Vince Rawl

In case you’re wondering, why the persistent writing about Vince Rawl in recent weeks on Twitter and Facebook?

This is a brief explanation, and points out the bj-league’s complete lack of professionalism in dealing with this matter in a respectable way. (Now, on 8/26, there’s an update on the league site. Actually, Rawl’s name is no longer there, but no mention that he died.)

What follows was first published on June 10 in the bj-league notebook in The Japan Times.

Signficant oversight: Vince Rawl, who passed away April 23 at age 50, is still listed as a league adviser on the league website’s English page.

He lost an eight-month battle with cancer and died in Texas. A prominent businessman, Rawl had been a co-owner of the Oita HeatDevils and a league partner, first beginning an association with Oita in 2007. He has not been involved in team decisions for the past few seasons, though.

Commissioner Toshimitsu Kawachi’s message after Rawl’s death, was posted on Legacy.com on April 26.

Here is that message:

Dear Mr. Vincent Rawl,

Your deep and warm heart always encouraged us to go forward and start new things. Without your support and encouragement we would have never been able to bring so many Japanese kids to the U.S. to play basketball with American kids. Even though we cannot see you, your memory and your influence lives on. We will think of you forever.

Our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and associates of Mr. Rawl.

Sincerely,

Toshimitsu Kawachi

The fact that the bj-league hasn’t issued a press release or posted news on its website about Rawl’s death and his contributions to the league disturbs some longtime observers. And it defies common sense.

“You know, I don’t know why there wasn’t an announcement, either,” one hoop insider wrote in an email to The Japan Times. “Has the league forgotten that Mr. Rawl almost literally saved the league in 2007? He gave them $3.5 million when the league was about to flame out.”

Rawl’s longtime business associate and basketball agent Jerald Wrightsil, who also resides in Austin, Texas, offered his thoughts on Rawl’s involvement with the bj-league in an exclusive interview with The Japan Times. He said Rawl’s contributions were even greater than the above source stated.

“Vince had great aspirations for Japanese basketball and he put his money where his mouth was in that respect by investing over $5 million of his own towards the game there,” Wrightsil said. “He didn’t have a political agenda, and it can be argued that he didn’t have a financial motivation as his investment hasn’t blossomed to date. But his dream was a unified league in Japan, not the JBL vs. bj-league He just wanted the best to play the best.

“It’s not known to the public but at one point Vince wanted to donate his stock towards raising funds for the earthquake/tsunami victims. This never happened but he loved the people there that much.”

Now, Wrightsil hopes to keep Rawl’s passion for sports alive by staging a charity event in the fall.

He explained the idea this way:

“My proposal, in his honor, is to play a preseason ‘friendly invitational’ . . . the Lawrence V. Rawl Invitational to be held in September of 2011. This invitational will take the Nos. 1 and 2 teams of the JBL vs. Nos. 1 and 2 teams of the bj League. … All of the funds raised will be donated to the victims of the earthquake/tsunami/Fukushima incident and a Japanese cancer research foundation in Vince’s name — similar to the Jimmy V Classic (in the United States)

“This is a great cause for people not remotely associated with the politics of basketball, JABBA (Japan Basketball Association), or sports. This would benefit those displaced, hungry, suffering from a natural disaster and cancer.

“The bj-league has agreed, in private with me, to participate in such an event but the issue will be to convince the JBL and JABBA,” he continued. “I think that the death of Vince and the incidents are somewhat helpful in getting these guys past the crap that keeps inhibiting the game there.”

“I think coming back here to Hopi is my way of saying thank you’

This column appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun on Dec. 19, 2003

Former NAU runner gives back to Hopis

By Ed Odeven

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give,” British statesman Sir Winston Churchill once said.

Others have made similar statements, including: It is better to give than receive. These viewpoints shape the career path of many individuals. For instance, Juwan Nuvayokva knows the joy of giving begins at home.

It is there, on the Hopi Reservation, where the former NAU All-American runner has returned to earn a living. Nuvayokva is in his first year teaching physical education and coaching cross country at Hopi Junior High School and Hopi High School in Keams Canyon.

As he discussed the challenges he’s faced making the transition from student to teacher, Nuvayokva revealed that he’s satisfied to be able to give back something that lasts a lifetime — the ideals and life lessons a coach or teacher can pass along to their students.

