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Iron-Willed Manizza is World Qualifier

By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff

Kathy Lake T72dpi.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Move over Robert Downey Jr... There's a new Ironman in town: Eastern Connecticut State University cross country and track and field coach Kathy Manizza is training to compete in next year's World Ironman 70.3 Championship at Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.

This past summer, 59 Ironman competitions were held around the world, and the winners from each age group qualified to compete at Mont-Tremblant, which is located about 80 miles north-west of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains.  Manizza qualified by winning her age group (55-60 years old) in an Ironman competition in Gilford, NH on Aug. 18.

An Ironman 70.3 competition consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run.  Manizza's time for the qualifying event was five hours, 29 minutes, 54 seconds.  To put that time in perspective, the average time for a woman in her age group is about 7 hours.  Her incredible performance was over an hour and a half faster than the average competitor.

This type of performance obviously demands a strict training regime. Manizza trains about 15-20 hours per week.  She bikes about 180 miles, and runs about 30 miles every week.  When asked about her swimming, she admitted to hating it.  However she still pushes herself to swim three or four days every week. She has a strict vegan diet, and she does not eat any processed foods.  When asked how she stays motivated, she responded, "My husband Ken is a competitor too.  I enjoy training with him because he is always pushing me to do my best."

Manizza is in her second stint on the Eastern coaching staff.  Born in Hawaii, and a graduate of Cal State Fresno, Manizza coached cross-country and track at Eastern in the mid-1990s before spending 13 seasons at the University of Hartford.

Manizza has been active her entire life.  She first became involve in triathlons about 30 years ago.  Since that time, she has run in seven marathons, many more half-marathons, and countless 5K and 10K races.   She was also a member of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak team, which won the world championship three times.

Manizza is the kind of person that wants to be the best.  She does marathons and triathlons because she loves being fit and active, and she truly believes that leading an active lifestyle leads to happiness.  Also, she wants to be a role model for her cross country and track teams.  She trains hard, and her hard work pays off.  She is an inspiration to everyone.

Hall of Fame:Edwards Makes the Leap

Four-time long jump All-America also captured five NE titles in career

edwards_head_72dpi_2448.jpgHallofFame_logo72.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -  The most accomplished athlete in Eastern Connecticut State University track and field history, Jason Edwards has been selected to the Eastern Connecticut State University E-Club Hall of Fame, it has been announced by Hall of Fame chairman Scott Smith.

The 6-foot-2 inch, 190 pound Edwards is the only member of the Eastern men's or women's track program to earn All-America honors as many as four times in a career which spanned the years between 1997 and 2002. The Old Saybrook native finished sixth or higher in NCAA Division III national long jump competition four times and also claimed five New England championships.
The 20th E-Club Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Reception is scheduled for Saturday, October 19  at the Betty R. Tipton Room in the Student Center. A 5 p.m. social will precede the 6 p.m. ceremony and a buffet will follow the two-hour program. Tickets are priced at $50 and must be reserved in advance by contacting Scott Smith at 860-465-4326 or at

In his career, Edwards gained All-New England or All-ECAC accolades a total of 21 times indoors and outdoors in the long jump and 100 and 200 meters. He additionally captured 30 Little East Conference and New England Alliance individual championships in the long jump and at distances between 55 and 400 meters, and was part of four relays which took LEC/NEA titles.

Eleven years removed from his four-year career, Edwards still holds the New England Alliance and Little East Conference indoor (23-8) and outdoor (24-9 ¼) and Eastern indoor (24-5 ¾) and outdoor (25-2 ½) long jump records, as well as current Eastern indoor (22.19) and outdoor (21.74) records at 200 meters and the indoor record of 3:52.68 in the sprint medley relay.

At the time of graduation, Edwards additionally held Eastern records at 55 meters (6.61) and 100 meters (10.84), as well as with the 4x400 meter relay (3:20.33). The time of 43.19 with the 4x100 meter relay and his 400 meter time of 51.43 were the second and third-fastest, respectively, all-time at the time of his graduation.

edwards72_7580.jpgThe former All-New England and All-State sprinter at Old Saybrook HS equaled or exceeded the NCAA national qualifying standard in the long jump in six of eight seasons  -- three times indoors and three times outdoors -- and once also was a "just-miss" after initially qualifying on a provisional basis. 

"Jason  is one of those athletes that I was lucky to have coached and will remember for my entire life," said current head coach Kathy Manizza.  "As an athlete, he had it all:  incredible talent, positive attitude, great work ethic and focus.  He knew how to work hard, but he also knew how to keep it fun and enjoy the sport."

