Sports columnist Marc Maturo’s official column
Rockland runners gear up for 10-mile challenge
The weather probably will be splendid as it has been for 24 years, and as it has been nearly every year in which he competed veteran Art Gunther Jr. of Upper Nyack will probably jump to the lead, maintain a steady pace and again lead the field – this time in celebration of the 25th running of the ever-popular South Nyack 10-mile Run.
The race — set for Sunday, Sept. 8 at 8:30 a.m., preceded by a children’s fun run at 8:15 a.m. — starts and ends at Franklin Street Park and is certified by the USA Track Federation. It runs from South Nyack down to Piermont and out onto the mile-long Piermont Pier before the turnaround.
Sponsored by the Rockland Road Runners (RRR), the race annually attracts fields well into the hundreds, with 369 competitors crossing the finish line last year. According to club president Jamie Kempton of Nanuet, there were 400 registered entrants a year ago and he is hoping for an even larger turnout this year.
Proceeds will benefit the South Nyack and Piermont Volunteer Fire Departments, Nyack Ambulance Corps, Sunday Supper and Soup Angels.
Mike Angarola of Nyack has been the race director since 1989 following a one-year hiatus after the Village of South Nyack handed over the reins to RRR, when organizing the event became too unwieldy.
From 1978 through 1987, the race was contested at 7.8 miles before going to the current distance.
Kempton, who will not compete this year due to a bothersome left knee, holds the 7.8-mile mark since winning in 1980 in 38:41, when he was just out of Bucknell University. Unless the distance is changed again, Kempton’s record will stand in perpetuity.
Another standard-bearer is the Binghamton University Hall of Famer and all-American runner Gunther, who has won so many times he doesn’t keep count – “Fifteen in 17 years that could be true, I’ve lost track,” offered the congenial teacher in the South Orangetown Central School District, who won last year in 54:44 and said he’s ready to roll once more.
“I’m hoping for good weather, preferably a cool day which definitely helps for longer races,” said Gunther, who recalls being beaten a few times when he was younger and certainly recalls the race in 1998.
“A guy came a long way, from Philly (Matt Byrne) … blew me away,” Gunther noted. “He was great, and went on to big things. I remember it, yeah, yeah. I was in good shape, too, but he blew me away the last five miles.”
Gunther, 42, has been training again for the New York City Marathon, which will be his third. When last year’s marathon had to be canceled in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Gunther instead competed in Harrisburg, Pa.
“I’ve been doing a lot of distance work, a lot of mileage, but not too much speed training. I’m pretty ready,” concluded the reigning king, who might expect tough competition again from Doug McEnroe, 38, of Stony Point (fourth last year), and 45-year-old Alan Young of Suffern (ninth a year ago).
“It’s the 25th anniversary, so it would be nice to do it again,” Gunther concluded.
Returning to defend her women’s title will be 42-year-old Kim Chalfin of Nanuet, whose 1:09:12 clocking last year was good for 11th overall. She can expect tough competition again from her running partners and close friends Laura DiMarino, 46, of New City and ultra-marathoner Carol Guzinski, 46, of Garnerville. DiMarino ran 19th overall last year while Guzinski placed 26th in the field, with an unforeseen twist of fortune.
“I was late at the start,” said Guzinski, who ran at Lynbrook HS on Long Island and then at Penn State.
The late start came about following a 10-mile training run BEFORE the race, when Guzinski had to affect a change of shoes.
“My overall time would have been faster,” said Guzinski, who then ran ANOTHER FIVE miles after the race, with Chalfin.
“It was a good day,” added the indefatigable Guzinski, speaking almost as rapidly as she runs.
All the training was in preparation for the NYC Marathon, which was canceled, but all was not for naught as Guzinski completed her third 50-mile Ultra run two weeks later in Western Maryland, at the JFK 50, which was celebrating its 50th year as the longest Ultra in the nation.
Guzinski, who trains with Chalfin mostly, and DiMarino, either at Nanuet HS or North Rockland HS, is bypassing any Ultra run this year in favor of saving her legs for the Boston Marathon, set for April 21, 2014.
“An Ultra takes about six months to recover from,” Guzinski noted, explaining her long-term decision to let the Ultra be this year.
“I did Boston in 2012. It was ridiculously hot,” she recalled.