“The biggest challenge is coming home and working with your own people,” Nuvayokva told me in a phone conversation Friday. “I’m excited about just coming back and being involved with my community and the high school I graduated from.”

It’s been an exciting year for Nuvayokva. He guided the Hopi Junior High boys team to a state cross country title in the fall. That was the obvious reward for months of hard work.

“It’s a (great) feeling that I did something with these kids. It’s something that never sunk in yet,” said Nuvayokva, who earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from NAU in March. “I’m going to use that and build upon it.”

Another reward was just as special for the 24-year-old coach. One of the Hopi harriers, the Bruins’ No. 7 runner for most of the autumn, was the team’s top finisher at the state meet.

“He just told me, ‘Because of you I was ready and I just felt great this day and thank you for being there.’ That kind of touched me inside, and I was thankful for that also,” said Nuvayokva, who is from a tiny village of Oraivi, which is believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the United States (since 1150).

Nuvayokva, who graduated from Hopi High School in 1997, helped the school win four straight boys cross country titles. Then he took his running talents to Flagstaff, becoming the first Lumberjack to be a part of four successive Big Sky Conference cross country champion outfits.

Hopi High coach Rick Baker, who has led the Bruin boys to 14 straight state titles, first at the Class 2A level and now at the 3A level, said Nuvayokva is a positive influence for the kids. He added: “The kids know that he’s an All-American and has a college degree. To come back and put that experience (to work) for us is a big plus for the school and the Hopi Tribe.”

Longtime NAU coach Ron Mann will be the first to tell you that Nuvayokva has always thought about his future with one goal in mind:

“From day one that he came to Northern Arizona, his goal was to go back to Hopi High School and give back to his community,” Mann said.

That goal never wavered during Nuvayokva’s college days.

“Going to NAU, what I noticed when I came home on weekends or on an occasion, people would come up to me, recognizing me and give me good compliments, saying that I’m modeling what kids should be doing today, or I’m taking advantage of the opportunities I come upon. The Hopi people have recognized me (a lot), where I’ve appreciated it and I never had time to say thank you.”

He now does.

“I think coming back here to Hopi is my way of saying thank you,” he continued. “I’m back home. I want to teach some of these kids. If I can save at least one kid out of all these, that would be my goal. … Being an adult now, I think it’s part of my responsibility to model that.”

Remarkably, Nuvayokva’s college career went exactly how he hoped it would. Not surprisingly, Mann is thrilled to talk about it.

“What’s so neat about his experience here at Northern is, he wanted to be an All-American, which he became; he wanted to be on a championship team, which he was; and he wanted to be on a team that got one of the national trophies, which he did. So his career here at Northern, from the day he came on to NAU to this very day, has been one of dreams come true,” Mann said.

“I’m sure he’ll continue to make more and more dreams come true for other young Hopi men and women.”

Folks, there aren’t better gifts than that.

From the archives – NFL defensive star Jared Allen

Profile piece during his playing days at Idaho State

Maximizing his potential

By Ed Odeven

(Published in the Arizona Daily Sun)

Jared Allen will be the first to admit he’s always had athletic ability, but didn’t always maximize his potential.

His ability has now reached a zenith.

Allen leads all of Division I with 16.5 sacks and is on an incredible tear right now — five consecutive multi-sack games, including four against Eastern Washington on Oct. 4 and 3.5 against Montana two weeks later.

“I’ve really started to come into my own a little bit,” said Allen, who along with 22nd-ranked Idaho State will face No. 20 NAU Saturday at 6:05 p.m. at the Skydome. “I usually was getting by on raw talent and having fun out there. (This year) I really started to work hard in practice and try to develop that talent.”

The senior defensive end is a Buck Buchanan Award candidate, which is issued annually to Division I-AA’s top defensive player. He needs 3.5 sacks to tie the I-AA single-season sack record and five to tie the ISU career record (42.5), which was set by Josh Hays from 1994-96. After sacking Portland State signal-caller Joe Wiser twice last Saturday, Allen tied Hays’ single-season school record.

“Jared’s a young man that’s worked a lot harder this year than he has in the years past,” Bengals coach Larry Lewis said, “and it’s showing up on the field. It’s real important to him and he’s put a lot of effort and time into becoming a good player this year, and every week it becomes more important to him. … Each week, it seems like he’s gotten better and better.”

