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

By Vince Peters, National Chairman of Racewalking (19 November, 2008)

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 18 men and 16 women qualified to compete at the outdoor nationals in Fresno, California, last spring. 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 2008 Collegiate T&F Nationals

 

Indoors

Outdoors

Men:

3,000m

17:21.0

5,000m

28:54.0

Women:

3,000m

18:40.0

3,000m

18:15.0

 

   This means that there are scholarships available for aspiring high school athletes who are experienced race walkers. Not many, 5 to 10 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 isnÍt easy for a high school athlete to find out. But look at it from a college coachÍs point of view. Many media outlets, even track and field media, internet and paper, wonÍt print the results of race walk competitions. Why, because in their eyes it isnÍt 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 donÍt know where to look to find that walker that can score points for their teams. The point of this article is to help those 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 ñCollege Searchî and clicking on the SEARCH button.

 

Two good web sites that can help with this are:

 

q     Find a College - College Search - Majors and Careers ?

http://www.collegeboard.com/csearch/

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

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges

 

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 todayÍs collegiate environment rarely does any student-athlete receive a "Full Rideî 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 athleteÍs 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.

 

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 the past 33 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)     Fewer recruiting restrictions and No NCAA Clearing house requirements

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

 

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.  About two dozen of these 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 coachÍs email address. But to obtain a complete listing of all NAIA member colleges click on over to the NAIAÍs website:

 

http://naia.cstv.com/member-services/about/members.htm

 

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. While NAIA rules hold to strict academic requirements, the process of establishing eligibility is streamlined since there is no clearinghouse.

 

What about National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools?  Regretfully, the NCAA does not recognize the race walk as a track & field event.  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: 

 

NCAA Division I:

None

 

NCAA Division II:
Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA (Mike Rohl)  <mrohl@mnsfld.edu>
     U. of Wisconsin Parkside, Kenosha, WI (Mike De Witt) <dewitt@uwp.edu>

 

NCAA Division III:

     U. of Rochester, Rochester, NY (John Izzo) <jizzo@Rochester.edu>

Stockton College, Pomona, NJ (Bill Preston) <prestonw@stockton.edu>

Huntingdon College, Huntingdon, Alabama (Nate Rucker) <nrucker@huntingdon.edu>

New York University, NY City, NY (Nick McDonough) <npm1@nyu.edu>

An additional handful of NCAA colleges do have race walkers on campus. But these provide very minimal, if any, support at the current time.


      Univ. of Rhode Island (Mike Kazmierczak)

Harvard University {Zack Pollinger}
      Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa {Katy Hayes}
Bowling Green State University in Ohio {Lindsey Conway}

Naval Academy {Kate Canon}

Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute {Heather Bulletti}

Univ. of Maine @ Orono {Lauren Forgues}

St. Josephs U, Long Island, NY {Jenna Monahan}

 

At lot of the NCAA limitations are also applied per gender. The Scholarship Limits for NCAA Division I Track & Field/Cross Country athletes are 18 for the women and 12.6 for the men.

 

Current NAIA Race Walking Success Stories:

 

In addition to having the race walk as a scoring event at its indoor and outdoor collegiate national track & field championships, the NAIA encourages its member conferences to include the walks at invitational meets as well as Conference Championships. The Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) and the American Mideast (AMC) conferences regularly have the walk as a scoring event at their conference championships. In 2008 the Mid-Central College Conference (MCC) added the walk as a demonstration event. In 2009 the Mid-South conference (which includes Lindsey Wilson College) will have the race walk as a scoring event.

 

The conferences and the member schools with full track & field programs for men and women are:

 

American Mideast Conference {Cedarville University (Ohio); Geneva College (Pa.); Houghton College (N.Y.); Malone College (Ohio); Notre Dame College (Ohio); University of Rio Grande (Ohio); Roberts Wesleyan College (N.Y.); Saint Vincent College (Pa.); Tiffin University (Ohio); Walsh University (Ohio)}
 

Heart of America Athletic Conference {Baker University (Kan.); Benedictine College (Kan.); Central Methodist University (Mo.); Evangel University (Mo.); Graceland University (Iowa); Lindenwood University (Mo.); MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.); Missouri Valley College (Mo.); William Jewell College (Mo.)}

 

Mid-Central College Conference { Bethel (Ind), Goshen (Ind), Grace College (Ind), Huntington University (Ind), Indiana Wesleyan University (Ind), Spring Arbor University (Mich), Taylor University (Ind), and University of St Francis (Indiana)}.

