Saint Michael's College graduate Joe Connelly '87 returns for his 16th year as the College's men's cross country head coach in 2016.
Under Connelly's guidance, the Purple and Gold placed among the top five squads at a meet 47 times in his first 15 seasons, including doing so on three occasions in each 2012, 2013 and 2015.
After winning the four-team Vermont Technical College Invitational during their second meet of 2015, the Purple Knights earned back-to-back third-place showings, as hosts of the Northeast-10 Conference Preview Meet and during the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship. With the NE-10 Championship on campus for the first time since 2009, the Purple and Gold took 10th, their best performance at the meet in seven seasons. Each of the team's top six finishers had an 8K PR. Saint Michael's then nabbed 13th among 30 schools at the NCAA East Regional Championship, its top finish there since 2011.
The Purple Knights matched their highest finish at the NE-10 Championship in six years during 2014, nabbing 11th, while their 17th-place showing out of 30 squads at the NCAA East Regional Championship was their best since 2011. Six of the team's seven competitors set 10K PRs during the regional meet. Saint Michael's was fourth at both the NE-10 Preview Meet and the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship.
Saint Michael's was second at Middlebury College's Aldrich Invitational in 2012, its best performance until winning the Vermont Technical College Invitational the following season. Connelly's team has placed in the top three at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship eight times and earned no worse than a top-eight showing at NCAA regional championships four times. During the 2003 season, Saint Michael's qualified its first runner for the NCAA Championship in program history, with Drew Best '04 competing in Cary, N.C.
Connelly, who has earned his USA Track & Field (USATF) Level 1 coaching certification, was also the head coach of the College's Nordic skiing program between 2001 and 2011.
Connelly is active in the local running community, serving as the Director of Race Operations for RunVermont, Inc., producer of the People's United Bank Vermont City Marathon, a Runner's World top 20 U.S. marathon, as well as the Race Director for the Half Marathon Unplugged and FirstRun Burlington.
A six time letter-winner at Saint Michael's in Nordic skiing and cross country, Connelly has run in 20 marathons, including 10 Boston Marathons. He has also competed in the U.S. Triathlon Series and has worked as a personal trainer for individuals who want to improve their long-distance running.
A native of Glenville, N.Y., Connelly competed in Nordic and Alpine skiing, golf and tennis at Scotia-Glenville High School. Prior to joining the coaching staff of Saint Michael's, Connelly was employed as an accountant in the long-term care and software industries.
|2003||6th||6th||First runner qualifies for NCAA Championship|
|Title:||Men's Assistant Coach|
Molly (Enman) Peters, a former All-America and three-sport standout at Middlebury College, returns for her 11th season as the head coach of the Saint Michael's College women's cross country program in 2016. She also enters her fifth campaign as the school's Nordic skiing head coach.
A young team had a pair of third-place showings in 2015, during Middlebury College's Aldrich Invitational and the eight-team Vermont Intercollegiate Championship. The Purple Knights hosted the Northeast-10 Conference Championship for the first time since 2009 before five of the squad's top seven at the NCAA East Regional Championship set 6K PRs.
Peters' Purple Knights turned in the most successful season in program annals in 2014 by qualifying as a team for the NCAA Championship for the first time. The historic campaign included a third-place finish at the NCAA East Regional Championship, the highest ever at a regional meet for Saint Michael's, and a second consecutive runner-up placement at the NE-10 Championship. The Purple Knights had last been among the top two at back-to-back league championships in 1985 and 1986, as members of the Mideast Collegiate Conference. Four seniors finished among the top 21 to claim all-league finishes, as three Purple Knights drew all-conference first team finishes for the first time since 1986. The Purple Knights' three all-conference first teamers matched the program's total from the previous 13 NE-10 Championships. During the NCAA regional meet, three Purple and Gold harriers were among the top 20, with each claiming U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Region honors. Peters, whose team also won the NE-10 Preview Meet and finished second at the Aldrich Invitational and Vermont Intercollegiate Championship, concluded the school year by being named Purple Knight Coach of the Year for the second time.
