News From Terre Haute, Indiana


October 17, 2012

Escalera, Mascari setting (record-setting) pace for ISU cross country

TERRE HAUTE — A duo of Indiana State athletes are wreaking havoc on the school-record 8,000-meter time in men’s cross country. It’s a bit of a friendly rivalry that coach John McNichols welcomes.

Senior Al Escalera held the record for just two weeks after running a time of 24 minutes, 5 seconds at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28. Escalera and John Mascari broke the previous record of 24:17 set by Jason Gunn on Oct. 16, 1999. The Terre Haute North grad known by his friends and family as “Big John” ran a 24:11.

Mascari took control of the top spot in the record books this past Saturday at the Pre-Nationals race in Louisville, Ky.

Mascari thinks the Sycamores’ lead pack, which also includes senior Dustin Betz, is ahead of schedule at this point in the season. As elite runners tend to approach it, the times should just keep getting faster.

“It feels pretty good. I know Al and I we broke the record at Notre Dame a couple weeks back. The goal this season was to run 23:59, just go sub 24,” Mascari said. “Once we start decreasing our mileage, maybe bumping down to 60 or 70, I think we’re going to see dramatic results. I think we’ll be good by the time postseason comes around.”

Escalera has had plenty of intrinsic drive to be great since arriving at ISU out of Lafayette — he placed in the top 50 in the region as a freshman — but having the talented Mascari arrive this season has helped him.

“John being here has helped me a ton,” Escalera said. “He fits in really well so it wasn’t really awkward. He sets a great example for those young guys.”

“He’s helped me just being my training partner and helping me push ourselves in those harder workouts. For sure, John and I would have a really good shot at making it. The goal is have at least two runners at nationals, maybe seven [meaning the team would qualify for the first time].”

Mascari said the veterans on the team are a big reason he’s enjoyed jumping in with the Sycamores after spending last year as a redshirt at IU.

“It’s an honor working with him and Betz. They’re the best  leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Al’s put in 100-mile weeks all summer and throughout the entire season. He’s got a lot left in him,” Mascari said. “Betz is the verbal senior leader. He trains really hard and Al just leads by example, which I’ve needed.”

As previously noted, Escalera has been a big-time impact runner for the Sycamores since his freshman year. But McNichols has watched im peak as a recently-turned 21-year-old senior this fall.

“He’s had a major drop, about 45-50 seconds of his previous best,” McNichols said. “Likewise with Betz. Part of that is the courses we’re running on. We’ve been on fast courses this year. Also, it’s just that accumulation of work they’ve put in. It helps throwing John in the mix. So there’s three guys running really fast workouts, it helps all of them. Al’s been a good racer all along. He came in as a freshman and helped our team right away. He earned that as the season went along.”

Escalera, like other seasons, set the tone for his fall during the hot summer months. He’s stuck around Terre Haute the past two summers to train at over 100 miles per week most of the time.

“That’s the biggest reason I’ve stayed, just because there’s a lot of cool places to run [around Terre Haute],” Escalera said. “The wetlands is huge, I run there pretty much every day in the summer. For cross country, you have to have a really big, really good summer. You have to lay down the foundation in the summer, you can’t really make up ground during the season.”

The Pre-Nationals — one of the most competitive races during the season as far as the depth of the field but not the best or deepest in recent years — was different for Escalera this year. It was the first time it was not on his home course. The Pre-Nats and NCAA Championships are in Louisville this season before returning to Terre Haute and LaVern Gibson in 2013.

“I’ve only raced at LaVern for Pre-Nats. But it was cool. I like waking up in a strange bed and get in the race mindset. I enjoyed the course, maybe just because it was something different,” Escalera said.

The goal is obviously to get the team into the NCAAs for the first time. What Pre-Nats told Escalera is they have the talent to do so but there has to be steady improvement.

“I think pretty much what it showed was our No. 4 and 5 runners have to continue to improve,” Escalera said. “They’ve been doing a great job of running faster, they just have to continue to do that. What I’ve been telling them, is if we can get our 4 and 5 in 24:30 shape, we’ll have a really good shot.”

The No. 4 and No. 5 runners this season have been Terre Haute South grad Taylor Head and fellow redshirt freshmen Tristan Selby and Gabe Ocasio. Head was the only Sycamore not to PR on Saturday.

“That’s really been the way it’s looked all year, and we’re not the first team to have that situation,” McNichols said. “We have young guys, redshirt freshemen, that we’re counting on in that 4th, 5th and 6th positions. There is a developmental aspect to this. As it’s turned out, each has had a great race. Taylor has been a consistent No. 4, Gabe Ocasio stepped up and Tristan ran well. We have the guys that can do it, and they’re knocking their times down. They’re all right there at that 25-flat range, and not many years ago that was pretty darned good. Everybody’s running so darned fast right now.”

Mascari can see those guys stepping up when it counts, which will be at the region meet.

“I think we’re ranked 8th in the region, but at this point that doesn’t matter, all that matters is what we do at regionals,” Mascari said.