Allen, a 2000 graduate of Los Gatos (Calif.) High School, gives opposing coaches migraines. He lines up on the left side of the line and on the right side. No matter where he’s playing, there’s one constant that shows up on film: Allen is consistently attacking the quarterback.

“I hope it’s tough,” Lewis said when asked about how teams prepare to contain Allen. “I hope they have to prepare and I hope they have to think about it. That’s kind of the plan going into it is just to make them aware — then it’s going to free somebody else up.”

The 6-foot-6 Allen weighed 275 pounds last year. He’s slimmed down to around 255. Now, he said, he’s more explosive off the ball.

“I’m able to make some plays that I wasn’t able to make last year because I’m faster and stronger,” he admitted. “I’m definitely closer to being the type of player I want to be.”

Like many, Lewis has been impressed with Allen’s pass-rushing prowess this season.

“That’s probably the best thing that he does,” the coach said. “But for any kid, that’s the fun thing to do. Getting double-teamed and all that other stuff, that’s not fun. Rushing the quarterback, that’s always fun.”

Allen also excels at doing the so-called grunt work. He’s the team’s long snapper. In fact, Allen’s ability to snap the football was one factor that prompted Lewis to offer him a scholarship.

“In 23 years of coaching, I’ve never had a better long snapper,” Lewis said.

What’s made Allen such a well-regarded snapper?

Well, he’s been perfecting the craft since he was 8 years old. His father, Ron, a former professional tight end with the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Wranglers of the defunct USFL, used to have him and his brother practice snapping in their backyard.

It wasn’t like he was forced to rake the leaves at 6:30 in the morning and hated every minute of it. Nope. Allen has grown to love long snapping.

“I definitely take pride in it. It’s something not a lot of people can do,” said Allen, who can accurately snap the ball from 30 yards out. “It’s kind of an overlooked position. But it’s like second nature to me. I’ve worked hard at it. It’s definitely going to help me with my goals to move on to the next level and play ball.”

Indeed, versatile players are enticing to NFL general managers, who must simultaneously deal with free agency and the salary cap while figuring out how to give their team depth. And Allen has had his fair share of attention this season — most of the NFL’s 32 teams have sent a scout to Idaho State practices, and a few, including the Bills, Dolphins, Eagles and Packers, have been there two or more times.

As his college career winds down, Allen has become a defender who commands respect from foes.

“He’s pretty tough to block one-on-one,” NAU coach Jerome Souers said. “We haven’t seen any game where people have answers for him consistently.”

And, naturally, Allen is quite proud of that recognition.

“Your senior year, your last campaign, your last hurrah in college, you always want to go out on top,” the mass communications major said. “I have some personal goals that I wanted to accomplish this year. Through my work ethic this summer, I busted my hump this summer; I was able to accomplish all that.”

Opposing quarterbacks know all about that.

 

Sipping from Fountain of Youth

Ed Odeven

Dec. 4, 2003

(Published in the Arizona Daily Sun)

Let historians decide if Juan Ponce de Leon ever discovered the mystical Fountain of Youth. As far as we know, Floridians have recently discovered their own youthful elixir — on the baseball diamond and the football gridiron.

Jack McKeon, the Florida Marlins’ 72-year-old manager, came out of retirement and led his ballclub to a World Series title in October. Two months later, Howard Schnellenberger, a 69-year-old head coach, guided the upstart Florida Atlantic University football team to a 9-2 regular season record and a berth in the Division I-AA playoffs.

Coming off a 32-24 win over Bethune-Cookman last week, Schnellenberger’s 13th-ranked Owls will face No. 16 Northern Arizona (9-3) in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. at the Skydome.

On second thought, Schnellenberger’s age probably has nothing to do with his success. After all, he’s been a coaching legend for decades.

“Coach is a true believer,” FAU offensive line coach John Bock told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “He does a great job of getting people to embrace his vision.”

Schnellenberger’s storied career began in the mid-1950s, when he played at the University of Kentucky under head coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Blanton Collier. After graduating from college, Schnellenberger quickly found his niche as an assistant coach. In 1959-60, he worked at Kentucky for Collier, who won an NFL title in 1964 while serving as the Cleveland Browns’ second head coach (Paul Brown, who also founded the Cincinnati Bengals, was the first).

