Cross Country Team Takes On NCAA Championship
By Liam Tormey ’22
The Providence College Men’s and Women’s Cross Country team have completed their season, finishing off at the NCAA Championship in Tallahassee, FL on Saturday, Nov. 20.
It was a journey to get to this spot, and it took a whole team effort. A first look begins at the Big East Championships which took place in Carmel, IN. The Friar men finished fourth at the Championship with 85 points and the Friar women placed fifth with 82 points.
For the men, Marcelo Rocha ’22GS, from Peabody, MA, was first for the Friar men in the 10K, finishing fourth overall with a time of 24:22.7, beating his time and place from last year at the Big East Championship which was 23:33.4 and an eighth-place spot. Liam Back ’24 also made the top 10, finishing eighth with a time of 24:32.2.
On the flip side, Maria Coffin ’22GS led the Friar women in the 6K, finishing in an eighth-place spot in a time of 21:08.1, but Laura Mooney ’24 was as close as you can get behind her, placing ninth with a time of 21:08.6.
Coffin, a fifth-year athlete for PC, said she came back with one overarching goal: “to help my team make nationals.”
The Friars have been blessed with head coach Ray Treacy at the helm. He is one of the most successful coaches in the nation who has coached 65 All-Americans, seven NCAA individual champions, who have captured 15 NCAA titles overall, 45 Big East individual champions, who have captured 117 Big East titles, and 11 Olympians. His results speak for themselves.
Not only do those individual champions speak volumes, but his women’s teams have won two NCAA Cross Country Championships.
For Coffin, she noted it was “disappointing” not to qualify for the NCAAs since her freshman year in 2017. She qualified for the NCAAs as an individual in 2020, but unfortunately her team just missed out.
This year felt different, Coffin mentioned. “After our showing at the Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational, a national caliber meet, I knew we could do something special. We came back stronger this year and I knew we had the potential to qualify.”
The Friars would finish eighth at the meet, placing higher than many of the nationally ranked teams. Their top three runners had a very tight spread placing 22nd, 24th, and 27th which was a very big achievement for a race of that magnitude with so many great runners.
“To see that our team, a younger team with less depth, could perform at such a high level against these bigger, older teams, helped our confidence going into the championship,” Coffin explained.
This would be the Friar women’s 29th appearance overall at the NCAA Championship, but it marked their first since the 2017 season.
Maria Coffin said this appearance “is huge for the team going forward. The team is young and will only get better. Now that they have this experience, they know how to handle these types of races and make it back to NCAAs in the future.”
The women finished 26th overall at Apalachee Regional Park, and Mooney placed 60th overall in the 6K course in a time of 20:13.1 and scored in the 49th spot. Coffin finished 89th in the same event with a time of 20:26.1, scoring in the 71st spot.
Head coach Ray Treacy said, “I am very happy with the way Laura and Maria ran,” but he also added to what Coffin said on how helpful going to the championship was to other members of the squad: “For the younger members of the team, it was a great experience for them that they will learn from and bring to the Championship next year.”
Looking at where the Friar women ranked among Big East competitors, they were second, ahead of Villanova University and Butler University, but fell short of Georgetown University.
Along with Mooney and Coffin, Shannon Flockhart ’24 (128th and 20:51.6), Lilly Tuck ’23 (167 and 21:12.9), and Kimberly May ’25 (179 and 21:20.5) all raced for the Friars. It was a great experience for all to say the least.
On the men’s side, Rocha was the only one to run. He raced in the men’s 10K event and finished 61st in a time of 29:45.8.
Treacy commented, “It was a very good run for Marcelo today in the conditions. Marcelo held his position throughout the race. He will be looking to come back here next year and earn All-American honors.”
Now that the cross country season has ended, it does not mean time off for both the men and women. They will be transitioning now into the indoor track season, and every runner will take on their own specialty events, unlike the 6K and 10K in cross country.
Coffin says some of the younger girls on the team are “switching gears to focus on the shorter distance events like the 1K and the mile,” while others, including herself, “are going to focus on the distance events such as the 3K and 5K.”
