Melian hits ECAC mark in 5,000-meters, Burne in 3,000-meters
Since joining Stony Brook University in 2000, Andy Ronan's cross country and track and field teams have become two of the most successful programs in Seawolves' history. Not only are his teams competitive within the America East Conference, but they are also starting to make a name for themselves nationally, making NCAA Championship appearances cross country in 2007, 2008 and 2010, when the squad finished seventh. He mentored Lucy van Dalen, arguably Stony Brook's most decorated student-athlete and a 2012 Olympian. Van Dalen earned the SBU's first-ever individual national championship in any sport when she won the NCAA mile race in 2011. She won back-to-back America East Most Outstanding performer awards at the indoor championships in 2011 and 2012 and nabbed Scholar-Athlete honors in 2012. In 2012, she was named America East Woman of the Year.
Under Ronan's guidance, the Stony Brook cross country teams have experienced incredible success. He has guided four All-American runners, with Jenny Payne being recognized in 2002, Holly and Lucy van Dalen in 2010 and Hayley Green in 2011. His runners have also earned more than a dozen All-Northeast Region honors and 49 All-America East honors. His teams also have a long list of championships: 12 America East individual championships, three METS individual championships and one ECAC individual championship and seven America East team championships (six women's, one men's).
In 2012, he coached both the men's and women's squads to a sweep of the America East Cross Country Championships, marking the sixth consecutive crown for the women and first men's title in program history. Additionally, Eric Speakman grabbed the individual men's title. The following year, Olivia Burne became the sixth women's cross country team member to win an individual title when she set a course record time of 17:30.14 in Binghamton Nov. 2, 2013. His women's teams have ranked third or better in the conference every year since 2002 and the men have seven top-three finishes in the last eight years.
Ronan has also done a remarkable job with the track and field teams. The Seawolves had an all-time high eight NCAA qualifying times in 2007-2008. Six times SBU has had an individual qualify for the NCAA Championships. In America East competition, Ronan has led the Seawolves to more than 20 individual championships since 2002 and has also seen more than 40 different school records fall during his tenure.
In 2013, then-freshman Christina Melian was crowned the Junior U.S. National Champion and ECAC Champion in the outdoor women's 3000, while Olivia Burne and Lamar Hayes won conference titles in the outdoor women's 1500 and indoor men's long jump. It marked the first time a Seawolf has won the men's long jump at the America East Indoor Championships. Burne went on to compete in the NCAA Regionals for the third consecutive year, where she advanced to the quarterfinals of the women's 1500.
Ronan helped Burne continue to build upon her momentum and legacy on the track in 2013-14. She won conference titles in the indoor 1,000-meters and outdoor 1,500-meters, the later of which was the second in a row for the stellar Seawolf. She advanced to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the indoor mile, claiming second-team All-America status, and competed in the NCAA Outdoor Regionals in the 1,500-meters. Joining her at the outdoor regional meet was Melian, who made her debut in the 5,000-meter run as the No. 25 seed. Melian turned in a fantastic performance and placed 15th, nearly stunning the field and becoming one of 12 runners to qualify for the NCAA Championships, a sign that Ronan is continuing to develop talent. Burne and Melian were named to the America East All-Academic Team, and Burne became the second Seawolf to be tabbed America East Woman of the Year.
Ronan has picked up some hardware of his own during his career, being named the America East Women's Coach of the Year eight years in a row (2005-2012) while also earning his first conference coach of the year nod on the men's side in 2012.
Academically, Ronan's teams are always near the top. Four of his athletes have won the SUNY Chancellor Award, more than ten of them have been named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Individual Team while 16 of his squads have been awarded the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team award. He also coached the 2007-2008 runner-up for the America East Woman of the Year Award. The men's cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field programs have received the NCAA Public Recognition Award for being in the top 10 percent nationally for APR for the past four consecutive years.
Prior to joining the Stony Brook staff, Ronan spent six years at Providence College as the associate head coach for the men's cross country and track and field programs, while taking on assistant coach duties for the women's programs. Known for his expertise in middle and long distance running events, Ronan assisted the Friars' programs in winning six Big East cross country titles. The men's team won back-to-back conference championships in 1995 and 1996 and captured another title in 1998, while the women's program won three straight Big East rings from 1995-1997. The 1995 women's cross country team garnered the Division I national championship.
During the 1999-2000 season, the Providence women's program won the NCAA regional, defeating 34 teams at the meet, and secured a 10th place finish in its 11th consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships. The men's team finished second regionally and finished in 19th place in its fifth consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships.
While at Providence College, Ronan was associated with the development of two NCAA individual champions, two Olympians, 37 All-Americans and six Big East champions. Before his time with Providence, Ronan spent 1994 as the assistant coach of the men's and women's track and field program at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and served as head coach of the men's cross country/track and field team at Our Lady of Providence High School from 1986-1988.
A 1986 graduate of Providence, Ronan was an outstanding cross country and track and field athlete. He was among the many All-Americans in Friars' history, receiving the honor in 1983 and 1985. A native of Wexford, Ireland, Ronan won four Big East titles, capturing the 5,000-meter indoor title twice and the 10,000-meter outdoor championship twice. Ronan competed at a world-class level after graduation, finishing third at the 1991 Boston Marathon (2:11.27) and fourth at the 1989 Twin Cities Marathon (2:13.49). He also represented his native Ireland in the marathon at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and competed in the World Cross Country Championships in 1982 and 1989.