Men post best NE-10 finish since 2008, Saint Michael's hosts first NE-10 cross country championship in six years

Men post best NE-10 finish since 2008, Saint Michael's hosts first NE-10 cross country championship in six years

COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College men's and women's cross country squads hosted the Northeast-10 Conference Championship for the first time in six years on Sunday, when the Purple Knight men turned in their best showing since 2008, taking 10th among 15 schools with 296 points. The Saint Michael's women were 15th at 347.

With the Purple and Gold hosting the NE-10 Championship for the seventh time, the nationally-ranked American International College men and Stonehill College women won the team crowns. AIC's men, who claimed 48 points, were 24th in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll, while Stonehill's women sat 16th. The Skyhawks scored 23 points, winning by 93, en route to their seventh consecutive league title.

During the men's 8K, Saint Michael's finished one slot higher than the conference coaches predicted in the pre-championship poll, as the team's top two runners were separated by one tenth of a second in a photo finish. Juniors Ross Henry (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston) and Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) both clocked in personal records for the second straight week, with La Liberte finishing 50th at 27:02.6 to edge out Henry, who was 51st in 27:02.7. The times were the best at an NE-10 meet by a Purple Knight since Thomas Lichtenberger's '07 26:56 finish in 2006.

First-year David Baird (Higganum, Conn./Haddam-Killingworth) placed 74th in a PR of 27:39, while classmate Matthew Logue (Watertown, Conn./The Gunnery) and sophomore Mike Boyd (Islip, N.Y./Islip) also crossed the finish line with career-low times, at 28:19 and 28:25, respectively, to round out their team's top five. First-year Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park) had another PR, finishing just one second shy of Boyd at 28:26.

Junior Molly Roush (Rouses Point, N.Y./Northeastern Clinton Central School) paced the Purple Knight women during the 6K race in 48th place at 24:43, followed by first-year Emily Calder (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) nabbing 63rd with a time of 25:24. Senior Brianna McKinley (Moultonborough, N.H./Moultonborough Academy) was 86th at 26:03, the second-best 6K time of her four-year career.

Sophomore Roxy Withers (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) clocked in at 26:38 during her first NE-10 Championship, and first-year Ellen Emers (East Hardwick, Vt./Hazen Union) completed her team's top five with a time of 26:43, trimming nine seconds off of her prior 6K PR. Junior Alison Bourgeois' (Georgia, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans) showing of 26:56 was her best in a race of this length since 2013.

The Purple Knight squads complete their regular-season slates on Nov. 8 with the NCAA East Regional Championship at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds in Contoocook, N.H. The women's 6K race begins at 11 a.m., followed by the men's 10K trek at 12:15 p.m.