1985 KSC Men's X-C Team Holds 25th Reunion
by Stuart Kaufman
They might have been a few years older and a few pounds heavier, but their smiles were just as wide and their sense of accomplishment just as strong as it was 25 years ago, when they defied the odds by finishing third at the NCAA Division II cross-country championships in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Members of the 1985 Keene State men's cross country team held a runners' reunion at the KSC Invitational on Labor Day weekend. They once again proudly held their NCAA trophy and reminisced about a team that wouldn't be denied its place in Keene State athletic history.
"It's exciting to see some of these guys again," said Scott Clark '88, a Gilmanton native and longtime coach at Saint Bani High School. "We were all so young then, and it was an important time in our lives, both academically and athletically."
Several members of the 1985 cross-country team got together at the KSC Invitational meet in September to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their historic NCAA showing. With Coach Peter Thomas were team members Steve Fortier, Rodney Viens, Scott Clark, Mike Casner, Christian Maitner, and Tom Anderson.
The 1985 Owls will be remembered for their accomplishments on the trails and the camaraderie they forged. "That team was special, not only for our finish, but also because we were just a bunch of country boys from New Hampshire and Vermont who overcame a lot of adversity," said Alstead native Steve Fortier '86.
"We worked our tails off in practice," said Rod Viens '89, originally from Claremont and now residing in Grantham. "We had a great group of guys. Everyone got along and we pushed each other."
Losing All-American Tom Anderson '88 to a season-ending injury just brought the team that much closer. "They didn't let that deter them," said KSC coach Peter Thomas. "Everyone picked up the slack and ran even harder."
Rallying together, the Owls dug down and had impressive showings in many meets that included several Division I teams. They saved their best for last with their improbable finish at the NCAA championship. "It just proves what can happen when people are committed to one another and share the same vision of accomplishment," said Fortier.