Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2018: Jamie's recap

Icy Course? Alumni Runners Take Conditions in Stride at Bear Mountain 

By Jamie Kempton

 As an outdoor sport, cross country is beholden to Mother Nature. If she proclaims snow, we run in snow. If she favors a deep freeze, we run in bitter cold. The competitors in the 36th annual Rockland Alumni Cross Country Run/Bill Markiewicz Memorial at Bear Mountain on November 24 encountered another seasonal challenge: ice.

 Ice at the boat dock turn. Ice at the far end of Hessian Lake, beneath the rustic Overlook Lodge. Ice on the leaf-covered descent from the monster ski jump hill. Throw in some mounds of snow deposited directly in our path, near the ice skating rink, and the carefree frolic became more of an exercise in survival strategy and balance management.

One entrant who had experience navigating slippery surfaces was Chuck Maze, from North Rockland's class of 1973. During his Hall of Fame career as a running back for the Red Raiders, he toted the football over many a muddy and icy playing field, including the classic Thanksgiving Day victory over Clarkstown North on an ice-bound gridiron in 1972.

“The varied terrain and running conditions made it more challenging,” said Maze, the CEO of the Rockland County YMCA, who negotiated the slick 3-mile course in 31 minutes 15 seconds, good for 129th place out of 164 finishers. “You had to be a little extra careful not to bump into anyone. It's like a car. If you brake too quickly to slow down, you might slip. But if you allow your momentum to continue and find spots to run on, you'll be OK.”

It certainly was not the worst conditions ever encountered by the Alumni harriers. That distinction belongs to the inaugural affair in 1983, when pelting hail, snow and fierce gusts chilled participants to the bone, and wind-whipped ripples from Hessian Lake lapped onto the course's walkway pavement. Nor was this year's event as formidable as the 2014 edition, when ice around the lake and on the mountain necessitated a course revision limiting the runners to the playfield area between the majestic Bear Mountain Inn and the Merry-Go-Round.

Jay Kaplan can tell you about tough running conditions. The 1967 Spring Valley graduate has participated in the Alumni Run 27 times, including this year's renewal, and has faced the gamut of weather elements. Kaplan was on hand to receive the Bill Markiewicz Award, presented annually to a person who has made a significant contribution to cross country in Rockland County. Kaplan has been a Rockland cross country and track official since 1980. At Spring Valley, he was an All-County cross country runner and one of the top half-milers in the county. He also competed in cross country and track at SUNY Albany.

The Markiewicz award was presented to Kaplan by Janet Markiewicz, Bill's widow. As always, the Markiewicz family was well represented in the race, with two of Bill and Janet's children, Danny Markiewicz, Goshen class of 1996, and Matt Markiewicz, Goshen class of 1993, as well as Bill's brother, Mike Markiewicz, Albertus Magnus class of 1970. Bill Markiewicz was a 1967 graduate of Albertus and the head coach of Clarkstown North's cross country team from 1978 to 1989. He was a larger-than-life figure whose charisma and fiery personality endeared him to everyone in the local running-sports community. Markiewicz died of cancer in 1991 at age 41. 

One of Markiewicz's ex-protégés, Mike Rogan, made the trek from Evansville, Indiana to reunite with former Clarkstown North teammates and have another crack at the demanding Bear Mountain layout. Rogan's journey has not been an easy one. Perhaps the greatest runner in school history, Rogan, from the class of 1986, suffered a traumatic brain injury in July 2013. He had fallen down two flights of stairs at his home in Indiana and sustained severe facial and skull fractures. Through arduous rehab work he has improved his mobility, though his injuries have left him unable to return to work. He had been an emergency room physician and medical researcher in Indiana.

In a Hall of Fame career at North, Rogan won the state indoor title at 1,000 meters, ran the third-fastest time in the country in that event in 1986 (2:29.59), and swept the 5,000, 1,500 and 800-meter races at the spring county championships. At Notre Dame, he set a still-standing school record for the indoor 1,500 meters (3:47.64) and ran the equivalent of a 4:02 mile. Thirty-three years ago, Rogan won the Rockland County cross country title at Bear Mountain in a sizzling time of 15:05. This year his goals were more modest: complete the course and perhaps improve upon his time of 43:25 from last year, his first year back since the catastrophic injury. Consider the mission accomplished, as he finished 146th in 36:23. Somewhere, Coach Markiewicz is smiling.

