Monday, April 28, 2008

Catching up with. . Miesha Marzell

Miesha Marzell, C' 97, was an NCAA Champion at 1500 meters and multiple time All American. She's training for the 2008 Olympic Trials, and the Spiked Shoe Club caught up with her on her plans and favorite GU memories.

SSC: Where are you studying? Is it tough to balance work/training?
MM: I am studying at Penn State University. I am pursing my doctorate in the field of Biobehavioral Health. At times it is a challenge to balance running and graduate school. However, I am very passionate about both and I am having fun. I have tremendous support from my academic department and I am a part of a great running community here in Happy Valley.

SSC: What are your goals for this season?
I have been running since I was a little girl and it has always been my dream to make the Olympic team. Running has been such a huge part of my life and many fond memories involve my experiences running. I have met wonderful people along my journey and have been to many beautiful places. If this year is my last competitive running year, I want to leave the sport I love running very fast and also with a huge smile on my face!

SSC: What's the biggest difference between competing at the professional vs. at collegiate level?
MM: The biggest difference I see in competing out of college is of course teammates. Although many people think track and field is such an individual sport, I believe track athletes experience the benefits of being a part of a “team” just as any other sport team. Running hard on a relay for your teammates, or representing Georgetown at a National Championship is a very special feeling. I always took great pride in putting on a Hoya uniform and running at a Big East Championship. It does not get much better than hearing “The Georgetown Hoyas” booming from the loud speaker at Penn Relays. School pride and camaraderie is definitely something I miss.

SSC: Most grueling workout memory while at Georgetown?
MM: I think every workout my freshman year was a grueling workout. I did not like tempo runs and they still are a thorn in my side. I am getting better though. I no longer hide in the bushes!

SSC: Favorite memory from your time at Georgetown?
I had so much fun at practice. We really had an exceptional group of women training and it was a special time. No matter what was going on, we worked hard at practice! I am very competitive by nature, so the environment we created was great!

SSC: Any advice for current student athletes?
MM: Have fun! Believe in your coaches and most importantly yourself!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Two Hoyas down in Jamaica (with Calabar Old Boys)

With Penn Relays right around the corner, couldn't think of a better time to provide some insight on the greatest high school meet in the world (yes I'm biased...but that will be explained later), the Jamaican High School Boys & Girls Championships. I had the pleasure of returning to Jamaica in 2007 to witness Champs for the first time in 22 years. I'm showing my age, but when I last attended prior to 2007 I was a 14 year old 100m hurdler (everyone in Jamaica thinks they can sprint). As we have all witnessed at Penn Relays, the Jamaican contingent is not only strong on the track but also in the stands. As thrilling as that may be, it pales in comparison to what takes place at the high school championships in late March or Early April every year in Jamaica; picture 25,000 people at a high school meet with flags, drums and horns in a cheering frenzy; the fans are even more boisterous than what is seen in Philly at the Penn Relays. I had the pleasure of attending the 2007 Championships with a fellow GU Track Alum Rich Kenah (after a lot of persuading and promises of unlimited Jerk Chicken & Red Stripe) and we returned in March 2008 to witness some of the best competition seen at the high school level anywhere in the world.

So, why is this GU Track alum so excited about attending some high school meet in Jamaica?? Well, turns out I attended the prestigious Calabar High School prior to leaving Jamaica for the U.S. in 1986. Calabar had also not won the Championship since 1997 and what better time to go than to attend when Calabar returned to glory in 2007. And after being there in 2007 I had to return in 2008 (and I'll be back in 2009....don't tell my wife though). Plus, I'm a track and field fan that will travel (World Championships in Sevilla '99 & Paris 2003, US Olympic Trials 2004, just to name a few), so why not Jamaica as well?? It's much closer, cheaper, and I know my way around.

So back to some insider tips from what was witnessed at Jamaica's Boys & Girls Champs 2008: The numerous impressive results of the meet are too extensive t0 mention. Glimpse the results for yourself at Here are a few names that will be rolling off all tongues in Philly next weekend for the high school relay events; Calabar (with 2007 World Youth Junior Champion at 200m Ramone relation); St. Jago (Yohan Blake...10.11 last year at the tender age of 17, along with Nickel Ashmeade who has already run 10.34 and 20.67 at 17 yrs. old), Kingston College, Holmwood (Dexter Lee, first Jamaican athlete with World 100m Gold medal at any level; World Youth Champion 2007). Jamaican High Schools are not only going to have a good showing in the sprints; the most dominant race for the Jamaican High Schools might in fact be the 4x800M (More coaches are finally convincing some of these kids that not every Jamaican is meant to be a sprinter). For Boys, three teams will go under 7:45.00 (my weather permitting prediction); Kingston College, Jamaica College, Calabar. Kingston College ran 7:42 to win last year…and they have the same team back this year. Haven’t run that fast so far this year due to injuries, but if they are all healthy they might go way below 7:40 which should be enough to win.

Let me not forget about the girls... Holmwood, Edwin Allen and Manchester High will be the Jamaican teams to contend with. Names to remember are Bobby Gaye Wilkins from Holmwood (400m & 800M High School champion; split 51:1 to anchor relay win at Champs; and can split 2:04), Natoya Goule from Manchester High.
Team to beat in the 4x800m for girls will be Manchester High. They have my favorite high school athlete from Jamaica right now (even with my former high school Calabar having a kid who has my last name...Ramone McKenzie). That would be Natoya Goule that I mentioned above. She ran 2:05:90 three weeks ago; the day before her 17th birthday. Her school Manchester High will likely run around 8:50.00. That should be enough to win, but Holmwood and Edwin Allen from Jamaica, and defending champions Eleanor Roosevelt from Maryland will not make it a cakewalk.

