Sunday, February 27, 2011

Criscione, Whaley take honors in Gasparilla 15K


After graduating from the University of Florida with All-American honors following an outstanding collegiate career, Jeremy Criscione found himself asking the same question so many good distance runners have posed before.

What now?

Almost invariably, the answer is reaching the Olympic trials, either in a track event or the marathon. But the road to get there — without the support system of college — is almost always the issue for American runners.

Fortunately, occasional success at road races like the Publix Super Markets Gasparilla Distance Classic is just enough to reaffirm the talent of an athlete like Criscione and his belief that the Olympic trials aren't unrealistic.

Saturday, Criscione got a boost in confidence by winning Gasparilla's 15-kilometer race against some solid competition. No, the 23-year-old's winning time of 46 minutes, 22 seconds probably won't garner much attention around the country. You need to record a mark closer to the winner from two years ago — Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall, who went 43:26 — to turn heads.