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Owls Host Cross Country Invitational

October 3, 2008
Craig McPherson
Craig McPherson

KEENE, N.H., 10/2/08 - Keene State College men's and women's cross country teams will compete in their only home meet of the season when they host the 14th Annual KSC Invitational at the Owl Athletic Complex on Saturday. The men's race begins at 11 a.m., followed by the women's competition at 11:45 a.m.

Longtime Owl Coach Peter Thomas has put together a small, but competitive field to challenge his runners. "It's a pretty good field," he said. "Some teams are holding back runners to prepare for next week's New England Championships, but it should be a competitive race."

Teams from Fitchburg State, UMass Lowell, Wheaton, and Springfield will be in Saturday's field. The UMass Lowell men, coached by former Owl Gary Gardner, are ranked ninth nationally and first in the East in the latest Division II polls, while the Springfield women edged the Owls two weeks ago at the UMass- Dartmouth Invitational.

With both Jennifer Adams from KSC and Mark Garcia of UMass-Lowell graduated, the race will have new individual champions.

Currently ranked 16th nationally and third in New England, the KSC men will be led by the sophomore foursome of Craig McPherson (Derry, N.H.), Brandon Schillimat (Nelson, N.H.), Timothy Pipp (New Ipswich, N.H.) and Jeff Trethewey (Merrimack, N.H.). Senior Patrick Davis (North Kingstown, R.I.), a favored front runner, will sit out the race with an injury.

After capturing the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational championship two weeks ago, the Owls finished a disappointing fourth at last week's Williams meet.

"We took a bit of a hit at Williams last week," said McPherson. "Ultimately, that could be a silver-lining for us. Rather than being complacent the next few weeks and thinking we're one of the beast teams in the region, we need to prove it."

A young KSC women's team, eighth in this week's New England poll, features a lead pack that includes junior Rita Marcotte (Heath, Mass.), sophomore Amy Knoblock (Plymouth, Mass.), and freshmen Heather Pierce (Buckland, Mass.), Natalie Ferro (Dennis, Mass.), and Paige Mills (Keene, N.H.).

The KSC women finished fifth last week at the Williams Invitational. Both Keene State teams have done well on their home turf. The Owl men have won nine out of the last 10 meets. The Owl women have claimed the KSC Invitational title the past two years.