Dorniden just misses second NCAA title

first_imgDorniden just misses second NCAA title Chris LempesisJune 14, 2006Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintWhen Minnesota’s women’s track and field coach Gary Wilson describes his team’s 19th-place finish at last week’s NCAA Outdoor Championships, it’s easy to see, despite lower placement, the Gophers performed well.“That’s the fourth time (in school history) we’ve been in the top 20,” said Wilson, who was named Midwest District and Midwest Region Coach of the Year at the NCAAs. “And there’s 325 Division I schools, and only 77 scored, and we were 19th, so you can’t fault that.”Minnesota tallied 14 team points in the championships – held in Sacramento, Calif. – and it becomes even tougher to fault the Gophers’ finish when looking at some of the individual performances out West.Minnesota had three competitors reach final events; topping that list was the showing by freshman Heather Dorniden.Dorniden finished second overall in the 800-meter finals with a time of 2:03.02, less than a second behind Oregon freshman Rebekah Noble (2:02.07).The result was a flip-flop from the same event at the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, when Dorniden bested Noble by eight one-hundredths of a second.Dorniden said she wasn’t able to top Noble’s kick near the end of the race.“My pace was fine going through the 400 (meter mark),” Dorniden said, “and then I was still up until the last like 30 meters or so. Then she had that kick again, except it started a little bit earlier this time.”While Dorniden – named Midwest District and Midwest Region Track Athlete of the Year at NCAAs – wasn’t able to pull off the indoor and outdoor sweep, but Wilson said he wasn’t disappointed one bit.“I couldn’t have been happier with what she’s done this whole year,” he said. “For a freshman to be first and second in the nation in two seasons is really something.”Junior Emily Brown turned in another strong finish for the Gophers in the 3,000-meter steeplechase finals. Brown finished fourth overall and broke the school record she set at the Big Ten Championships last month with a time of 9:56.62.“Every time she runs, she seems to set a record,” Wilson said. “I mean, nothing surprises me. She’s obviously a quality athlete and has done a great job this year.”Minnesota’s other finalist was junior Liz Alabi, who finished 12th overall in the hammer throw.While not a finalist per se because there were no preliminaries, sophomore Liz Roehrig had a solid showing in the heptathlon, finishing eighth. Although these performances were not quite enough for the Gophers to break into the top 15 as a team, all nine competitors that went to the championships will be back on the team next season to give it another go.That group – coupled with some talented incoming freshmen and some current team members whom Wilson believes will improve over the next year – has Minnesota thinking it could be looking down at whoever finishes 19th at NCAAs next year.“We could take as many as 15 kids to the national meet next year,” Wilson said. “And with that I think we can move up maybe into the top 10, which would be great.”Men finish tied for 22ndMinnesota’s men’s track and field team also brought nine competitors to Sacramento last week.The Gophers finished with 11 points, enough for a four-way tie for 22nd place with UCLA, Washington and South Alabama.“You’re always hoping for a few more points,” coach Phil Lundin said. “I was hoping to maybe break into the top 15 nationally – but, I guess, that’s the way it is.”Minnesota’s top performer at the NCAAs was senior thrower Karl Erickson.Erickson closed out his career at Minnesota on a high, finishing fourth in shot put and discus.Those finishes earned Erickson his sixth and seventh All-Americam honors, giving him the new school mark for All-Americam honors in men’s individual events. The previous record was held by thrower Ron Backes, who had five from 1984-1986.Erickson said he wasn’t even aware he had set a new mark until someone told him in Sacramento.“Obviously we’re going to miss him dearly,” Lundin said of Erickson. “But he represented Minnesota very well.”The Gophers had three other competitors reach final events – junior Aaron Buzard (eighth in the 400-meter run finals); senior Kevin Netzer (12th in high jump finals); and junior Derek Gearman (12th in triple jump finals).“I don’t think we had the results in the final that we wanted with those guys,” Lundin said. “But still, overall, it wasn’t bad.”last_img read more

Amaju Pinnick Is Doing Something Right In Leadership

first_imgThe first in a two-part analysis of the structural ills of the Nigeria Football Federation and how Amaju Melvin Pinnick, against incredible odds, is fundamentally righting the course of Nigerian football. For many Nigerians, depending on their age, the ’70s/80s and the early to mid-’90s represent the absolute height of Nigerian football and everything that has followed since pales in comparison.While it should give food for thought that Nigerians still look to the past for football greatness, it is vital to understand why the successes of those eras were possible and also, what went wrong in the intervening years.This would enable discerning Nigerians recognise the current Nigeria Football Federation under the visionary leadership of Amaju Melvin Pinnick is on track to ensure the wholesale repositioning of Nigerian