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Sports

November 12, 2012

Hanlon reaches the top

Former St. John's track standout tries cross country, becomes No. 1 at Stonehill

Every once in a while, Stonehill College’s Sean Hanlon of Georgetown wonders how his cross country career would be different had he participated in the sport at St. John’s Prep.

“I think about it a lot, actually,” said Hanlon. “I had some small injuries in high school so I’m not sure how much I would have helped the team, but I think it would have helped me and I do wish I had done it. I would have liked it.”

A middle distance runner at St. John’s, with a specialty in the 600 (indoors) and 800, Hanlon didn’t take up cross country until his sophomore year at Stonehill when “it was strongly suggested that I do it to help me in track.”

Actually, Hanlon had contemplated running cross country as early as high school, when St. John’s coach John Boyle urged him to try it, and he had already started to think that he might be better suited for longer distances.

“The guys I was running against in track were bigger, faster and had more (natural) speed,” said Hanlon. “I started to realize that I might be more successful at distance, at least in the mile (in track).”

Still, when Hanlon agreed to run cross country at Stonehill, which has boasted one of the stronger Division 2 programs for years, he had no illusions of greatness.

“I didn’t have any great expectations,” he said. “I thought, by the time I graduated, maybe I could get in the top 7. If I didn’t do it, I felt at least I’d have a good base for track.”

Well, Hanlon has accomplished far more than that.

Based on his work ethic and improvement, he was elected captain for this year’s team, he became a steady member of the top five and, for the first time, was the team’s No. 1 runner at the Northeast Regional, finishing 10th overall in a personal-best 10K time of 30:55.7 to pace Stonehill to third and a ticket to this week’s Division 2 nationals for the 10th straight year.

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