Then Schnellenberger probably made the best coaching move any talented, young assistant could’ve made in the early 60s: He decided to work for Bear Bryant at Alabama. …And the rest is history.

While serving as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator, ‘Bama won national titles in 1961, ’64 and ’65. Over the next several years, Schnellenberger continued to learn the tricks of the trade while coaching under George Allen (from 1966-69 with the Los Angeles Rams), under Don Shula (from ’70-’72 with the Miami Dolphins — yes, those Dolphins, who went 17-0 in ’72 and remain the only unbeaten team in NFL history).

Schnellenberger held his first and only NFL head coaching job from ’73-’74 with the Baltimore Colts before returning to the Dolphins to work as Shula’s assistant from 1975-79.

Since then, Schnellenberger has built a legacy that few college coaches will ever match, one that includes leading Miami to the 1983 national championship and revitalizing a moribund University of Louisville program, his hometown school, a half-decade later.

“I’ve enjoyed all my coaching experiences, even the ones that didn’t turn out as well as they could have,” Schnellenberger said. “Forty-five years of coaching … it’s been a lifelong happy experience for me. It was something I wanted to do from the outset. I look at this as a vocation and not a job. It’s been a most rewarding experience, and continues to be so.”

NAU coach Jerome Souers this week expressed the sentiments of many in the Lumberjacks’ program by saying how excited he is for the Jacks to face a team coached by a legend.

“There’s no question he’s one of the all-time greats,” Souers said of Schnellenberger. “The guy’s won national championships at the Division I-A level. (His team) played in the Orange Bowl against Nebraska. He worked for Bear Bryant, for crying out loud. These are legends we are talking about here.

“I think having a matchup of this magnitude in Flagstaff is a great opportunity for our program.”

BUILDING A DYNASTY

Jim Kelly, who was the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills when they played in four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s, was a cornerstone of Schnellenberger’s first recruiting class at Miami in 1979. In his first career start, Kelly led the ‘Canes to an upset of then-No. 1 Penn State.

In 1980, Schnellenberger’s squad went 9-3, capped by a 20-10 victory over Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl. What many might not recall is how critical Schnellenberger’s persistence and dedication were in order for Miami to get into postseason play that year. Although the Hurricanes had an 8-3 record, Schnellenberger and his team played the waiting game as many other clubs with fewer wins were receiving postseason berths.

“Then came the Sunday morning that all the last bids were supposed to come out and I called the chairman of the selection committee and asked him to hold it off for a couple of hours, long enough for me and the Miami contingent to come up to Atlanta to plea our case,” Schnellenberger told the Palm Beach Post. “We brought every press clipping, every roster, every stat book, every anything we had.”

Eventually, the committee was convinced and Schnellenberger was able to earn the first of his college bowl victories. Three years later, the Hurricanes beat Nebraska 31-30 to win the Orange Bowl and the national championship, the first in UM history.

During Schnellenberger’s five years in Miami, the Hurricanes only lost two home games. It was a sign of things to come for a program that racked up national titles in ’87, ’89, ’91 and 2001, and established itself as a force to be reckoned with in terms of recruiting top-notch Florida and nationwide talent. Bernie Kosar, Vinny Testaverde, Michael Irvin, to name a few, were among the future pro stars Schnellenberger’s staff recruited when he was at Miami.

Schnellenberger credited Bryant, Collier, Shula and Allen for helping him become the coach he is today.

“I think we all learn from those who mentor us and from those we watch their every moment while we’re working on their behalf,” he said. “So by the process of osmosis and not really writing down, ‘I like this about this guy, I like that about that guy,’ it’s really a strength and an understanding that through osmosis you assimilate in your mind, your heart and your body and come out with your own philosophy and do the best you can.

“There’s four guys that I worked for, and each one was a genius in their own right. All of them won national, if not world championships.”

TIRELESS WORKER

By the time Schnellenberger left Miami in ’84, the Hurricanes were a perennial power. Then he settled for a new challenge: rebuilding Louisville.

It wasn’t an easy task. The Cardinals were 7-26 in the three previous seasons and lacked the foundation to be a successful team.

“When I got to Louisville (in 1985) there were only four (legitimate) Division I (-A) players on the team,” Schnellenberger recalled. “The rest of them should have been at some Division I-AA team.”

