Men’s and women’s cross country announce team captains
Photo by Jen McGuinness
The men’s and women’s cross country teams recently announced their team captains for the 2016 season. Jay Brennan ’17, Scott Brewer ’18, Billy Martin ’17 and Andrew Sardelli ’18 will captain the men’s team, while Alexa Cipkas ’18, Jessica Graham ’17, Alannah O’Rourke ’17 and Victoria Varone ’17 will captain the women’s team.
In addition, both teams were recently recognized as all-academic teams by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Teams must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.1 or better to qualify for the award.
Men’s Cross Country
Brennan ran at the No. 5 spot in the Connecticut College Invitational and the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship last fall, with a personal-best performance in the latter. He was part of the lineup responsible for the team’s all-time best finish in a regional championship meet in 2013.
Brewer was among the team’s varsity contributors during his freshman season in 2014. During his 2015 campaign, he posted a new personal best for 8K at the conference championship and made another postseason appearance in the NCAA Division III New England regional championship.
Martin’s collegiate bests for 5K and 8K are among the top 10 fastest times in school history, and he is part of the lineups that hold school records for combined team time at 5K and 8K. He was the program’s rookie of the year in 2013 and shared the team’s runner of the year award in 2014.
Sardelli earned the team’s most improved runner award in 2015. After establishing himself as a regular contributor in 2014, he carved out a role as a reliable No. 2 runner in 2015 and lowered his personal best for 8K.
“These guys are heavily invested in the cross country team, which shows in their results,” said head coach Rob McGuinness. “They understand my expectations, and they know the amount of work it will take for the program to continue to improve. They’re ready for the challenge, and I am confident that the team is in good hands.”
Women’s Cross Country
Cipkas is part of the lineup that holds the school record for combined team time at 5K and was among the scorers – with a personal-best time for 6K – in the 2014 NCAA Division III New England regional championship. She shared the team’s rookie of the year award in 2014.
Graham was slowed by injuries during her sophomore and junior seasons but continued to train and race, and she closed to within 13 seconds of her personal best at 6K in 2015. Her career highlights include scoring roles in invitational victories at New England College and Western New England University.
O’Rourke earned the team’s most improved runner award in 2014 and has continued to set personal bests at 5K and 6K. She competed in the 2014 NCAA Division III New England regional championship, contributing to the lineup that had the program’s all-time best finish in a regional championship.
Varone played a key role in the Seahawks’ second-place finish in the conference championship in 2015 and is part of the lineups that hold school records for combined team time at 5K and 6K. One of Salve Regina’s all-time fastest at 6K, she was the conference rookie of the year and the program’s runner of the year in 2013.
“This is a talented, experienced and highly committed group, and I know I can count on my captains to set the tone and to keep the team focused as we pursue our goals this fall,” McGuinness said.
Both teams open their 2016 racing season at the Roger Williams Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 3.