last week turned in a strong second-place effort in the Harrisburg (Pa.) Marathon and is not expected to run with the hundreds of other alumni at Bear Mountain.
The respective defending men’s and women’s champions are Nick Roosa (Tappan Zee HS Class of ’03) and Caile Kohlbrenner of Sparkill (Tappan Zee Class of ’11), who is now running at Providence College.
The race is named after Bill Markiewicz, a 1967 Albertus Magnus graduate and former longtime Clarkstown North cross country and track coach who died of cancer in 1991. The Bill Markiewicz Award is presented annually at the race, to a person who has made a significant contribution to cross country in Rockland. Bill’s widow, Janet, makes the presentation each year.
Age-group races for children begin at 11:30 a.m. There is no entry fee for the children’s runs. Each child receives an award donated by the Clarkstown South team and Coach Ray Kondracki.
Huskies eliminated: The Northeastern University men’s soccer team (14-3-4) went toe-to-toe with one of the nation’s top teams, but No. 4 Connecticut edged the Huskies, 1-0, in front of 4,675 at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn. The loss eliminated the Huskies from the NCAA tournament following one of their best seasons in program history. Northeastern set program records for most wins, fewest losses, longest unbeaten streak and tied the team record for longest winning streak. Junior Conner Alexander of Blauvelt, a starting defenseman, anchored a defense that allowed the fewest goals in team history (less than a goal per game). Alexander, a graduate of Bergen Catholic HS in Paramus, N.J, had four goals of his own on just six shots, including two game-winners, which ranks second-best on the team.
Mustangs corralled: The Mount Ida College football team lost to nationally ranked (5th) Wesley College in the opening round of the NCAA Division III postseason tournament, falling 73-14 in Dover, Del. The Mustangs, anchored by Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) offensive lineman of the year Matt Bonomolo of Pearl River, came into the game after capturing their first-ever ECFC title with a 52-28 win over Castleton State College in Vermont. Mount Ida finishes with its best season in the history of the program, going 8-3 overall, 6-1 in league action. Wesley advances to the second round of the NCAA tournament and faces Cortland State on November 24.
• Providence College senior Shelby Greany of Suffern placed 60th as the Friars’ women’s cross country team, competing on the biggest stage of the season, finished as national runners-up at the NCAA Division I Championship at the University of Louisville’s E.P. `Tom’ Sawyer State Park in Kentucky. Greany, who was coming off an eight-place showing at the national regionals in Madison, Conn., had a fifth-place effort on October 26 at the Big East Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Sophomore teammate Caile Kohlbrenner of Sparkill, who starred at Tappan Zee HS, did not compete at the national championships but had a strong season breaking into a powerful lineup. Kohlbrenner was 20th at Stony Brook on September 15, placed 15th at the University of New Hampshire Duals in Durham, N.H., and took 29th at the Central Connecticut Mini Meet in New Britain on October 19. Oregon won the national title with 114 points while Providence was second with 183. Stanford finished third (198), Florida State fourth (202), while Michigan (247) rounded out the top-five.
• Sophomore Paul Fields of Clarkstown finished third at 125 pounds as five SUNY Cortland wrestlers won individual titles in leading the nationally ranked (No. 7) Red Dragons to the championship at the King’s College Monarch Invitational in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Cortland, besting a field of 12 schools, finished with 147 points, 10 points ahead of 13th-ranked Wilkes University. York College (Pa.) placed third (134.5) and Oneonta was fourth (77.5). Fields, an alum of Clarkstown North HS, lost his first match, but then won five straight as an unseeded entry. The Red Dragons travel to Grantham, Pa., on Nov. 30/Dec. 1 to compete at the Messiah College Petrofes Invitational.
• Promising freshman Nathan Kotch, an alum of Tappan Zee HS, placed 79th in a field of 151 runners as the Manhattan College men’s cross country team ended its season in the ECAC/IC4A Championships at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The men’s team captured 13th place in the University Division of the 104th IC4A Championships. Leading the way over a 5,000-meter course was Stephen Chantry of Williamsburg, Va., who captured 57th place in a time of 27:45.6. Jacob Adams of Yonkers was 67th in 28:02.9, while Kevin D’Emic of Rockaway Point finished 68th in 28:04.2. Kevin O’Brien of Attleboro, Mass., placed 71st in a time of 28:12.8, followed by Kotch in (28:34.9).
• Senior guard Aliana Walker of Pomona and the St. Bonaventure University women’s basketball team is headed to Albuquerque, N.M., to compete in the four-team New Mexico Tournament as part of an eight-game road trip. The Bonnies, sparked by Walker, an Albertus Magnus HS alumna, meet Georgia on Nov. 23 and play again on Nov. 24. Also in the field are host New Mexico and North Texas. The Bonnies then travel to Delaware, Toledo, Buffalo and West Virginia before returning home to face the Golden Griffins of Canisius College on Dec. 16 at 1 p.m.
• Junior tailback Justin Autera of Mahopac rushed for 121 yards as Cortland edged visiting Framingham State, 20-19, in the NCAA Division III tournament opening round. Gabe Ostrow of Nanuet, the Red Dragons’ sack leader with seven, had one sack as Cortland lifted its record to 9-1. The Red Dragons, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) champion, will face equally once-beaten Wesley College (Del.) in the second round on Nov. 24 at a site to be determined. Framingham State, the New England Football Conference (NEFC) champion, was making its first NCAA playoff showing and finishes the season 10-2.
• Sophomore Renee Roncace of Valley Cottage placed 25th as the Dominican College women’s cross country team finished fourth at the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) championships at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia. Freshman Carolina Cassin Silva of Putnam Valley led the Lady Chargers with a time of 20:41 to finish in seventh place and earn all-CACC recognition. Roncace, a graduate of Nyack HS, clocked 22:03.
• SUNY Maritime junior Chris Klass, an alum of Nanuet HS, was named second-team defensive all-ECAC. Klass led the team with three interceptions as the Pioneers went 3-6, and averaged 18.6 yards on 10 kickoff returns, which ranks second on the club. Sophomore Greg Caneparo, also of Nanuet, led the team with five punt returns averaging 11 yards.
This and that
• The Jersey Project will have an afternoon of talking about what’s next for the sport of cycling in a unique and fun atmosphere at Continuum Cycles& Coffee Café on 199 Avenue B in New York on Dec. 2 from 1-3 pm. For more details contact [email protected].
• National Sports Marketing Network (NSMN), the 14-year old trade association for sports business, is offering a variety of Sports Marketing Classes each week in Manhattan. Upcoming guest speakers include sports business executives from Wasserman Media Group,
Mets, Yankees and CAA Sports and more. Email [email protected] for a schedule, to learn more and to register.
• The trail from Nyack Beach up the hill to Rockland Lake, a distance of 1¼ miles along the Hudson River shoreline, is closed due to the damage of Hurricane Sandy. The management of Rockland Lake has scheduled a volunteering cleanup effort on Nov. 27 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Rockland Road Runners will send a crew, asking anyone interesting in helping the cause to meet at the toll booth on North Broadway.