After finishing the cross country season on such a strong note for the first time in several years, Coffin hopes to “carry the momentum from the cross season into the indoor season and then outdoor track to hopefully perform well in the Big East and have some national qualifiers.”
As Coffin mentioned before, she understands the high standards that Treacy sets for the program, and she says, “While making it was a huge step forward, we keep ourselves humble with the reminder that the Friars have taken home podium medals and National Championships in prior years, and that is something to strive for and completely within our reach.”
The search for those championships will begin with the indoor track campaign beginning in January and culminates with the championships in March. The Friars are hoping to make it to the NCAAs just like they did for the cross country season.
PCI: Who is the Greatest Coach in PC History?
By Meaghan Cahill ’20
There have been a number of coaches at Providence College who have contributed to forming the school’s reputation for having a top Division I athletic program. From former basketball coach Joe Mullaney to current hockey coach Nate Leaman, there have been many great coaches at PC. However, when weighing them against one another, it can be argued that Ray Treacy ’82 has been the greatest PC coach thus far.
The director of cross country and track, Treacy has been coaching at the College for the past 33 years. A member of the men’s cross country team during his time as a student at PC, Treacy has an extensive list of both champion runners and championship teams under his belt and is considered one of the nation’s most successful coaches.
Treacy has coached 65 All-American runners, who together have received a total of 176 All-American accolades and seven NCAA individual championships. Treacy’s coaching has led to 15 NCAA individual titles and 45 Big East individual champions, who combined for 117 Big East titles. He has also coached 11 Olympians.
Under Treacy, the women’s cross country team has won two NCAA Cross Country Championships (1995 and 2013), 14 NCAA Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships, 22 Big East Cross Country titles, and 20 New England Championships.
Under Treacy, the cross country teams have won the most championships of all of the teams on PC’s campus and the women’s cross country team is the only team besides the 2015 men’s ice hockey team to win a NCAA Championship title.
While only the women’s cross country team has been able to win the NCAA Championship, Treacy has successfully coached both the men’s and women’s programs to make seven NCAA Championship appearances; four of the seven appearances were back-to-back.
In addition to coaching successful men’s and women’s cross country teams, Treacy has also found tremendous success as a track coach. Throughout his career, Treacy has coached nine athletes to individual NCAA track titles and coached a team to setting the world record in the 4X1500 meter relay in 1991.
In addition to his success as a coach at PC, many of Treacy’s runners have gone on to compete internationally. To date, he has had more than 10 runners compete in the 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2012 Olympics. Treacy himself has also reached an international level; at the U.S. national level, three of the top five athletes in the women’s 10,000 meters at the USA World Championship Trials were coached by Treacy.
Treacy’s record alone speaks to the fact that he is the greatest coach PC has had to date. His ability to put together teams that continuously compete and win at the highest level is a job that not many coaches on campus have been able to do. His collegiate and international success demonstrates that he not only knows his craft, but that he is the best of the best and the College is lucky to have him.
By Joseph Quirk ’23
Providence College has been very fortunate to be the home of a plethora of talented and famous coaches over the years. Picking just one as the greatest coach in school history has proven to be quite a difficult task. However, in the entire history of Providence athletics, no coach as had a more dominate run than current Friars men’s hockey coach Nate Leaman.
Coach Leaman took over the Friars bench in 2011 and since then there have been only two seasons (his first two) that the Friars did not qualify for the NCAA tournament. And in both those seasons, 2011-12 and 2012-13, the Friars made it to the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament. In addition, every year that Leaman’s squad has qualified for the national tournament, they have not been eliminated before the regional semis, which includes a 2014-15 National Championship and a 2018-19 trip to the Frozen Four.
Leaman’s team this year also looks strong as they beat the University of Maine 7-0 in the home opener this past weekend. In addition, this year’s squad features eight players who currently have their draft rights owned by NHL teams.
Leaman’s stretch of success with the men’s hockey program goes unmatched by any other coach in the school’s history.
The first coach to make a conference or NCAA tournament appearance (a semifinals loss) was Tom Eccleston in 1961-64. It would be another 13 years before the Friars made another NCAA tournament.
