“It wasn’t a complete shock but it was a weird feeling (being the team’s top runner),” said Hanlon, who was named to the All-East Region team. “I was hoping it would happen eventually. When I finished I said, ‘Well, this is my day!’
“I didn’t feel I did as well as I could have last year. My goal was just to be an impact guy in the top 5 and I wasn’t expecting to be No. 1. I just wanted to be a consistent runner.”
And that’s exactly what Hanlon has been according to coach Karen Boen.
“There is no question that Sean has been the most consistent runner this year,” said Boen. “I can always count on him to run well.
“For Sean not to run cross country his freshman year and just continue to progress shows how much of a gamer he is. What he’s done, to leap up from the 400 to 800 (meters) in high school and then do as well as he has in cross country is truly commendable.”
Looking ahead to this weekend, Hanlon is hoping that Stonehill, which is ranked 15th nationally, can crack the top 15. Then he’ll turn his attention to track, in which his perspective has changed because of cross country, and beyond.
“As I get older, I probably want to run more of the mile and try the 2-mile or 3K,” said Hanlon, a marketing major who has been an All-American as the 800 leg on a standout distance medley relay team the last two years. “After I graduate, I’ll probably run some road races with my friend Pat Fullerton (of Haverhill).”
And, at the same time, he’ll probably continue to play the “what if” game.