Among the other notables competing in the race was Donna Hudson, Albertus Magnus class of 1965. When she attended Albertus, there were no scholastic cross country or track programs for girls. Hudson quit smoking in 1977, started running to control her weight, and rediscovered an athletic gift first revealed during her youth in West Nyack, during neighborhood races against the boys. Long distance became her forte: she set an American women's record (15:31:57) at the 100-mile distance in 1983, and broke the American record in the six-day run (yes, six-day run) three times, setting the final mark of 487.9 miles in 1987, when she was 40. At Bear Mountain last Saturday, Hudson was content to circumnavigate the course. Despite a mid-race wrong turn that cost her several minutes, she got back on track and finished one place behind Rogan, 147th in 37:20.

In the competitive results, Monroe-Woodbury of Orange County swept the individual and team laurels for the second successive year. John Dove, class of 2014, last year's runner-up, prevailed in a head-to-head battle with 2016 champion Evan Ward, Suffern class of 2012. Dove's finishing kick gave him a three-second margin of victory, in 15:57. Ward clocked 16:00, followed in third by Nick Roosa, Tappan Zee class of 2003, in 16:17. Roosa won the Alumni Run in 2005 and 2011.

On the women's side, Monroe-Woodbury took the top three places, led by winner Elizabeth Wasserman, class of 2013, in 18:44. She was followed by 2017 champion Suzanne LaBurt, class of 1981, in 20:30, and eight-time titleholder Julianne Littmann-Viscardo, class of 1995, in 21:18. The Crusader women posted a shutout score of 15 points to capture their ninth straight team crown and 15th overall. The Monroe-Woodbury men were also dominant, tallying 34 points to win their second consecutive team title and seventh overall. Goshen edged Pearl River for second, 68-69. The M-W Crusaders also had the most participants for the ninth year in a row and 16th overall. They constituted almost one-third of the field, with 51 male and female entrants out of 164 finishers.

The race attracted participants representing 41 high schools in nine states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and California. Entrants’ ages ranged from 18 to 76. Among the international participants were Sir Alister Renwick, St. George's Secondary School, Grenada, class of 1975, who finished 56th in 23:18, and twins Ina and Kim Koeder, Evangelisches Schulzentrum Michelbach, Germany, class of 2013, who placed 95th and 96th in 26:38.5 and 26:38.9, respectively. The Koeders were standout soccer players and track athletes at Dominican College, class of 2018.

Larry Beckerle, Albertus Magnus class of 1973, extended his unparalleled streak of 36 consecutive Alumni Runs completed. Fully back in action after a partial knee replacement in December 2017, Beckerle, the longtime track coach at Nanuet High School, finished 113th in 29:16.

Monday, November 27, 2017


As the Rams continue to succumb to the inexorable decline of age--Father Time apparently remains undefeated, particularly when we haven't produced a graduate who has scored for the team in the past fifteen years--the new wave of dominant teams continued their rise this year.  After our string of six straight titles ended in 2007, the Alumni Run entered a period of relative parity on the mens' side.  From 2009 through 2015, no team scored less than 70 points in a single race; the five highest winning scores in history all date from this period.  The past two years, however, have seen a return to dominance by two traditional powerhouses.  The Suffern Mounties ran to one of the lowest scores in race history in upending Monroe-Woodbury in 2016; this year the Crusaders returned the favor, snagging five of the top 14 spots for an impressive 40-point winning total.  With the win, Monroe-Woodbury tied Suffern for third on the list of all-time titles.  Jack Jibb became the Crusaders' fifth individual race winner, second-most in race history.  The Monroe-Woodbury women ran unchallenged to their record eighth consecutive title.  Suzanne LaBurt recorded an amazing 18th consecutive top ten finish with her first individual title.

A couple of side notes: first off, after years of complaining about/pointing out that the course is about 30 seconds longer than it used to be, due to the (at this point not-so) new downhill, I finally brought my wheel and measured it.  The current downhill is exactly 110 yards--just about 100 meters--longer than the traditional descent that was used until 2004.  At six-minute-mile pace, that's almost 25 seconds...pretty close to what I've been estimating.  And in vastly more important news, my old coach, Bob Dillon, received this year's Bill Markiewicz award.  I was honored to be on the starting line as Coach accepted this long-overdue honor.

