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A Letter To High School T&F Athletes About Race Walking In College

By Vince Peters, Past National Chairman of USA Racewalking

mv_tc@sbcglobal.net

(937) 767-7424

High School track and field athletes in general and high school race walkers in particular, need to be made aware that there is a shortage of race walkers in the USA. There are currently more colleges needing race walkers for their Track & Field teams then there are HS walkers in the USA. As a result, some colleges are now recruiting race walkers from other countries to walk here in the USA. This fact is presented only to stress the point that high school race walkers are an important commodity to many colleges.

What does it take to be a collegiate walker? The current qualifying times for the collegiate nationals in the race walk are illustrated in the table below. Looks pretty easy? Well only about a dozen men and a dozen women make the qualifying time – on average – each year. So it is challenging. Especially for those young men and women just taking up this track & field event at the collegiate level:

RW Qualifying Standards For 2014 Collegiate T&F Nationals

Race

Distance

Men

Women

Automatic

Provisional

Automatic

Provisional

INDOORS: 3,000 meters for men & women

14:15.00

15:15.00

16:30.00

17:30.00

OUTDOORS: 5,000m for men & women

24:00.00

25:00.00

27:45.00

28:15.00

There are scholarships available for aspiring high school athletes who are experienced race walkers. Not many, 5 to 15 per year, but they exist. They are not easy to find, nor given out to just anybody.

But what colleges have the race walk? It isn’t easy for a high school athlete to find out. But look at it from a college coach’s point of view. Many media outlets don’t print results of any HS competition anymore; much less the results of a race walk competition. Why, because in their eyes it isn’t a high school event. Thankfully this is something the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and USA Track & Field (USATF) is working on. But until then, many college coaches don’t know where to look to find that walker that can score points for their teams. Therefore, the point of this article is to help college coaches and prospective athletes connect.

Searching the Internet:

When a high school student-athlete starts the search for their future college the first thing that young man or woman should do is to create a list of institutions that offer the area(s) of study he, or she, is interested in. This is the most important thing to do. After all, you go to college to get a good education. Athletics, including race walking, should be secondary.

There are many web sites on the internet that can help search the 2,500 or so colleges and universities in the USA for the ones that have the course of study desired. They can be found by going to any of the popular search engines like yahoo.com and google.com and typing in “College Search” and clicking on the SEARCH button.

Two good web sites that can help with this are:

Find a College - College Search - Majors and Careers

USNews.com: America's Best Colleges 2010: Custom College Finder

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/college

The list returned by these searches can then be refined by limiting the search parameters by the size, location, distance, price, and type of college.

But before eliminating any schools, student-athletes may want to create a sub-list of all schools that have both the degree program sought and are athletically compatible - which means a school that offers race walking. This second step requires a great deal more time and effort. This article should help the athlete accomplish this task.


Some background information on scholarships:

Every athlete is interested in getting a scholarship to college. So it may come as a shock, but in today’s collegiate environment rarely does any student-athlete receive a "Full Ride” or scholarship to college. "Quarter" and "Third" scholarships are more the norm in athletics. These are often divided along the lines of separate awards for tuition, board, and books. An athlete may receive one, or two, but rarely all three. Financial need and academic standing are also determining factors.

Further complicating the recruiting situation is the window afforded individual colleges for making contact with potential student athletes. Four sets of governing rules are in effect. The rules vary between the three divisions within the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA). Plus the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has its own set.

Generally, college coaches can't talk about recruiting and scholarship commitments until the athlete’s senior year in high school. But during the junior year a high school student can initiate communication with a college by filling out one of the on-line forms that most college & university athletic departments offer on their web sites. Optionally, you can email a coach directly and request information about their college and track and cross country programs.

One last, very important consideration when seeking that athletics scholarship – there is more money available via academic scholarships for good grades and test scores than for athletic prowess. So while you are focusing on that set of 20 fast 400 meter repeats in practice, remember it is even more important to be getting top notch marks in the class room!

More information on Obtaining College Financial Aid:

The typical first step in getting financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This document provides guidelines to how much financial aid the student-athlete is eligible for outside of any (athletic or academic) merit based scholarships. This is obtained at:

www.fafsa.ed.gov

Most colleges require this before awarding any merit based scholarships or need-based grants and loans. This includes the Pell grants and the Perkins and Stafford loan programs.

You should also check into the special interest and regional scholarships that are available at the colleges you have narrowed your choices down too. And don’t forget there is also a Federal Department of Education searchable database. This data base can provide additional places to apply for scholarships:

https://studentaid2.ed.gov/getmoney/scholarship/v3browse.asp

Finally, don’t forget to consult with the counselors at your high school and the admissions advisors at the colleges you are considering. They have additional resources available to them for assisting you – particularly in answering any questions about information concerning the programs mentioned in this document.