 

Mid South Conference {Campbellsville University (Ky.); University of the Cumberlands (Ky.); Georgetown College (Ky.); Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.);     Pikeville College (Ky.); St. Catharine College (Ky.);  West Virginia University Institute of Technology}


The following NAIA schools currently have race walkers on campus, or have had an athlete transfer there, or have signed a student athlete to start classes in the fall of 2009. Some offer scholarships to race walkers. All are actively recruiting additional race walkers:

 

  1. Baker University (Kan.) ñRob Mallinder" <rob.mallinder@bakeru.edu>
  2. Benedictine College (Kan.) ñRex Laneî < rlane@benedictine.edu>
  3. Biola University (California) ñLeroy Neal" <leroy.neal@biola.edu>
  4. Cedarville University (Ohio) "Vince Peters" <mv_tc@sbcglobal.net>
  5. Central Methodist U (Missouri) "Nate Rucker" <nrucker@centralmethodist.edu>
  6. Concordia College (Nebraska) "Steve Hoger" <big_red_fan@hotmail.com>
  7. Cornerstone College (Mich) "Nate Van Holten" <doctor_nate@hotmail.com>
  8. Graceland University (Iowa) "Kent Allshouse" <allshous@graceland.edu>
  9. Goshen College (Indiana) "Doug Yoder" <dougy@goshen.edu>
  10. Houghton College (NY) "Bob Smalley" <robert.smalley@houghton.edu>
  11. Lindenwood Univ (Missouri) "Jason Laine" <jlaine@lindenwood.edu>
  12. Lindsey Wilson (Kentucky) "Edwin Hagans" <haganse@lindsey.edu>
  13. Malone College (Ohio) "Jon Johnson" <Vicarjon1@wmconnect.com>
  14. MidAmerican Nazarene "Curt Ammons" <cammons@mnu.edu>
  15. Missouri Valley (Missouri) "John Pickens" <pickensj@moval.edu>
  16. Mt Marty College (S.Dakota) ñNicholas Maasî <nicholas.maas@mtmc.edu>
  17. Notre Dame College (Cleveland , Ohio)  "Jim Schweickert " <jschweickert@ndc.edu>
  18. Roberts Wesleyan (NY) "Jonathan Poag" <poag_jonathan@roberts.edu>
  19. Rio Grande University (Southeastern,, Ohio) "Bob Willey" <rwilley@rio.edu>
  20. St Xavier College (Chicago, Ill) ñLisa Ebelî <l.ebel@sxu.edu> & ñEd McAllister <mcallister@sxu.edu>
  21. Walsh College (Canton, Ohio) "Dan McCallion" <dmcallion@walsh.edu>
  22. Westmont University (California) ñJoe Mendelsonî <joetmend@yahoo.com>

 

These colleges are actively looking for race walkers but have none currently on campus. The coaches would like to have race walkers contact them about attending their schools.

 

Marian University (Indiana) "Dave Roberts" <droberts@marian.edu>

Jamestown College (N. Dakota) "Brent Tischer" <btischer@jc.edu>

Rio Grande University (Ohio) "Matt Boylesî <boyles14@hotmail.com>

Graceland University (Iowa) "Kent Allshouse" <allshous@graceland.edu>

Dakota Wesleyan University (S.Dakota) "Patrick Belling" <pabelling@dwu.edu>

William Jewell (Missouri)"Terry Yee" <yeet@william.jewell.edu>

 

Colleges that signed race walkers in 2007 for the 2008 season:

 

Cedarville University, Ohio (Grant Bacon, Maine)

St JosephÍs College, NYC, NY (Jenna Monahan, Long Island, NY)

 

Colleges that signed race walkers in 2008 for the 2009 season:

 

Lindsey Wilson College (Ky) (Roberto & Ricardo Vergara, Edinburg, TX and Evan Crowdus, Union, Ky)

Malone College (Oh) (Kyle Shaeffer, Mt.Vernon, Oh)

 

Other contact persons 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 at the collegiate level.

 

      Vince Peters - USATF National Chair for Racewalking ? he is also an assistant coach at Cedarville University, in Cedarville, Ohio. He can be reached at: mv_tc@sbcglobal.net or (937) 767-7424

      Steve Vaitones ? RW Vice Chairman - (Massachusetts) - usatfne@ix.netcom.com

      Philip Dunn ? MenÍs RW Development Chair - (California) - dunnphilip@yahoo.com

      Maryanne Daniel WomenÍs RW Development Chair - (Connecticut) - ctracewalk@sbcglobal.net

      Tom Eastler (Maine) - eastler@maine.edu

      Ginger Mulanax (Missouri) - gmulanax@sbcglobal.net

      Chris Real (California) - rael2003@yahoo.com

      Coach A.C. Jaime (Texas) - acjaime@sbcglobal.net


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