football for sustained and self-replicating success.The ’70s marked the era when Nigerian football truly came of age; a period when football truly belonged to Nigerians.Ask the old-timers and you’re likely to be regaled with tales of a thriving domestic league underpinned by massive crowds at sold-out stadiums and superstar footballers.You’ll hear how the domestic and continental prowess of fierce rivals Shooting Stars and Enugu Rangers was the direct catalyst for Nigeria’s first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title as hosts in 1980.Christian Chukwu lifts aloft the 1980 AFCON trophy in front of a delighted President Shehu ShagariIt was the ultimate statement confirming Nigeria’s status as behemoths of the African game.Triumph in a FIFA tournament followed five years later when the Golden Eaglets lifted the U17 World Cup trophy to become the first African side to win a FIFA organised tournament.The 1985 Golden Eaglets won the U17 FIFA World Cup in ChinaThe ’90s provided even more glamour and represent a period of unrivalled achievements beginning with a second U17 FIFA World Cup title in 1993 which precipitated an avalanche of glorious triumphs.Another U17 World Cup triumph followed in Japan ’93An exciting team – Nigeria’s greatest-ever in the eyes of many – led by Dutchman Clemens Westerhof bagged a second AFCON title in ’94 and also competed in Nigeria’s first-ever senior FIFA World Cup in the USA. There they left an indelible impression and, despite losing to eventual finalists Italy in the second round, achieved a FIFA ranking of fifth in the World – never since replicated.The Super Eagles won a second AFCON title in Tunisia ’94The USA ’94 Squad is arguably Nigeria’s greatest sideMore glory followed in ’96 when the U23 team became the first African side to win Olympic football gold at the Atlanta Games.Nigeria’s U23 side won Africa’s first-ever Football Olympic Gold Medal At The 1996 Atlanta GamesThe ’90s gave Nigeria its first African Footballer of the Year with Rashidi Yekini taking the honours in 1993. Emmanuel Amuneke followed suit in 1994. Nwankwo Kanu was Africa’s best in 1996; Victor Ikpeba in 1997 before Kanu notched a second in 1999.Super Eagles record scorer Rashidi Yekini was the first Nigerian to be named CAF Player of The Year in 1993More than twenty years later and the nation awaits another winner.What then was responsible for the successes outlined above? In a nutshell: stability. Stability enabled an atmosphere conducive to the implementation of plans that culminated in the stupendous successes.Sure, the country had a pool of talented players to call upon, but, it should not be lost to the discerning observer that the successes of the ’70s culminating in the 1980 AFCON win coincided with the period when the NFF (NFA as it was then) had a measure of stability with Sunday Dankaro who was at the helm between 1974 and 1980 the first NFF head to last more three years.The NFF building in Abuja is named after Sunday DankaroThat stability was also the common thread in the ’90s with Emeka Omeruah, a former Minister of Sports, only the third person to enjoy some stability at the helm of the federation where he was in charge between 1993-97.It must, however, be pointed out that while the country excelled in tournaments at both club and country levels, the singular failure to institutionalise the means that ensured the good times and also entrench good governance practices in the federation continues to cost the nation dearly.Only now, under the guidance of the Pinnick-led board, as will be made clear, are genuine, profound and far-reaching efforts being made to correct these structural ills.NFF president Amaju Pinnick flanked by 1st vice president Seyi Akinwumi (r) and 2nd vice president Shehu DikkoBut it is also important to understand a bit of the intriguing history of the NFF.A particular playbook is repeated roughly every four years and it goes something like this:Nigeria qualifies (or fails to qualify) for the World Cup, regardless of how the country performs, the NFF president is hounded out of office either through the polls or by NFF “stakeholders” often acting on the instructions of the sports minister.This has happened like clockwork after every World Cup since 1998 unfailingly – that is, until the triumph of Mr Pinnick at the 2018 elective congress put a halt to the charade.Omeruah’s successor as NFF (then NFA) boss Abdulmumini Aminu lost his reelection bid to the government-backed candidate Kojo Williams in 1999.Abdulmumini AminuWilliams, young and successful if slightly hubristic, was impeached after 90 days by the NFF congress on frivolous charges when he appeared to be growing too big for his breeches.Kojo WilliamsHis successor, General Dominic Oneya was jettisoned after the 2002 World Cup for Ibrahim Galadima who had the misfortune of failing to oversee the qualification of the Super Eagles for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.Dominic OneyaAlthough Galadima managed to win elections in 2005 against incredible odds, by July 2006 he was sent packing and replaced by Sani Lulu.Ibrahim GaladimaLulu, despite singlehandedly sponsoring nearly everybody with more than a passing interest in football to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, was impeached by a group of “stakeholders” immediately after the Mundial.Sani LuluAminu Maigari’s fate following