Jamie's recap
Overall Top 30

  1. Jack Jibb (MW '15) 16:03
  2. John Dove (MW '14) 16:24
  3. Patrick Hennelly (Suff '16) 16:26
  4. David McCarey (Middletown '08) 16:31
  5. Nick Roosa (TZ '03) 16:39
  6. Evan Ward (Suff '12) 16:40
  7. Aidan Galasso (Suff '09) 17:04
  8. Corey Calajoe (PR '04) 17:05
  9. Ben Nilsestuen (Warwick '01) 17:14
  10. Jason Friedman (CN '93) 17:26
  11. Peter Viscardo (MW '95) 17:28
  12. Adam Alshoubeki (MW '16) 17:48
  13. Clive Griffiths II (Mt. St. Michael '14) 18:01
  14. Kyle Egan (MW '16) 18:25
  15. Michael Guglielmo (CS '13) 18:34
  16. JT McEntyre (MW '13) 18:35
  17. Jesse Chain (Goshen '15) 18:43
  18. John O'Rourke (O'Neill '06)
  19. Brian Herbst (PR '07) 18:54
  20. Kyle Collins (Suff '12) 18:55
  21. Adam McCaffery (Nyack '97) 18:56
  22. Brendan Fennell (PR '03) 19:05
  23. Tom McCarney (CN '93) 19:12
  24. Shai Ben-Dor (Goshen '12) 19:14
  25. Kevin Long (Goshen '17) 19:15
  26. Matt McKenna (CN '03) 19:19
  27. Paul Bisconti (MW '15) 19:20
  28. Luke Driscoll (Baldwin '93) 19:23
  29. Mike Lawrence (Warwick '01) 19:30
  30. Wan Park (Seekonk '93) 19:33
Womens' Top 10
  1. Suzanne LaBurt (MW '81) 20:17
  2. Abagaile Kimbrell (MW '17) 21:00
  3. Julianne Littmann-Viscardo (MW '95) 21:37
  4. Angelique Atlas (Goshen '16) 23:19
  5. Alison Newman (Kingswood-Oxford '93) 24:49
  6. Laura Hudson (Northern Valley '77) 24:50
  7. Ann O'Rourke (O'Neill '11) 24:54
  8. Samantha Cofsky (Walpole '07) 25:23
  9. Leslie Ballantyne (Suff '92) 26:34
  10. Olivia Haverson (Greenwich) 15:48
  11. Gail (Littmann) Swiryn (MW '94) 26:39

Total Number of Runners: 59

Team Participation: 1. Monroe-Woodbury 36, 2. Clarkstown South 19,  3. Suffern 15, 4. Pearl River 14, 5. Clarkstown North 13, 6. Goshen 9, 7. Albertus Magnus 7, 8. Nanuet 4, 9. (tie) North Rockland , Warwick, Washingtonville, and Tappan Zee 3, 13. (tie) Nyack and James O'Neill 2.

Mens' Team Scoring
  1. Monroe Woodbury 40 (Jibb, Dove, Viscardo, Alshoubeki, Egan)
  2. Suffern 75
  3. Pearl River 114
  4. Clarkstown North 151
  5. Goshen 179
  6. Clarkstown South 198
  7. Albertus Magnus 485
Women's Team Scoring
  1. Monroe-Woodbury 30 (LaBurt, Kimbrell, Littman-Viscardo, Swiryn, Laird)

2017: Full results

Saturday, November 25, 2017
Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain, N.Y.
Course: 3.0 miles
Meet records: 14:08, John Trautmann (Monroe-Woodbury ’86), 1994
                         17:04, Debbie Grant (Ramapo ’83), 1995

Men’s team scores: 1. Monroe-Woodbury (MW), 40; 2. Suffern (Suf), 75; 3. Pearl River (PR), 114; 4. Clarkstown North (CN), 151; 5. Goshen (Gosh), 179; 6. Clarkstown South (CS), 198; 7. Albertus Magnus (AM), 485; other teams incomplete.

Women’s team scores: 1. Monroe-Woodbury (MW), 30; other teams incomplete.

