Sullivan County Democrat
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Joe Iatauro Opts
For N.C. State

By Frank Rizzo
GRAHAMSVILLE — April 11, 2000 -- Joe Iatauro, the successor to such Tri-Valley CS running greats as Kristian Agnew and Chip Furman, will join the T-V grads among those who have put on a pair of cleats for the North Carolina State running program.
Iatauro signed a National Letter of Intent last Wednesday, April 5 — the first day high school seniors could sign for track and field. This official National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) document commits the signee to attend a particular college.
The decision was simple, according to Iatauro, one of the most successful Sullivan County runners in recent years.
“Everything,” he answered when asked what tipped the nod to NC State. “The coach (Rollie Geiger) was most sincere and has been calling me every week. He sends me personal hand-written notes.”
N.C. State, which competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, placed third at last fall’s NCAA Division I cross country championship. The school has offered scholarship money to Iatauro, but he declined to mention a figure, saying only, “[The scholarship] will pay a good chunk of tuition and room and board.”
He noted that the school was ranked 28th in the nation in his chosen field — engineering — by U.S. News & World Report.
“The school is excellent,” Iatauro said. “They call it the ‘Poor Man’s’ Stanford — it costs $20,000 to attend, while Stanford is $36,000. And Stanford is ranked 20th in engineering, not much ahead of [N.C. State].”
Stanford was another college that contacted Iatauro.
When he started thinking about colleges last summer, N.C. State wasn’t even in his top five, according to Iatauro, but a visit to the campus changed his mind.
“The team was like a family,” he said, “and the training facilities were nice.”
Iatauro’s goals for the spring outdoor season include garnering the school records in the 1600/3200.
“I would also like to get a state championship and be an All-American outdoors,” he said.
Iatauro is within range of Agnew’s marks in the distance double. Agnew ran 4:18.3 in the 1600 (as opposed to Iatauro’s 4:21.72 in the mile, a slightly longer event). Ditto in the 3200, where Agnew’s county record 9:15.7 compares with Iatauro’s 9:21 (again for the two mile, which would make Iatauro’s 3200 equivalent roughly 9:18).
Joe’s father and coach, Joe Sr., thanked High School Principal Kenneth Sherman and the efforts of the following people: David Moore, the guidance counselor, and teachers Connie Elberth and Ron Hughes.



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