Speakman wins second America East individual title
Nov. 1, 2014
Men's Results | Women's Results | Photos
Orono, Maine – For the second time in three years, Eric Speakman of the Stony Brook men’s cross country team will bring the America East individual cross country crown to Long Island. The senior won the 8k in 24:41.23 to become the first Seawolf—man or woman—to claim two individual cross country conference titles.
Speakman, who hails from Napier, New Zealand, is the fifth conference runner to win multiple individual men's championships and the first since Maine’s Riley Masters triumphed in 2010 and 2011. He also received the Elite 18 Award, a new conference accolade that recognizes athletic and academic achievement. The business management major holds a 3.89 grade-point average.
“Eric’s win today was fantastic,” Stony Brook cross country head coach Andy Ronan said. “To reclaim the title he won in 2012 after basically spending most of the time since then injured is a credit to him for persevering. It is a lesson to those that go through ups and downs in their careers that they can still achieve their goals, it just might take a little more time than they planned or hoped."
The men finished fifth as a team with 115 points, giving them their eighth top-five finish in nine years. Binghamton recorded 59 points and claimed the team championship. UMass Lowell (62 points), UMBC (85 points) and New Hampshire (114 points) finished second, third and fourth in that order.
In the first America East championship meet of his collegiate career, freshman Michael Watts placed 17th out of 83 runners in 25:38.21. Senior Tyler Frigge came in 22nd in 25:42.00, and junior Mitchell Kun clocked in at 25:53.53 for 30th.
“I’m happy with how the team competed,” Ronan said. “We have an inexperienced group that took a big step today towards being successful in the future.”
The women’s team, led by junior Christina Melian’s second-place result in a 5k time of 17:21.77, tallied 63 points and finished second to New Hampshire (26 points). One of the most dominant programs in America East history, Stony Brook has placed in the top three of the women’s race in 13 consecutive seasons.
Melian’s all-conference honor is the second of her career. She placed ninth during her rookie season in 2012 before sitting out last year due to injury.
“Christina ran very well,” Ronan said. “It took an All-American to stop her from winning the title. She made a brave effort to win, but Elinor Purrier of New Hampshire just had a little more in the tank today.
“Team wise, we knew that we needed to run our best race of the season to win as New Hampshire is very good. That did not happen, but we hung on to take second, which is something we can live with and build on. We host this championship next year. We will use today as preparation for that.”
Junior Tara Peck locked up All-America East status by crossing ninth in the 86-runner field in 18:10.03. Freshman Tiana Guevara tallied a time of 18:32.66 and took 17th in her America East Championship debut, and sophomore Christine Eisenberg was right behind her for 18th in 18:36.97. Sophomore Elizabeth Caldwell completed the race in 18:44.04 and placed 21st, and sophomore Molly Persky secured 29th in 19:02.32.
Senior Kate Pouder and sophomore Olivia Ritchie were 36th and 38th, respectively, in 19:16.13 and 19:17.81.
Stony Brook continues its championship season Friday, Nov. 14 at NCAA Regionals at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.