Before Nate Leaman, no team placed better than third in the tournament. Leaman won the first hockey national championship in school history. He stacks up well with coaches from other sports too.
The first notable name that could be thrown in is Joe Mullaney for basketball, but he coached in the ’50s and ’60s and only had two NCAA tournament appearances. Dave Gavitt had five, including trips to the final four and sweet sixteen, but again that was in the 1970s and Gavitt never placed higher than fourth. Rick Pitino had a short but memorable stint as the Friars leader but only served as coach for two years. Ed Cooley has also made the NCAA tournament five times but unfortunately has never made it past the second round.
There are many others as well, but I think the point is evident: Nate Leaman and what he has accomplished as a strategist, recruitor, and coach as well as what he looks to accomplish in the future establishes him at the greatest coach in PC history.
Friars History: 2013 XCC Underdogs
Coach Treacy Discusses Special 2013 Cross Country Season
by Eileen Flynn ’20
For the past 33 years, Providence College has been lucky enough to have one of the best cross country and track coaches in the nation. Ray Treacy ’82 came back to coach in 1984, just two years after he graduated. The running program at PC has grown into a powerful dynasty, finishing on the podium in seven different seasons over the course of the last 30 years. I recently got a chance to ask Coach Treacy a few questions about his time at the College. When asked if the big wins and success stories of his former players help him return each year with the same energy, Treacy smiled thinking about the past. “It definitely keeps you motivated. There is a turnover every year, you lose some great runners and bring in others. The cycle has been pretty good to us over the years. Each group that comes into the program motivates you in a different way.”
Although Coach Treacy enjoys every year, there are obviously some seasons that are more memorable than the rest. Luckily for the Friars, there have been two in the past 25 years that have been extra special. In 1995 and again in 2013, Providence College clinched the highest title in the nation and became NCAA champions. Treacy described the season leading up to the 2013 race and the hard work it took to come out on top. “We had the top-three runners in the country on our team: Sarah Law, Emily Sisson, and freshman Catarina Rocha. Our number five person, who is just as important as the number one person, was Grace Thek. Unfortunately, she didn’t race that season until the week before the Big East.” At the pre-nationals meet, PC and all the other contenders were out-raced by Georgetown. Without Thek, Coach Treacy appreciated the lack of attention his team received during the season. He wasn’t nervous about losing a couple spots in the national ranking. In fact, he was grateful that it lightened the pressure on his athletes.
“After we introduced her at the Big East meet, and it went really well, we knew we had a really good chance of winning it.”
Big East was first on the agenda and the athletes from the College were focused and prepared. “We dominated that day. We had three in the top four and Catarina finished in 7th while Grace was closely behind in 13th.”
The confidence that came with winning the Big East helped the Friars in the national competition. Luckily enough, there were no injuries in between races. The three high-profile, all-American runners for Providence were ready to lead their team for one final race. Coach Treacy was grateful for the shortcomings in his 2011 and 2012 seasons because he thinks his team learned a lot from losing. On a very windy day in November, the Friars beat teams like University of Arkansas, Georgetown University, and University of Arizona and took the national title for the first time in over 15 years. “A fall could put an end to your chances of winning so it was all about staying on your feet and executing the race to the best of our ability and we knew we’d win if we could do that.”
It takes a certain type of coach to lead a team to victory. When asked about his coaching style, Treacy gave some insight into how he manages his team. “It’s a very individual sport and we treat everyone individually. You’re a team until you step on the line, you’re an individual from the time the gun goes off to the time you finish and you’re a team again at the finish line. It’s a matter of everyone doing their job on that day, and if everyone does their job than you’re going to be successful.” And successful these Friars were, in 2013 and in seasons since.