How Good Are You ?

The High School Race Walk web site is a good place for college coaches, athletes, and parents of athletes to peruse. It provides recognition to the top HS Race Walkers in the US as well as providing a ranking of the top HS race Walkers in the indoor and outdoor seasons each year. See where you are ranked at:

http://www.hsrw.net/

WHAT COLLEGES ARE LOOKING FOR RACE WALKERS?

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has been conducting the race walk as a scored event at its National Track & Field Championships for over 40 years.Since 1980 nearly 75% of all race walkers on the USA Olympic Team have graduated from NAIA member colleges and universities.

The NAIA has always been the forward thinking, driving force for the inclusion, not exclusion, of all Olympic Events at the collegiate level. Not only are the race walks a scoring event at both the indoor and outdoor National T&F Championships but the NAIA also includes the marathon with its outdoor T&F championships.

There are many advantages to competing in the NAIA as a race walker. Besides the benefit of the close-knit communities and small class sizes typically found on a NAIA member school campus, NAIA athletics offer:

1) A maximum opportunity to participate in regular season competitions and National Championships

2) Greater opportunities to transfer without losing a season of eligibility

3) The focus is on education and character development of the student athlete

4) Fewer recruiting restrictions

The NAIA is comprised of almost 300 member institutions, each dedicated to the ideals of excellence in character and respect in both athletics and academics. About 200 of these schools have T&F programs. And of particularly good news to HS race walkers is the fact that only about two dozen of those schools currently have race walkers. The rest are looking for that one walker that will lead their program. This paper identifies many of these schools and the coach’s email address. But to obtain a complete listing of all NAIA member colleges click on over to the NAIA’s website and click on “MEMBERS”:

http://www.naia.org/

The NAIA recruitment process is less cumbersome, with fewer restrictions on the contact between a student-athlete and a coach. More frequent communication aids in assuring that the student-athlete is comfortable with the choice of an institution. More on athletic aid in the NAIA is available by visiting the NAIA Eligibility Center at:

http://www.playnaia.org/

What about National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools? Regretfully, there isn’t much that can be said positively about the NCAA. The NCAA does not recognize the race walk as a track & field event at any level. Current NCAA rules prohibit student athletes who are race walkers from receiving financial assistance from the athletic departments at their colleges. Therefore there are NO athletic scholarships for race walking within the NCAA ranks. That said, there still exists some opportunities for race walking at certain NCAA universities because of extremely supportive coaches at those institutions.


These schools are mainly on the east coast where race walking is historical strong at the HS level:

NCAA Division I:

· Currently there are no race walk friendly coaches at the NCAA Division I level except for Troy Engle, the head Track & Field Coach at West Point Military Academy, West Point, NY. Coach Engle is a former race walker and worked within USA Track & Field to promote coaching education in the area of race walking. His contact information is: <troy.engle@usma.edu> (845) 938-2425.

NCAA Division II:

· Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, is a good location for track & field athletes who race walk. Three-time Olympian in the race walk - Michelle Rohl – assists her husband; head coach Mike Rohl, in coaching at Mansfield University. Contact Coach Rohl at: <mrohl@mnsfld.edu> (570) 662-4645

· Nate Rucker, a former NAIA coach at Central Methodist University and USA-Canada RW team coach, is now the head coach at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa. Contact Coach Rucker at: <ruckern@uiu.edu> 563-425-5892

· If you are both a race walker and a XC runner in New England contact 2008 Olympic Race Walker Joanne Dow. She is now the head cross country coach for both the men and the women at Southern New Hampshire University. Coach Dow’s contact info is: <j.dow@snhu.edu> (603) 645-9773

· Mike DeWitt, who is now in his second year at Belmont Abby College in Belmont, North Carolina. DeWitt formerly coached at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, the juggernaut of collegiate race walking prior to that college’s move to the NCAA DII ranks. His contact info is: < michaeldewitt@bac.edu> (704) 461-5010.

NCAA Division III:

· If you are a top notch academic student this may be the place for you. Long-time coach John Izzo has worked with many race walkers at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, NY (John Izzo) <jizzo@sports.rochester.edu>

Many of the NCAA limitations are also determined by the athlete’s gender. The combined Scholarship Limits for an entire program at the NCAA Division I level for Track & Field/Cross Country athletes are 18 for the women and 12.6 for the men. Race walkers have been ruled ineligible by the NCAA’s Compliance Office to receive any of these athletic scholarships.