the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was even worse and saw the country suspended by FIFA for outrageous and brazen government interference in NFF matters.Aminu MaigariSubjected to every kind of humiliation including being impeached (later overturned by FIFA) and borderline kidnapped, he was forced to resign but not before, with FIFA’s help, overseeing the elections that ushered in Mr Pinnick for his first term in September 2014.As expected, a similar situation ensued in 2018 in the aftermath of the World Cup in Russia.Former sports minister Solomon Dalung, having spent the entirety of his time in office undermining Mr Pinnick’s NFF at every turn, resurrected a dead, buried and globally rejected claim of Chris Giwa as NFF president in a desperate bid to stop the reemergence of Mr Pinnick.Solomon Dalung’s disastrous tenure as Sports Minister destablised the NFFDalung’s action precipitated a period of destabilisation as Giwa, with state muscle, hijacked the NFF offices thereby exposing the country to the threat of a FIFA ban.Rejected by FIFA & CAS, Chris Giwa relied on Dalung to hijack the NFFA timely intervention by the presidency, however, saw the ban averted and Mr Pinnick regain control of the federation.Rather than wilt in the face of the raging fire wrought by Dalung, Pinnick like the finest of steel was tempered by the flames and emerged even more resolute.Pinnick was undaunted in face of fierce oppositionHe rode to an unprecedented second term in office with an overwhelming majority at the perhaps the fairest NFF elections of all time conducted on Thursday, 20 September 2018 in Katsina.Pinnick, Akinwunmi & Dikko confounded incredible odds to win a second mandatePinnick’s victory marked a significant milestone and turning point – perhaps forever – in the affairs of the NFF.It has ensured, on the one hand, a chance at the elusive stability needed to push through much-needed reforms to reposition Nigerian football.But more importantly, it was a victory – and this cannot be understated – for the soul of Nigerian football and will forever be a reference point in the struggle for NFF independence.It marked for the first time, the successful re-election of an incumbent on the strength of his accomplishments and vision for Nigerian football against mafia-like “stakeholders” and outsized government meddling.It was a resounding affirmation and validation of his work and reflected the will of Nigerians.As has become quite clear, the rotten NFF infighting that soundtracked the steep decline in Nigeria’s football fortunes has never been about the game but about pecuniary gains for certain categories of people and their backers in government.More stories:Amaju Pinnick: Undaunted In Service Of Nigerian FootballAmaju Pinnick Is Doing Something Right In Leadership [Part 2]Take, for instance, the abominable “recommendations” made by a so-called “Elders Committee” instituted by Dalung to essentially blackmail and strong-arm the Pinnick-led board into submission.Among various execrable suggestions, the myopic committee constituted by the likes of the shortest-serving NFF president in history Kojo Williams and former NFF presidents Ibrahim Galadima and Abdulmumini Aminu enjoined the government to compel the withdrawal of Nigeria from FIFA for two years.The full text of the Elders Committee can be found here [pdf].This recommendation which was ostensibly made to give ample room and scope to rectify the ills of Nigerian football was in reality, a smokescreen to effect regime change at the NFF.Interestingly, the committee also recommended that Giwa, having disrupted and hindered the growth of Nigeria football should be “compensated” for his efforts.The laughable nonsense was promptly dismissed by President Muhammadu Buhari.The contrast between previous NFF boards riven by infighting and self-serving interest and the Pinnick-led board cannot be starker.The unity of purpose and fierce integrity shared with his able vice presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko and the rest of the Executive Committee has ensured unparalleled unity in the face of the most uncharitable and barbaric attacks.Nigerians must recognise what this achievement means and throw their weight behind the Pinnick-led board as they work to right the course of our common heritage and unifying factor.The current NFF stands at the precipe of forging a permanent break from the visionless charade of the past and permanently consigning to the dustbins of history, the corrupt interests that have long fed fat on the chaos that characterised the old NFF.But these disgruntled haters of Nigeria will resist this good wind of change tooth and nail.Indeed, as can be seen by the numerous petitions, investigations and litigations against the Amaju Pinnick-led board – all of which have been found to be without a single shred of merit by the courts, these traducers won’t give up without a dirty fight.Having been thwarted at the polls, these traducers and haters of Nigerian football continue to undermine the NFF through sensationalist but patently untrue reports and ludicrous claims.The second part of this article can be accessed here.RelatedAmaju Pinnick Is Doing Something Right In Leadership [Part 2]June 11, 2020In “Featured”NFF, LMC Sign Respective Partnership Deals With 1XBETMay 21, 2018In “National Team”Amaju Pinnick: Undaunted In Service Of Nigerian FootballJune 5, 2020In “Featured”last_img read more