The 2008 Sodexo-Hatter Invitational

You have to take your hat off to John Boyle and Joe Guthrie, co-conspirators in this annual and much appreciated college invitational. Just make sure that the hat you tip is a Stetson, since it is John B’s University that gets the credit for all the hard work that went into this well-planned event.

MEN’S COLLEGE AND OPEN 8K

It must be a comfort for coaches Mike Rosolino and Peter Hopfe to know that their team is so deep that they can “train through” a meet as competitive as this one, and still win convincingly with only 28 points.

Sam Vasquez, who last week finished fourth in the Walt Disney World Classic in 25:34, took the lead almost from the start, but that was the plan in only general terms.

“It was just a workout,” he admitted afterwards. “I was supposed to run miles 1, 3, and 5 hard, and Nick--who followed closely behind him most of the way--was running 1 and 2, then 4 and 5 hard.

How fast is “hard?”

“At least under 5,” explained Sammy. “The first one I did in 4:47. The second was 5:33. The last was 5:13. Looking at the numbers, then at my watch, was kind of frustrating. Yesterday was a hard workout, though. It’s been a hard week, a hard couple of weeks. I’d like to rest up a little. I think that the coaches are planning it.”

Although he “faded” to third, the sophomore ran a 26:43. Gehlsen finished just ahead, in second, in 26:20.

Taylor Reeves, a junior at FAU--ERAU’s main team competition in the race--may not have been aware of ERAU’s flight plans, so he ran hard the entire way, a tactic that paid off.

“I’ve always known that it’s one of the toughest courses (Sperling Sports complex, where the invitational was held). Plus, we’re used to running (and racing) in the morning. So times don’t mean as much. We were looking for pace, and shooting for guys with a different shirt. We were staying within our comfort zone, and not doing anything out of the ordinary; just running our race.

“At four miles Vasquez, Gehlsen and Stuart Patterson (also ERAU; fourth in 26:53), were in there working together, trying to pick off guys like me and Tim (Haines, FAU; fifth in 27:10).”

“Most of the top six were ERAU, FAU, and a Florida College runner,” added Haines.

In fact, at the end, Florida Atlantic University was in first and sixth, and ERAU took second, third, fourth, ninth, and tenth. In the other top ten spots were Jackson Wiley of Florida College (fifth in 26:59), Ryan McManus of Flagler (seventh in 27:23) and Orssie Bumpus of Warner (eighth in 27:26).

Taylor, who ran a 24:36 PR at Auburn this year, is, like his teammate Haines, a junior majoring in ocean engineering. Theirs is a discipline that combines mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering in order to design underwater concepts based on standard engineering design. They hope to someday put their names on blueprints for such products as remote mine hunting vehicles, autonomous underwater vehicles, oil rigs, and sonar devices.

So you see, winning a race, by just simply outrunning 102 college and 9 open competitors, is a relatively simple task, as Taylor showed.

ALL TEAM RESULTS: Embry Riddle (2-3-4-9-10-11-14 for 28) over the 13 teams entered.

DIVISION I TEAMS: Florida Atlantic University (1-2-3-6-7-8-9 for 19 points) over Florida Gulf Coast (4-5-11-12-16-17 for 48 points); 5 teams entered.

COLLEGE WOMEN AND OPEN 5K

Jacksonville’s six women, composed of equal parts sophomores and juniors, dominated the field of 102 college and four open runners. Led by junior Elisabeth Goshu, an art major from Ethiopia (by way of Denver’s George Washington High School), they swept the top three places and added a seventh to win both the Division I and All College titles.

Stetson’s Colleen Mulholland took the initiative to set the early pace, and had a 50 yard lead by the end of the first 800.

“I didn’t want to lead, but nobody else was there,” said Mulholland.

Goshu kept to her game plan, however, and took the lead right after a 5:44 first mile.

“I was getting boxed in, pushed, kind of. It was hard in the beginning, especially around the lake,” she said after her cool down. But I knew to just go with my feelings, and keep a comfortable tempo.”

Although she had a 17:38 PR coming in to the race, this course defies really fast times. Nonetheless, everyone was on equal footing, and that meant worry first about place. This seemed to govern the rest of the Dolphins, who were not far behind Elisabeth when she finished in 18:55.

In second was Alyssa Deal, a junior, in 19:13, and in third was sophomore Susanne Klungtveit, a converted soccer player from Norway, finishing in 19:25.

“I first came for soccer and I got recruited as a runner. I did two races at the end of last season and did all right, so I changed sports.”

That certainly seems to have worked out.

ALL TEAM RESULTS: Jacksonville 32 (1-2-3-7-19-25), FAU 50 (6-8-9-10-17-50-61)

DIVISION I: Jacksonville 24 (1-2-3-6-12-15), FAU 40 (5-7-8-9-11-23-26)

There were five Division I and 13 colleges in all. 102 runners finished the race.

Footnotes: I know I speak for a lot of hungry coaches and athletes when I express the sincerest appreciation for the post race meal provided by its sponsor, Sodexo Food Services. For most teams attending, it was a long bus trip back, and as tired as they were (including many coaches who also doubled as drivers), this refueling was just what they needed….There was something, well, different, about the Jacksonville Mens’ team. They weren’t shaped quite like the rest of the runners; generally a little taller and most definitely packing some heavier muscle structure. So I found someone less intimidating to ask why. “Oh, they’re rowers,” explained Jacksonville’s Alyssa Deal….The winners of the open races were: Men - Brian Menaker in 27:03 (wearing a United States Merchant Marine/Kings Park, LI singlet) and Women - Susan O’Malley in 21:23.…If Jason’s wife allows him to put up a photo of four women who are noticeably not runners, these are the Hatter Dancers. If you want to see more of them…I mean see them again…they will be performing at Stetson basketball games this season. 

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