NCAA Regionals: Owl Men Place 3rd, Adams Qualifies
'SPRINGFIELD, MASS. 11/12/05 - The Keene State College men's cross country team raced to a third place finish at the NCAA New England Regional Championships on Saturday in Springfield, Mass. With the accomplishment, the Owls secured its ninth straight berth to the NCAA Division III Championships held at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio next Saturday.
The Owls, who captured the regional championship four consecutive years, 1999-2002, finished second in 2003 and slipped to third last fall.
The KSC men will be joined by sophomore Jennifer Adams (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), who qualified for the first time with her second place finish in the women's race. Adams' is the sixth Owl women's runner to qualify for the nationals. Her second place performance is the best individual finish for a KSC woman runner at the regional meet. All-America runner Mary Proulx placed third in 2001.
Racing at the Veterans Golf Course, the 17th nationally ranked Owl men finished with 132 points to place behind Wesleyan University with 118 points. Defending champ Tufts University won the title with 62 points. The top three teams earn NCAA berths. There were 43 teams in the men's field.
"We didn't run great, but we got the job done," said KSC Coach Peter Thomas.
Senior Joe Hegarty was the first Owl to the finish line. The senior from Springfield, Mass. placed fifth overall on the five-mile course in a time of 25:27. Teammate Ryan Gough (Billerica, Mass.), who finished ninth (25:49), also had a strong performance for KSC. Other top runners for Keene State included, Matt Haley (Middleton, Mass.) (37th/26:31), Kevin Kelleher (Rocky Hill, Conn.) (39th/26:34), and Pat Ard (Kingston, N.H.) (42nd/26:40).
Wesleyans' Owen Kiely won the race with a time of 25:01.
The KSC women finished 14th in the race with 400 points. Williams College took the team title with 48 points.
Adams paced the Owls with her second place finish on the 6,000 meter course. She posted a time of 21:42.
"I was happy with my performance," Adams said. "I went out like I usually do and kept my pace. I felt good throughout the race."
Shannon O'Brien (Tilton, N.H.) was 50th (23:30), Stephanie Westcott (Bellows Falls, Vt.) was 91st (24:17), Amanda Reynolds was 121st (Maplewood, N.J.) (24:54), and Sophie Holly placed 128th (25:20) to round out KSC's top performers.
Defending champ Caroline Cretti of Williams won the race in a time of 21:30.
Williams, Colby College (81 points), Amherst College (88 points), Middlebury College (129) and Tufts University (145) claimed NCAA berths in the women's 41-team field.