Boutelle qualifies for NCAA Championship, Purple Knight women claim fourth at regionals

BOSTON, Mass. - Saint Michael's College women's cross country junior Chloe Boutelle (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) made history on Sunday, becoming the first Purple Knight female to qualify for the NCAA Championship after placing seventh during the NCAA East Regional Championship in Franklin Park. The Purple Knight women took fourth place among 31 schools, claiming the best finish in program history while narrowly missing their first team bid to the national meet, and the men were 18th out of 29 institutions.

Thanks to a time of 22:48 during the 181-runner 6K, Boutelle joined Drew Best '04 as the only runners in Saint Michael's history to qualify for NCAAs. Best represented the men in Cary, N.C., as a senior in 2003, while Boutelle will represent the Purple and Gold women on the other coast in Spokane, Wash., on Nov. 23 at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex.

The Purple Knight women accumulated 157 points, trailing only Stonehill College (57), Bentley University (105) and Merrimack College (149). The top three teams at the region all qualify for the NCAA Championship, with Saint Michael's just shy of making its debut as a team at the national meet. The top three runners whose teams didn't qualify for the NCAA Championship each earned a spot at NCAAs, with Boutelle trailing only one runner apiece from Adelphi University and American International College in the bid to make nationals. Her closest competition for that third and final position was a runner from the New York Institute of Technology, who clocked in at 23:04, 16 seconds behind Boutelle.

The next three runners for Saint Michael's, all juniors, also cracked the top 35. Lindy Heffernan (Sutton Mills, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) placed 15th in 23:14, Allie Gratton (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) took 34th in 23:56.2, and Colleen Gilliatt (Grantham, N.H./Lebanon) placed 35th in 23:56.8. During her first NCAA East Regional Championship, senior Daniela Czark (New York, N.Y./The Elan School) took 67th in 24:53, closing out a career that saw her improve from consistently finishing ninth and 10th among Purple Knights as a junior to placing fifth at all seven meets in 2013.

First-year Alison Bourgeois (Georgia, Vt./BFA-Saint Albans) placed 81st in 25:16, while senior Elena Bilodeau (Waterbury, Vt./Harwood Union) also made her regional meet debut, finishing 89th in 25:26 after beginning the season 10th on the team at two of the first three races.

On the men's side, Saint Michael's totaled 508 points to edge 19th-place University of New Haven, which had finished ahead of the Purple Knights two weeks ago at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship. Just as it did during the league meet, the Purple and Gold also bested league counterparts Le Moyne College, Saint Anselm College and Southern New Hampshire University, coming within 11 points of 17th-place Felician (N.J.) College. Stonehill (78) won the event.

Junior Peter McKenna (Cohasset, Mass./Brooks School) claimed 42nd place to pace the squad, easily eclipsing his PR during the 185-runner 10K in 33:31. Classmate Alex Gilgore (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville Senior) placed 86th in 34:53, and senior Dana Glubiak (Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Gilmour Academy) closed his career by taking 115th at 35:52.

The next three Purple Knights were all competing in their first NCAA East Regional Championship. First-year Torin La Liberte (Madison, N.H./Kennett) was 122nd in 35:58, sophomore Jake Jarecki (Monroe, Conn./Saint Joseph) took 143rd in 37:08, and classmate Aaron Gentile (Holliston, Mass./Holliston) was 158th at 38:00. Senior Steve Weng (Princeton, N.J./West Windsor-Plainsboro North) completed his final college race in 38:42 to claim 162nd.