Under the direction of long-time coach Peter Thomas, a former Owl runner, Keene State College is recognized for producing some of the top men’s and women’s cross country and track athletes at the league, regional, and national level.
Now in his 29th season, Thomas, the recipient of multiple coach-of-the-year honors at both the Division II and III level, including LEC men's and women's cross country coach of the year awards in 2010, is looking forward to another productive year on the trails and track for his highly-successful program that has developed a combined 48 cross country and 105 track All-Americas, including one cross country and 18 track national champions.
In 2010, the KSC men’s cross country team placed third at the New England regional meet and earned its first NCAA berth since 2005. He has led the Owl men's team to a combined 16 NCAA championship berths, including nine consecutive trips (1997-2005) as a Division III member. His 1999 and 2000 teams were national runner-ups. KSC has also captured 10 Little East titles and four (1999-2002) New England regional crowns.
Thomas led the KSC women’s cross country team to its 11th consecutive LEC championship last fall with Paige Mills earning her second consecutive All-America honors. The Owls finished fifth regionally and made their inaugural NCAA appearance in 2006.
Last fall, KSC produced the LEC male (Kevin Hoyt) and female (Mills) runner of the year.
Having earned a reputation as one of the top cross country coaches in Division III, Coach Thomas has now set his sights on developing a well-rounded and competitive track and field program at Keene State. He took a major step in that direction in 2002-03 by directing Mary Proulx and Mark Miller to their fifth and fourth national championships, respectively. The Keene State women have had a pair of fourth place finishes at the NCAA championship, indoors in 2006 and outdoors in 2008.
Keene State has continued to add to its list of All-America in recent years. Last Spring junior Glenn Guilmette earend his second straight All-America honor in the javelin. In 2009, Keene State produced three track All-Americas, including Bryan Kolacz, the national champion in the hammer throw. Last season, the Owls produced five All-Americas with Kolacz finishing sixth and third respectively in the weight throw and hammer, Allison Chamberlain raced to second place finish in the 800, and Peter Najem doubled up in the 800 (7th) and 1,500 (8th).
Last season, Janel Haggerty was named the LEC women's field athlete of the year while Guilmette won the men's honor duirng the outdoor season.
Needless to say, Coach Thomas, a New Ipswich, N.H., native has high hopes for both programs this year.