Former Pentucket star Eric McDonald, a senior at UMass Lowell, just missed reaching his goal yesterday in the NCAA Division 2 cross country nationals at Missouri Southern State University.
McDonald, who was aiming for a spot in the top 40, which would have made him an All-American, finished 46th. in the field of 245 competitors, crossing the finish line on the hilly 10K course in a time of 30:37.1.
Neither UMass Lowell coach Gary Gardner nor McDonald had any regrets.
“He ran a great race,” says Gardner. “He worked hard; he put himself in the hunt.”
McDonald pushed hard during the last mile in hopes of finishing in the top 40.
“During that last mile, I knew I had to move up,” says McDonald, “but the gaps were broken up. I was picking off people; I just needed to pick off a few more.”
McDonald’s teammate, Jeff Veiga of Lowell, did earn All-American honors with a sixth place finish.
“Jeff (Veiga) ran a great race,” said Gardner. “He was there, he had a chance to win it and that’s all you can ask for.”
Veiga was clocked in 29:23.1, more than two seconds faster than the school outdoor record for the 10,000 meters on a track.
“I have nothing to complain about,” says Veiga. “I felt that I ran really well, it was a huge personal best for me. I’m just mad that everyone else ran so well.”
Veiga ran with the lead pack throughout the 6.2-mile course and held the lead at the four and a half mile mark, but was unable to separate himself from the lead group of eight runners.
“There was nobody better than Jeff,” says Gardner. “It’s just that somebody had a slightly better day.”
Micah Chelimo of Alaska Anchorage won the individual championship with a time of 28:56.6.
Adams State won the team championship. Stonehill College fell back to 30th place. Sean Hanlon of Georgetown and St. John’s Prep finished 176th in 32:48 while Haverhill’s ailing Ethan Penney was 190th in 32:42.0.
D’Agostino falls short
Former Masconomet standout Abbey D’Agostino, a junior at Dartmouth, finished second in the NCAA Division 1 meet, held in Louisville, for the second straight year in by the slimmest of margins. D’Agostino ran a superb 6K time of 19:27.9 just behind Iowa State senior Betsy Saina (19:27.9) and just ahead — barely — of Oregon’s Jordan Hasay, who was given the exact same time.
UNH senior Keely Maguire of Georgetown came in 112th with a time of 20:52.3, nine places ahead of Georgetown University senior Kirsten Kasper of North Andover, who was timed in 20:55.1.
Kasper was the third finisher for Georgetown, which came in 12th as a team. She did finish ahead of teammate and old high school rival Emily Jones, who was 132nd.
Oregon won the Division 1 woman’s title with 114 points with Providence in second. In the NCAA men’s meet, Oklahoma State was first with 72 points followed by Wisconsin in second and Colorado in third.
Fannon leads Bates
Bates captain Alicia Fannon, a senior from Haverhill, was the No. 1 runner for the Bobcats as Bates finished 19th in the Division 3 nationals at Terre haute, Ind. Fannon finished 59th overall with a 6K time of 22:26.6. John Hopkins was the team champion and NYU came in 22nd, with North Reading senior Georgina Norton as the No. 4 runner, taking 167th overall.
In the Division 3 field, North Central (Ill.) was the team champion. Former North Reading standout Mark Rollfs came in 165th for the University of Rochester.