Junior Colleges in California

There is currently one junior college in California where a high school athlete can get the cross country, track & field and race walking opportunities that should be afforded him or her nationwide. In 2010, two-time Olympian Tim Seaman was hired as a head Track and cross country coach at Cuyamaca College near San Diego, California. You can contact Coach Seaman at: <Tim.Seaman@Olympian.org>

Current NAIA Race Walking Success Stories

While based in the geographical center of the USA there are over 300 NAIA colleges and universities scattered across the country. But few are in the northeast (go figure) where race walking is popular among HS students in New York and Maine. Therefore student-athletes will often need to look out-of-state to continue their education. Luckily, most will find that cost of education will be lower at the NAIA member institution than at an in-state school.

Competitively, the race walk is conducted as a scoring event at the NAIA indoor and outdoor collegiate national T&F championships. Further, the NAIA encourages its member conferences to include the walks at both invitational meets as well as individual Conference Championships. Results from recent NAIA Collegiate National T&F Championships are included in the Appendix and provide a reference point for which colleges currently have athletes on campus. Recent signees, if known, are listed separately.

Below is a list of colleges and college coaches who are actively recruiting race walkers for their T&F teams. Some are historically strong in race walking (*). Many have scholarship money available. Recent signees, if known, are listed in a separate list. Please contact the coaches directly for more information:

  1. Ashford College (Iowa) “Chris Adams” <christopher.adams@ashford.edu> (563) 243-8580 (ext. 7906)
  2. Baker University (Kansas) “Zach Kindler” < zkindler@bakeru.edu> (785) 594-4580
  3. Benedictine College (Kansas.) “Rex Lane” <rlane@benedictine.edu> (913) 360-7606
  4. Berea University (Kentucky) “Dan Bryant” < dan_bryant@berea.edu > (859) 985-3922
  5. Biola University (California) “Jonathan Zimmerman” <jonathan.zimmerman@biola.edu> (562) 944-0351 x5929
  6. Calumet College of St. Joseph (Indiana) Kevin Paterson <kpaterson@ccsj.edu> (219) 473-4265
  7. Campbellsville University (Kentucky) Hilary Cebulko <hacebulko@campbellsville.edu> (270) 789-5298
  8. Carrol University (Montana) “Matt Morris” <mmorris@carroll.edu> (406) 447-4486
  9. (*) Central Methodist U (Missouri) “Chris Sandefur” < csandefu@centralmethodist.edu> (660) 248-6638
  10. Concordia University (Irvine, California) “Jim Brewer” < jim.brewer@cui.edu> (949) 214-3242
  11. (*) Cornerstone College (Lansing, Michigan) "Nate Van Holten" < doctor_nate@hotmail.com > (616) 222-1425
  12. Culver-Stockton Univ. (Canton, Missouri) “Doug Savage” < dsavage@culver.edu> 573-288-6426
  13. Dakota Wesleyan University (S.Dakota) "Patrick Belling" <pabelling@dwu.edu> (605) 995-2954
  14. Davenport University (Grand Rapids, Michigan) “Scott Cook” <scook@davenport.edu> 616-871-6190
  15. Eastern Oregon University (Oregon) Jeff Hoskisson” < jhoskisson@eou.edu> (541) 962-3851
  16. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.(Florida) “Peter Hopfe” <hopfe485@erau.edu> (386) 266-7099
  1. Emmanuel College (Georgia) “Brian Hall” <bhall@ec.edu> 706-680-5449
 