Back on the men’s side, Gunther’s last non-winning year was 2009, when Tony Skiles of West Reading, Pa., earned gold in 59:35.
Skiles, of course, did not have to beat Gunther, who was sidelined with a rare injury, but he did receive a stiff challenge from Kempton, then 50 years of age, who took sixth in 1:03:30. Two years later and two years older, Kempton finished a resounding fifth with a better time (1:00:53) despite dealing with two flooded sections on the Piermont Pier due to the remnants of Hurricane Irene.
“There were two huge puddles, and one went up to my thigh,” Kempton remembers. “The Hudson River water was up, and it was high tide. It was a year to remember.”
So how to explain a better run than two years earlier: “I was in better shape, that’s why,” concluded Kempton, perhaps speaking for anyone with thoughts of doing better this time around.
In conjunction with the race’s 25th anniversary, the RRR extended a complimentary invitation to all past winners, who will be asked to hand out post-race awards.
If all goes according to Hoyle, Gunther and Chalfin might just be presenting the first-place hardware to themselves.
Runners can sign up to compete on the day of the race, but online registration is still available at: http://www.rocklandroadrunners.org/
PONGBALL PASSES THROUGH CASTLE
An offshoot of the party competition “Beer Pong,” but without the beer, “Pongball” made its way through Rockland County on a tour that culminates with a “Super Pong” event on Sept. 21 in White Plains.
A group of some 40 teams, each consisting of two players, gathered at Emmett’s Castle in Pearl River on August 23, and a swell time was had by one and all.
Emmett Woods, who owns the Castle at Blue Hill Golf Course, noted that he sponsored a smaller event last year, but that this was the first time the winners advance to the big event across the river.
“It went very well, it was great for everybody,” added Woods, who has a long background in Irish Football, having played about five years in Ireland and then playing at Gaelic Park in Riverdale after moving to Rockland.
Woods, who has also hosted Pong events at his Mahoney’s establishment in Poughkeepsie, said most of the players were in their mid-20’s.
“It’s also a social event, and we’ll have it again for sure,” Woods concluded.
“Pongball” in a nutshell: This new sport is played on a nine-foot table with 10 cups set up on each side in a pyramid manner. Each team has two players on opposite sides of the table, involving strategy, hand-eye coordination and teamwork. The object of the game is to sink the opposing team’s cup by lobbing a ping pong ball into the cups filled with water. When a cup in sunk, it is pushed to the side of the table. When a team sinks all cups, the game is over.
To register for any events call the tour office at 914-437-5401 or visit http://www.worldpongtour.com.
RIDING HIGH IN THE DESERT
PAT KIVLEHAN of West Nyack is proving once again that as he moves up in competition, the Rutgers University alum raises his level of play.
Kivlehan, who opened the season with the Clinton, Iowa, LumberKings in Class A, is sparking the High Desert Mavericks, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners in the Class A Advanced California League.
In 60 games with the Mavericks, Kivlehan leads the club in batting with a robust .342 average (Jordy Lara is batting .360 in only six games), and is second with 13 homers and 57 RBI. Dan Paolini has 18 homers and 69 RBI, but in 92 games.
In a recent outing Kivlehan, a third baseman, went 2 for 5 with a homer and three RBI as the Mavericks delayed the Inland Empire 66’s bid to clinch a playoff berth. The Mavs are 60-71 while the Sixers, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, are 67-65.
KELSEY REHAIN of Suffern, a physical education major at Manhattan College, was among 190 student-athletes from 68 institutions named to the 2013 Academic Honor Roll by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA). The standout lacrosse player, who took up the sport with her sister, Juli, as a 6-year-old, is coming back for her senior season with the Jaspers. Juli, who competed at SUNY New Paltz, spent last year as an assistant coach at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie. The Jaspers’ roster also features sophomore midfielder Casey Silvestri of Pomona and Albertus Magnus HS, Carley Cappello of New City, a junior attack also out of Albertus Magnus, and junior defender Kaleigh Howe of Pearl River.
KERVENS DORSAINVIL of Spring Valley, a hurdler out of Ramapo HS, and sprinter Akeem Soley-Bain of Nanuet, a Clarkstown South alum, are prepping for the track-and-field season at Monroe College in New Rochelle.
