COLCHESTER, Vt. - With their regular seasons complete, the Saint Michael's College men's and women's cross country teams head to the Northeast-10 Conference Championship on Sunday at Jamesville (N.Y.) Beach State Park. The women begin at 11 a.m. and the men at 12:15 p.m. Both squads are eligible to start a maximum of 14 student-athletes.
Under 19th-year head coach Joe Connelly '87, sophomore Liam Gay-Killeen (Rowley, Mass./Triton Regional) has paced the Purple Knight men during each of his three races this fall, while classmate Jake Donnelly (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) placed in his team's top three at all four meets, including taking the top spot on Oct. 12 at the UQAM Interlock Invitational. Senior Christopher Bittel (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine College Prep), sophomore Matt Gianni (Stowe, Vt./Stowe) and first-year Rolland Guay (Mooers, N.Y./Northeastern Clinton Central School) have been regular scorers for Saint Michael's, which captured its first Vermont Intercollegiate Championship on Sept. 27.
With 14th-year head coach Molly Peters at the helm, the women secured their first state crown in six years the day the men won theirs while finishing behind only two regionally-ranked squads at the seven-team Aldrich Invitational on Sept. 21 at Middlebury College. First-year Maggie Burnham (Holden, Mass./Wachusett Regional) has been the Purple Knights' top finisher at all four races, while senior Emma Koukos (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough), sophomores Ingrid Boland (Old Saybrook, Conn./Old Saybrook Senior), Hannah Muse (Yarmouth, Mass./Nauset Regional) and Rachel Smith (Old Forge, N.Y./Town of Webb) and first-year Cailey Comiskey (Swanton, Vt./Missisquoi Valley Union) have comprised the remainder of the regular scorers.
Both teams were chosen 13th out of 14 schools in the NE10 pre-championship poll, which was released on Friday. The men, who took 13th among 15 squads at last year's meet prior to Merrimack College leaving the NE10 for Division I, totaled 26 points to outdistance themselves from Pace University (17). Southern Connecticut State University (159), which is ranked 25th nationally by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), topped the rankings. On the women's side, Saint Michael's totaled 35 points to place ahead of Pace (22) after finishing 14 out of 15 at the 2018 championship. Stonehill College (169), which is second in the USTFCCCA's East Region rankings, led the NE10 poll.