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Bloomington’s Two Sport Star

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Ezekiel Herndon excels in football, on the track and in the classroom

By Jon D. Gaede

BVN Staff

BLOOMINGTON - The Herndon family has produced their share of athletes, especially in track and field. Bloomington’s Ezekiel Herndon is the latest in that long line. His father Ruben and uncle Jerry both attended and competed on the track at UCLA. His mother Lavetta was an accomplished sprinter in high school. Ezekiel’s brother Jamal, played football at Northern Iowa. For those who follow the sport, you may recall that it was Jerry Herndon who won the Pac-10 championship in the long jump. Herndon’s freshman leap was 26’4” far better than the eventual olympic champion, in 1974.

Ezekiel, a Bloomington High School senior, has committed to South Dakota State University, where he will play football in the fall. The SDSU Jackrabbits compete in college football’s Missouri Valley Conference. Herndon, a three time All Conference receiver is blessed with superior skills. He set a school mark of 2,500 return yards on special teams, six of them for touchdowns. Ezekiel’s ability to catch the ball and run with it, caught the eye of the South Dakota State NCAA Division I football program. He hauled in an impressive 56 passes for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a defensive back, he had a nifty seven interceptions. Like his mother, father and uncle, Ezekiel also makes his statement on the track. In this olympic year, Ezekiel is currently competing in high school track’s second season. Entered in the Sunkist League Finals the 100m and 200m races, Ezekiel took second in both.

Herndon holds school records in the 100m, 200m and 400m. His 2012 personal bests are 11.04 in the 100m and 22.04 in the 200m. With sprinters speed, power and agility, Herndon possesses all the tools to excel at the next level.

A standout student, Ezekiel has dedicated himself to the classroom as well. He has recently raised his GPA to 3.8. He plans to major in Mass Communications at South Dakota and is very anxious to get on with that next phase of his life. Herndon competed in his specialty sprint races last Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Prelims, at Trabuco Hills. At this point, he plans to continue to train and compete in Track & Field at South Dakota State.

Ezekiel Herndon is a winner. A success on the gridiron, the track, in the classroom and in life.

Bloomington’s Two Sport Star

E-mail Print PDF

Ezekiel Herndon excels in football, on the track and in the classroom

By Jon D. Gaede

BVN Staff

BLOOMINGTON - The Herndon family has produced their share of athletes, especially in track and field. Bloomington’s Ezekiel Herndon is the latest in that long line. His father Ruben and uncle Jerry both attended and competed on the track at UCLA. His mother Lavetta was an accomplished sprinter in high school. Ezekiel’s brother Jamal, played football at Northern Iowa. For those who follow the sport, you may recall that it was Jerry Herndon who won the Pac-10 championship in the long jump. Herndon’s freshman leap was 26’4” far better than the eventual olympic champion, in 1974.

Ezekiel, a Bloomington High School senior, has committed to South Dakota State University, where he will play football in the fall. The SDSU Jackrabbits compete in college football’s Missouri Valley Conference. Herndon, a three time All Conference receiver is blessed with superior skills. He set a school mark of 2,500 return yards on special teams, six of them for touchdowns. Ezekiel’s ability to catch the ball and run with it, caught the eye of the South Dakota State NCAA Division I football program. He hauled in an impressive 56 passes for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a defensive back, he had a nifty seven interceptions. Like his mother, father and uncle, Ezekiel also makes his statement on the track. In this olympic year, Ezekiel is currently competing in high school track’s second season. Entered in the Sunkist League Finals the 100m and 200m races, Ezekiel took second in both.

Herndon holds school records in the 100m, 200m and 400m. His 2012 personal bests are 11.04 in the 100m and 22.04 in the 200m. With sprinters speed, power and agility, Herndon possesses all the tools to excel at the next level.

A standout student, Ezekiel has dedicated himself to the classroom as well. He has recently raised his GPA to 3.8. He plans to major in Mass Communications at South Dakota and is very anxious to get on with that next phase of his life. Herndon competed in his specialty sprint races last Saturday at the CIF Southern Section Prelims, at Trabuco Hills. At this point, he plans to continue to train and compete in Track & Field at South Dakota State.

Ezekiel Herndon is a winner. A success on the gridiron, the track, in the classroom and in life.

2012 Mt. SAC Relays Where the World’s best athletes compete

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By Jon D. Gaede
BVN Sports

Walnut - For those who appreciate the pure celebration of track & field, there is no better competition than the annual Mount San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) Relays.

