by Joseph Quirk ’23
This past weekend the Providence College Cross Country Teams headed up to Kenosha, WI to compete in the Big East Cross Country Championships. While neither the men’s nor women’s team came in first, there were plenty of positives. Both teams were optimistic heading into the weekend.
The women’s team has had a fairly up-and-down 2019 season that began with a third-place finish (out of three) at the University of New Hampshire Tri-Meet to start the season. They rebounded later on in September at the Coast-To-Coast Battle in Beantown meet hosted by Boston College. The meet featured several nationally ranked teams, and the Friars showed up with an eighth-place finish (out of 22). The women’s team followed that up with a 26th place finish (out of 36) at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational at the University of Wisconsin.
The men’s team entered Kenosha following a strong 2019 season in which they have had two first place finishes (UNH Tri-Meet and New England Championships) and a 12th place finish (of 21) at the Battle in Beantown meet.
Both squads placed well in the Big East championships, despite not winning the whole thing. The men’s team placed fifth out of nine and the women’s team placed fourth out of 10. The women’s team was led by Maria Coffin ’21 who placed fourth overall with a time of 21:56.5. Coffin was followed by 2018-19 All-American second teamer Abbey Wheeler ’20 who finished seventh at 22:06.2, and Lilly Tuck ’23 who finished 11th with a time of 22:19.0. Because of their incredible effort, both Coffin and Wheeler received All-Big East honors. This is the first All-Big East honor in Coffin’s career and Wheeler’s fourth.
For the men, Marcelo Rocha ’21 led with a 22nd place finish overall and a time of 26:46.0. The next two Friars to cross after Rocha were Ryan Gallagher ’21 who finished 26th with a time of 26:58.4 and Nick Carleo ’20 who finished 29th with a time of 27:10.0.
While the Big East Championships are over, the cross country season is not. Both squads will next compete Friday, November 15 in Buffalo, NY in the NCAA Northeast Regionals. If both teams have a strong showing, they will have a chance to qualify for the NCAA championships later this November.