CONVENTION UPDATE: Closer Look At Endurance Symposiums

NEW ORLEANS – Technical Symposiums will once again take center stage at the annual U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Convention. This year the Technical Symposiums will be presented by REKORTAN.

There will be 32 Technical Symposiums spread across four days at the USTFCCCA Convention, which this year will take place in Phoenix, Arizona, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa between Tuesday, December 12 and Friday, December 15.


For those who don’t know about the Technical Symposiums or need a refresher, four disciplines will be represented – endurance, jumps, sprints/hurdles/relays and throws – and with eight coaches sharing their knowledge, that brings us to a grand total of 32.

Here is a closer look at those coaches who are scheduled to present about endurance events.

Bob Braman, Florida State

Topic: TBA

Since succeeding Hall of Famer Terry Long as Florida State’s head men’s and women’s track & field coach prior to the 2004 season, Bob Braman has seen the Seminoles ascend to a position of national prominence, highlighted by a pair of NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2006 and 2008.

Prior to his arrival in Tallahassee, Braman enjoyed 17 years of national success at the University of South Florida, where he began his coaching career as the men’s cross country assistant in 1983. He was promoted to head cross country coach in 1985 and launched the women’s program in 1986.

Nicole Farr, Aurora

Topic: Building Team Culture

Nicole Farr became the Head Coach of the Spartan Men’s and Women’s Cross Country program in the summer of 2016. In her first season, Farr led the Spartan men’s and women’s programs to Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Championships, where she was named the NACC Coach of the Year for both the men and women. In her first season, Farr led the Spartan men’s and women’s programs to Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Championships, where she was named the NACC Coach of the Year for both the men and women.

Farr came to AU from Olivet Nazarene University where she served as a distance coach, recruiting coordinator and home meet director.

Houston Franks, Mississippi State

Topic: Individualized Training for 1500-Meter Runners

Houston Franks returned to Mississippi State in 2004 as an assistant track and field coach. An accomplished distance runner for the Maroon and White from 1994-98, Franks coaches and develops men’s distance runners and served his first season as head cross country coach in 2009. Franks has been a fundamental part to the recent success of the MSU cross country and distance track and field programs.

Prior to returning to Starkville, Franks spent five years at Southwest Missouri State University (now Missouri State University). While at SMS, Franks served as head cross country coach for the Bears and won three Missouri Valley Conference women’s titles. His women’s teams finished in the top four at the NCAA Midwest Regional’s during his last three years and his men’s squads finished in the top half of the conference during all five seasons.

Sarah Hopkins, Minnesota

Topic: Developing Walk-Ons

Sarah Hopkins serves as the head coach of the Gopher women’s cross country program and is an assistant coach for the women’s track & field team. The 2016 cross country season marked her fourth season as the women’s cross country head coach and 12th season with the program overall.

Most recently, Hopkins’ 2016 Gophers earned a fourth-place finish as hosts of the Big Ten Conference Championship, earning top-five team finishes in all four seasons with Hopkins at the helm of the program, and went on to a fourth-place showing at the Midwest Region. In 2015, Minnesota placed 18th in the program’s 11th-straight appearance at the NCAA Championships, securing the team’s highest NCAA finish since 2009.

Hopkins owns a Level 1 Track & Field/Cross Country Coaching Certificate and is the 2012-2014 USTFCCCA Midwest Region Representative to the Executive Cross Country Committee.

Dennis Newell, U-Mary

Topic: Low Mileage Training With Big Results

USTFCCCA National Coach of the Year recipient Dennis Newell enters his 12th season at the helm of the University of Mary men’s and women’s cross country programs, and recently has been named the Head Track & Field Coach.

Since joining the nationally-ranked Marauders to guide the U-Mary cross country, middle distance and distance athletes in 2006, Newell has helped lead the Marauders to 15 Northern Sun Conference Track & Field titles. Along the way, Newell has coached six NCAA National Champions, 200 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference All-Conference honors, 58 NSIC champions, nine NSIC records, 84 NCAA individual Academic All-Americans, 30 NCAA team Academic All-Americans, six NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championship Qualifying Teams (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016) and 37 NCAA All-Americans in cross country and track events, ranging from the 800 meters to 10,000 meters and cross country.

Louie Quintana, Oregon State

Topic: Effectively Meeting the Demands of a Distance Race

Louie Quintana was named the head track and field and cross country coach at Oregon State University in mid-July. Quintana arrives at OSU after a highly successful 16-year coaching tenure at Arizona State University, one of the most successful programs in the country. He has served as the Sun Devils’ head men’s and women’s cross country coach, and the program’s distance and middle distance coach since 2004.

Quintana arrived at ASU as a graduate assistant coach in 2001 before being elevated to assistant coach/recruiting coordinator in 2003.

He was a nine-time NCAA All-American as a student-athlete at Villanova University (1991-95). He was the 1993 Penn Relays MVP, qualified for the 1992 Olympic Trials in the 1500 meters and competed in Europe multiple times. Quintana was a two-time All-American distance runner at Arroyo Grande High School in California, capturing the 1990 state cross country title with what remains the fourth fastest time.

Mike Rohl, Mansfield University

Topic: Establishing Race Models and Race Selection Sequence

In his 14th year as the head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country and men’s track programs at Mansfield University, Mike Rohl has elevated the program from pretender to contender in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Upon assuming the post, he pushed to increase the squad size while working to improve individual and team performance. Those early building blocks have paid off handsomely for the Mountaineer program with record finishes at the PSAC and NCAA Championships.

Rohl is USATF Level II certified in jumps and throws and was named coach of the U.S. national team for the US-Canadian Dual Meet in 2005. He serves on the NCAA Coaches Awards Committee as well as being the chair for the US Racewalking National Championship Site Selection Committee.

Jason Vigilante, Princeton

Topic: TBA

Jason Vigilante is in his fifth season as the head men’s cross country coach and assistant track & field coach at Princeton. The Tigers finished fourth as they hosted the 2015 NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. All five Princeton scorers placed in the top 25 to earn USTFCCCA All-Region honors.

Vigilante was the director of cross country and track & field for men and women at the University of Virginia from 2008-11. Prior to Virginia, Vigilante spent nine years at the University of Texas, where he was named USTFCCCA Assistant Coach of the Year and Regional Assistant Coach of the Year two times each.