You never know who you might run into at the meets. Just a few years ago, a rather conspicuous 7’2” former Los Angeles Laker tried to hide his frame under a floppy white hat. Standing near the high jump pit, coaching some of the athletes. That man was Wilt Chamberlain.

This week marks the 54th year of competition at the Mt. SAC Relays in Southern California. This years schedule runs from April 14-21.

The meet launched last Saturday as the Community Colleges hit the track. Riverside Community College fielded full men and women’s teams and competed in all events.

On Friday night April 20th, Puma will sponsor a ‘Distance Carnival’ for elite runners and offer $10, 000 to any three finishers under 4 minutes in the mile run. Puma celebrates the spirit of competition and the long standing tradition of the 4 minute barrier.

The state of the art track has been a venue where many records have been broken. The stadium setting has gained a national reputation, similar to the Melrose Games or Penn Relays on the East coast.

Top Olympic athletes like Carl Lewis, Marion Jones, Quincy Watts, John Carlos,Tommy Smith, Lee Evans, Chaunte Howard, Carmelita Jeter, Angela Hayes, Nichole Denby, Bernard Lagat, Larry Myricks, Mike Powell, Ralph Boston and most recently, Allison Felix have competed at Mt SAC.

The track conditions should be warm and fast on Saturday. The Elite Invitational begins at 10 am. The meet will also celebrate past Olympic champions. In an olympic year, for a modest price, there is no better place to be.

Then Came the Rain

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By Jon D. Gaede

BVN Sports

Race officials knew a storm was coming on Sunday. NASCAR’s policy has always followed the halfway rule. Any lap after that point would constitute an official race. Tony Stewart, NASCAR’s hottest current driver, had won half of this season’s races. His good fortune continued at Fontana, as his Home Depot Chevrolet held the lead on lap 129. The sky had darkened over the track and the rain began to fall.

The drivers lined up on pit row to wait it out, but it wouldn’t be for long. NASCAR officials called the race official, 35 minutes into the down pour. Tony Stewart collected another 2012 win.

The weekend was also billed as Southern California’s NASCAR debut of Danica Patrick. She raced her ‘Go Daddy‘ Chevrolet on Saturday night’s Nationwide ‘Purple 300‘ Patrick, who has experienced success on the Indy car open wheel circuit, has had some difficulty crossing over to the bumper to bumper grind of NASCAR.

She has dedicated herself to the entire 33 race Nationwide series. Associated with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s racing team should prove to be a boost.

The Joe Gibbs racing team had won seven consecutive nationwide races at Fontana. Saturday night would be their eighth, as Joey Logano took the checkered flag. Logano passed Ricky Stenhouse after the final caution and held on for the victory.

On the eve of her 30th birthday, Danica Patrick would have loved an appearance in the ‘Winner’s Circle,” but it was not to be. A radiator leak led to a blown engine and early exit.

Throughout the barrage of interviews, she remains positive, however, she feels that mechanical issues have kept her from being competitive. Patrick currently ranks 17th in the points with most of the season ahead of her. A reminder to all fans of Indy cars, they are returning to the Auto Club Speedway in September.

NFL Hands Down Unheard Of Penalties For Bounty System

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By Leland Stein, III

Okay, football, especially in the NFL is a very violent game. It is a first cousin to the Roman Gladiators, who fought so gallantly against lions and each other in the now world famous Coliseum.

Sure we have stepped up the humanity and have taken the lions out of the contest, and, the gladiators no longer have to kill each other at a king or queen’s behest. There are now rules and referees that oversee the on field carnage, but make no mistake about it, football is a contact sport. Just ask Hall of Famers the late John Mackey, who pasted prematurely with frontal temporal dementia. Or ask former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who is experiencing early dementia.

So when the word came out recently that the New Orleans Saints' had a well known bounty system, I can understand the outrage. It is reported that the Saints bounty scandal operated between 2009-2011 and involved 22 to 27 defensive players. Conversely, the biggest buzz in sports is the NFL’s penalties handed to the New Orleans Saints for the bounty scandal.

The NFL announced heavy sanctions against the Saints recently after concluding an investigation that proved former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams administered an illegal bounty program between 2009 and 2011. New Orleans defenders were financially compensated for injuring opposing offensive players. Williams, who left the team in January to become defensive coordinator in St. Louis, was suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season. General manager Mickey Loomis (eight-game suspension) and assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt (six) also were disciplined. In addition, the franchise was fined $500,000 and stripped of 2012 and 2013 second-round draft picks.

