WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Saint Anselm men's and women's cross country teams will participate in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship this Sunday, Oct. 22 – the women's race will begin at 11 a.m. with the men's race to follow at 12 p.m. on the grounds of Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass.
The Saint Anselm men's program will look to win its first-ever conference title in the 37th running of the NE10 Championship. The best finish for the Hawks came in 1993, finishing as the runner-up to seven-time champion Bentley with then-senior David Brosnan '94 leading the field.
On the women's side, the Hawks have been runner-up on six separate occasions and have not had an individual champion. Erin Thorpe '04 placed second overall for Saint Anselm in 2000 and Caitlin Lenehan '04 was the race's overall runner-up in 2002.
In the NE10 Pre-Championship Polls released on Thursday, the Saint Anselm women's team was projected to finish 11th out of 15 teams with the men's squad forecasted to post a 12th place finish. Interim Head Coach Brian Stankiewicz '17 will look to eclipse the final rankings proposed by the league's coaches on Sunday.
The first-year coach has seen strong performances from both squads as the men's team opened the season with a fifth place finish at the Shacklette Invitational on Sept. 2. The very next week, the Hawks captured fourth place at the Smith Invitational before placing 14th in a strong field at the Division II/III Challenge on Sept. 16.
Freshman Ryan Sullivan has led Saint Anselm in each race, turning in a season-low 8K time of 28:05 at the Shacklette Invitational. Stankiewicz will look to Sullivan, freshman Jordan Cook and sophomore Anthony Galasso heading into Sunday's action with the hope of placing within the top-10 teams.
"Our team has been led by freshmen all year and I am excited to see what we will be able to do on Sunday," remarked Stankiewicz. "All of the freshmen have adjusted from 5K to 8K racing very well and have improved steadily. We must continue racing as a team in order to meet our preseason goals, competing against very tough opponents on Sunday."
Senior Shannon Conley, who ran a personal best time at the James Earley Invitational on Oct. 7, will look to lead the Hawks for the fourth-straight race in 2017. Joined by classmates Kelsie Nern and Sarah Panteleos, of whom the latter also set a personal record at the Earley Invitational, the senior leadership and experience will guide the Hawks on Sunday.
"Conley, Nern and Panteleos have had stellar senior seasons for our team and, alongside Liberty Gendron and Anna Barrell, we think that finishing within the top-10 of the conference is an attainable goal. If we continue to run well as a unit as we have all year, we will definitely accomplish our goals."