November 14, 2013

Small college notebook: Maine runners put best foot forward

An NCAA regional meet runs Saturday at USM.

By Steve Solloway ssolloway@pressherald.com
Columnist

Coby Horowitz lost a running shoe early in the NCAA Division III New England men’s cross country championships three years ago. He also lost his concentration, finishing a disappointing 70th for a touted Bowdoin College team.

He gained a chip on his shoulder.

Now a senior and the New England defending individual champion, Horowitz (Stow, Mass.) will be one of the runners to watch Saturday when the University of Southern Maine hosts the NCAA regional on its home course. The 8,000-meter race will start and finish at the Narragansett School in Gorham.

Saturday’s meet for men and women is the New England qualifer for the NCAA national championship meet hosted by Hanover (Ill.) College on Nov. 23. The top two teams receive automatic bids; other teams will compete for at-large invitations to fill the 32-team field.

In 2010, Bowdoin didn’t qualify for the national meet. Horowitz’s lost shoe and his 70th place might have been to blame. Since then, Horowitz has been driven to stay near the lead.

Williams College is ranked fourth nationally and considered the top team in the New England regional. Middlebury is tied for sixth in the national polls. Tufts, Bowdoin, Colby and Bates have also been ranked nationally. The young, unranked USM men’s team has been led recently by sophomore Chris Dunn (Kennebunk) and freshman Tyler White (Orono).

The women’s race will have six of the ranked teams in the country, including Middlebury (second), MIT (fourth) and Williams (sixth). The women will begin competition with a 6,000-meter race at 11 a.m. followed by the men in their longer race at noon.

The USM women finished 10th last year and that’s this year’s goal. Hannah Damron (Windham) has been the lead runner for much of the season. Emily Panciera (Monson) has been running well. Seniors Morgan Beede (Augusta) and Caitlin Miller (Pepperill, Mass.) have experience in big meets. Women’s coach George Towle isn’t expecting an individual top-10 finish but someone may break out.

Bowdoin’s Lucy Skinner (Hanover, N.H.) is capable of a top-10 finish.

BOWDOIN

Ray Bicknell, the successful coach of men’s basketball and women’s soccer for 30 years, died Monday. He was 93. His basketball teams won more than 200 games but his most memorable was his last, a 1985 upset over rival Colby, which was nationally ranked. … Several teams are alive in the postseason. The field hockey team received an at-large bid and a first-round bye to the NCAA Division III tournament. It plays the winner of a first-round game between William Smith and New Paltz State on Saturday at Montclair (N.J.) State. The semifinals will be Sunday in New Jersey. The Polar Bears have won three national titles since 2007. … The women’s soccer team received an at-large bid and plays Christopher Newport in a first-round game Saturday at Montclair State. … The rugby team travels to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for the national American College Rugby Association quarterfinals and semifinals Saturday and Sunday. Bowdoin plays Hamilton in a quarterfinal.

ST. JOSEPH’S

The men’s basketball team was picked to finish second in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference preseason poll by conference coaches. The women’s team was picked to finish third. … An alumni reception for the basketball teams will be held Nov. 21 on campus while St. Joseph’s and Husson play.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND

The women’s basketball team hosts the Ramada Roundball Invitational on Friday and Saturday. UNE opens the tournament against Daniel Webster in a 5 p.m. game. Rhode Island College and Westfield State are also in the two-day tournament. The men’s Roundball Invitational will be played Saturday and Sunday with another Daniel Webster-UNE matchup. Medgar Evers and Norwich complete the field.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Jordan Grant (Concord, N.H.) was named the Little East rookie of the year for women’s soccer. Grant is a fifth-year senior who completed her eligibility in basketball last season. A soccer player in high school, she joined the USM soccer team for the first time this season. Two-sport athletes are not uncommon at USM. A rookie of the year as a senior is uncommo … Peyton Dostie (Standish, Bonny Eagle) was named the LEC offensive player of the year in field hockey and is another example of a two-sport athlete, although once who has been doing that since she arrived on campus and competes in three seasons. She has been a sprinter and jumper on the women’s indoor and outdoor track teams.

Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveSolloway

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