Mass College Lax: Brother’s Inspiration Drives MIT’s Stolzenberg To Give Back to Boston Marathon Victims

By NoontimeSports.com 

MIT’s sports information department passed along a feature release on freshman Harris Stolzenberg, a starting attacker for the men’s lacrosse team, who has been spending a majority of his first year in Cambridge helping victims from last year’s Boston Marathon bombings. Below is his story:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Across the country, NCAA Division III institutions will be participating in NCAA Division III Week beginning on Monday, April 7. The event celebrates the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. MIT freshman Harris Stolzenberg, a starting attacker on the men’s lacrosse team, embodies the community service element of this initiative.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are, if you want to try to make a difference, you can.” This is what Harris has learned in his pursuit of raising $1 million to support those wounded in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Inspired by his younger brother, Michael, a quadrilateral amputee, he established Mikey’s Run and will be racing in the upcoming Boston Marathon.

A native of Weston, Florida, Harris learned about the attacks after coming home from his high school lacrosse practice. As events unfolded throughout the week, Michael suggested doing a fundraiser for the new amputees “to do something nice because I know what they’re going through.” At the age of eight, Michael contracted a bacterial infection that left him in a coma and eventually caused oxygen deprivation to all four limbs.

At the time, Harris considered holding a bake sale at school but Michael came up with the idea of launching a website. Harris, who had been admitted to MIT a month earlier, posted on the MIT Class of 2017 Facebook page looking for a website designer. Corey Walsh replied, thus creating the web presence for Mikey’s Run. Fellow classmate Karan Kashyap also joined in, serving an instrumental role during the early stages of the initiative as he led national outreach and content management.

In order to legally raise money, Harris teamed up with the Scott Rigsby Foundation that established a fund for the Boston victims. Rigsby, who lost both of his legs in a car accident over 20 years ago, is the first double-amputee to compete in the Hawaiian Ironman triathlon, was an entrant in the 2013 Boston Marathon and is a qualifier for the 2014 event. Due to similarities in its missions, the foundation suggested Harris join Team MR8, which benefits the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation. Martin, who was eight at the time of the attacks, was one of the three spectators killed by the bombs.

“This day is not about me. It’s about what happened and I’m just gonna go.”

Harris believes he would have attempted to raise money for the marathon victims regardless of attending a Boston-area college. He acknowledges the story wouldn’t have received the same amount of attention from the media, but he believes people would have still rallied behind it.

When Harris told his family he wanted to run the marathon, they responded, “You’re out of your mind. You can’t run a mile.” Admittedly, he didn’t know what he was doing either but everyone has been fully supportive. Harris began training last September, knowing that if he was going to succeed he needed to start early. After reaching 10 miles following two months of preparation, he was hospitalized for two weeks. Initially discouraged by the setback, Harris battled back and is starting to feel confident with his progress. Throughout the process, Michael has provided the typical younger brother contributions of smug but also positive encouragement.

Going into marathon weekend, Harris has the double duty of preparing for a lacrosse game against conference foe Wheaton College two days before the race. Physically, he plans on trying to get as much as rest as possible. Harris is mindful of the media attention Mikey’s Run received last spring, acknowledging, “I don’t want to take away anything from anyone else. This day is not about me; it’s about what happened, and I’m just gonna go. You put the training in and just enjoy the 26.2 miles, as hard as that’s going to be. It will be fun. At the end of the day it will be worth it and hopefully we raise a lot of money.”

Looking beyond Mikey’s Run, the Stolzenberg family established the Pockets and Sockets Lacrosse Tournament in 2011 to raise funds for Michael’s rehabilitative trust. Money aside, the most rewarding experience for Harris has been watching Michael share his story with some of the survivors and see their reactions when they attended the Amputee Coalition National Convention last June.

“I go to MIT, but I’m not the biggest engineer.”

Like the marathon, Harris is taking his career at MIT one step at time. On the lacrosse field, he leads the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference in scoring and among all freshmen in the conference, Harris leads the way in assists and is second in goals. Also a member of the varsity football team, he joined Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity in the fall. On the academic side, Harris plans on majoring in management with a concentration in finance and is contemplating minoring in mathematics, political science, or economics. Down the road he is considering pursuing a career in business or possibly politics.

Reflecting on the past year, Harris maintains his humble attitude. “We just wanted to make a difference. We were lucky that Mikey’s Run received the attention it did to where we raised enough money to make an impact. It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are, if you want to try to make a difference, you can.”

You can follow Harris on race day by going to www.baa.org and entering his bib number, 31792.

Donations to Mikey’s Run can be made at www.mikeysrun.com. As of April 7, a total of $226,375.20.

Boston Marathon Runners Plan To Return Next Year

By Richard Murray 

BOSTON, MA – Literally two days after Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, Amanda Whitten, who hails from California, has already begun thinking about next year’s race.

