Thursday, July 3, 2008

1976 Gloucester Catholic Cross Country Team Where are they now?
















The 1976 Gloucester Catholic cross country team did not have had state of the art training facilities. They didn't have a school bus-- the 9 team members traveled to meets in their coaches volkswagen van. They didn't even have a conference to call their own, but that freed the team up to travel throughout south jersey running against the best teams in the southern half of the state as they won 19 meets becoming the most successful boys cross country team in the schools history (See 1976 Cross Country Team Part 1 post). One thing the team surely had was a world class coach in Browning Ross and a strong desire to have fun and to achieve despite the obstacles. The team and the coach were a perfect fit. The desire to succeed and overcome obstacles is still evident in the lives of the team members today. The members of the "Bicentenial" 'GCHS '76 team have gone on to success in their personal and family lives and are scattered far and wide. Here is a look at what the team members are doing today:

Mike Browoleit
lives in the LA area now (Reseda CA, as in Tom Petty's song:"it's a long day, living in Reseda"..). "You can see my kids (and me) at http://www.browoleitboys.blogspot.com/. I do a lot of things with my boys, ages 10 & 13 - hoops, the beach, soccer, baseball, etc.) but Mike Browoleit and sons, a multisport familythere isn't a week that goes by that I haven't thought of Browning Ross in some way, shape or form. My oldest son swims, the youngest plays soccer, and I'm always able to give them pointers on pacing, breathing, mentally preparation and the like, all learned from BR. And as the years have rolled by I've proudly stated that my cross country & track coach was a two-time Olympian. Not many of us get to say that!"

Alan Cipolone is currently a software developer for Alcatel-Lucent, an umpire for Brooklawn Little League, and a trustee for St. Maurice (Brooklawn) parish. He is married (Cathy) with three children, with the oldest (Andrew) is a freshman at GCHS. "I recall the times that Browning brought us up to the state meet in Holmdel in his Volkswagen bus, and the laughs we had on the way up. If you lifted up the carpet in his bus, there was a hole where you could see the road moving underneath! That was nice of Browning to give us state-meet exposure. The memories of that are even sweeter because, for 24 years, I worked just a mile from Holmdel park at a large Lucent facility, giving me the opportunity to re-visit the park and those great moments of the past."

Joe Gambogi- "I live in Leesburg, Va with my wife (Cindy) and our two kids (Matt-14 and Bridget-12). I work at the U.S. Geological Survey as a Mineral Commodity Specialist. My illustrious running career came to a screeching halt after high school, but in my 20ʼs and 30ʼs, I ran 10ks, biathlons, and triathlons. I even managed to finish a couple marathons (always finishing firmly in the middle of the pack). I was born with a bad hip. In September 2006, I had a total hip replacement. The surgery went well and last summer my wife, son, and I entered as a relay team in the NJ Sprint Triathlon. My son, Matthew, is now running for the NOVA Athletic Club and will be running high school cross country next fall.I really enjoyed running with the Joe Cindy and Matt Gambogiteam in high school. I don't remember lots of details, but I do remember we always had fun. Browning Ross was a great guy. I always remember his advice at the beginning of a race: "Go out fast and pick up the pace." One story I do remember is one that Mr. Ross loved to retell. When I was a freshman, I hurt my foot during XC practice. So I went to Mr. Ross and asked him what I should do for it. His reply was "Just rub peanut butter on it. You'll feel better". After running on it for a few weeks, I went for an x-ray and discovered I had a broken small bone in my foot. When I showed up at practice in a cast, Mr. Ross told me I just did not use enough peanut butter and gave me one of his dry "hee hee hee" laughs. I always though it was pretty funny."

Joe Daly retired from active duty Air Force after 14 years in 1999 and retired from the Reserves this past January as a Master Sergeant . While active, he served in Okinawa, Japan and Tampa Fl. Joe then transferred to Fairfax, Va. in 1995 and worked out of the Pentagon until 1999 as a Network Engineer with Mantech International, and then took a position with the Department of the Navy as a civilian Government employee-- as the Operations Joe Daly now helps coach daughter ShannenManager and Chief of Network Engineering for a global Network Manager Center. Joe lives in Northern Virginia and recently celebrated his 24th wedding anniversary with wife Ann. They have two children-- a son Joe, who is 23 years old and is currently in Graduate school working toward a masters in Psychology and a daughter, Shannen, 14 years old and a freshman at C.D. Hylton High School. "It seems my daughter received all of the running genes. She is running track and cross country. I have very high aspirations for her. She is currently running the 400, but, I foresee her moving up to the 800 & 1600. She wants to attend Oregon University.Keep an eye out for her name, she WILL be going somewhere. "