But Schnellenberger and his players endured, and after a two-win season followed by a pair of three-win seasons they started to see the fruits of their labor. Louisville went 8-3 in 1988. Two years later, the team went 10-1-1 and topped Alabama in the Fiesta Bowl.

Schnellenberger remained at Louisville through 1994. Then he served a one-year stint as Gary Gibbs’ replacement at Oklahoma in ’95, going 5-5-1. It didn’t work out, he said.

He retired to Florida. But that didn’t last for long. On May 1, 1998, he was hired by Florida Atlantic, a school roughly 40 miles north of Miami in Boca Raton, to be the school’s director of football operations and build a brand-new Division I-AA program from scratch.

Since being hired, Schnellenberger has made over 600 public appearances on behalf of the school. He has raised more than $10 million in private donations.

“Being given the opportunity to start this football program at Florida Atlantic has been a most pleasant experience for me and my family,” said Schnellenberger, who makes weekly visits to the campus cafeteria to encourage students to attend games.

One-hundred and sixty students attended the team’s first tryout in August 2000. The team began play the following year and finished with a 4-6 record. Last year, the Owls went 2-9. When they defeated Gardner-Webb 31-26 on Nov. 1, the Owls had exceeded their win total from the previous two seasons combined.

“The big thing is these kids were very special in selecting to come to Florida Atlantic University when they could have gone to other more established programs,” said Schnellenberger, whose recruiting budget is less than $50,000 per year but covers the cost of visiting 400-plus high schools in Florida.

“They had to believe in what we were preaching to them about coming in and being the startup program, being the guys that have the distinction of being the first graduating class … to establish a winning tradition.”

Schnellenberger said he’ll continue coaching as long as he’s healthy and his family agrees with that assessment. In the meantime, he’s actively building support for the program’s transition to be a full-fledged I-A program by 2006.

Don’t be surprised if the Owls succeed at college football’s premier level, too. The old coach’s track record suggests that’s just what they’ll do.

Golden opportunity

Tuesday night commentary.

As the NBA lockout drags on and on, possibly for an entire calendar year, it would be wise for the bj-league to adjust its salary cap. Raise it or make an exception to the rule.

Give teams an incentive to sign one player (or two) to a contract that doesn’t have to fit into the salary cap structure. Give teams an incentive to add a high-profile player — an NBA veteran or star — who can increase ticket sales and TV ratings and drive up interest in the sport among this nation’s mass media, as well as international coverage of the league, which is craving for greater attention. (And hey, at some point the league could really benefit from a bandwagon of some kind.)

There’s no reason this can’t be done.The league office can meet with big sponsors, large companies and outline the benefits of increased exposure and tie-ins to NBA players, even if it’s only for the short-term. Call on prefectural governors to join the mix — with not-so-subtle pressure — to get things done quickly, utilizing political connections to make deals happen.

But the clock is ticking.

The season tips off in early October.

There’s no time to waste.

Olympic dreams …

Still chasing their dreams

By Ed Odeven
April 29, 2005

(Published in the Arizona Daily Sun)

There aren’t many jobs with monumental emotional peaks and valleys once every four years. Olympians, like presidential candidates, have vastly different experiences and job-related pressures every fourth year than most of us.

This week, I visited three first-time Olympians — Gary Reed, a middle-distance runner from British Columbia, Canada; Aurelia (nee Trywianska) Kollasch, a hurdler from Poland; and Anthony Famiglietti, a steeplechaser from New York — to hear their thoughts on the subject. All three have been training in recent weeks at the Center for High Altitude Training at Northern Arizona University.

Now, eight months after the 2004 Athens Olympics, each has a different mind-set about what they experienced on the world’s biggest stage and what they’re facing as they strive to return to the pinnacle of their sport in 2008 in Beijing.

“I had heard of post-Olympic depression,” Reed said, describing his mood immediately following his departure from Athens last August.

Then he experienced it.

“I had no motivation for about six weeks,” said the 23-year-old who advanced to the semifinals of the 800-meter race in Athens. “I just wanted to be a couch potato. It was a weird feeling.”

How weird? From Aug. 29, the day the Olympics ended, until mid-October, he didn’t train. Reed needed a break. Or as he stated: “I needed to come down. Now I feel great.”

Reed, who arrived in Flagstaff in mid-April with his PacificSport National Endurance Centre teammates, described the experience of preparing for the Olympics as a pressure cooker.