Team participation (combined men/women):  1. Monroe-Woodbury, 36; 2. Clarkstown South, 19; 3. Suffern, 15; 4. Pearl River, 14; 5. Clarkstown North, 13; 6. Goshen, 9; 7. Albertus Magnus, 7; 8. Nanuet, 4; 9. Tie, North Rockland (NR), Tappan Zee (TZ), Warwick (War) and Washingtonville (Wash), 3; 13. Tie, Nyack, and James I. O’Neill, 2; 15. Tie, Archbishop Molloy, Arlington, Baldwin, Bayside, Bergen Catholic (N.J.), Brooklyn Tech, Chaminade, Cornwall, Croton-Harmon, Deerfield (Ill.), Hendrick Hudson, Highland, Jesuit (Calif.), John Jay-East Fishkill, Kingswood-Oxford (Conn.), Mahopac, Mepham, Middletown, Mount St. Michael, Newburgh Free Academy, Northern Valley-Old Tappan (N.J.), Seekonk (Mass.), S.S. Seward, Southridge (Ind.), St. Barnabas, Walpole (Mass.), 1. 

Women’s top 10

1 .Suzanne La Burt (MW ’81), 20:17; 2. Abagaile Kimbrell (MW ’17), 21:00; 3. Julianne Littmann-Viscardo (MW ’95), 21:37; 4. Angelique Atlas (Gosh ’16), 23:19; 5. Alison Newman (Kingswood-Oxford, W. Hartford, Conn. ’93), 24:49; 6. Laura Hudson (Northern Valley-Old Tappan, N.J. ’77), 24:50; 7. Ann O’Rourke (O’Neill ’11), 24:54; 8. Samantha Cofsky (Walpole, Mass. ’07), 25:23; 9. Leslie Ballantyne (Suf ’92), 26:34; 10. Gail (Littmann) Swiryn (MW ’94), 26:39.

Overall Finishers

1. Jack Jibb (MW ’15), 16:03; 2. John Dove (MW ’14), 16:24; 3. Patrick Hennelly (Suf ’16), 16:26; 4. David McCarey (Middletown ’08), 16:31; 5. Nick Roosa (TZ ’03), 16:39; 6. Evan Ward (Suf ’12), 16:40; 7. Aidan Galasso (Suf ’09), 17:04; 8. Corey Calajoe (PR ’04), 17:05; 9. Ben Nilsestuen (Warwick ’01), 17:14; 10. Jason Friedman (CN ’93), 17:26; 11. Peter Viscardo (MW ’95), 17:28; 12. Adam Alshoubeki (MW ’16), 17:48; 13. Clive Griffiths II (Mt. St. Michael ’14), 18:01; 14. Kyle Egan (MW ’16), 18:25; 15. Michael Guglielmo (CS ’13), 18:34; 16. JT McEntyre (MW ’13), 18:35; 17. Jesse Chain (Gosh ’15), 18:43; 18. John O’Rourke (O’Neill ’06), 18:49; 19. Bryan Herbst (PR ’07), 18:54; 20. Kyle Collins (Suf ’12), 18:55; 21. Adam McCaffery (Nyack ’97), 18:56; 22. Brendan Fennell (PR ’03), 19:05; 23. Thomas McCarney (CN ’93), 19:12; 24. Shai Ben-Dar (Gosh ’12), 19:14; 25. Kevin Long (Gosh ’17), 19:15; 26. Matthew McKenna (CN ’03), 19:19; 27. Paul Bisconti (MW ’15), 19:20; 28. Luke Driscoll (Baldwin ’93), 19:23; 29. Mike Lawrence (Warwick ’01), 19:30; 30. Wan Park (Seekonk, Mass. ’93), 19:33; 31. Craig Browning (Mahopac ’15), 19:35; 32. James Kessler (PR ’03), 19:49; 33. Matt Lenihan (PR ’03), 19:55; 34. Andriy Prokopiv (MW ’17), 19:56; 35. Matt Borawski (PR ’04), 19:57; 36. Brandon Milich (CS ’17), 20:03; 37. Keith Lasky (MW ’10), 20:07; 38. Pat Driscoll (CN ’98), 20:08; 39. Connor Gulick (Suf ’13), 20:13; 40. Suzanne La Burt (MW ’81), 20:17; 41. Bryan Miranda Gonzalez (MW ’17), 20:20; 42. Thomas Cobb (NR ’17), 20:22; 43. Evan Whalen (Warwick ’01), 20:27; 44. Doug Hauser Jr. (MW ’02), 20:31; 45. Jim Dinan (Nan ’87) 20:39; 46. Zack Berbit (Suf ’96), 20:42; 47. Ed Ackerly (MW ’86), 20:49; 48. Jamie Kempton (AM ’76), 20:50; 49. Abagaile Kimbrell (MW ’17), 21:00; 50. Brian McCabe (CS ’17), 21:04.

