Making Dad Proud
With Father’s Day right around the corner, I thought of two young men who are making their fathers proud – Aric Van Halen and Russell Hornsby.
Aric is the son of Alex Van Halen, drummer and co-founder of the band Van Halen. As the story goes, originally Alex played the guitar and
his brother Eddie, played the drums. Over time the two switched instruments. In 1974 they partnered with David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony to form Van Halen. Alex has been married three times and Aric is the son of his second ex-wife Kelly Danniels.
Aric Van Halen attended Oakwood High School in Los Angeles. In 2007 he was the California Division V State Champion in cross country, running 15:59 for the 5K course at Fresno’s Woodward Park. Interestingly in 2005, Van Halen led Oakwood to their first ever team qualification for the state meet, the same year that Sacred Heart Cathedral’s (SHC) boys had their first ever team qualification for the state meet. Although Oakwood and SHC ran in different races, when all the results are combined, out of the 113 total teams at state, Oakwood was eighty-eighth (88:47 team time) one place ahead of SHC in eighty-ninth (88:38). In track & field, Van Halen set school records of 2:00 (800), 4:22 (1600), and 9:19 (3200).
After high school, Van Halen went to the University of Colorado, where he has been a very successful cross country runner for the Buffalos. In 2009 he was the team’s number seven runner for most of the season, saved his best race of the season for the NCAA Championships where he was fifth man, helping the Buffalos come in sixth. Van Halen followed that up in 2010 by earning all-conference and all-regional honors and again placing as Colorado’s fifth man at NCAA’s. In track & field he has developed into Colorado’s top steeplechaser. He ran 9:12 in the 2010 season, but improved his time to a best of 8:52 in 2011.
Russell is the son of Bruce Hornsby, a three-time Grammy Award winner known for songs such as “The Way It Is” and “Mandolin Rain,” and also for playing in more than 100 shows with the Grateful Dead from 1988-95. Bruce was a very good athlete himself, earning a basketball scholarship offer to Division II Randolph-Macon. Russell is named after rock ‘n’ roll legend Leon Russell. His twin brother Keith, who will attend North Carolina-Asheville on a basketball scholarship was named after jazz legend Keith Jarrett.
Russell Hornsby began his high school career at Jamestown High School where he was part of their 2008 cross country team that won the Virginia state championship and went on to qualify for Nike Team Nationals. His teammates at Jamestown included Andrew Colley, who beat Alan Webb’s state meet course record, and Colin Mearns, who would go on to be the 2010 national indoor mile champion.
More of a middle distance runner, Hornsby decided to transfer to Georgetown Prep in Maryland, where he felt he would get better training for his specialty, the 800 meters. He ran 1:54 in his first 800 race for Georgetown, a six second improvement. In the fall of 2010, with a then personal best of 1:53 in the 800, he signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Oregon. With his college plans already secured, Hornsby has been
able to relax and run some fast times this spring during the track & field season. First he helped Georgetown set a school record in the 4X800 meter relay at Penn Relays by running a 1:50.6 split. One week later he ran 1:50.82 against collegiate runners at the Liberty Twilight Qualifier. That time currently ranks him as the sixteenth fastest 800 runner in the nation, according to Dyestat.
With Colorado joining Oregon in the new Pac-12 Conference, it’s quite possible that Van Halen and Hornsby will compete head-to-head against each other. When that day comes, perhaps their famous musician fathers, Alex and Bruce, will be in the stands cheering.