In his freshman season in the long jump, Edwards won the New England Alliance Championship with a then-program record mark of 23-feet-4 inches, then captured the New England Division III title, and followed with a fourth-place finish at the New England Open (as the seventh seed, he finished only behind three Division I competitors). That year, he enjoyed competing at the national championship in New England for the only time in his career, taking ninth place at the Gosman Center on the campus of Brandeis University.

After failing to qualify nationally in the long jump in consecutive seasons (outdoor as a freshman and indoor as a sophomore), Edwards returned with a vengeance, qualifying in each of his last five seasons. As the No. 2 seed outdoor as a sophomore, Edwards  was second only to 1998 national outdoor champion Shawn Watson of Mount Union College in the national meet at Baldwin-Wallace College. His mark of 25-2 ½ in that meet remains the best in Eastern program history. In the long jump, he was third indoors and sixth outdoors as a junior and as a senior was fourth indoors and ninth outdoors.

Edwards becomes only the third individual to gain E-Club Hall of Fame induction based exclusively on track and field merits, following 1977 All-America shot-putter Vin Pillari (1990 induction) and three-time All-America sprinter Judy Pemberton (2006).

 Edwards rounds out the Class of 2013, joining previously-announced selections Victor Pereira of Fall River, MA - a former four-year basketball starter -- two-sport athlete Kris Mach of Southington, four-year basketball All-America Allison Coleman of Jewett City, and four-year lacrosse player John Rubano of Bethpage, NY.

Edwards resides in New London and is in his second year as an assistant track & field coach at Eastern under Manizza. He is employed as an Environmental Service Manager at Essex Meadows Independent Living Community in Essex.


Weight Room Renovation Completed

weight room72_7464.jpg

weight_room72x_7440.jpgThe Eastern Connecticut State University Sports Center weight room underwent a facelift this past summer. The room, which is located on the bottom floor of the building and services the entire Eastern community, includes new rubberized flooring, new stereo system, signage, expanded mirror coverage, "Eastern Warrior" platform/power racks, new polyurethane dumbells, kettle bells, barbells, bands, free weights, assisted dip and pull-up machine, two fixed glute/hamstring machines, TRX suspension training packs, medicine balls, leather jump ropes, plyo boxes, bosu balls and jammer machines. Weight room hours are Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Eastern Announces Pet Policy


M-Soccer: Goal-A-Thon Saturday

Charity to benefit Be The Match is combined with Team IMPACT

Eshield72dpi.jpgdecasanovashirtIMG951083.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team and alumni will sponsor a Goal-a-Thon to benefit the Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program Saturday, April 20 at 9 a.m. at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

All proceeds from the Goal-a-Thon will benefit the Be The Match program in the name of Eastern soccer senior Jon DeCasanova, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia this past fall and has spent most of the past eight months in the hospital.

The Goal-a-Thon involves Eastern players and alumni divided into teams of 4-6 and will play timed, small-sided games until a combined total of 100 goals are scored.The minimum sponsorship is 5 cents per goal.

Prior to the Goal-a-Thon,  15-year-old Tyler Belfleur of Canterbury will be outfitted in a team uniform and will join team members during official introductions as part of the Team IMPACT! Program.  In June of 2012, Tyler was involved in an ATV accident and sustained brain injury. Since then, he has advanced from a wheelchair to a walk and now needs only a crutch. Prior to the injury, Tyler was active in soccer and basketball, among other sports.

Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. The goal of the organization is to harness the power of teamwork by matching those courageous kids with college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are "drafted" onto local college athletic teams and to the greatest extent possible, become "official" members of the team for the duration of their treatment, and beyond.

Tyler will be "drafted" by the Eastern soccer team prior to the Goal-a-Thon.

To support the Goal-a-Thon through a financial contribution, contact Eastern head men's soccer coach Greg DeVito at  860-465-4334 or at



 By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff




The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) has designated the month of March as National Athletic Training Month.

The theme of the second annual NATA month is Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer. From the NATA  toolkit, the goal  is "to continue to reach those individuals and organizations that can help make a difference for athletic trainers when it comes to legislation, employment and public health."

At right: Athletic trainer Julie Alexander works recently with baseball catcher Ben Richards, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. (Daniela Marchitto photo)

Promoting the awareness of athletic training to people who do not know what athletic trainers do is a key goal that the NATA looks to achieve. Educating people of the importance of athletic trainers and establishing relationships between student-athletes and athletic trainers are things to consider in promoting the awareness.