“It’s something you can’t explain,” he said. “I felt like I was carrying the world on my back for months.”

And now? Reed is rested and relaxed — he hasn’t raced since the Olympics.

He returns to competition this weekend, traveling to Philadelphia for the prestigious Penn Relays. He’ll join PacificSport teammate Ray Ardill and two other national team members in the 4×400. It’s the first step in qualifying for the 2005 IAAF World Championships, which take place in August in Helsinki, Finland.

“I expect to keep getting better, to keep climbing the ladder,” said Reed, who’s ranked No. 28 in the 800 in the latest IAAF world rankings. “I hope to reach my full potential in 2008.”

Kollasch, meanwhile, is in the midst of her first training camp in Flagstaff since 2002, the year she and her husband, her trainer/coach Korey Kollasch, decided to put their future ambitions on hold (she was a Ph.D student at the time) and focus only on the Olympics.

Success quickly followed. Kollasch, a three-time national champ, placed fifth in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2003 World Championships. A year later, she earned a ticket to Athens.

“When I was 11 years old, I started this adventure in track and field,” Kollasch said. “When it finally came, it was a dream come true. Just making the Olympic team and representing Poland was the biggest accomplishment of all.”

Her Olympic experience, however, was bittersweet: She missed qualifying for the semifinals by one-thousandth of a second.

“I felt unfulfilled … just because I made it only through the first round,” Kollasch said.

And while thousands of Olympians stayed in Athens for the entire two-plus weeks of festivities, Kollasch didn’t have that luxury. Polish Track and Field Team officials opted to send a number of athletes to Greece midway through the Olympiad — based on when their events took place.

As a result, Kollasch was in Athens for only five days.

“When people are talking about the Olympic experience, I didn’t experience that much, just because I wasn’t part of the Opening Ceremonies or the Closing Ceremonies,” she admitted with a hint of regret in her voice.

After a few post-Olympic meets, Kollasch, 29, took a month off from training. It was a necessary period of rest and recuperation, her husband said.

“It goes in four-year cycles, that’s for sure,” she added. “But with me, it’s different because we started right in the middle.”

Yes, but that doesn’t mean Kollasch doesn’t look at the calendar and count down the days between now and the start of the Beijing Olympics.

“I have to remotivate myself,” she said, revealing what she told herself after returning to Poland from Athens. “I have to refocus. I have to start working out again and start running again.”

Up next: The Kollasches travel to Brazil for two IAAF Grand Prix races and a low-key national meet in May. Then they’ll go to Europe to prepare for the World Championships.

Famiglietti was zooming along in the first round of the 3,000-meter steeplechase last August, alternating between second and third place near the end of the first lap.

Then he hit a hurdle.

The knee of his trail leg smacked it, briefly numbing the leg in the process. He didn’t quit — “It was my Olympic race,” he said. “I couldn’t stop there, so I had to finish. And I’m glad that I did.” — even though he dropped to last place (13th). He picked up speed, regained his form and placed eighth.

“I felt like I had unfinished business. I really didn’t fulfill my whole potential,” said Famiglietti, who spoke to first-grade students at St. Mary’s Old Preschool and patrons at Pay-N-Take Downtown Market this week about his Olympic experiences.

In the days after the Olympics, Famiglietti’s disappointment dissipated, thanks to kind-hearted Greeks he met — they instantly recognized his mohawk.

“They came up to me and said, ‘Hey, we saw your race. We saw you fall,'” Famiglietti said. “In broken English they would say that I had great courage and they said I embodied the spirit of the Olympics. They said it was inspirational.

“Even though I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do,” he continued, “I still had a positive effect on people. And for a Greek person to say that to me while I’m standing at the Acropolis, limping around trying to look at the sites, that was like the ultimate.

“How do you get any better than that?”

That positive experience stuck with him. After relocating from Tennessee, where he attended college, to Manhattan in the winter, Famiglietti, 26, remains passionate about his future in the sport. These days, when he’s home, he runs in Central Park every day. He races in the steeple next weekend at the Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus, Ohio, the first step in getting ready for worlds (he’s already qualified).

The road to Beijing is three years away, but for Famiglietti, Kollasch and Reed, it’s not an impossible dream. After all, Famiglietti said, “Making the Olympic team is one of the hardest things to do in the world.”

Each of them already knows what it’ll take to do it again.