Peters' Purple Knights put together one of the best seasons in program history during the fall of 2013. Their second-place showing at the NE-10 Championship was their best in 27 years as a member of the league, and stood as the Purple and Gold's best conference championship performance since winning the Mideast Collegiate Conference in 1986. At the NCAA East Regional Championship, Saint Michael's claimed fourth place and trailed the final NCAA Championship qualifier by just eight points. Chloe Boutelle '15 placed seventh at the regional meet, becoming the first Purple Knight female to qualify for an NCAA Championship. She ultimately took 86th among 244 runners on Nov. 23. Earlier in the season, the Purple Knights also won a pair of meets, earning their first Vermont Intercollegiate Championship crown on Sept. 28 before topping the field at the Green Mountain College Invitational on Oct. 19.
The fall of 2012 was capped by the Purple and Gold placing 10th at the 28-team NCAA East Regional Championship, the squad's best showing at regionals since 2007. Peters' Purple Knights were among the top three teams at four meets during the season, including runner-up finishes at Middlebury College's Aldrich Invitational and the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship.
In 2011, the Purple Knights grabbed a third-place finish at the NE-10 Championship after league coaches predicted a 13th-place showing for the team. The team's third-place showing at the league meet tied the school record at that point, and was the program's best since 1993. Peters was later named Purple Knight Coach of the Year.
During her first two seasons, Peters guided the Purple Knights to eighth-place finishes at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, in 2006 and 2007. In 2008, the program had its first-ever individual champion at the Vermont Intercollegiate Championship, a field that includes elite programs such as the University of Vermont and Middlebury, a feat repeated in 2011. Peters' 2010 and 2011 squads placed second at the state meet.
Peters was an assistant coach at Middlebury from 1997 to 2001 for cross country and track & field, training Division III All-America and national champion cross country runners. On the track, Peters was the distance events coach. In 2002, she headed the men's and women's cross country programs at Division III University of Redlands (Calif.) before returning east to coach at Burlington High School from 2003 to 2008. Peters served as a cross country assistant coach while working with the sprinters and hurdlers on the track & field squads.
In the winter of 2012-13, Peters took the helm of the Saint Michael's Nordic skiing team. The Purple Knights combined with the Alpine squad to take 10th at five meets, including the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) Championship. Purple Knights were among the top 50 in an event nine times during the season. Saint Michael's skiers broke into the top 50 on five more occasions during the winter of 2013-14.
During the winter of 2014-15, Nordic skiing joined with Alpine to post four consecutive ninth-place finishes to conclude the regular season, their longest such run since 2008-09. The teams' ninth-place showing at the EISA Championship was their highest since 2006-07. Fifteen Purple Knights cracked the top 50 in individual races during the season.
In 2015-16, the skiing teams ran their streak of top-nine finishes to 10 carnivals, including their first eighth-place showing since 1999, at the University of Vermont Carnival. Emma Barnes '18 became the first Purple Knight Nordic skier in nine years to advance to heats during a sprint event - in the Bates College Carnival 1.5K classic sprint - and is believed to be the first female ever to do so. Barnes had four top-35 finishes during the season, as Purple Knights claimed top-50 performances 28 times in individual races, including on 17 occasions among the men.
Since 2009, Peters has coached youths between the ages of 5 and 13 through the Bill Koch Youth Ski League. Peters has also been a Nordic ski instructor and events coordinator since 2003 at the Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski and Bike Center on family land in Huntington. A former three-sport standout at nearby Middlebury College, Peters trained after graduation in Park City, Utah, with aspirations of qualifying for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Nordic skiing.
A 1997 graduate of Middlebury, Peters earned a degree in biology while competing in cross country, Nordic skiing and outdoor track & field. She qualified for the NCAA Division III Championship in cross country as a senior; competed in three NCAA skiing championships, earning an All-America finish her senior year; and took All-America honors in the 1,500-meter run in outdoor track & field as a senior, placing sixth in the event at the NCAA Championship.
|2013||2nd||4th||First runner qualifies for NCAA Championship|
|2014||2nd||3rd||First team qualification for NCAA Championship|