Molly (Enman) Peters, a former All-America and three-sport standout at Middlebury College, returns for her 12th season as the head coach of the Saint Michael's College women's cross country program in 2017. She also enters her sixth campaign as the school's Nordic skiing head coach.
The 2016 squad kicked off the season with a victory among four schools at the Shacklette Invitational and was third during the eight-team Vermont Intercollegiate Championship. After taking 12th during the Northeast-10 Conference Championship, the Purple Knights improved six spots over its prior year's finish at the NCAA East Regional Championship, aided by three runners setting 6K PRs.
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 NE-10 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 were among the top nine at every regular-season meet, 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.
The skiing teams ran their streak of top-nine finishes to 16 carnivals, at one point taking seventh at three consecutive meets. It was believed to be the first time the Purple Knights finished as high as seventh even once since Saint Michael's joined the highest level of the EISA in 1993-94. During the season, Nordic skiers claimed top-50 performances 13 times in individual races.
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|