51.  Zachary Gray (CS ’14), 21:07; 52. Dan Pragdat (CS ’11), 21:09; 53. Mark Sullivan (Gosh ’13), 21:24; 54. Tom List (PR ’80), 21:27; 55. Chris Urio (MW ’16), 21:33; 56. Julianne Littmann-Viscardo (MW ’95), 21:37; 57. Dave Lynch (CN ’98), 21:39; 58. James Dinan (JJEF ’16), 21:49; 59. Andrew Tast (Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J. ’95), 21:53; 60. Chris Guglielmo (CS ’13), 21:54; 61. Adam Klein (CS ’14), 22:02; 62. Matthew Walker (CS ’12), 22:03; 63. Adam Borg (CN ’97), 22:05; 64. Brian Bader (NR ’15), 22:06; 65. Dan Markiewicz (Gosh ’96), 22:17; 66. Mike Brockway (Nan ’87), 22:34; 67. Jim Dugandzic (PR ’81), 22:50; 68. Mario Cortes-Mendoza (MW ’16), 23:14; 69. Michael Danyluk (CS ’16), 23:15; 70. Angelique Atlas (Gosh ’16), 23:19; 71. Michael Marcotte (MW ’17), 23:21; 72. Ray Sussmann (PR ’81), 23:26; 73. Jeff Comerford (MW ’85), 23:35; 74. David Taylor (Nan ’87), 23:39; 75. Jason Lipman (CN ’91), 23:46; 76. Nick Parente (CN ’87), 24:00; 77. Tim Waples (Suf ’00), 24:04; 78. Jeff Cerefice (Gosh ’93), 24:13; 79. John Trotta Jr. (Wash ’02), 24:19; 80. Mike Bernstein (Suf ’95), 24:28; 81. Joshua Kurchin (Brooklyn Tech ’98), 24:31; 82. Ben Dawson (MW ’17), 24:36; 83. John Garvey (Deerfield, Ill. ’03), 24:39; 84. Robert Pasqual (Archbishop Molloy ’77), 24:44; 85. Alison Newman (Kingswood-Oxford, W. Hartford, Conn. ’93), 24:49; 86. Laura Hudson (Northern Valley-Old Tappan, N.J. ’77), 24:50; 87. Evan Ratnow (Suf ’96), 24:52; 88. Ann O’Rourke (O’Neill ’11), 24:54; 89. Bob Hudson (TZ ’74), 25:04; 90. Matt Ammer (Suf ’94), 25:11; 91; Ross Stephens (Arlington ’94), 25:17; 92. Brian Conlon (MW ’17), 25:17; 93. Dylan Caruso (MW ’17), 25:19; 94. Samantha Cofsky (Walpole, Mass. ’07), 25:23; 95. Kevin Chanowsky (MW ’94), 25:34; 96. Anthony Carpentieri (CS ’17), 25:40; 97. Andrew Jezik (Wash ’03), 25:44; 98. Chuck Sommerlad (MW ’85), 25:48; 99. Matt Markiewicz (Gosh ’93), 26:03; 100. Keith Reilly (PR ’90), 26:15.

