November 9, 2012

Men's Cross Country Competes at NCAA Northeast Regional

Madison, C.T. – Brown University's cross country program faced a large field of nearly 40 teams from the region today at the NCAA Division 1 Northeast Championships. Seven individuals from each the men's and the women's teams competed at Hammonassett State Park earlier today.

On the 10-kilometer course, Brown's men raced to 11th place overall (405). Conor Grogan (Hudson, MA) led the Bears, finishing in 31st place with a time of 31:09. Grogan was also the top finisher for Brown at the Heptagonal Championships two weeks ago, claiming 31st at the League meet as well.

"For the men, today was a step in the right direction," said Interim Director of Track & Field Tim Springfield.  "It's not at all where we want to be, but given our struggles this season, it was a solid way to finish the year.  I was proud of the efforts, and I thought Conor Grogan ran his best race of the year, just missing All-Region honors."

Junior Brendan Boyle and senior Austin Snyder filled in the second and third ranks for the team, claiming 79th (32:04) and 81st (32:05) places respectively. Rounding out the scorers were Jeff Bush (Westborough, MA) and Kevin Cooper (Waterford, IRL).

Leading the women's team across the 6k course was Margaret Connelly (Chicago, IL) who placed 7th overall and earned a bid to the NCAA Championships. She completed the course in a personal record time of 20:11 and was the second finisher from the Ivy League.

"The whole team is behind Margaret and looking forward to watching her represent Brown at the National meet," said women's cross country coach Mitchell Baker.

Also earning All-Regional honors was junior Heidi Caldwell (Hanover, NH) who finished in 21st place. Both Caldwell and Connelly earned All-Regional honors during the 2011 Regional meet as well. Senior captain Olivia Mickle (Sacramento, CA) broke the 21-minute mark on the day and raced to 40th place.

"Margaret ran a tremendous race," added Springfield.  "She put herself in the lead pack and fought very hard to hold her position and earn a trip to nationals.  Just a great effort." 

Overall Brown's women came in 8th as a team with a combined 223 points, ahead of Columbia (226) and Dartmouth (234) and just a place behind Yale (215). Cornell was the top Ivy team, snagging third (118). The women improved from an 11th place finish last year at the Regional.

"I felt like it was a good overall team race, but the only one firing on all cylinders was Margaret, so it meant that we were a little low from what I thought we could've placed," added Baker. "But it's a nice step from a year ago when we were out of the top ten and definitely a good year of progress. It really could've been any of our top 3 which speaks to our program that we have multiple athletes that can compete at that level, and we can continue moving up in the regional and national rank every year."

Connelly will represent Brown at the National meet on November 17th at Louisville to conclude the cross country season. The official kick-off to the track season comes on December 1st at Brown's Alden Invitational at home. The full squad will return in full after winter break for the bulk of the indoor track season.