CONTOOCOOK, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College men's cross country team turned in its best NCAA East Regional Championship finish in four years on Sunday at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds, closing its 2015 season by taking 13th out of 30 institutions. The Purple Knight women were 23rd among 30.
During the men's 10K race, Saint Michael's totaled 369 points as a team, with its 13th-place showing its best at the meet since tying for 12th in 2011. The performance was the Purple Knights' second-best since 2006, and was also its highest finish in a regional championship not run in Boston's Franklin Park since a 12th-place showing at the 2002 meet in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. With 45 points, American International College won the championship. The Yellow Jackets are 19th in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) national poll.
Junior Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) posted a 10K PR of 33:30.0 while taking 52nd out of 189 harriers, his best finish in three career regional meets. The placement was the second-best by a Purple Knight since Thomas Lichtenberger '07 was 15th in 2006. La Liberte came within 1:43 of Drew Best's '04 12-year-old 10K school record.
Four teammates were competing in their initial East Regional, including junior Ross Henry (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Kenston), who took 65th at 34:00.2 to conclude his first season of college running. First-year David Baird (Higganum, Conn./Haddam-Killingworth) was one spot behind, crossing the finish line in 34:03.8.
First-year Liam Schmelzle (Saint Louis Park, Minn./Saint Louis Park) claimed 92nd at 35:08.9, and sophomore Mike Boyd (Islip, N.Y./Islip) took 106th with a time of 35:41.9 during his second career regional. First-year Matthew Logue (Watertown, Conn./The Gunnery) was just one spot behind, at 35:43.0, and junior Cody Putnam (Alburgh, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans) nabbed 118th during his second career East Regional thanks to completing the course in 36:05.5.
With 543 points, the Saint Michael's women placed 23rd, but they trailed 22nd-place Pace University by just 11 after falling 27 points short of the Setters at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship two weeks ago. The Purple Knights also bested 24th-place The College of Saint Rose by 22 points after finishing 65 points shy of the Golden Knights at NE-10s. No. 16 Stonehill College won the meet with 48 points.
Junior Molly Roush (Rouses Point, N.Y./Northeastern Clinton Central School) and first-year Emily Calder (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton) both ended up with rounded times of 24:25.7 in the 6K for the Purple Knights, but Calder nabbed 85th place among 186 to edge out Roush, who was 86th in her second career regional. It was a homecoming for Calder - Contoocook is a village within her hometown of Hopkinton - on a day during which she set a 6K personal record.
Senior Brianna McKinley (Moultonborough, N.H./Moultonborough Academy) placed 113th in 25:09.6, capping her career with a PR during her third regional championship. Sophomore Roxy Withers (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) finished off her first year on the team in 132nd at 25:33.9, and first-year Ellen Emers (East Hardwick, Vt./Hazen Union) was three spots behind in 25:35.7. Both set PRs during the meet.
Junior Alison Bourgeois (Georgia, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans) placed 153rd in 26:20.5 for her best 6K time since her most recent East Regional meet, as a first-year in 2013, and first-year Kristen Stec (Carmel, N.Y./Carmel) was 162nd in 26:41.9, another PR for a Purple Knight.