For second year in a row, Bears sweep Rothenberg

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, October 17, 2011

The cross country squads sprinted their way to first place finishes at the second annual Rothenberg Run in East Greenwich last Friday, giving them meet titles for the second straight year.

The men swept the first five individual finishes, scoring a perfect 15 points and beating Bryant and URI. The women’s pack running strategy earned them 29 points, which catapulted them to victory over URI, University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Bryant.

Mitchell Baker, head coach of the women’s squad, said the teams did not race their top runners, thereby resting those athletes for the upcoming Ivy League Heptagonal Championships Oct. 29.

“Our top-seven group didn’t race, and they did two workouts over the weekend,” said Tim Springfield, head coach of the men’s team. “I raced guys that needed competition. The guys that didn’t run needed training.”

The women were led by Elaine Kuckertz ’13, a Herald contributing writer, who finished the five-kilometer race in 18 minutes, 32 seconds and finished in third place overall. Next to finish for the women were Bree Shugarts ’13 in 18:38 and Roseanne Fleming ’12 in 18:39, fast enough for fifth and sixth place, respectively. Abigail Jones ’15 finished fifth for Bruno and eighth overall at 18:53.

“It was good to have some upperclassmen bring some depth,” Baker said. “(Jones) had a bit of a breakout race.”

Ethan Hickey ’12 led the men’s field and finished the eight-kilometer course in 26:13.

“We executed the game plan that coach wanted us to do,” Hickey said. “So I was happy with my performance.”

In an extremely close finish, Brendan Boyle ’14 earned second place overall, also with a time of 26:13. Finishing a tenth of a second later was Conor Grogan ’13, who captured third place.

“It was nice to see our top three run pretty solid,” Springfield said.

“It’s exciting to be part of a team that’s doing really well,” Hickey said. “The team’s heading in the right direction.”

The squads now have a weekend off from competition and will travel to Princeton for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships Oct. 29. The teams will continue to train intensely for the next week and then “back off” before the race, Baker said.

“Everybody we’ve got is looking good in practice and feeling good,” Springfield said. “We have two weeks to get better, so we’re moving forward.”

Only 12 competitors per team will race at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, meaning that the majority of runners have now finished their 2011 seasons. But, Baker said, the entire women’s team will continue to train until NCAA Regionals Nov. 12, where seven runners will participate.

“There is value in having depth out there everyday,” Baker said. “You never know when someone’s going to get sick or who will look good in two weeks.”


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