But up next for the Sycamores is the MVC Championships, where they’ll go for the seventh team title in the past nine years. Southern Illinois has won the other two, and the Salukis are the biggest competition again.

“It just works out that way, at least it has for the past decade. We’re looking at Southern Illinois and us,” McNichols said. “We’ve won six of the last eight championships, runner-up and third in the the others. We won one year by one point. This year is lining up to be about the same. It should be very, very ineteresting. I don’t see any way to call it.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • METRO ROUNDUP: Odum shines in Portsmouth Invitational

    Former Indiana State guard Jake Odum had a productive first night at the Portsmouth Invitational late Thursday.
    The Terre Haute native scored 16 points, had six assists and three steals for the Portsmouth Partnership team in its 88-81 victory over Cherry Bekaert.

    April 19, 2014

  • ISU falls to Canisius in first of three-game road series

    The Indiana State baseball team fell behind early and never could get the lead as host Canisius posted a 3-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday at Demske Sports Complex.
    The Sycamores (24-11) and Griffins (21-13) will meet again at 2 p.m. today, but the venue will switch to Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y. The same two teams also will play Sunday back at Demske Sports Complex in a noon start.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041614 SMWC jordan.jpg Saint Mary-of-the-Woods sweeps doubleheader over Rose-Hulman

    Over the years, defeating its crosstown rival has not usually been easy for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods or Rose-Hulman when they’ve met in college softball.
    But on Wednesday afternoon at The Woods, the home team made its doubleheader sweep look easy to first-year coach Mark Feller with five-inning decisions of 10-0 and 11-1.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT 030714 ODUM 02O'LEARY.jpg Terre Haute North grad O'Leary to transfer from Loyola

    Matt O’Leary is one of three men's basketball players at Loyola recently granted a release from his scholarship from the Missouri Valley Conference school.
    The former Terre Haute North standout told the Tribune-Star he doesn’t yet know his next move.

    April 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Rose-Hulman, Woods to face off on softball diamond

    The Rose-Hulman softball team will visit a familiar foe today when the Engineers take on crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in a nonleague doubleheader.

    April 15, 2014

  • ISU baseball holds off Eastern Illinois for 24th win

    Indiana State freshman left-hander Ryan Keaffaber won his first game as a Sycamore and senior catcher Mike Fitzgerald went 3 for 3 as ISU defeated host Eastern Illinois 6-4 in college baseball Tuesday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Top returners lead Cream over Crimson in Hoosiers' spring game

    The Cream team at Saturday’s Cream and Crimson intrasquad game had Indiana’s top returning rusher and receiver and the Hoosiers’ top-rated passer from last season.
    No surprise, then, that Tevin Coleman, Shane Wynn and Tre Roberson guided the Cream to a resounding 24-14 win over the Crimson.

    April 12, 2014

  • Rose-Hulman baseball gets wild doubleheader sweep

    Host Rose-Hulman came back from an early six-run deficit in the first game Saturday and went on to a 13-12, 7-1 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball sweep over Mount St. Joseph.
    The wild opener featured a Rose-Hulman comeback from an 8-2 deficit and included 18 hits and two school records for the Engineers.

    April 12, 2014

  • METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball earns doubleheader sweep at Missouri State

    Yvette Alvarez’s one-hit shutout capped a dominant day of pitching Saturday as Indiana State swept a Missouri Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Missouri State by scores of 6-1 and 4-0.
    “We pitched well,” coach Shane Bouman said. “Both Taylor Lockwood in the first game and Yvette Alvarez in the second game threw great. When you pitch good and you play good defense and get some key hits, good things are going to happen.

    April 12, 2014

  • SPT 032414 COACH SANFORD.jpg ISU football set for first spring scrimmage

    Thanks to a limited number of available offensive linemen — a group that will at least double in numbers in the fall with the addition of recruits and currently injured players — the Sycamores won’t have a full-scale scrimmage, but will still intersperse scrimmage plays (with officials) among other practice drills.
    “We’re thin,” coach Mike Sanford admitted after practice Thursday. “The scrimmage will be part of practice — probably 30 or 40 plays altogether. We only have five to seven healthy offensive linemen, so we can’t go [in a scrimmage format] for long stretches of time.”

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Waltman's funeral Saturday at Indianapolis

    Royce Waltman’s visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Luke’s Methodist Church at 100 E. 86th Street, Indianapolis.

    April 10, 2014

  • ISU baseball falls to Vanderbilt 6-2

    The seventh-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores took control early to defeat the Indiana State Sycamores 6-2

    April 9, 2014

  • SPT 040514 JACOB HAYES DIVE.jpg ISU baseball sweeps doubleheader against Wichita State

    Indiana State baseball coach Mitch Hannahs finally got what he’s been looking for from the Sycamores’ Friday and Saturday starters ... and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
    Preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Wichita State is in town for a crucial series. With ISU 2-4 in the league, it was vital for the Sycamores to validate their better-than-expected form in nonconference play with MVC success in Saturday’s doubleheader at Bob Warn Field.

