Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Constantino Awards

Ast and Mills Honored

Published July 16, 2001 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

The Syracuse Track Club recently announced the recipients of the 2001 Constantino Scholarships. Gretchen Ast, a senior at Baker High School in Baldwinsville, and Chris Mills, a senior at Auburn High School, will each receive a $500 scholarship in recognition of their running and scholastic achievements.

In winter and spring, Gretchen Ast ran indoor and outdoor track, and competed in the pentathlon. She represented baker in league and section qualifier meets. In the fall, she competed in gymnastics, and was a two-time captain for her school's gymnastics team. Her varsity track coach recommended her as a reliable and tenacious athlete who always chose the tough workout.

Besides athletics, Gretchen excelled academically with a 3.67 grade point average, while working two part-time jobs and volunteering for Big Brothers-Big Sisters and Amnesty International. She was elected to the National Honor Society, and has served as president of her church's youth group.

Gretchen plans to attend Brigham Young University next Fall, and continue competing in track. Her career goals include working as a track coach.

Chris Mills is three-season runner, competing on the cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams. He has been named most improved runner, most valuable player and captain of his team. He has twice qualified for the National Junior Olympics Cross Country Finals. His personal records are 10:25 for 3200 meters, 4:53 for 1600 meters and 2:16 for 800 meters.

Academically, Chris maintained an 85 grade point average while working a part-time job. He belongs to the Trinity United Methodist Youth Group and the Boy Scouts. Chris was elected to the National Honor Society. His track coach and scout leader each describe him as hard-working and an excellent role model for his peers.

Chris plans to attend Fredonia State University next Fall.

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.

Ast and Mills will receive their awards in a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday July 17 at the Nottingham High School track in Syracuse, before the regularly scheduled Constantino run. These 5K and 10K training runs are free and open to the public.

Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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