101. Ravi Dholakia (MW ’16), 26:22; 102. Matthew Govia (CS ’17), 26:33; 103. Leslie Ballantyne (Suf ’92), 26:34; 104. Nick Moro (CS ’17), 26:36; 105. Gail (Littmann) Swiryn (MW ’94), 26:39; 106. Lauren Calhoun (Wash ’01), 26:42; 107. Mike Taylor (PR ’03), 26:51; 108. Mike Moran (AM ’83), 27:03; 109. Bryan LaRoche (Highland ’97), 27:04; 110. Meaghan Burke (CS ’17), 27:10; 111. Liana Quinn (Suf ’09), 27:22; 112. Stephen Beckerle (AM ’74), 27:28; 113. Brendan Byrne (Gosh ’15), 27:29; 114. Fiona Laird (MW ’14), 27:40; 115. Leslie Brown (MW ’10), 27:41; 116. Victoria Brown (MW ’06), 27:41; 117. Simon McCaffery (Nyack ’97), 27:42; 118. Mike Greco (PR ’78), 27:44; 119. John Halpin (Cornwall ’89), 27:49; 120. Bob Eckerle (TZ ’78), 27:55; 121. Mike Bramm (MW ’08), 27:59; 122. David Jeffers (Seward ’16), 27:59; 123. Jennifer Heller (PR ’15), 28:04; 124. Zac McKenna (CN ’06), 28:05; 125. John Murphy (MW ’85), 28:08; 126. Patrick Brown (MW), 28:08; 127. Kevin Monahan (MW ’85), 28:10; 128. Joseph Ruotolo (CS ’16), 28:50; 129. John Herr (MW ’83), 28:51; 130. John Masong (CS ’17), 28:56; 131. Chuck Maze (NR ’73), 28:57; 132. Mike Coakley (CN ’87), 29:29; 133. Kerry Qualter (CS ’17), 29:49; 134. Rob McNamara (Nan ’86), 29:51; 135. Denise Esselman (MW ’95), 30:15; 136. Jennifer Mansfield-Qualter (CN ’93), 30:26; 137. Ken Gerber (CS ’92), 31:02; 138. Jennifer Fittipaldi (MW ’90), 31:10; 139. Susan (Gulla) Lanoce (PR ’83), 31:39; 140. Larry Quinn (AM ’69), 31:55; 141. Harry Owens (Chaminade ’76), 32:06; 142. Jessica Moro (CS ’17), 32:16; 143. Robert Stephens (Newburgh Free Academy ’65), 32:29; 144. Bob Hermesch (Hendrick Hudson ’68), 34:01; 145. Shirley Quinn (CS ’81), 34:22; 146. Jeff Greenberg (Croton-Harmon ’76), 34:34; 147. Robert Dillon (CN ’93), 35:24; 148. Sheila Marbury (St. Barnabas ’90), 35:45; 149. Larry Beckerle (AM ’73), 36:44; 150. Edward Meyer (Jesuit, Sacramento, Calif. ’92), 36:50; 151. Jeff Ratnow (Suf ’89), 37:49; 152. Mike Markiewicz (AM ’70), 37:49; 153. Dustin Collins (Suf ’16), 42:11; 154. Michael Collins (Mepham ’78), 42:11; 155. Mike Rogan (CN ’86), 43:25; 156. Robin Schaber (Southridge (Huntingburg, Ind. ’98), 43:30; 157. Mike Teetsel (AM ’77), 43:42; 158. Dan Hogan (Suf ’99), 50:36; 159. Warren Berbit (Bayside ’60), 51:21.

2017: Jamie's recap

Markiewicz Legacy Pervasive at Alumni Cross Country Run

By Jamie Kempton

Although he has been gone for more than 25 years, Bill Markiewicz’s imprint on the Rockland Alumni Cross Country Run is unmistakable. Not only is the race named in memory of the beloved former Clarkstown North coach, but many of his ex-harriers return to Bear Mountain on Thanksgiving Saturday each year to pay homage to their esteemed mentor, and Markiewicz family members unfailingly join in to celebrate his legacy. As if that’s not enough, the award given annually to a difference-maker in the world of Rockland County cross country is named the Bill Markiewicz Award.

Coach Markiewicz, who died of cancer in 1991 at age 41, would have been proud to witness the 35th renewal of this yearly rite of autumn, held Nov. 25 on a sun-splashed afternoon at Bear Mountain. During his tenure as Clarkstown North’s cross country coach from 1978 to 1989, Markiewicz pushed his runners to their maximum efforts and personal best times over the challenging three-mile course, which includes a mid-race momentum-stopper up the steep ski-jump access road. The coach’s fiery intensity and concern for all of his athletes endeared him to everyone in the close-knit Rockland cross country community.

This year’s recipient of the Markiewicz Award, Bob Dillon, saw firsthand the impact Bill Markiewicz had on those under his tutelage. Dillon, the 1969 Rockland County cross country champion and key contributor to three Section 9 and two Rockland County team titles for Clarkstown, succeeded Markiewicz as head cross country coach at Clarkstown North in 1990. He went on to lead the Rams to a Section 1 championship in 1996, the program’s first sectional title since the 1983 club piloted by Markiewicz. Dillon also coached his teams to five runner-up finishes at the County meet and four appearances in the state Federation championships.