    April 5, 2014 3 Photos

  • METRO ROUNDUP: Rose-Hulman's nine-game winnings streak snapped

    Rose-Hulman had its nine-game winning streak snapped with two tightly contested losses at defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champion Manchester on Saturday.

    April 5, 2014

  • Newbolt.jpg Sycamores get commitment from junior-college point guard

    Help wanted.
    Following Indiana State’s loss to Marquette in the WNIT, coach Teri Moren touched on the future of the program after the loss of Sycamore senior Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grant Prusator …nd jones 0.jpg Prusator gives ISU a shooter for 2015

    Grant Prusator, a native of Rochelle, Ill., has made a verbal commitment to play basketball for Indiana State starting in the 2014-15 season. He will have three years of eligibility with the Sycamores as he played just one year for Highland Community College.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium

    The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

    April 4, 2014

  • SPT040314 ISUFB thurman.jpg Indiana State secondary could be mending into a strength

    During Indiana State’s injury-ravaged 2013 season, there wasn’t a unit on either side of the ball that was spared from the carnage.
    But if one had to be singled out as hardest hit in the injury department, it would be difficult to out-do the Sycamores’ secondary.
    Every player that started in ISU’s season opener at Indiana not only missed at least one game last season, but the entire starting unit was out of action by the end of September.

    April 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT031114 reed1.jpg Reed named Midseason National Player of the Year

    Half of the college baseball season is done and one prominent college baseball publication thinks Terre Haute’s A.J. Reed is best player in the land.
    Reed, a junior at Kentucky, was named the Midseason National Player of the Year by Perfect Game USA, a website devoted to college baseball.

    April 3, 2014 3 Photos

  • SPT012714ISUWBB laramie.jpg Laramie to transfer from ISU women's basketball program

    Indiana State forward Marina Laramie averaged 9.9 points and started all 32 games as a sophomore for the Sycamores.
    But the 6-foot-2 women’s basketball player will continue her career elsewhere.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings

    Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.

    April 2, 2014

  • 20140401_145857.jpg Chicago guard commits to ISU women's basketball

    The Indiana State women’s basketball team picked up a verbal commitment from Chicago guard Kiera Brooks on Tuesday.
    The 5-foot-7 junior for North Lawndale College Prep visited ISU’s campus for the first time, met the team and chose her college home. Brooks averaged 18.7 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals for coach Corey Morgan’s 15-11 squad.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • METRO ROUNDUP: ISU softball tops IU 7-5

    The Indiana State softball team remained a perfect 13-0 when scoring in the first inning as it defeated Indiana (9-24-1) 7-5 Tuesday for its second consecutive victory over a Big Ten opponent.

    April 1, 2014

  • Stout_action3.jpg Dedicated to helping others

    It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.

    March 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC

    Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.

    March 31, 2014

  • SPT 032914 TYLER WAMPLER.jpg ISU baseball shows mental toughness in win over Illinois State

    When the pressure’s on, there’s nothing a coach likes more than to see his team double down on their approach and grit out a positive result.

    March 29, 2014 4 Photos

  • SPT032814 ISUBB hayes.jpg Going the distance: Redbirds ace Savas allows just five hits while shutting down Sycamores

    Indiana State’s pitchers weren’t their best in Friday’s series opener against Illinois State, but it seemed the Sycamores might get away with it. Through seven innings, ISU had issued six walks, gave up six hits and hit a batter, but still trailed by just a run. But ISU’s luck with its generosity would give out in the eighth, and even if it hadn’t, Illinois State standout starter Dan Savas had the Sycamores’ bats in a deep freeze anyway. The Redbirds defeated the Sycamores 5-2 at Bob Warn Field.

    March 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Woods softball team wins 4th straight

    The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball team swept Grace College with a pair of wins in its home opener Wednesday.

    March 28, 2014

  • 13256387835_31de30fb40.jpg Devoted brothers: Mahurins relish chance to team up and win NAIA title

    It wasn’t a great year for NCAA basketball in the Hoosier state outside of Indiana State’s 23-victory season.
    But a team in NAIA Division II with eight Indiana natives — and coached by former Valparaiso point guard Greg Tonagel, an Indiana All-Star for his hometown of LaPorte — brought home a national basketball championship.
    Tonagel, the scrappy point guard who played alongside Bryce Drew for that magical Valpo team, created more March hoops memories with the help of Rockville brothers R.J. and Lane Mahurin.

    March 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT032614 ISU BB curry.jpg ‘A full night’: Leadoff hitter Curry leads 16-hit attack as Sycamores pound Hoosiers

    Lead-off man Landon Curry had four of Indiana State’s 16 hits Wednesday afternoon, and cleanup hitter Mike Fitzgerald reached for the 17th straight game to lead the Sycamores to a 12-8 victory.

    March 26, 2014 4 Photos

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Today in History for April 18th Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster
NDN Video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010