The NFL said four quarterbacks were specifically targeted by the Saints. One of them was dynamic Carolina Panthers rookie Cam Newton in 2011. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said he could understand why Newton was on a proverbial hit list. “When you see Cam come in and produce, you wonder why they wouldn’t select him as one of those guys to go after because he meant so much to our team,” Davis said. Suspensions and fines for players who were involved are forthcoming. NFLPA executive George Atallah said he hopes the union is consulted in that disciplinary process. He said the NFLPA was unaware the league had conducted a lengthy investigation into the Saints until the day that findings were announced to the media. Atallah also said the NFLPA still has not received access to the full report that was compiled. Okay I understand the discipline on the coaches and soon maybe the players, but is it over done? Did any of the players actually hurt anyone. In fact, it is very close to impossible to just not tackle but twist, maim or mutilate an individual, without the public or NFL administration seeing it.

Every defensive player is trying to put a hard hit on an opposing runner or receiver or quarterback.

The NFL issued this penalty because it is worried about its image and public relation status to the world. The game itself is violent and will always be so. Knockouts and cremating hits are what the game is all about. Every team wants, needs to take out a quarterback to ensure a chance at winning the game. Anytime big bodies clash into each other injuries will happen. For example Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Theismann's leg was gruesomely broken by Lawrence Taylor in the 1980s on national television . . . but, hey that was just football. John Unitas getting his head taken off by Dick “Night Train: Lane or Jim Brown getting closed lined by Sam Huff.

The unprecedented severity of Goodell’s punishment has become a hot debate topic. It has never happened in sports that coaches would get this type of treatment. “Anybody who has played this game, there’s a 100 percent injury risk under normal circumstances,” said an unidentified NFL veteran. “To hear there have been bounties placed on the heads of players . . . I understand you have incentive for interceptions or fumbles where you’re not trying to cause bodily harm to another man. But to actually put a price tag on somebody else’s head and go out there with the intent of trying to hurt that man and take food out of his family’s mouth, it’s unacceptable. How can I argue or dispute his retort? I do not!

But it is really all about public relation and the way it all looks on paper and not really about the game itself.

I think Goodell is trying to make sure he sends the right message that this will not be tolerated. He wants the appearance that the league is trying to focus on the health and safety on their players. This was a direct attack on that. The commissioner did this to send that message.

I think the penalties were pretty harsh and directed at the perception of what the league is all about. But this ruling that has taken the media world by storm, but it will not stop the injuries and inherent violence that is the NFL. Scientific studies show head trauma can leave long-term damage. Hundreds of former players are suing the NFL in federal court, saying they weren't protected properly from injury. Congress is paying close attention. Part of the reason the New Orleans Saints were punished so severely for their bounty system could be, as Commissioner Goodell indicated when explaining his decision, that nothing is as critical for the league right now as the safety of players and real concern about concussions.

In the current climate, those issues seem to permeate every decision made at NFL headquarters.

I get the morality bit and the image of the game, but let’s keep it real for a moment, the NFL is not a place for the delicate or the fragile. Never has been (with shout outs to Sam Huff, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Deacon Jones, Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, Vince Lombardi) and never will be.

It is naive to think players and teams don’t talk about this kind of stuff - or aren’t generally rewarded for this kind of stuff with jobs and contract extensions – you’re not paying attention to the inherent violence of this game. The gridiron is not a polka dance or knitting contest. It’s territorial and can get bloody. Players and coaches know they can win games by inflicting pain, and the intent is always to win games, so imposing pain is a goal of every defensive player bounty or no bounty system.

Yeah, I know the bounty system looks bad. I mean no one should be out to hurt another athlete for the sake of money, but on the other hand isn’t that why everyone gets paid to do. It’s wrong, but it happens.

The late Raiders owners, Al Davis said:“The quarterback must go down, and he must go down hard.” Davis was brutally honest and he was right. That’s not dirty. That’s just the sport - survival of the fiercest. If you get hurt, you lose. Great defenses are angry defenses that inflict hurt on offensive players trying to break their will. I’ve been around football too long to think otherwise.

Leland Stein can be reached at lelstein3@aol.com or at Twitter @lelandsteinIII.

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