WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Matt McClintock of Athens has made an immediate impact as a freshman on the Purdue University men’s cross-country team.
The former Madison High School star has been the Boilermakers’ top finisher in their two early-season meets.
McClintock made his collegiate debut Aug. 31 and was the overall winner in the Crusader Open at Valparaiso University. He covered the 6,000 meters in 18 minutes, 54.8 seconds.
McClintock’s Purdue teammate and a fellow Mainer, Harlow Ladd of Oakland, wound up in 22nd place with a time of 21:00.5. He was 11th for the Boilermakers.
On Sept. 14, at the Indiana Intercollegiates, McClintock claimed fourth place in 24:58.09. Running for the first time at 8,000 meters, he was Purdue’s top finisher and the fastest among Big Ten Conference representatives at the meet.
For his efforts, McClintock was named the Big Ten Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week.
“I have a good coach in Dave Hartman and there’s a good group of upperclassmen that have really taken us freshmen under their wing and sort of guided us through and helped us get used to racing up here,” McClintock said.
While at Madison, he was a three-time Class C cross-country state champion (2009-11) and won numerous awards. He was a Footlocker All-American third-team choice as a senior and was twice named the Gatorade Circle of Champions Maine Runner of the Year.
He trained hard during the summer in anticipation of moving from 5K to 8K for cross-country races.
“I ended up just about doubling my mileage from high school coming into this year,” McClintock said, “so I’m running in the upper 70s (miles) right now instead of the lower 40s.”
McClintock chose Purdue after he was recruited by former coach Jake Stewart, who is now the head coach at Illinois.
“I came out on a visit and they offered me a sizeable athletic scholarship, so I really couldn’t pass up a free Purdue education,” said McClintock, who was Madison’s valedictorian last spring.
McClintock said the support of the veteran team members and the guidance of the coaches has been instrumental in his smooth transition to the Division I level.
“Lonnie Greene, the head coach, and coach Hartman are really both fantastic people and really care about us and are looking to make us good,” McClintock said.
Ladd, who ran at Messalonskee High School, was the 2012 state champion, indoors and outdoors, in both the mile and 2-mile runs
“It did make the transition process a little easier,” McClintock said of having his friend on the team.
Despite his early success, McClintock isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I’m just taking it all in stride, learning from every race, every workout,” he said.
Conner, Cullenberg lead UM
Corey Conner of the University of Maine made it 3 for 3 this cross-country season with another individual victory over the weekend.
The senior from West Townsend, Mass., sped around the Black Bears’ 3.1-mile Orono course Saturday in 16 minutes, 52.1 seconds as UMaine was edged by New Hampshire 26-31.
Teammate Annabelle Wilson, a freshman from Geelong, Australia, was the individual runner-up, but finished more than 90 seconds behind Conner in 18:25.4.
Conner also prevailed a week early in a five-way meet involving America East teams at Durham, N.H. Her time of 16:31.43 was 34.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Laura Rose Donegan of UNH.
Wilson was 13th overall and UMaine’s second finisher in that event at 18:08.64.
The UMaine men’s squad edged UNH 29-30 on Saturday in Orono behind the winning effort of Kelton Cullenberg. The senior from Chesterville toured the 5.1-mile course in 25.21.6.
He set the pace for teammates Ryan Hardiman (25:42.4) and Taylor Phillips (25:45.4), who claimed second and third place, respectively.
Cullenberg had finished fourth a week before at UNH, running a 26:19.54.
The Black Bears are preparing for the New England Championships on Oct. 7 at Westfield, Mass.
Palmer leads Husson women
The women’s cross-country team from Husson University captured its third victory in four events Saturday.
Alecia Palmer sped to a career-best time of 20:58 to claim individual honors at the Johnson State College Invitational in Vermont. The performance by the sophomore from Presque Isle helped coach Chris Wood’s Eagles outlast six other schools.
Palmer, the North Atlantic Conference runner of the week, outkicked Colby-Sawyer’s Urquhart by 5.5 seconds.
The Eagles also received strong efforts from freshman Kateri Jeffrey of South Portland, the NAC rookie of the week, who was third in 21:45.8, along with senior Theresa Martin (fifth) and junior Molly Frankinberger (sixth).
Husson is slated to compete Saturday at the Colby Invitational in Waterville.