Cross Country Alums still terrors on the trails
KEENE, N.H. 9/5/12 – Don’t tell the Keene State College cross country men’s alums that they’re over the hill - especially the ones that show up year in and year out for the Owls’ annual alumni invitational.
The alumni race has become an early season staple for past and present Owls. It’s a chance for current team members to see how they measure up against several seasoned runners, many of whom have continued to compete. For the alums, it’s an opportunity to show they still have some wear on their wheels.
Still terrors on the trails, the Keene State alums once again showed the way on Saturday, handily defeating the current Owl squad 36-99. The only team to slow down the KSC alums down was regionally ranked MIT, which tallied 27 points. A flock of Owl alums, led by Josh Ferenc ‘04, who covered the 3.1 mile course in a time of 15:56 for a third place finish, were right behind a pair of MIT runners. Ferenc used the race as a tune-up for the World Marathon Mountain Championship which takes place later this week in Switzerland.
For the first time in several years, the Keene State women alum also fielded a team at the race, finishing a respectable fifth with 139 points. Amy Knoblock ‘11 was the first alum to the finish line, placing 20th with a time of 12:24 on the two-mile course.
Owl alums – old and new- were glad to be back. “It’s great to be back,” said Joe Haggerty, a 2006 grad. “I wish I was in a little better shape, but it’s great to see all the old guys.”
Now in his seventh year coaching at Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass., Haggerty took over as the school’s athletic director last year and has been getting the program back on its feet following the tornado that went through the area. “The storm destroyed our high school,” he said. “It’s been a crazy year getting things together for the teams.”
“I’m not in the best shape like my college running years, but I’m going to do my best and step it up for the alumni,” said Jason Garrity ‘09. “Most of us are running for competitive teams, so we should have upper hand.”
“I haven’t come back for the alumni race in quite a few years so it will be fun to run the course again,” said Sam Wood ‘09. “On the way down, I was trying to figure out ‘where do we go after we leave the railroad tracks?’”
“I’m not in shape, but I’m running,” said Kimber Stannard ‘08, a special education teacher in Fitzwilliam. “It’s good to come back to see everyone again, but it’s nerve-wracking because I know some of these girls are really good shape.”
A two-time cross country All-American, Jennifer Adams ’08, came back to run her first alumni race. “I’m not running competitively, but I think I can handle two miles,” said Adams, the cross country coach at Mount Holyoke College.
Some runners, including Sarah Titus ’12 and last year’s defending champ Kevin Hoyt ’12 were switching sides for the first time.
“I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be,” said Titus. “It’s going to be a lot slower and a lot less pressure. Amy (Knoblock) might do something good, but the rest of us who just graduated are just getting back into it.”
“It’s a little odd coming back as an alum because I’ve been on the team the past four years,” said Hoyt before the race. “The alumni always have a pretty good shot at winning and I think that’s going to happen again today.”
Some alums decided to sit this one out. “I’m not running today- because I am lazy,” admitted Jim Barone’10. “I can’t keep up with these guys. They’re too fast for me now.”
“I’m not going to run. I’m just going to cheer,” said Sophie Holly ‘08, who plans to move to Thailand. “It’s great to be back here and see all these old faces. It’s just like I’m home again.”