by Bill Dilillo
Hard, Throw Far
by Jon Reidel
Judy and Mike Kostiew met and fell in love at Salem (N.H.) High School
in the early 1970s. Judy was an all-state clarinet player and singer,
while Mike excelled in football and track and field. That the latter would
one day be a family affair was clinched when Judy took up the sport to
spend more time with her future husband, who was one of the Granite States
top weight throwers and decathlon champion.
Mike drew interest from the University of Connecticut and Colby College,
but he decided to start a career as a carpenter and continue working for
a mason hauling cinder blocks a source of his strength as a weight
thrower. The high school sweethearts eventually married and had four children.
And just like their parents, the Kostiew kids excelled in school. The
second youngest, Matthew, was a state champion javelin thrower. His younger
sister Katie took home state titles in the shot put and the discus and
starred in basketball.
then there was Kristal, a hard working perfectionist much like her father,
known for his high quality carpentry and willingness to put in the hours
to get a job done right. In addition to being an A student, Kristal was
a great athlete. With her father as her coach, she set every throwing
record at Coe-Brown Northwood Academy, including a state record in the
discus to go along with New England championships in the discus and javelin.
She has her fathers strength and that good Ukranian blood,
her mom says.
When high school graduation rolled around, it was never a question of
if Kristal would attend college, but where. She chose UVM for its family-like
atmosphere and weight throwing tradition established by then head coach
Ed Kusiak, who recruited Kostiew and had a reputation for developing national
caliber weight throwers during his 35-year tenure. It was a proud day
for her parents and a measure of redemption. We were young and dumb
when we graduated, Judy says. Mike should have gone to college.
I think thats why we pushed our kids to do well, so they would go
Rewriting the records
Kostiew, a new UVM graduate who earned a 3.54 GPA, is a 14-time America
East champion; two-time New England champion in the hammer and weight
throw; and school record holder indoors in the shot put and 20-pound weight
throw; and outdoors in the shot put and hammer.
I want to be the best I can be at everything I do as a sister,
a daughter, in school, at practice. I guess I got that from watching how
hard my parents worked. Theyve always put their heart and soul into
everything they do. They never said anything to me directly about working
hard, I just saw them do it for 18 years.
To this day, her father works 50-plus hours a week at his carpentry company
and coaches track and field. Judy wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to go to her full-time
job in customer service at the Concord Monitor. She also works 20-25 hours
a week as a Census field rep and another 15 hours cleaning the local church,
where five-year-old Kristal used to tag along and lend a hand by emptying
UVM track and field coach Matt Belfield, who coached a national champion
hammer thrower while at the University of Redlands, thinks Kostiew can
succeed in the sport beyond college. He recently took her to meet American
hammer throw record holder Anna Norgren Mahon 96 in Connecticut,
where shes a high school English teacher and in training for the
2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. Kostiew broke Norgren Mahons UVM records
and also plans to be a teacher in physical education.
Kristal is a wonderful athlete with a bright future, Norgren
Mahon says. She has a real instinctive nature with the throws. The
commitments do take sacrifices, but Kristal strikes me as someone who
has the personal discipline to be successful.
Belfield also believes Kostiew has the talent and drive to compete on
a similar level as Norgren Mahon, who is currently working out at the
U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego. It was a good opportunity
for Kristal to see her train, Belfield says. From a physical
standpoint, Kristal has quick feet and the core strength to do well. She
also has a real love for training. I would never sell Kristal short of
being at Annas level in five years.
For her part, Kostiew feels she still has room for improvement, especially
after she starts focusing on the hammer. Im only four years
old in this event, a baby in the hammer. Id like to qualify in 2004,
but 2008 or even 2012 is more realistic. Im willing to do what it
And it has taken a lot to reach the academic heights and athletic lengths
she has achieved as an undergraduate. There are nights that I want
to go to bed instead of studying after a long day, says Kostiew,
whose training sessions regularly run three hours. But everything
Ive done here at UVM has been a choice. I could choose to be a mediocre
athlete and student and hang out more with my friends. But
I wouldnt change a thing. These were the best four years I could
No, Lance Armstrong isnt a UVM guy. But he did share the podium
with one. Kevin Bouchard-Hall 04, far right, earned the Best
Young Rider award at Aprils Tour de Georgia, a race which
was won by five-time Tour de France winner Armstrong. Bouchard-Hall was
riding for the U-23 U.S. National Team in Georgia, but he wore the green-and-gold
jersey of UVM Cycling for a number of outstanding performances this spring.
The entire UVM team put together a great year, which included earning
the season-long East Coast Collegiate Cycling Championship. Bouchard-Hall,
a nutrition and food sciences major with a pre-med concentration, is racing
this summer in Europe with the national team.
A three-time NCAA qualifier in womens gymnastics, a former standout
pitcher in baseball, one of the greatest softball hitters in school history
and a key player on UVMs undefeated womens basketball teams
of the early 1990s are among 10 former University of Vermont student-athletes
who will be inducted into UVMs Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday,
October 2, 2004. This years 10 inductees include: former softball
standout Sue Duke 94; baseball pitcher Brady Frost 93; top
gymnast Heidi Allen Gregorski 94; track and field standout Drew
Hirschfeld 89; runners and Nordic skiing twins Trond and Knut Nystad
94; womens soccer star Shelley Addison Smith 93; womens
basketball all-time great Sheri Turnbull 94; standout swimmer Kevin
Sullivan 82; and mens basketball standout Earl Steinman 55.
Tickets to the dinner may be purchased through the UVM Athletic Ticket
Office at 656-4410.
A boost in scholarship support for student-athletes is central to a new
strategic plan and realignment within UVMs Athletics Department.
Scholarship support, previously at 82 scholarships totaling $2.4 million
for primarily eight sports, will increase to 124 scholarships totaling
$3.7 million for 20 sports over five years under the plan. The plan also
seeks to strengthen recreational sports opportunities, provide teams with
operational assistance for recruiting and travel expenses, and to eliminate
a tier system for allocating resources. The goal with this plan
is to create a culture of excellence, both in the classroom and on the
field, that is conducive to student-athletes having an exceptional experience
at the University of Vermont, said Athletics Director Robert Corran.
The realignment resulted in the reinstatement of mens indoor and
outdoor track and field, and the elimination of mens and womens
tennis, mens golf, and mens swimming.
baseball finished in fifth place in the conference standings, just short
of a bid in the America East Baseball Championship, and posted a record
of 18-26, 10-11 in America East. Third baseman Miguel Magrass was named
America East Rookie of the Year, the first Catamount to receive the honor.
Magrass achieved a school-record of 53 RBIs, tied the single-season mark
of 18 doubles, and led the team with a .349 batting average.
Softball players Heidi Gebo, Kate Ramsey and Samantha Chase were named
to the 2004 Division I All-Star Team of the New England Collegiate Softball
basketball coach Tom Brennan threw the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway
Park as part of the Vermont Day pre-game festivities on May 30. We
would like you to bring some of your good University of Vermont karma
to Fenway, said Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino in extending
the offer to Brennan on the Corm and the Coach radio show.
The event continued a longstanding association between UVM and the Red
Sox. Two of UVMs greatest athletes, Larry Gardner 09 and Ray
Collins 09, went on to lengthy careers with the Red Sox and returned
to the University as coaches and athletic directors.
For details on these stories and more: http://www.uvmathletics.com.