Sports

Lowry ’12 qualifies for NCAA national championship

By
Sports Staff Writer
Sunday, November 13, 2011

The men’s and women’s cross country teams competed Saturday at the NCAA Northeast Regional championship meet in Buffalo, N.Y., with the men taking fifth in a 33-team field and the women taking 11th in a field of 36. Dan Lowry ’12 earned a slot at the NCAA national championship with his third-place finish in the region. The men scored 178 points and the women scored 241 points at the race.

Last year, the men finished eighth at the regional meet, and the women finished seventh. Syracuse won both the men’s and the women’s races with 54 and 116 points, respectively.  

“I was really happy with how we performed,” said Tim Springfield, head coach of the men’s team. “I think they showed a lot of poise and performed well.”

Lowry, who finished the 10-kilometer race in 31 minutes, 21 seconds, led the men and was followed 30 seconds later by Matt Duffy ’12, who finished 19th overall. The stiff wind throughout the race prompted Lowry and Duffy to stick with a conservative plan when the top group made an aggressive move at seven kilometers, Lowry said.  

“The last 2k, I was picking off everyone that fell off the top group,” Lowry said. “The last mile was straight into the wind, and everyone was dying, so you could see the people in front of you slowing down, so that was a motivator.”

“I thought he showed a real veteran’s degree of savvy and poise to place as high as he did,” Springfield said. “He knew when to hold himself in reserve and when to be aggressive.”

The next two runners to finish for Brown were Nathan Chellman ’12 in 32:33 and Anthony Schurz ’12 in 32:39. Lowry said he was glad the seniors finished their careers with a strong performance.  

The women were led by Heidi Caldwell ’14, who finished the 6k race in 21:14, narrowly beating Margaret Connelly ’14 by two seconds. They finished 15th and 16th respectively, just beyond the cutoff to qualify for Nationals.  

“Margaret and Heidi finally ran together for the first time during this season,” said Mitchell Baker, head coach of the women’s squad. “I don’t think Margaret had her best day, but Heidi helped pull her through.”

“I think it was exciting that Margaret and I were close to making it,” Caldwell said. “We’re only sophomores, so that speaks well for the future.”

Baker said he was pleased the team was able to maintain pack running in such a large field.

“I felt like probably for the first time this season, I was finally able to express to them — and they were finally able to hear — what I wanted them to hear about executing the race plan,” Baker said. “I felt like they did their very best to execute the race plan, so I think from that standpoint it was a big step for us as a team and bodes well for the rest of the year.”

The regional meet brought Baker’s first season at Brown to a close. He said he has focused on creating depth in the program.

“I think I learned that we have the talent to develop people and have them be competitive,” Baker said. “It’s nice to see un-mined or undeveloped talent.”

Since neither of the teams qualified for Nationals, the 2011 cross country season is over for all of the runners except Lowry. He qualified individually for NCAA Nationals, which will be held in Terre Haute, Ind., Nov. 21.  

The rest of the runners will now begin the interlude between cross country and indoor track. Baker said the women will have a couple weeks of very moderate training to ensure that they are physically and mentally prepared for indoor track.

The men will continue to train at higher intensity because they are relatively injury-free at this time. “We’re healthy and feeling and looking good, so we’re not going to have a big break,” Springfield said. “We will have a little more flexibility, though.”

“This is the first time in a while that I haven’t been ready for the season to be over,” Caldwell said. “(Baker) has a big plan, and 10 weeks isn’t enough for us to see the whole effect. “

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