Eastern Connecticut State University has athletic trainers who work hard without needing any recognition or high praise. The athletic trainers at Eastern are people who are helpful to the student-athletes and make sure each are cleared to play based on the guidelines on handling a specific injury.

Below (from left): Eastern athletic trainers Julie Alexander, Stevie Clines, Tom Holton, Jarrett Sorge.

alexanderhead72dpi.jpgclines_head_72_0583USE.jpgholton_head72.jpgsorge_722012_0573_USE.jpgAthletic trainer Julie Alexander, who graduated from Eastern with a B.S. in Psychology and went on to earn a M.S. in Athletic Training at Old Dominion University, expressed her feelings on the importance of this month and beyond.

"I think that we will carry out our day-to-day functions the same way we always have," said Alexander. "Any athlete that comes in with an illness or an injury that's athletically-related, we care for the same way regardless of whether it's March, April, May, August or September.  I think this month of March is more to promote the field of athletic training to people who don't understand what it is that we do. A lot of people think athletic trainer, they think personal trainer, a strength coach, and while we do have some function in teaching strength and conditioning and techniques, we're also on the field emergency care, injury evaluation, treatment rehabilitation, returning to play concussion management, the list goes on and on."

Alexander, who was hired at her alma mater this past summer after many years at Division I Sacred Heart University, has been proud of helping out the people she has met in her field.

"After 20 plus years, I can tell you that anytime we have an injured athlete, the best day is the day that they return to their field of play," said Alexander.  "That is probably the most exciting thing about what we do, especially if it's an athlete that's been injured, had surgical interventions, has gone through post surgical rehabilitation in our room; returning to play is those days I look forward to. I enjoy every day but those are the days that are special."

As there are upsides, there are downsides for being an athletic trainer. Athletic trainer Tom Holton, who earned a B.S. in Physical Education from Eastern and an M.S.S. in Sports Medicine from the U.S. Sports Academy, noted that he loves his job but dislikes when he lets the student-athlete know the bad news.

"I love doing my job it's just part of the job you hate saying 'you can't play'," said Holton. "I really wish I could come into work every day and not have to do that.. The reality of the fact is that  there's people we have to hold out and tell them 'you're season's over, you got to have surgery' and deal with the emotions of that athlete and how they're going to handle 'my career is over'."

Holton, a staff member since 1999, noted how being able to get the student-athlete to get back in his or her field of play and watching him or her succeed is one of his proudest moments as an athletic trainer.

Eastern director of athletics  Dr. Jeff Konin, another Eastern alum,  has been an athletic trainer and a physical therapist. Konin mentioned how the importance of athletic trainers is not just for the collegiate level, but for all levels of competition.

"The purpose is to bring awareness to the general public, to bring awareness to the public of the importance of athletic trainers and the injury prevention care of the numerous student-athletes that participate in sports in all levels," said Konin. "At the high school level, less than 50 percent of high schools have an athletic trainer, and when every high school has programs but less than half of them have proper ways to care for the kids, that's why an awareness month is there to inform people of what they should be doing to provide appropriate programs. You wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the fields, you wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the coaches and you really shouldn't put them out there if you don't have the appropriate medical care for them."

As the spring season is starting to get into full-swing, so are the athletic trainers at Eastern working hard to make sure every student-athlete is evaluated and cleared to play. The month of March will be busy at Eastern with lacrosse, baseball, softball, and track & field. The Eastern athletic trainers will be the unsung heroes in helping our student-athletes,  not only during national NATA month, but every month of the academic year.

"I have the best job in the world," said Alexander. "In this job, you don't sit behind a desk or do the same thing every day . Every day is different , and you get to work with amazing people who you want to see get better when they get injured.. What's better than that?"

Track: Hultzman, Kruppa are All-ECAC

They are eighth in pentathlon and 500 meters, respectively


Hultzman (above), Kruppa (below)

NEW YORK -- Junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) and sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) earned All-ECAC honors at the 2013 ECAC Division III Track & Field Championships this past weekend at the New Balance Track & Field Center in New York City.

On Friday, Hultzman  finished eighth in a 12-team field in the pentathlon (fourth among New England competitors) with 2,885 points to break her own program record set at last year's New England Division III Championships by 26 points. In sharing first place in the pentathlon high jump with a height of 5-3 ¼, , Hultzman also broke that program  record by one-quarter inch that she had shared with senior Cora Gingras (Portland).  She was tied for third in the long jump (16-5 ¼), fifth in the 60 hurdles (10.20), eighth in the shot put (28-5 ½) and ninth in the 800 (2:50.54). Five points separated the seventh and eighth-place finishers.

kruppa_raw_8448.jpgHultzman competed in the ECAC meet a year ago, placing in a tie for 11th in the high jump with a mark of 5-0 ½.

