December 17, 2013
Colorado, Providence, Edward Cheserek and Abbey D’Agostino may have won your NCAA titles, but now it’s time to reveal the real winners, the winners of the LRC Prediction Contest Powered by RunFanShop.com.
The winners of our contest always highlight the best of LetsRun.com, the amazing people who visit our site everyday, and this year is no different.
We Have a Repeat Winner
Our overall winner was Scott Rodilitz, originally from California, but now living and teaching math and coaching at Kingswood Oxford in West Hartford, CT. Scott also works at Boulder Running Camps in the summer with Jay Johnson, and is doing some statistical work on the side, putting his degree from Williams College to use.
Scott’s name should sound familiar, as two years ago he was runner-up in our Spring Marathon Prediction contest. At the time, he was just a sophomore in college, but now he’s making his way in the big, bad real world. Scott’s assistant high school coach, Tyson Sacco, actually lived in the LetsRun.com headquarters bachelor pad with LetsRun.com founders Rojo and Wejo, nearly a decade ago. When Scott got runner-up two years ago we said, “Hopefully, Scott will not let the success get to his head and try to match blogger Tim Goldsack as the only two-time winner of a Letsrun.com contest.” Scott is on his way to doing that and may soon enter rocket scientist territory
An Asics Aggie Gets 2nd Who Ran Club Nats with Some Impressive People
Our winner of the individual contest was Erich Ackerman. Erich’s an elementary PE teacher in San Ramon ( East Bay Area), California along with fellow runner Tommy Greenless – University of Michigan Grad 2005. Erich ran cross country and track at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Now Erich is a member of the Asics Aggies Running Club. This past weekend he ran club nats where his master’s team included 1998 USATF 1500m champion Jamey Harris and Master’s World record holder at 800m Jim Sorenson (1:50.34). The master’s competition must have been tough as they only got 10th. We bet no one had a better time post-race.
Team Winner Has Been to Every NCAA XC Since 2004 and Trained at Indiana With Bob Kennedy
The winner of our team contest was David Macknick. David’s a true fan of the sport, having been to every NCAA xc championship since 2004. As he wrote, “so when I saw how muddy the course was, advantage went to the Buffaloes – as I knew Coach Wetmore would have his guys prepared for the last 2K just like he did in similar conditions in 2006.” David was the only guy to pick the top 5 men’s teams perfectly correctly in our contest.
As for David himself, when he was at law school at Indiana, famed coach Sam Bell let him train with the team. “Easily one of the highlights of my life. Learned that my best races were nothing more than workouts for the truly talented,” David said. A man named Bob Kennedy was training in Indiana during this time. We hope you’ve heard of him.
David, having been to every NCAA meet for the last ten years, has some great ideas on how to improve the NCAA meet. We’ve got them below, but first want to thank our sponsor RunFanShop.com and let you know you can check your scores here or see how the LRC nation did as a whole here (Weldon entered the picks from our NCAA XC Polls as his picks).
Our three winners win $100 gift certificates from RunFanShop.com. RunFanShop.com has some great track and field gear and now officially licensed NCAA gear:
How to Improve the NCAA Meet
David Macknick has five suggestions for improving the NCAA meet. We at LRC don’t think Terre Haute has to be the permanent site, but definitely want the meet to return to Monday. The meet got a lot more attention on Monday, now it gets lost with the college football shuffle. Attendance is down at the meet with it on Saturday, not to mention, traffic on LRC. Everyone bored at work on Monday, is tuning into the NCAA meet. Now they are busy with their lives and college football on Saturday.
- Just designate Terre Haute as the permanent site already. Omaha is the permanent site of NCAA baseball – why not have the “Road to Terre Haute” in turn? With 10 of the last 12 races there – there’s beginning to be a real history. The infrastructure is very good (sorry Wisconsin, parking 5 miles away is just too far) and the Gibson course is better for spectators than Indiana’s course (although I personally prefer the challenges of the Indiana University course for the sheer amount of hills). Having a permanent site permits the comparison of runners across generations – much as is done at the high school level at Van Cortlandt in the Bronx or Detweiller in Illinois. Terre Haute is centrally located in the country, the community has embraced the meet and the sport, and the timing is certainly more accurate than 2012 in Louisville (just ask the women’s coaches about that!). Let’s not have the meet at a golf course or a state park when a course specifically designed for the sport is available.
- Make this a true NCAA Championship by adding 20 people to each race. Currently, the NCAA has 2 sports where all schools compete equally across all divisions – ski and rifle – about 40 schools total have these sports. Per the NCAA website, for Cross Country in 2012 there were 1049 schools for women and 972 for men – across all divisions. It is easy to add the team champions from Division II and Division III – plus the top 3 individuals in each race – and add them to the field. Have the DII and DIII championships a week earlier – and let those champions test themselves. Let’s make Cross Country the largest NCAANational Championship. There is precedence for this. In 1978 the NCAA still invited the top 3 individuals from DII and DIII – and Dan Henderson got 10th in the meet TWO DAYS after winning DIII (can’t remember if Cal Poly was DII then for Schankel in 8th). Here’s a link to the results from back then – many continued at a high level during the 80s running boom: http://www.trackandfieldnews.
- The crowds have been down the last 2 years – put the meet back on Monday! Less time away from school for the athletes competing because they can travel on Saturday. More HS kids coming to the meet because their coaches can take them out of school for an educational trip. More media attention from mainstream media – because not on a football Saturday. No real difference for the families – they’ll be traveling one workday anyway. More college kids can come to support their friends – because most schools are out for Thanksgiving week.
- TV has been tried without success – but it really hasn’t been marketed. If the meet is on Monday – market the meet to the high school coaches and have them have their athletes watch the meet. There is not much as inspiring as seeing that huge pack flying along. It’s very difficult to do this on a Saturday – but the Monday potential is there. The USTFCCCA and others can help in this end. I truly believe that if we unleash the power of the high schools, we can engage the sport for the future – and this is a way to start.
- I think some of the ugliest most overpriced merchandise I’ve ever seen is at the NCAA meet. It’s the NCAA – thousands of kids studying art. You can’t run some kind of a contest for the students and put some of their good designs on a shirt? You want me to spend $25 on a hat with two stick runners? I can draw stick runners… Maybe the NCAA should hire the good folks at RunFanShop.com – their designs are pretty decent.
David adds that RunFanShop needs to design shirts for Indiana’s 3 team and 5 individual champions…