Skip Navigation

KSC Sending Six Athletes to NCAA Division III Track and Field Championships

Senior Jennifer Adams will becompeting in the 5K and 10K races at the NCAA Championships
Senior Jennifer Adams will becompeting in the 5K and 10K races at the NCAA Championships

KEENE, N.H. 5/20/08 - When Keene State athletes arrive at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships that get underway Thursday at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh they will find the campus to be a beehive of athletic activity.

Not only is UW-Oshkosh hosting the finals of the national men’s and women’s outdoor track and field championships at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium, but they are also hosting the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium in nearby Grand Chute.

UW-Oshkosh hosted both events last year to become the first school to host two different NCAA Division III Championships on the same weekend and just the third to host two different NCAA Division III Championships during the same academic year.

Longtime Keene State Coach Peter Thomas will be busy as well, monitoring the efforts of a program-high six athletes who have qualified for the outdoor national meet.

“Between qualifying races and finals and several field events, I’ll be all over the place,” said Thomas. “But I enjoy all of the excitement.”

Two Owls, Jennifer Adams (5K and 10K) and Crystal Blamy (high jump), posted automatic qualifying marks in their respective events, while the rest of the KSC competitors - Samantha Hirsh (javelin), Frank Radlof (long jump), Craig MacPherson (1,500), and Bryan Kolacz (hammer) - were high enough on the provisional list to earn a trip to the championships.

The championships have special significance for both Adams and Blamy, who will be competing in their final collegiate events and looking to duplicate their indoor national championship performances.

Adams, who has earned a combined eight All-America honors in cross country and track, is just rounding back into form after fighting off a bout of pneumonia and a nagging pulled thigh muscle. The senior from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who will once again double up by running both the 5K and 10K races, says she is feeling a strain, mentally and physically. “The hardest thing is getting focused for both races,” she said. “Mentally it’s tough for me right now because I’m tired at the end of the season. But I have two more races, and I want do well and go out with two All-Americas.”

Adams has posted the fastest time in the 5K (16:39.47) and the second best in the 10K (35:03.33) this season. “Winning indoors (5K) gives her confidence, but it also adds a little pressure,” said Thomas. “She wants to live up to that again.”

Blamy couldn’t be headed to the NCAAs at a better time. The senior from Walpole, N.H., jumped a Division III best and school record 5’-09.25” at last weekend’s ECAC Division III Championships.

“I didn’t think I would be able to do it,” said Blamy, who spent a good portion of the outdoor season adapting to her new jumping mark. “I’m hoping for warm weather and good day.”

Blamy, a three-time indoor All-America, will be making her second trip to the outdoor championships. As a junior, she struggled in the early rounds and failed to reach the finals. “As long as I clear the bar it will be better,” she said with a smile.

Like Blamy, Hirsh had a less than memorable first trip to the spring nationals. Qualifying as a freshman in her marquee event, the Holliston, Mass., native suffered a knee injury that hampered both her track and soccer careers at KSC. “I’m very proud of the fact that I made it back,” said Hirsh, who is ranked 11th out of the 21 competitors. “When we start everyone is equal. It’s just a matter of who shows up and has the best day.”

MacPherson, a freshman, is ranked eighth in the strong 1,500-meter field. The Derry, N.H, native, who earned All-America honors with his third-place finish in the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships, says he wants to be more aggressive this time around. “Instead of playing it safe, I want to be more assertive,” he said. “It’s a high quality field. On any given day, any of the guys can make the finals and have a shot of winning it.”

Radlof (Milford, N.H.) and Kolacz, seeded 11th and 12th in the long jump and hammer throw, respectively, will be making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships. “They have to deal with being on the big stage for the first time,” said Thomas. “But I think they’re up to the challenge.”

The only freshman in the 17-member hammer throw field, Kolacz, from Brentwood, N.H., feels he has a legitimate shot at All-America. “That’s my goal,” he said. “If I can get into the finals, I like my chances.”

Thomas also like the chances of his athletes returning to Keene with a stash of All-America honors. “If everyone performs up to his or her capabilities, we’ll have a nice trip,” he said.

Related Stories

Contact Keene State College

229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435