CARLA FURGUGLIETTO of Garnerville is ready for her debut season on the cross country team at SUNY Potsdam, which competes in Canton on August 31 at the SUNY Canton Invitational. Furguglietto, a sophomore out of North Rockland HS, might also run on Sept. 4 when the Bears host the North Country Invitational.
CONNER ALEXANDER of Blauvelt, who made the all-Colonial Athletic Association tournament team last season, returns as a key defender on the Northeastern University soccer team. The Huskies open the season on August 30 in Durham, N.C., against Elon University, and then meet Duke on September 1.
THE TAPPAN ZEE HS Athletic Hall of Fame will stage its fifth annual induction ceremony on Nov. 17 at the Colonial Inn in Norwood, N.J., at 5 p.m.
A crackerjack lineup includes two posthumous inductees: Rockland County Sports Hall of Famer Frank Cosentino, Class of 1951, a four-sport standout who went to Princeton and turned down a chance to play pro football with the Green Bay Packers; and David Cozart, Class of 1962, one of 12 children from an athletically gifted Piermont family who attended William Penn College (now University) in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and later earned his doctorate. Cozart starred in football, but also played baseball, basketball and ran track.
Other inductees include longtime girls swimming coach Sarah DeZago of Sparkill, whose teams had just one losing season in her 23-year tenure, building an impressive 201-50-1 record; Dave Holmes of Stony Point, Class of 1982, who swam on the 200-yard medley relay team that set a county mark in 1980 that stood for 30 years (he also finished third in the state as a senior in the 50 freestyle); Joe Campoli of Piermont, Class of 1960, whose basketball-star sister, Marie, is also in the TZ Hall; he played basketball and baseball, and later coached Ohio Northern to a NCAA Division III national championship; and Bill Dailey of Valley Cottage, Class of 1962 whose brother, Jack, was inducted last year for his exploits in cross country and track and field; Bill was a county champion in the mile, and had a great career.
The 1981 golf team, led by the late coach Dan Dinan, will also be honored, and a service award will be bestowed to all TZ athletic alumni who served in the military.
A youth program that can serve as a feeder program for high school teams, Orangetown Lacrosse is preparing for its eighth season, under the direction of Jim Walsh of Pearl River.
The program, for boys and girls in first through eighth grades, offers various clinics ranging from a foundation segment for the first-grade team, to a higher level of competition and skill development for the seventh/eighth-grade team.
For information or to register access: http://www.leagueathletics.com/Default.asp?org=orangetownlacrosse.com
THIS & THAT
DUTCHMEN FLAG FOOTBALL – a non-contact league for students entering grades three through eight – is open to students in all school districts. Play is scheduled to begin Sept. 7 and run through Nov. 2, at Cottage Lane Elementary in Blauvelt.
One practice per week is on tap, teaching fundamentals including stance, ball-handling, passing, receiving, kicking and punting.
For information email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAT PIERSON of Nyack, a 12-time club champion at Minisceongo Golf Club in Pomona, will compete
Sept. 4 at the U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier at Arcola Country Club in nearby Paramus, N.J. The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will be held Oct. 2-6 at the Country Club of Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala.
September 10: The second Bloomberg Sports Business Summit will be held at The Paley Center for Media in Manhattan. The Summit brings together the commissioners, team owners, players and bankers who drive the business of sports. Confirmed speakers include the UFC’s Lorenzo Fertitta, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, Monumental Sports head Ted Leonsis, MLS
commissioner Don Garber, and incoming NBA commissioner Adam Silver among others. Details at http://www.bloomberglink.com/event/sports-2013/
September 18: Annual Steve Drummond Memorial Scholarship Fund’s Challenger Little League Golf Tourney will be held at Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Lunch at noon, followed by cocktails (5:30 p.m.) and dinner (6:30 p.m.). For information, contact Laurie Rindskopf at 845-627-5250 or email@example.com
September 19: Annual Pearl River Rotary Ed Bouton Memorial Golf Outing (Scramble Format) at Blue Hill Golf Course in Pearl River beginning at noon. The outing also includes lunch (Emmett’s Castle) and dinner (Old Tappan Manor). Contact Jim Shepard for information at 845-735-6259 or firstname.lastname@example.org
October 13: Second annual Mickey Sullivan Memorial Duathlon will be held at the Pearl River Middle School. All proceeds will go towards Team KJ and their fight against Huntington’s disease.