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Dr. J. on Running

Constantino Award Winners

Noreen Kordziel and Jamal Padgett

Published July 19, 1999 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Noreen Kordziel, a senior at Chittenango High School, and Jamal Padgett, a senior at Henninger High School, were honored last Tuesday for their running abilities and scholastic achievements by the Syracuse Track Club as this year's recipients of the George Constantino Scholarships. The awards were presented following the weekly Constantino training runs at Nottingham High School.

Noreen Kordziel played varsity soccer and competed in both indoor and outdoor track and field. She qualified for the New York State scholastic championship meet in each of the past three years, and was undefeated in 25 dual meets in the 400-meter hurdles. In 1998, Noreen won the 100-meter hurdles in Class B, Section III.

In the 1999 Madison County Championships, Noreen set two county records, running the 100-meter hurdles in 15.3 seconds and the 400-meter hurdles in 67.4 seconds. She also finished fourth in the long jump and anchored the 4x400-meter relay to a second place finish.

Michael Keville, Chittenango Track and Field Coach, described Noreen as "a remarkable athlete and person; a fierce competitor, dedicated in training and unflappable in competition; a joy to coach, setting and achieving demanding goals; a team leader by word and example, becoming in essence a student-coach."

George Ellstrom, the English Department Chairman at Chittenango, wrote of Noreen as "a young lady with a joy of learning and an active mind; a good writer and an insightful thinker; a joy to watch at work in class and at play on the field; a good athlete who never tires and never gives up; a sweet, humble and pleasant person."

Noreen plans to attend Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she will study mathematics and education, and compete in track and soccer.

Jamal Padgett ran varsity cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track. He won five Onondaga High School League track titles, and participated on two Section III indoor track championship teams. He ran personal records of 4:35 in the mile and 10:06 for 3,200 meters.

In the 1998 Fall cross-country season, Jamal finished a close second at the Syracuse City School Championship, and sixth in his race at the Manhattan College Invitational.

Jerry Riordan, Henninger cross-country and Track coach, referred to Jamal as "one of the top cross country runners in Section III, one who has worked hard year round for four years, and who has had to overcome many obstacles as a student-athlete."

Marjorie Julian, a social studies teacher, recommended Jamal as "sweet and polite; a young man with outstanding character; self-disciplined and highly motivated, who never wastes a moment of time."

Ron and Mary Alice Mita, former Nottingham runners who trained under Constantino, had "no doubt Jamal embodies the spirit and determination that Constantino demanded from his runners. Good runners aren't necessarily the ones who win all the races or set the records. Good runners are ones who run with passion and determination, and Jamal is one of those good runners."

Jamal plans to attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie to study accounting.

The Constantino Scholarships are awarded annually in memory of George Constantino, a long-time track and cross-country coach at Nottingham High School. Fondly known as Mr. C., Constantino's athletes won numerous City League and County League titles, as well as sectional team and individual championships. Constantino died in May 1987 after suffering a heart attack in class. His former athletes honor his memory by continuing the Tuesday night summer runs that he had started at Nottingham High School and by awarding the annual scholarships. Applications for the Constantino scholarships were solicited from students in Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland, Madison and Oswego counties.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. He maintains The Syracuse Running Page and receives email at

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