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Keene State Harriers Set for LEC Championships

KEENE, N.H., 10/23/07 - Keene State men’s and women’s cross country teams will have different motivations when they step to the starting line at Saturday’s Little East Conference Championship at UMass Dartmouth.

The Owl women, who will race at 11 a.m., will be looking to capture their eighth consecutive conference championship. Meanwhile, the KSC men, scheduled to leave the line at noon, hope to start a new streak. The Owls saw their run of nine straight championships come to an end when they were nipped at the wire (34-35 points) by Southern Maine last year.

Currently ranked 32nd nationally and eighth in New England, the Keene State women appear to have little competition on Saturday. Senior Jennifer Adams, who shared the LEC individual title with Breanne Lucey last fall, should once again lead the field. The All-American from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has posted wins at the UMass Dartmouth, KSC, and Saratoga Invitationals so far this season.

“Jenn looked real strong last week at Saratoga,” said KSC Coach Peter Thomas. “She’s looking for a fast time on Saturday.”

A mild concern for Thomas is the health of his team. Several runners, including Nicole Slane, Adelle Zocher, Katelyn Carr, and Ritz Marcotte, have been battling an assortment of injuries and ailments.

Keene State and Southern Maine will once again go toe to toe for the men’s championship. The Owls, tied for sixth in the region, are looking to build on last weekend’s first-place finish at Saratoga.

“The men have been training well, and last week’s victory validated their hard work,” said Thomas.

KSC was led by freshman Craig MacPherson, who finished fifth at the race. Asked about his early season success, the Derry native said, “It’s easy. I do what Pete tells me to do, and I run fast.”

Fellow freshmen Jeff Trethewey (Merrimack, N.H.), Eric MacKnight (Newtown, Conn.), and Charlie Baldour (Newtown, Conn.), and sophomore Jared Samuel (Londonderry, N.H.) have set the pace for the Owls this season.

A young team on the rise, the Owls placed three of its top finishers to the top 10 and had all five scorers reach the finish line in a span of 30 seconds.

The Owls will have their work cut out for them against Southern Maine. The defending champion Huskies feature an impressive lead pack, which includes twins Curtis and Nick Wheeler and Chris Hopkins.

“They might have a slight advantage, but we’ll see what happens,” said Thomas. “We need some help from other teams and also have to get seven of our guys in front of four of their runners.”

KSC has a game plan for the meet. “We’re going to go out strong and keep them in sight,” said Samuel. “If they make a move, we’ll try to stay up and get between them.”

“Anytime you represent your school, there’s pride involved,” he said. “We’re aware that Southern Maine broke our string of Little East championships. “Hopefully, we can return the championship back to Keene on Saturday.”

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