This past season was not exactly what Coach Treacy was hoping for, but even the Friars are allowed rebuilding years. “When you don’t go to the NCAA for us, that’s not good. A lot of things didn’t come together for us at the end of the season. To be successful at that level, you have to be good, but you also have to have a little bit of luck as well.” Looking forward, there is hopefully some luck in the future for the Friars. Although they will have a young team by normal standards, Coach Treacy is excited about the new talent joining the experienced group of runners. And with that Coach Treacy tells me, “I am just as excited about what I do now as I was 30 years ago.” The PC family is forever grateful to have a coach and person like Treacy on campus, and will be expecting great things as he continues his coaching career.
Ray Treacy Track Sees First Meet of the Season
By Jack Belanger ’21
Providence College held its only home track and field meet of the year as the Ray Treacy Track hosted the first day of the Ocean State Invitational. Fourteen teams came to Providence for the invitational. The first day included events such as the 800-meter, the mile, the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and the 5,000-meters. Brown University hosted day two of the invitational where most of the events were held, including all of the field events.
The Friars had plenty of notable performances on both the men’s and women’s teams. Some of the Friars’ best performances occurred the first day on campus. In the men’s 5,000-meters, PC had two members finish in the top 10, as Marcus Karamanolis ’19 placed third and David Rosas ’21 finished seventh.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Ocean State Athletic Club’s and former Friar Jordan Mann ‘16G, who was an All-American in the event in 2016, came in first and set a facility record with 8:48.27. Liam Harris ’20 was able to grab second place in the event at 9:10.87. On the women’s side of the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Columbia University’s 2017 All-American Nell Crosby took first place in an event that only featured four runners.
PC had the most success on the first day in the women’s mile run. A trio of Friars consisting of Millie Paladino ’19, Catarina Rocha ’18G, and Abbey Wheeler ’20 were able to place in the top ten. Paladino took first place while Rocha, who won the Big East cross-country title in the fall, finished fourth and Wheeler finished eighth. Paladino and Rocha both broke the current facility record of 4:50.74, and Paladino set the new record with 4:40.07. On the men’s side Nick Carleo ’19 missed first place by less than two seconds to take second place and Mike O’Leary ’19 finished fifth.
On the second day at Brown, Jared Grossi ’20 finished fourth in the men’s 400-meter run, finishing at 50.86, which was six-tenths of a second slower than first place finisher David Cusack of University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Sprinter Daniel Rooney ’21 ran a close race in the 400-meter hurdles against Brown’s Bretram Rogers but ultimately finished second in the event, coming in .28 seconds behind.
While PC did not have many athletes compete in field events, Chris Shanahan ’21 finished fifth in the javelin throw out of 11 competitors.
The PC track and field teams will head to Worcester this Saturday for the Holy Cross Invitational and then will have a dual meet vs. Brown on College Hill. Next week, the team will head to Philadelphia for three days before going back to Brown for the Brown Invitational.
Coach Ray Treacy Wins His Own Award
By Eileen Flynn ’20
Ray Treacy is a respected and well-known name around Providence College’s campus and in the Cross Country and Track and Field communities. The school was recently reminded of the coach’s talents because Treacy was awarded the Northeast Region Women’s Coach of the Year award for the second consecutive year. This season, Treacy guided the women’s team to their third consecutive Northeast Regional Team Title and the fifth in the past six years.
Treacy graduated as a student-athlete from Providence College in 1982. He was the captain of the cross-country team his junior and senior years, while setting school records and collecting first place trophies. Treacy was a two-time New England Cross Country Champion and was successful in the indoor 5,000 meter race, winning the race at the Big East Championships three times. He was also the IC4A Champion in the 10,000 and 5,000 meter races during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, respectively.
Treacy was far from done with Providence College after his time as a student expired. As a proud alumnus, Treacy has dedicated his career to coaching and training the new runners that chose to attend Providence College. His successful attitude was contagious; since he became head coach in 1984, both the men’s and women’s cross country programs have advanced to NCAA Championships in 18 of the last 20 seasons.
Just recently, Treacy coached the women’s 2013 cross-country team that won the NCAA Championship. Treacy has coached 63 All-Americans, seven NCAA individual champions who secured 15 NCAA titles overall. Treacy has accumulated an impressive legacy for himself and for the College’s cross- country program. He is a valuable asset to our athletic staff and Providence College’s alumni network.