April 24, 2018
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Maine college cross country runners move into championship kick

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff

College cross country conference championship meets were held across the region last weekend, with the Husson University women’s team claiming its second straight North Atlantic Conference title.

The University of Maine turned in solid performances at the America East championships, while the University of Southern Maine took runner-up honors in the Little East Conference.

At Durham, N.H., Kelton Cullenberg ran to a third-place overall finish to head the UMaine men’s contingent at the America East Championships.

The junior from Chesterville covered the University of New Hampshire’s 8K course in 25 minutes, 34.79 seconds to help the Black Bears scratch out a fifth-place finish.

Cullenberg had a good run after setting a personal best of 25:06.15 three weeks earlier at the New England Open Championships.

“He started to show it outdoors last year, but really has made the transition this fall,” said UMaine coach Mark Lech. “He’s been racing better, placing in meets better and performing better timewise, too.”

Eric Speakman of league titlist Stony Brook was the individual champ in 25:11.43. UNH and the University of Maryland Baltimore County were second and third, respectively, in the team scoring.

UMaine’s other scorers were No. 21 Ryan Hardiman (26:19.28), No. 29 Taylor Phillips (26:37.458), No. 37 Alexander Moser (26:53.32) of York Harbor and No. 42 Michael Fitzpatrick (26:59.83).

The Black Bear women finished sixth as runners turned in good times, but were not in position to contend without standout Corey Conner.

The senior from West Townsend, Mass., has been sidelined for a month with a foot injury.

Conner was third in the 2010 AE cross country meet and won the New England title in 2009. She had won each of the three meets she ran this fall.

“The last four years, she really hasn’t ever had any issues at all like this where she’s had to sit out,” Lech said. “Hopefully, I’ll get her back for the NCAA qualifying meet (on Nov. 9).”

Carolyn Stocker, a sophomore from Westfield, Mass., assumed the pacesetter role for UMaine and ran the 5K in 17:35.26, good for 16th place overall.

The Bears’ other four scorers included No. 28 Annabelle Wilson (18:13.07), No. 37 Rachel Wilkinson (18:26.63) of South Portland, No. 39 Kourtney Bonsey (18:29.73) of Falmouth and No. 51 Kate Spies of Topsham (18:52.75).

“The ladies did pretty well,” Lech said. “There was [only] one that didn’t have a personal best for the whole year.”

Palmer paces Husson women

Alecia Palmer claimed individual honors Saturday to spearhead Husson University of Bangor to the NAC crown at Henniker, N.H. The sophomore from Presque Isle covered the 5 kilometers in 19:32, for coach Chris Wood’s squad.

Palmer was named the NAC Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Three other Eagles finished among the top eight overall. They were junior Molly Frankinburger of Lebanon, Conn. (5th, 20:34), freshman Kateri Jeffrey of South Portland (6th, 20:36) and senior Theresa Martin of Westford, Vt. (eighth, 20:44). Sophomore Kristi Bryer of Howland was Husson’s fifth runner in 18th place (21:40).

The Eagles took a 10-point victory over Colby-Sawyer College, while the University of Maine-Farmington was third (102). Senior Salena Sykes placed 12th to pace the Beavers.

The Husson men wound up eighth in the NAC men’s meet. Jacob Michaud’s 26th-place finish led the way for the Eagles.

USM teams LEC runners-up

At North Dartmouth, Mass., Molly Carl claimed top individual honors to help the USM women take second place in the LEC Championship.

The senior from York rambled over the 5K course in 18:24.46, the ninth-fastest time in the history of the league title meet.

The Huskies finished five points behind team champion Keene State. Freshman Hanna Damron of Windham helped the USM effort, taking fifth place in 19:04.94. She joined Carl in earning All-Little East accolades.

Katherine Williams (9th), Caitlin Miller (11th) and Brooke Madden of Dedham (12th) rounded out USM’s scorers.

The USM men also were LEC runners-up, also behind Keene State. Junior Julian Gazzelloni of Windham finished second in the 62-man field in 25:45.46, less than eight seconds behind winner Conor McCloskey of Rhode Island College.

Brian Beede of Augusta (10th), Ben Manning (12th), River Plouffe Vogel of Blue HIll (16th) and Colton Tinker of Buxton (18th) were the other contributors for the Huskies.

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