“Next year we will have people run in honor of (Monday’s victims) and show that marathons have always been about a celebration of the human spirit, people coming together, and supporting each other,” said Whitten, who has run the 26.2 mile race three times.

“This will definitely not (prevent me from returning) because that would be letting them win, but I am just sad for all those people and spectators.”

Excluding Whitten, other runners have spent the past few days contemplating about next year’s race, but most seem determined to return to Boston next April.

“I never thought I would end up doing the Boston Marathon again, but (with the race) ending on such a negative note it has been on my mind,” said Lisa Turner, a marathon runner from Milwaukee. “I would hate for it to be the last one.”

Jonathan Thomas, who traveled to Boston from Baton Rouge, looks forward to running his second race next year and being apart of the state’s Patriots Day celebration.

“I was already planning on coming back again next year, but what happened is not going to stop me from returning,” Thomas said. “This was my first time coming here to Boston, and I won’t let (what happened) ruin this race.”

With more photos and videos of the bombings being released to the police, as well as being shown on television and across the web, some runners are considering the “what-if” question, especially Turner, who finished 15 minutes prior to the first explosion.

“I have gone over it 100 times in my head, what if that was me (at the blast, but) I haven’t put my medal on yet because I just can’t bring myself to do it,” Turner said.  “You feel like you want to celebrate, but there is just (too) much negativity.”

Reports confirmed yesterday that the Boston Marathon’s would occur next year, which is something Whiten was happy to hear.

“That would be letting them win,” Whitten said had the committee postponed the race.

Follow Richard Murray on Twitter @Richie_Murray 

Boston Bruins Prepare For An Emotional Evening (LINKS)

The Boston Bruins expect Wednesday's contest against Buffalo to be emotional! (Photo Credit: New York Daily News)

The Boston Bruins expect Wednesday’s contest against Buffalo to be emotional! (Photo Credit: New York Daily News)

By NoontimeSports.com 

It is expected to be an emotional evening at the TD Garden as the Boston Bruins play host to the Buffalo Sabres.

The game, which is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. face-off, will mark the first time the Black and Gold skate on their home ice since Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings. And while we’re still a few minutes away from the contest, we thought we’d provide a few links from around the web about this particular contest.

Bruins-Sabres Links

* Bruins coach Claude Julien knows a win would be huge for the city

* FOX Sports has an article about how the Bruins will help with the healing process

* Black and Gold supporters should feel extra safe this evening as security will be “tight” at the Garden, according to the Associated Press

* Boston Globe’s Matt Peppin posted a few notes about this evening’s game on the Bruins Blog, along with a tidbit about Brad Marchand, who will be raffling off his suite for the team’s first home playoff game with all the proceeds benefiting Martin Richard‘s family.

* Boston Herald’s Steve Conroy blogged about the Bruins donations toward the families affected by the bombings

* Similar to the Bruins, the Sabres know this game will be emotional

* NESN will be updating their LIVE Blog throughout the evening and you can access it by CLICKING HERE

Daily Noontime – April 17, 2012

Zdeno Chara netted the game-winning goal on Monday, which helped Boston defeat Washington, 4-3! (Photo Credit: ChiTown Nation)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Happy Tuesday to everyone, and welcome into yet another tremendous edition of the Daily Noontime! Let’s jumpstart the day with some news and headlines from the city of… winners!

* The Boston Bruins earned one-game series lead on Monday, as they defeated the Washington Capitals, 4-3. Zdeno Chara netted the game-winning goal late in the third period, while Tim Thomas deflected 29 shots between the pipes.

* Boston will attempt to earn a two-game lead on Thursday when they return to the ice for Game No. 4. The last time the Bruins led a series 2-1 was against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, which Boston won.

* According to reports – Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom received a “match penalty” at the end of Game No. 3 on Monday, which means he’ll most likely miss the fourth game of this particular series. Also, the league will now have to review the play, too.

* Boston and Tampa Bay concluded their four-game series on Monday, and sadly, the Red Sox didn’t record a sweep, as Sean Rodriguez scored the only run of the day for the Rays. Daniel Bard lasted six and two-thirds innings, and managed to fan seven batters. However, Bard’s only mistake was allowing Rodriguez to score after walking Evan Longoria in the seventh inning.

* The Red Sox will look to snap their one-game losing streak on Tuesday when they welcome the Texas Rangers to Fenway Park — first pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm – Jon Lester opposes Colby Lewis.

* The Boston Celtics will look to earn their third consecutive victory on Tuesday when they travel to New York to face the Knicks — tip-off is scheduled for 8:00pm.

* Finally, Wesley Koir and Sharon Cherop won the 116th Boston Marathon on Monday.