  1. Evangel College (Missouri) “Lynn Bowen” <> (417) 865-2815 ext. 7359
  2. Evergreen State Univ. (Olympia, Wash) “Chris Ertman” <ertmanc@evergreen.edu> (360) 867-6520
  3. Friends University (Kansas) “Damian Smithhisler” <damian_smithhisler@friends.edu> (316) 295-5624
  4. Georgetown College (Kentucky) “Todd McDaniel” < todd_mcdaniel@georgetowncollege.edu> (502) 863-8058
  5. Graceland University (Iowa) " Daniel Alvarado" <runner@graceland.edu> (641) 784-5309
  6. Goshen College (Indiana) "Doug Yoder" <dougy@goshen.edu> (574) 535-7495
  7. Grand View University (Des Moines, Iowa) “Jerry Monner” <jmonner@grandview.edu> (515) 263-6046
  8. Hannibal-LaGrange (Missouri) “Jason Scott” <JScott@hlg.edu> (573) 629-3229
  9. Jamestown College (N. Dakota) "Ed Crawford" <ecrawfor@jc.edu> & Jim Clark <clark@jc.edu>
  10. Judson College (Elgin, Illinois) “Richard Weinhandl” <rweinhandl@judsonu.edu> (847) 628-1595
  11. (*) Lindsey Wilson (Kentucky) "Jamaine Gordon" <gordonj@lindsey.edu> (270) 384-8175
  12. Marian University (Indiana) " Michael Holman" <mholman@marian.edu> (317) 955-6585
  13. Marymont College (California) “Martin Gonzalez” <mgonzalez1@marymountpv.edu> (714) 376-2944
  14. Midland University (Nebraska) “Mark Kostak” <kostek@midlands.edu> (402) 841-6319
  15. (*) Missouri Valley (Marshall, Missouri) "Nathan Christianson" <christiansonn@moval.edu> (660) 831-4095
  16. (*) Missouri Baptist (St. Louis, Missouri) “Patricia Hanna” <HannaP@mobap.edu> (314) 744-5318
  17. Moncreat University (North Carolina) “Justin Herbert” <jherbert@montreat.edu> (937) 903-0164
  18. Mt Marty College (Yankton, South Dakota) “Randy Fischer” <randall.fischer@mtmc.edu> (605) 668-1263
  19. Oklahoma City University (Oklahoma City, Ok) “Conor Holt” <cholt@okcu.edu> (405) 208-5319
  20. (*) Rio Grande University (Southeastern, Ohio) "Steven Gruenberg" <gruenberg@rio.edu > (740) 245-7487
  21. St. Andrews College (Laurinburg, NC) “Bill Cason” <casonwm@sapc.edu> 910-277-3965
  22. St Xavier College (Chicago, Ill) “Lisa Ebel” <l.ebel@sxu.edu> (773) 298-3581
  23. Southern Oregon ( Ashland, Oregon ) Grier Gatlin <gatling@sou.edu> (541) 552-6500
  24. University of Saint Mary (Leavenworth, Kansas) David Dominguez” <Dominguez06@stmary.edu> (913) 758-4353
  25. Viterbro University (La Cross, Wisconsin) “John Metelko” <jpmetelko@viterbo.edu> (608) 796-3840
  26. Westmont University (Santa Barbara, California) “Russell Smelley” <smelley@westmont.edu> (805) 565-6108
  27. William Penn University (Iowa) “Allen Friesen” <friesena@wmpenn.edu> (641) 673-1706

Colleges that signed race walkers in 2013 for the 2014 track & field season:

· Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ – Maite Moscoco, Lake Brantly HS (Fla) – Maite was 2012 USATF Henry Laskau Award Winner for top junior race walker in the USA. She was also the #1 runner on her HS XC team.
· Goshen College (Indiana) – Kayla Gray – Lake District HS, Maine – Kayla was the state HS champ in the 1600m race walk at Maine’s State HS T&F Meet. Maine is one of two states that contest the race walk at the state meet level. New York is the other. 
 
 

Additional contact people in race walking:

Hopefully you have found this article useful in identifying the colleges that are race walk friendly. The following individuals can assist you with questions you have about race walking locally, or at the high school or collegiate levels – and with officiating at your HS or college event.

· Vince Peters (Ohio) – Immediate Past USATF National Chair for Racewalking – mv_tc@sbcglobal.net

Or via phone at: (937) 767-7424 home, (937) 689-4202 cell.

· Steve Vaitones (Massachusetts) - usatfne@ix.netcom.com

· Dave McGovern (New York) – Vice Chair USATF National RW Committee - RayZwocker@aol.com

· Maryanne Daniel (Connecticut) - Women’s RW Development Chair - ctracewalk@sbcglobal.net

· Tom Eastler (Maine) - eastler@maine.edu

· Ginger Mulanax (Missouri) - gmulanax@sbcglobal.net

· Tim Seaman (California) – Men’s RW Development Chair - Tim.Seaman@Olympian.org

· Jim Bean (Oregon) - beanjbean@aol.com

WEB SITES WITH INFORMATION

All nationals championships as well as additional information on race walking is available thru the national website:

· USATF Web Site: http://www.usatf.org/Sports/Race-Walking.aspx

Facebook page for USATF Race Walking:

· http://www.facebook.com/USATF.RaceWalking

Locations for the latest in information on HS race walking:

· http://www.hsrw.net

· http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_50948072343



Four great web sites with information on race walking including technique, books, etc., are:

· http://www.racewalk.com/defaultRW.asp

· http://www.eracewalk.com/

· http://www.narionline.org/nari/default.asp

· http://www.racewalking.org/

Web Site containing information on the Al Heppner Scholarship for collegiate race walkers:

· http://www.narionline.org/nari/Programs/AlHeppner.asp

 
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