Running the 500 for the third time in his career on Saturday, Kruppa was eighth in a field of 20 (third among New England competitors) at 500 meters in a time of 1:06.97, .38 seconds off the program record. The third and eighth-place finishers were separated by .88 seconds.

Competing at the ECAC Championships for the first time in an individual event, Kruppa posted a personal-best time of 1:06.63 in a 16th-place finish at 500 meters at last weekend's New England Open meet.


Track: Warriors Excel at NE Open Meet



Members of Saturday's record-setting 4x800 meter relay were (above, from left): Nikki Chambers, Akaya McElveen, Cora Gingras and Katie France. (Photo by Jason Edwards)

 Women break 4x800 record for 2nd time this year; Hewett is 9th in 400


BOSTON - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's 4x800 meter relay broke the program record for the second time this year and junior Fredrick Hewett (New London) ran to a ninth-place finish at 400 meters  at the New England Open Track & Field Championships Saturday at the Boston University Track and Tennis Center.

In a time of 9:48.40, the women's 4x800 obliterated the record of 10:14.47 that it had set December 8 at Coxe Cage at the Yale University Invitational.  Junior Katie France (Portland) and sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton) competed on both record-setting relays this year and were joined Saturday by senior Cora Gingras (Portland) and junior Akaya McElveen (New Haven).

Saturday, Hewett bettered his personal record that he had set a year ago at the Open with a time of 49.39 (1.19 seconds off program record) that left him just .35 seconds from reaching the finals. In a field of 31 competitors, Hewett was the first first Division III runner across the finish line.

In his first time competing in an individual event at the Open, sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) set a personal record with a time of 1:06.63 in the 500 that gave him a 16th-place finish in a field of 30. Running the event for only the second time, Kruppa was just .04 seconds off the program record set in the Open six years ago.

The Eastern men's 4x400 relay was timed in 3:23.95, good enough for 22nd place in a field of 27. Running the relay were Hewett, Kruppa, sophomore D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven) and freshman John Boisette (East Hartford).

Kruppa, Hewett and both relays qualified for this coming weekend's ECAC Division III Championships at the New Balance Track & Field Center in New York City.


Eastern's Indoor Triathlon March 3

By Jonathan Mizger

mizger_triathlon_story72dpi.jpgEastern Connecticut State University's track & field squad, alongside Newington Bike, will be sponsoring the Indoor Triathlon at Eastern's Sports Center this Sunday, March 3 at  9 a.m.

Above: Jonathan Reik, the current world triathlon champion in the 60-64 age group, will participate in Eastern's indoor triathlon in March. With Reik, from left, are Shaina Short, Beth Landry and Eastern head track and field coach Kathy Manizza. (Photo courtesy of Steve McLaughlin).

This will be the third fundraising event that the track & field team has done this year. The track team had a marathon relay in the fall and is involved in the athletic department raffle.

In her first season at Eastern, track & field coach Kathy Manizza is a triathlon member of the Newington Bike Club and got the chance to get the club to help out with the team's fundraising project.

"I know the guys that run the Newington Bike Shop and this summer they said would you have any interest in doing something [here] in the winter and give people an opportunity to stay involved in triathlon in the colder months," said Manizza of the event, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 10 but was postponed to the current date due to snow. "They came out in October-November and they checked out our facility, our pool, the lobby, and the gym, and we came up with a plan that's kind of unique."

The event will involve  up to 72 people competing in swimming, biking, and running. There will be six waves of 12 people competing to start out the event. The first athletic event will take place in the Sports Center pool, followed by using the bikes inside Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium, and then running inside the same gym. The six waves were based on the size of the athletic facility and the pool.

The final wave will involve a "team" division of students and faculty.

As the first wave finishes in the pool and transitions to the bikes, the second wave will enter the pool, and will continue until the sixth wave finishes in the gym. Each participant must arrive at the Sports Center 30 minutes before his or her wave.

Each participant must bring his or her own bike and the Newington Bike Shop's trainers will provide the necessary measuring tools to calculate the mileage.

Manizza pointed out that this triathlon is no ordinary one: triathlons are normally based upon how far you go, this one will measure how long you go. Each participant at this triathlon will spend 20 minutes in the pool, 20 minutes on the bikes, and 20 minutes in the gym.

The Eastern track team will be escorting each athlete by counting the number of laps in the pool, in the gym, and measure the mileage on the bikes.

