Keene State Alumni Cross Country race set for Saturday
KEENE, N.H. 8/30/12 - There was a time when the Keene State Alumni cross country race was just a tune-up; a chance for current Owl runners to see how they measured up against a group of alums, who have either continued to compete, moved off the trails and become recreational athletes, or put their running shoes in the closet.
Over the years, the race has evolved into a major meet with more and more college coaches looking to get an early glimpse of their runners in competition.
“One my alums, Gary Gardner, who coaches at UMass-Lowell, called me a few years ago and asked if his runners could jump in with our alums,” said Owl coach Peter Thomas. “And it just snowballed from there.”
Thomas also points out the NCAA rule that states you have to have competition within so many days of preseason.
Saturday’s Keene State alumni race will be the largest field ever with 10 teams and over 350 runners. The women’s race begins at 11 a.m. while the gun for the men’s race will go off at 11:30 a.m.
Teams from Eastern Conn., UMass-Dartmouth, MIT, UMass-Lowell, Clark, Bay Path College, Norwich, AIC, Fitchburg State, and Assumption are expected to compete.
Thomas is also expecting a good turnout of Owl alums, including All-Americas Josh Ferenc, Dave Bridgewater and Jen Adams. Adams is currently coaching at Mount Holyoke College while Ferenc is headed to Switzerland next week for the World Marathon Mountain Championship.
A friendly rivalry has developed over the years between present and past Owls. Thomas has wavered in his predication. “Early in the summer I would have gone with the alums, but I think the current group might give them a run for their money. They’re looking good. Tom Paquette is looking better and better with each day.”
Ferenc says “There’s no way that will happen.”
Junior Maggie Fitter will be the leader of the pack for the KSC women’s team.
“I think everyone’s looking forward to the race on Saturday,” said Thomas. “It’s been a long preseason, and they want to race against some quality competition.”