Syracuse Online

Constantino Awards

Hammond and McAleer Honored

Published August 11, 2003 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

The Syracuse Track Club recently announced the recipients of the 2003 Constantino Scholarships. Abigail Hammond, a 2003 graduate of Cortland High School, and Jeff McAleer, a 2003 Graduate of Cazenovia High School, each received a $600 scholarship in recognition of their running abilities and scholastic achievements.

Abigail Hammond ran cross country and track during high school, and specialized in distance events. Her coach noted that she trained primarily with the boys cross country team, since there were not enough runners to form a girls. team. The coach praises Abigail's self-determination and perseverance. In turn, Hammond credits running with improving her endurance and self-esteem.

Academically, Hammond graduated as salutatorian of her senior class with 97 percent grade point average. Besides running and academics, Hammond participated in the activities of the National Honor Society, Cortland High School Theater, and school and church choirs.

An accomplished writer, Hammond was a winner of the 2001 HSBC Bank statewide essay contest to identify the New York State resident who made the biggest difference in the past 150 years. Hammond also won a national achievement award in writing this year.

Hammond plans to attend State University of New York at Geneseo this fall, where she will study biology.

Jeff McAleer was captain of the cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track teams during his senior year at Cazenovia. He set ten school track records on his way to qualifying for several state championships. McAleer.s best performances on the track included 1600 meters in 4 minutes 36 seconds, and 3,200 meters in 9:59.

The Lakers coach described McAleer as the most self-motivated athlete he had ever coached. Despite running three seasons per year, or probably due to running year round, McAleer graduated with a 3.75 grade point average, and was elected to the National Honor Society.

McAleer plans to attend James Madison University in Virginia this fall, where he will study business and management.

The Syracuse Track Club awards these scholarships annually in memory of George Constantino, a founder of the club and long-term track and cross-country coach at Nottingham High School. The club solicited applications from students residing in Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland, Madison and Oswego counties. Applicants submitted letters describing their academic, extra-curricular and running achievements, financial need and a desire to further their running careers beyond high school. Letters of recommendation from a teacher and a coach were also requested.

Hammond and McAleer received their awards on July 15 during a ceremony at the Nottingham High School track in Syracuse.

© 2003 The Post-Standard.

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