Each participant will get a scorecard based on his or her performance in each event. Each participant will be performing in the same time of 20 minutes in each event, but their score will be determined by how far they go. There will be a first, second, and third place for males and a first, second, and third place for females.

"It's a fun, different twist combining all three of the sports: swim, bike, run," said Manizza. "It's a different way to do it and a way to keep people involved in the winter."

Each participant will pay an entry fee of $35 and a portion of the money will go to the track & field program. Anyone interested in participating can register at

Manizza views the event in two ways: a fundraiser and a way to get the community involved at Eastern.

"The one thing that I like about the triathlon is its bringing new people in," said Manizza. "With both the marathon relay and the raffle tickets, we may be asking the same people to support our program. [The triathlon] is bringing in 72 new people that some of them may start supporting Eastern track and Eastern athletics."

Eastern's track & field team is excited to have a fun day with the 72 participants, who will have a great opportunity to visit Eastern and get in a good hard workout .


Track: Hultzman Repeats as All-NE

Reynolds breaks men's 60 hurdles record for third time this season

hultzman_72_8373.jpgJunior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) achieved All-New England honors for the second straight year in the high jump and sophomore Andre Reynolds (Hartford) broke the men's 60 meter hurdles record for the third time this year Saturday at the New England Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.

At left: Lauren Hultzman

Competing at the Costello Athletic Complex on the campus of the University of Southern Maine for the second straight week, Hultzman gained the only point for the women or men in the competition with an eighth-place finish in the high jump  with a mark of 5-2 ¼. The height was ¾ of an inch off the program record which she shares and which she attained at the New England Open Championships as a sophomore.

Hultzman was one of six competitors to clear the bar at 5-2 ¼. Julie Eagle of WPI won the New England title with a jump of 5-6, followed by three participants reaching 5-4 ¼, and six at 5-2 ¼.

Hultzman competed in the event in this meet for the third straight year. As a freshman, she was 12th (5-0 ¼) and last year gained All-New England honors for the first time with an identical mark of 5-2 ¼ which netted her a fourth-place finish.

reynolds 72NE_2885.jpgAt left: Andre Reynolds

At the New England Division III men's championships at Bates College's Walter Slovenski Track, Reynolds broke the program's 60 meter hurdles record for the third time this season with a time of  8.66 in the preliminaries. Reynolds, who broke the record twice earlier this year in times of 8.87 (season-opener at the Reggie Lewis Center) and 8.78 (Jan. 26 at Springfield College), was third in his heat Saturday, missing out on a spot in the final by .04.

As a freshman, Reynolds also competed in the preliminaries  of the 60 hurdles at the New England Division III Championships, clocking a time of 9.25.

Participating in the meet for the second time in his two-year career,  junior Fredrick Hewett (New London) was timed in 7.27 in the preliminaries of  the 60 meters and finished 14th in a field of 24 with a time of 51.43 in the 400. Hewett was timed in 7.19 in the 60 preliminaries last year and placed tenth in the 400 in a time of  51.45.

Additional Eastern Results:

Sophomore Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) was 13th in the 600 (1:26.60) and 15th in the long jump (19-8).

Sophomore Luisantonio Rosado (Ponce, P.R.) clocked a 9.21 in a 22nd-place finish in the 60 hurdles.

The 4x400 relay of Reynolds, sophomore D'Vonte Chambers (West Haven), Kruppa and Hewett was 14th in a time of 3:34.28.

Senior Cora Gingras (Portland) and Hultzman finished ninth and tenth, respectively, in Friday's pentathlon. In a field of 14, Gingras totaled 2,790 points, Hultzman 2,780. Gingras was on pace to break Hulzman's program record of 2,859 points which she set at last year's championships, but twisted her ankle at the start of the 800 - the final event - and placed 12th.

Gingras shared first place in the high jump, was seventh in the 55 hurdles, tenth in the long jump and 12th in the shot put to go along with her 12th-place finish in the 800. Hultzman also shared first place in the high jump, was seventh in the shot put and long jump, eighth in the 55 hurdles and 13th in the 800.

Gingras was 14th in the triple jump (33-11 ½) and freshman Shanique Bunsie (Bridgeport) 14th in the shot put (35-4 ½).

Sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton), the program recordholder in the 600, was 24th in the 800 (2:28.82).

The 4x200 relay was 16th (1:54.29) and the 4x400 17th (4:18.28). Running the 4x200 were juniors Tacia Bryant (Guilford) and Amy Huhn (Hebron), freshman Sherry Gilronan (Darien) and Chambers. The 4x400 was made up of junior Akaya McElveen (New Haven), Bryant, Gilronan and Chambers.

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