“I was lucky enough to have great coaching as an athlete learning how to train and compete,” he said, referring to coaches Joe  D’Innocenzo, Tom DePatto and Albertus Magnus coach Dick Teetsel. “However, Bill Markiewicz showed me how to coach. Bill knew how to motivate athletes to, as he would say, ‘get in the hunt’ to achieve their full potential. Bill was a coach’s coach, as acknowledged by the coaching community naming the Alumni race in his honor.” Dillon’s longtime support of the Alumni Run as both a participant and dedicated volunteer bespeaks the commitment and passion that were trademarks of his coaching predecessor. Just prior to the race, with the runners assembled on the starting line, Dillon gratefully accepted the Markiewicz Award, presented as always by Janet Markiewicz, Bill’s widow. Among the participants she cheered on were two of her and Bill’s children, Dan Markiewicz, Goshen class of 1996, and Matt Markiewicz, Goshen class of 1993, and Bill’s brother, Mike Markiewicz, Albertus Magnus class of 1970. Bill Markiewicz was a 1967 graduate of Albertus.

Inspiration was not hard to come by at this year’s race. Perhaps the greatest runner in Clarkstown North’s history, Mike Rogan from the class of 1986, returned to the Alumni Run for the first time since suffering a traumatic brain injury in July 2013. He had fallen down two flights of stairs at his home in Indiana and sustained severe facial and skull fractures. Through rigorous rehab work he has improved his mobility, though the injuries have left him unable to return to work. Rogan had been an emergency room physician in Evansville, Ind., and later a medical researcher who co-authored an application that won a $250,000 grant from the American Heart Association for research on shock following cardiac arrest as well as septic shock from infection.

While at Clarkstown North, Rogan won the state indoor title at 1,000 meters, ran the third-fastest time in the country in that event in 1986 (2:29.59), and swept the 5,000, 1,500 and 800-meter races at the spring county championships. At Notre Dame, he set a still-standing school record for the indoor 1,500 meters (3:47.64) and ran the equivalent of a 4:02 mile.

Twenty-two years ago, Rogan won the Rockland County cross country title on the Bear Mountain course. Although his time at this year’s Alumni race was almost a half-hour slower than his ’85 title run, none of that mattered as he was engulfed by former teammates upon exiting the finish-line chute. One could not help but conjure an image of Bill Markiewicz extending a firm handshake and congratulatory hug to his prize pupil, just as he might with all of his protégés.

“Bill demanded a lot,” Rogan had said upon his induction into the Rockland County Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2008. “He believed in and really cared about his kids and was personally involved. I don’t think I could have been anywhere near as successful without a guy like him.”

As for the race itself, Monroe-Woodbury of Orange County made a clean sweep of the individual and team honors. Jack Jibb, class of 2015 and a junior at the University of Buffalo, outdistanced a field of 159 participants with a winning time of 16 minutes 3 seconds. Runner-up John Dove, Monroe-Woodbury class of 2014, finished 100 meters behind in 16:24, and two seconds thereafter came Patrick Hennelly, Suffern class of 2016, the 2015 Rockland scholastic champion.

Since 2000, Suzanne La Burt, Monroe-Woodbury class of 1981, had claimed six runner-up finishes, four third-place finishes, and 15 times among the top five finishers. Finally, at age 54, the elusive title is hers, truly demonstrating the persistence of the long-distance runner. La Burt clocked 20:17 to spearhead a 1-2-3 sweep for the Crusaders with alumni teammates Abagaile Kimbrell, class of 2017, and Julianne Littmann-Viscardo, class of 1995, who has won the women’s division eight times, a meet record.

With all of that individual success, it’s hardly surprising that Monroe-Woodbury snared team accolades as well. The Crusader men nabbed their sixth championship comfortably with a low score of 40 points, followed by Suffern with 75. The Crusader women ran unchallenged, scoring 30 points to run off with their eighth consecutive title and 14th overall, tops in meet history. Monroe-Woodbury also secured the participation crown with 36 entrants.

The race drew participants representing 40 high schools in seven states: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana and California. Entrants’ ages ranged from 18 to 75.

Besides Littmann-Viscardo, other past Alumni Run champions who competed were Nick Roosa, Tappan Zee class of 2003, the 2005 and 2011 titleholder, who placed fifth; and a pair of 2012 Suffern graduates: Kyle Collins, the 2014 winner; and Evan Ward, the defending champ who finished sixth this time. In addition to Hennelly, former Rockland County scholastic champions who participated included Jim Dinan, Nanuet class of 1987, and Brendan Fennell, Pearl River class of 2003, a three-time County and two-time New York State gold medalist who was voted Male Runner of the Decade for Rockland from 2000 to 2009.

Larry Beckerle, Albertus Magnus class of 1973, completed the course to maintain his unmatched streak of having participated in all 35 editions of the event.