Providence College XC: PC Cross Country Teams Continue to Dominate

by Joe Quirk '23 on December 1, 2022
Sports Co-Editor

Friar Sports

Photo Courtesy of PC Athletics

Under the guidance of coach Ray Treacy, the Providence College track and cross country teams have always been among the most successful in the country. That trend has continued into this season, as the 2022 cross country season has come to a close. The women’s cross country team is ranked No. 18 in the country and continues to be one of the best in the Northeast. And while not ranked themselves, the men’s team is not far behind, also receiving votes in the national rankings poll. 

On Oct. 28, the Friars traveled to Attleboro, MA to compete in the Big East cross country championships. 

The Friars women’s team finished in second out of a field of eleven teams. The story of the day for the women’s team was Jane Buckley ’26, who won the race and the individual Big East title with a time of 20:06. Her first-place finish was significant for a variety of reasons, the first being that she was just the second freshman to ever win the Big East cross country title. The Cork, Ireland native, was also the first freshman in the College’s history to win the title, as well as the first Friar runner to win since 2017, and the 13th female Friar to ever win the title. Even more impressive? This was Buckley’s first ever Big East competition. Post-race, she said, “It was amazing. I wasn’t expecting that to be honest because this was my first Big East competition [and] I’ve only ran three races here so far. This one was definitely different because in the last two races there were 400 people, so it was nice.” Shannon Flockhart ’24 and Lily Tuck ’23 rounded out the Friars’ top-three finishers, finishing in fourth-place and sixth-place respectively.

The men’s team also came in second place, out of a field of nine teams. The top finisher for them was Marcelo Rocha ’23GS, who finished in sixth with a time of 23:35. The following top two finishers for the Friars were David Principe Jr. ’23GS, who finished in eighth, and Patrick Thygesen ’24 who finished 12th. 

Following the Big East championships, the Friars embarked to Van Cortlandt Park in New York, NY, to the Northeast Regionals. There they attempted to qualify for the NCAA championships, facing off against nationally and regionally ranked teams. During the race on Nov. 11, the Friars men finished in fourth and the women finished first, earning them an automatic bid to the NCAA championships. 

For the men’s team, it was once again Rocha who crossed the finish line first, finishing in fifth place overall and qualifying as an individual runner at the NCAA championships. The next two Friars to finish were Shane Coffey ’24 and Principe Jr. They finished in 24th and 34th respectively. 

For the women’s team, it was the freshmen who really shined for the Friars. It was once again Buckley who led the way, as she finished third overall in the race with a time of 20:27.4. The following top-two finishers for the Friars were Flockhart, who finished twelfth, and freshman Niamh O’Mahony ’26, who finished fourteenth. 

Finally, on Saturday, Nov. 19, the Friars traveledto Stillwater, OK to compete in the NCAA championship. Rocha was the lone runner representing the Friars men, and, running as an individual, finished 73rd out of a field of 252. The women’s team  finished 16th overall to the delight of coach Treacy, who remarked, “I thought the best they could do coming in was 15th and we were one point off that, so it was a fantastic run for them. They all ran really well. It was probably the best race of the season. All top five are coming back next year, so I’m looking forward to next year already.”  

The athlete who must have really impressed coach Treacy was Buckley, who made history yet again with a time of 20:16.2 and placed 49th overall. This was the first time since 2015 that a Friar had finished top-50 at the championship. The next two finishers for the Friars were Flockhart, who was 57th, and Kimberley May ’25, who finished 112th. This was the women’s second consecutive trip to the NCAA championship, and their 30th trip all-time. Considering , that all three top-three finishers were underclassmen, the team looks to have continued promise heading forward into future seasons. In fact, half of the women’s team are sophomores or younger, and their senior runners could be eligible for graduate years as well. It is possible this women’s team will exceed how well they did this year in the seasons to come. 

The men’s team, on the other hand, is a bit older. With their experience and development heading into the primes of their careers, the men’s team also looks incredibly promising moving forward. Treacy will now move forward and prepare for the spring track and field season, starting next semester. 

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