U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships


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U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby Guest » Wed May 07, 2003 4:39 pm

What is the feeling like out there for the American Unis Track Scholarships? Do you think that athletes get the best out of themselves by racing week in week out to score points for the team? Especially athletes who aren't going to be the best in their team, who always have to run to suit the team, regardless of personal goals. I am from New Zealand and alot or our top track runners got to U.S. on scholarship, and we never hear of them again.
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby gm » Wed May 07, 2003 8:11 pm

it depends on whether the athlete in question has the financial resources necessary to live and train for the minimum 4-5 years it takes to reach a semi-elite level

if not, a scholarship might be a good opportunity

if so, hey, stay home in beautiful NZ!

probably also depends on the event, come to think of it
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby Guest » Wed May 07, 2003 8:52 pm

The US collegiate system wears most middle and long distance athletes out. Some are freakishly strong enough to handle the weekly racing without pointing for the meets, and are able to gear for the summer. But most aren't that strong.
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby jsquire » Thu May 08, 2003 5:45 am

>The US collegiate system wears most middle and
>long distance athletes out. Some are freakishly
>strong enough to handle the weekly racing without
>pointing for the meets, and are able to gear for
>the summer. But most aren't that strong.

If the coach sees the athlete as a meal ticket, that's exactly what happens. In rare cases, the coach is more interested in developing the athletes than producing a "good team". An example was Sam Bell at Indiana with Bob Kennedy. Currently, Mark Whetmore (Colorado) waited to run his top two guys (Torres and Ritzenheim) until a month into the outdoor season.

So I'd say that choice of college program is essential.
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby dl » Thu May 08, 2003 8:55 am

I always hear people complain about coaches racing their athletes week in and week out for points. What scoring meets are they talking about?

I'd say collegiate athletes are competing less frequently now than in years past.

What Kiwis have burned out in the American system? I'd say that recently the most promising New Zealand distance/mid-distance athletes have developed quite well in the U.S. I'm talking about Willis, Blincoe and Aish.
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby jlanza » Thu May 08, 2003 10:12 am

I have to agree with Dan. The "heyday" of US distance running was at a time when dual meets were still in vogue. Even if they didn't run massive amounts of dual meets, people like Ryan, Liquori, Bachelor, Shorter, etc prospered in this environment. Most collegians do not run dual meets now, although it is true that they run multiple events in the same meets.

Perhaps the reason that many New Zealanders "disappear" after going to US universities is that, like many American runners who were good at a lower level, they just don't have the ability to get to the next level. Think about how many runners there are in high school and college, then compare it to the number of truly world class runners. Like anything else, very few make it to the top.

Anyway, with all the men's track and cross programs disappearing, you won't have to worry about this much longer.

Joe
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby dl » Thu May 08, 2003 11:16 am

I never claimed that the "new" system of less racing is good! I think many of today's athletes focus too much on simply running fast instead of becoming good competitors. I was just pointing out that it's no longer the case, in general, that coaches race their kids all the time for points.

I also think some middle distance athletes would be better off racing more if it meant doing less hard interval work throughout the season.
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby Guest » Thu May 08, 2003 12:32 pm

If the question is whether the university-level program is a good training ground for a professional runner, the answer is probably not -- those pesky studies get in the way. If the question is whether it provides an opportunity to develop good competitive skills, be a part of a team instead of only striving for individual goals, and to get an education (in case the professional running thing doesn't work out), then the answer is yes.

I tend to believe that for T&F to survive at the college level (Title IX considerations aside), the sport has to contribute in some way to the school's visibility and heritage. It's not revenue-producing like football and basketball, so its contribution must be image-enhancing. And when the last of those scholarships go away, then the majority of those below elite-athlete status in high school will leave the sport entirely.

Collegiate competition began as inter-class competition amongst close-knit students (i.e., frosh, sophs, jrs., srs compete as four teams). It evolved into dual meets, then larger meets, finally to a scheme of conference, regional, and national competitions -- and the best coaches were those who could outscore their opponents. These days, it seems that even if your program is well represented at the national level, it still struggles to survive . . . much less thrive.

The "new" system of racing seems to be as much a reflection of budget cutbacks as it does anything else. I won't argue the effects that a long collegiate year of training and racing will have on someone who can compete at the international level during the summer, but these athletes represent less than 1% of collegiate athletes.

Absent an effective club program in the US to develop marginal athletes into national and world-class ones, the best coaching and training facilities still reside at universities. And if you never hear of those NZ athletes again, then perhaps you should check the doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and public servants who "once ran track" in college.
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Re: U.S. UniversitiesTrack Scholarships

Postby Guest » Fri May 09, 2003 2:03 pm

>If the question is whether the university-level
>program is a good training ground for a
>professional runner, the answer is probably not
>-- those pesky studies get in the way. If the
>question is whether it provides an opportunity to
>develop good competitive skills, be a part of a
>team instead of only striving for individual
>goals, and to get an education (in case the
>professional running thing doesn't work out),
>then the answer is yes.

I tend to believe that
>for T&F to survive at the college level (Title IX
>considerations aside), the sport has to
>contribute in some way to the school's visibility
>and heritage. It's not revenue-producing like
>football and basketball, so its contribution must
>be image-enhancing. And when the last of those
>scholarships go away, then the majority of those
>below elite-athlete status in high school will
>leave the sport entirely.

Collegiate
>competition began as inter-class competition
>amongst close-knit students (i.e., frosh, sophs,
>jrs., srs compete as four teams). It evolved
>into dual meets, then larger meets, finally to a
>scheme of conference, regional, and national
>competitions -- and the best coaches were those
>who could outscore their opponents. These days,
>it seems that even if your program is well
>represented at the national level, it still
>struggles to survive . . . much less
>thrive.

The "new" system of racing seems to
>be as much a reflection of budget cutbacks as it
>does anything else. I won't argue the effects
>that a long collegiate year of training and
>racing will have on someone who can compete at
>the international level during the summer, but
>these athletes represent less than 1% of
>collegiate athletes.

Absent an effective club
>program in the US to develop marginal athletes
>into national and world-class ones, the best
>coaching and training facilities still reside at
>universities. And if you never hear of those NZ
>athletes again, then perhaps you should check the
>doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and public
>servants who "once ran track" in college.


All good thoughts. Does the college system wear out a potential Olympic level runner? I can't say from personal experience, because I'm in the 99% of former college runners that went on to make my living at something other than elite-level competition.
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