Ok...had enough talk about Jamaicans at Penn Relays?? Well, keep in mind quite a few of your fellow Hoyas have ties to Jamaica (and quite a few are still in the Georgetown record books, on top performance lists, and have been champions at the collegiate level and beyond). I'm proud to say AM started the trend (kinda...Paul Whittaker was before me but he was an American citizen) and I'm sure I wont be the last!!

Those that I know of:

Our very own Coach Scott McLeod (Jamaican parentage).

Paul Whittaker (800M)-(Jamaican parentage).

Yours truly, Alton McKenzie; Class of '93 (800M) - (Jamerican...yes Gags, finally a proud US citizen)

Maxine Clarke- 400m, 800M, name it - (also married to Jamaican 400M hurdler Ian Weakley)

Nadia McNeil- 400m Hurdler

Nikole Mitchell- 100m - (Jamaican Olympic & World Championship Bronze Medallist in 4x100m; Atlanta '96 and Stuttgart '93 respectively)

Nashville Peart- Sprints, LJ, TJ (Jamaican parentage).

Tyrona Heath -800M (Jamaican parentage).

Spenser Carter - Current Freshman Sprinter (Jamaican Parentage)...Gags will love this one.... his uncle is old GMU Coach Dalton Ebanks, who's of course Jamaican. :)

* Special mention goes to an adopted Calabar Alum Rich Kenah...he's looking to get dual American/Jamaican citizenship (picture is the evidence). If he could only figure out what the heck they were saying half the time in the National Stadium.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I was telling my children (4 year old twins) the other day as we drove to school and saw buds on trees that spring is my favorite time of year. My daughter asked why and as I thought about it, I laughed to myself. I couldn't come up with an answer she would understand. I think it is my favorite time of year because, for so many years, this was the time when training got more fun. Less long intervals and more short ones; less hats and gloves and other warm weather gear and more sun; less cold pill directives from Gags and more "drink fluids" ones; and of course, less wind on the roof of Yates. It's funny how, even now, running shapes my view of our suroundings.

Penn is just a week or so away and I'm looking forward to seeing the Hoya Men and Women chase a Championship of America title. I got the chance to see some of the team compete for the first time in many years at the Big East Indoor Championships in NY. For those of you who are not following closely, you should. We've got a lot of exciting talent on the track these days. Even more satisfying was the post-event reception at the NY Armory. Dozens of alums turned out for what must have been the best attended Spike Shoe Club event in a very long time. The only distressing part was that Steve Holman and I were two of the oldest people in the room (I think he is older than me by the way). Clearly, Gtown's younger alums are staying close to the program and are showing up in numbers. I left there that night thinking that Steve and I needed to help Meghan bring back some older women and men.

Hope to see many familiar faces in Philadelphia next week. If not, drop the coaching staff an email and wish them well.

Rich Kenah
PS. For the record, I saw Doug Huffman at the meet as well. While all (most) of us alums looked older and heavier with less hair on our heads, I swear Doug has not changed a bit.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Calling all Bay Area Alumni - Hoyas at Stanford Invitational

The Spiked Shoe Club would like to invite you to drinks with Head Track Coach Patrick Henner on Saturday April 5th from 4-5:30 pm at the Sheraton Hotel in Palo Alto. Come out and watch the Hoya's compete against the nations top track and field athletes and meet Coach Henner after the event to get an update on the Track and Field program.

See you on Saturday!

RSVP:David Swift

Driving Direction to the Sheraton ( walking distance from the track )
Start address: San Francisco, CAEnd address: 625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Start at: San Francisco, CA
1. Head south on Van Ness Ave toward Grove St - 0.7 mi2. Merge onto US-101 S via the ramp to Oakland/San Jose/US-80 - 31.4 mi3. Take exit 402 for Embarcadero Rd/Oregon Expy - 0.2 mi4. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Embarcadero Rd W/Stanford University and merge onto Embarcadero Rd - 2.3 mi5. Turn right at El Camino Real - 0.3 mi
Arrive at: 625 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Here is a tentative racing schedule for our top people:


12:54- 800- Matt DeBole

5:52PM- Steeplechase- Alex Mason, Mike Banks

6:36PM- Women's 5000- Lise Ogrodnick

7:13PM- Men's 5000- Andrew Bumbalough, Levi Miller

7:29PM- Women's 10,000- Melissa Grelli

8:07PM- Men's 10,000- Mike Krisch, Justin Scheid, Dan Nunn


6:59PM- Men's 1500- Matt DeBole, Mike Banks

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fundraising update

We're headed into the final quarter of 2007-2008 fundraising year. We're currently at $84,000 from about 125 contributors.

In order to reach our goal of $100,000, we need an additional $16,000. (And who said SFS grads didn't know math?) Our other goal is to increase the percentage of alumni who contribute, and to reach that we need an additional 100 individuals to donate by June 30.

To contribute, please click on the link to the right side of this page, this should lead you to an online donation form. (email me should you have any difficulties).

Thanks to everyone for their support. We'll post updates as we close in on our goals.