BOSTON, Mass. – Shannon Hickey and Jennifer Hahne both earned All-New England honors as the Sacred Heart women's cross country team ran to a 12th place finish in a 39 team field at the New England Championships held at Franklin Park on Saturday.
SHU accumulated 317 points to edge out UMass Amherst by one point, and defeated the two other Northeast Conference teams at the event by more than 300 points, as Bryant and Central Connecticut finished with 619 and 658, respectively. The Pioneers also placed fifth in the JV event, and between the two races, had 11 women break 20 minutes.
"Our women did not get out well in the race, compared to previous years, and it cost us a little bit," said Head Coach Christian Morrison. "The New England's race is so crowded that a fast start is essential if a team is going to place in the top 5 or 10. Other than our poor starting position, I thought the group raced really well and made the best of a tough situation.
Hickey and Hahne crossed back-to back in 28th and 29th place to pace SHU in the field of 263. The two finished .35 seconds apart in 18:22.96 and 18:23.31, as they both improved on 2014 finishes by at least 27 spots.
"Shannon and Jen started off in 70th to 80th place, roughly, and somehow managed to pick their way through the crowd to place in the top 30," added Morrison. "That's not easy to do, and they deserve a lot of credit for maintaining their focus and battling until the very end. They didn't crack the top 30 until just before the finish line, but they got there because they never gave up."
Alexandra Kaeslin and Kelly Quinn both earned top 90 finishes. Kaeslin broke the 19-minute mark on the 5k course, improving on a 110th place finish from last year as she finished 73rd with a time of 18:51.15. After placing 14th in the JV race in 2014, Quinn was the 87th runner to cross after equaling her person best of 19:00.69.
Emma Cary was the first NEC freshman to finish the event, as she crossed in 19:10.58 for 100th place. Two spots behind her was Meghan Hutch, who matched a personal best 19:11.35 to improve on her 2014 finish by 35 spots.
Molly Barker rounded out Pioneers in the field with a 144th place finish after crossing in 19:31.18. She finished the JV race in 104th last season.
Sacred Heart runs again next Saturday at 49th Annual UAlbany Cross Country Invitational.
Women's Sub-Varsity (JV) Results and Notes
6) Kate Svensen, 19:00.14 (personal best, last year placed 24th in the JV race in 19:12.52)
15) Cynthia Gray, 19:13.02 (personal best, last year placed 43rd in the JV race in 19:29.86)
50) Sarah Bent, 19:55.93 (last year placed 225th in the JV race in 21:48.86)
56) Christina Treyz, 19:59.46
63) Trista Leo, 20:04.24