Drew Desher
is presently living in Calgary, Canada. Wife Ann and children Colin 14 and Kaley 12 will be joining him in June from Alpharetta Georgia. Drew works for CH2MHill in Calgary and is still running-- now with son Collin. Kaley is interested in dance and Collin is a pretty good hockey player and has been running with his dad. Drew reports he has recently began to gap his old man on some runs. Drew is the senior project manager responsible for an $800 million project. A Canadian Oil Company is Drew and son Collinworking with CHM2Hill to extract oil from sand. The large amount of oil in the hinder lands of Canada is found in the sand. Up until now the cost to extract it was too high, but now that oil is over $100.00 a barrel (ouch!), it is cost efficient to do the extraction. Drew remembers: "There were a few races that were so cold that we didn't want to get out of Mr. Ross's van. The season wrapped up in November so it couldn't have been very cold. I have no problem now running in the 40's with no sweat gear and running down to a temperature of 0 with all my gear on. I must have been a wimp back then and it wasn't as cold as we imagined it to be. "

Jack Pyrah Jr is a professional musician living in Shrewsbury NJ. Jack is the son of the late Jack Pyrah, Villanova National NCAA Hall of Fame coach. Jack's bands "The Rumrunners" & "Rose Hill" have Jack Pyrah Jr.performed with the likes of Rick Danko (The Band), Jefferson Airplane and Blind Melon, among many others. Jack is currently teaching music and writing and recording music and still running. Jack recently ran and placed well in a March race named for his dad, Villanova coaching great Jack Pyrah Sr. in Gloucester New Jersey.


Rich Traub Has been married to wife Jill for 18 years and has 3 kids, Taylor, Aaron and Rich TraubMackenzie. I am a senior partner with a well known Chicago law firm of Freeborn and Peters--head of the Real Estate Group and an Executive Committee member. I love to travel with my family and have been to many countries watching international soccer. I moved to Chicago after going to Notre Dame for undergrad and law school. I loved Browning. He was just a tremendous person. I remember him always telling us to heal an injury by putting peanut butter on it. I remember clearly that I only found out about how great a runner he was by reading a Runner's World article. He never said a word to us. I remember his weekly write ups on us and his motivational speeches followed by an aw shucks chuckle. Some of my fondest memories come from that team!"


Jim Plant lives in Boca Raton Florida with his wife and daughter and is a lifeguard in Pompono Beach, Florida. Jim continued his running at Stockton State under Villanova Olympian Larry James. Jim is still an active runner and swimmer and frequently an age group winner in Life Jim Plant has saved dozens of bathers on his surfboard over the yearsGuard run/swim competitions. Jim is also a professional musician and is presently remixing his two CD's sound clips can be found at his website http://www.jamesplant.com/music.htm

Jim has made a big difference in the quality of life where he lives-- helping to clean the water where he works (See previous Jim Plant to the rescue post). Jim remembers the closeness of the '76 team and most of all the fun. "I owe almost everything I've accomplished to Mr. Ross."



Jack Heath and wife Maryanne have 3 children-- Sean, Elizabeth and Brigid who enjoy a variety of sports including track. Jack ran at Rowan University (for another Olympian, Oscar Moore). At Rowan he set the school record in the Steeplechase and was captain of the cross country team (24:56 for 5 miles). He is presently an Information Technology Specialist for Social Security, works in security for the Jack with daughtersPhillies and is the Gloucester Catholic Boys and Girls Cross Country coach. Jack was coached by Browning Ross again after college and ran the Boston Marathon twice during this period. Jack has been coaching at Gloucester Catholic for 22 years and is approaching 200 wins for both the boys and girls teams. "I was lucky enough to coach with Browning for a number of years and see him almost every day. His favorite Browning sayings: "When the going gets tough, quit." and "It's just as easy to run fast as it is slow. " "I really feel Browning would want me to carry on the tradition that he started."

Finish of Penns Grove meet one of the teams 19 victories in '76

2 comments:

Joseph said...

Fantastic article, it really brought back some great memories. Knowing what everyone is doing now is fascinating. Who would've thought where most of us today.
Thank you Jack.

Joe Daly

Joseph said...

Fantastic article, it really brought back some great memories. Knowing what everyone is doing now is fascinating. Who would've thought where most of us today.
Thank you Jack.

Joe Daly