COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's and men's cross country teams were picked 12th and 14th, respectively, in the Northeast-10 Conference's pre-championship poll, which was released by the league office on Friday and chosen by the member institutions' head coaches. This year's NE10 Championship is on Sunday at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds in Contoocook, N.H., with the men's race beginning at 11 a.m. and women starting at 12:15 p.m.
The women, under 13th-year head coach Molly Peters, received 54 points to edge 13th-place University of New Haven by five points. The Purple Knights trailed host Franklin Pierce University by 22 points in the rankings despite besting the Ravens by 23 points on Oct. 20 at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds during the Bruce Kirsh Cross Country Cup. Saint Michael's was within eight points of The College of Saint Rose in that same race but finished four positions behind the eighth-ranked Golden Knights in the poll. Stonehill College, ranked second in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) East Region poll, was chosen to win its 10th straight NE10 meet, with 196 points.
Saint Michael's claimed a pair of top-three finishes this fall, taking second at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship and third during Middlebury College's Aldrich Invitational. The Purple Knights were ninth among 36 squads at the James Earley Invitational on Oct. 6. Junior Abby French (Nashua, N.H./Academy of Notre Dame) has been in the top nine at all five meets this season, while nine others have occupied scoring positions for the Purple Knights. Senior Emily Calder (Hopkinton, N.H./Hopkinton), who will be running close to home on Sunday, has finished second on the team to French once and third during the other four races. Classmate Kara Hettinger (Lindenhurst, Ill./Saint Joseph Catholic Academy), sophomore Molly Nemes (Plymouth, Mass./Sturgis Charter Public School) and first-years Alexus Day (Belmont, N.H./Belmont) and Hannah Muse (Yarmouth, Mass./Nauset Regional) have all scored four times, and junior Emma Koukos (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough) has been among the Purple Knights' top three at her last three races.
The men, under 18th-year head coach Joe Connelly '87, received 37 points toward the poll, edging Saint Rose by four points and trailing Pace University by one. The Purple Knights were 15 points shy of New Haven after trailing the Chargers by only one point at the Kirsh Cup. Stonehill, which is ranked 23rd in the latest USTFCCCA national poll, accumulated 188 points while being picked to win its 10th straight NE10 meet.
The Purple and Gold men placed second at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship for their top finish this fall, but also claimed fourth at the Aldrich Invitational and 13th out of 36 schools at the Earley Invitational. Junior Kevin Jeter (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) has been among the squad's top two finishers at all five meets, including pacing the Purple Knights three times. Senior Nathan Terry (Reading, Mass./Tilton School) and first-years John Cunningham (Springfield, N.H./Kearsarge Regional) and James Downs (Winchester, Mass./Winchester) have each scored in all five races, with Terry the fastest Saint Michael's harrier at the Kirsh Cup. Senior David Baird (Higganum, Conn./Haddam-Killingworth) and first-years Jake Donnelly (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) and Nate Hartley (Hadley, N.Y./Hadley-Luzerne) have also all been regulars in their team's top seven.