Known for his gutsy races in the early 1970s, Steve Prefontaine was America’s best hope for a medal at the Olympics in distance running. His lifelong love affair with the sport often produced memorable quotes about enduring pain and running as art. Running is not an easy task. About the competition, laymen and laywomen will ask, “Why do people do it?” Prefontaine gave a memorable response to that question, “Why do you run?”
“Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it
always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and
a sense of achievement,” said “Pre,” as he was affectionately called by fans.
To Marilyn Gregory, the men and women’s cross-country coach at Mount Aloysius College, her life-long love affair with running is something she passed on to her pupils. Gregory’s experience and exploits in competitive running have helped one Mount Aloysius sophomore, Bryson Long (Lititz, PA/Warwick), achieve new goals this season for the men’s cross country squad.
Gregory parlayed a four-year letter-winning career in cross-country and track and field at Butler High School into a standout collegiate career at Slippery Rock University. By her sophomore season, Gregory was a member of a NCAA DII regional cross-country championship team. In the same season the team finished seventh in the entire nation for NCAA DII. In track, Gregory ran two grueling events, the 400m and 800m. She is a member of the Slippery Rock record holding 4×400 relay team. Individually, Gregory was top three in the 400m for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
For 15 years after college, Gregory focused her attentions on her career. Admirably, Gregory is a special education teacher and her work consumes much of her energy and focus. However, about four years ago Gregory decided it was time she return to competitive running. “I had stayed active during my time off, but I missed it,” she said. She didn’t skip a beat.
The same pedigree that made Gregory an elite runner in college found her placed and ranked nationally in Masters Track and Field events for the 400, 800, 1500 and 3000 meters. She placed in the top 50 overall of all females in the Pittsburgh half marathon (about 7,500 total). She has also won two smaller local half marathons this year. “My life revolves around a very challenging yet rewarding career. Running gives me the same pleasures. So, I learned how hard work in addition to a flexible, yet challenging training program can yield results,” said Gregory.
Naturally, when Coach Gregory offers advice and training regimens to her runners, they follow.
Mount Aloysius College’s top men’s cross-country runner has taken his coach’s words of wisdom in stride, literally. Coach Gregory challenged Long to increase mileage and the two worked on adding more speed work to help his “kick” at the end of races. “Coach Gregory is an example of fitness and competitiveness. Having her in my corner and trusting in the individualized training program she mapped out with me has given me the confidence to reach new heights this season,” said Long. Only a sophomore, Long has matured to “learn when to push and when to back off by listening to his body,” said Gregory.
The combination of coach and pupil has helped catapult Long to a first-place finish at the Westmoreland Invitational earlier in the year. Long finished a stellar 2013 campaign this past Saturday at the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, (AMCC), championships where he led the Mounties and placed 13th in the 10-team, 92 runner field.
Like his coach, Long knows his work in the sport is just beginning. If he is not running he feels like he’s missing something. “I’ll take some time off and reflect on some achievements the team and myself have had this past season. Then, it’s back to work!” said Long.
Two-Sport Star Picked as AMCC’s best
Mount Aloysius senior guard Lindsy Sammarco (Patton, PA/Bishop Carroll) was voted Preseason Player of the Year for women’s basketball in the AMCC. Sammarco, also a standout softball player and student, led the Mounties in 2012-13 in almost every statistical category. As a First-Team All-Conference selection last season, Sammarco led the Mounties in scoring (17.4 per game), defensive rebounding (5.3 per game), assists (3.4 per game), and steals (2.5 per game). She was in the Top 10 in eight AMCC statistical categories.
Sammarco’s “Jack of All Trades” show and the Lady Mounties start their season Saturday, November 16 at 2:00pm against Valley Forge Christian College. They begin AMCC play against Penn State-Behrend on Saturday, December 7 at 3:00pm.
Soccer’s Season of Firsts Keeps on Rolling
The Mountie men’s soccer team won their first-ever playoff game in their first-ever playoff appearance against local rival Penn State-Altoona this past Saturday, November 2nd by a score of 2-0. The Mounties exacted some revenge on the Lions after losing in the regular season by a score of 2-1 in double overtime. Another first–the win marks the first soccer win for Mount Aloysius over Penn State-Altoona.
It was no surprise that sophomore Patrick Chea (Central Accra, Ghana/James Monroe VA) tallied the game-winner two minutes into the second half. Chea, top three in the AMCC for all offensive statistics, used his lightning quick first-step to jump on a cross from a set piece delivered by freshman Winston Crozier (Mississauga, Ontario/Our Lady of Mount Carmel). Freshman Kevin Ouellette (Bristol, CT/Bristol Central) added an insurance goal 10 minutes from time after forcing the Lion’s goalie into an error and tapping home into an empty net.
The Mount Aloysius men’s soccer team moves on to the AMCC semifinals where they play undefeated and top-ranked Medaille College in Buffalo, New York on Wednesday, November 6 at 4:00pm. The Mounties lost to Medaille 2-1 in a tight regular season contest in Cresson. Chea and his teammates hope to reverse that score–similar to their win against Penn State-Altoona.