Brendan Jones / Equinox Staff

The Little East Conference (LEC) Cross Country Championship  started off on a sunny day, with Keene State College hosting the Conference for the second year.

With runners from seven teams participating and the KSC women’s cross country team competing for their 18 consecutive LEC title, the energy was high as the first race began.

The conference took place on Saturday, Oct. 28, on Keene State’s very own course.

Brendan Jones / Equinox Staff

Brendan Jones / Equinox Staff

The Keene State women’s cross country team has 16 runners, while the men’s cross country team has 15 runners.

Beforehand, sophomore and member of the KSC women’s cross country team Lynne Hebert expressed her hopes for her team’s ability to reach their goal of winning the LEC title once again.

Hebert said that her team has done a lot of workouts on the course and has become familiar with the footing and the turns, which will help them perform at their highest level.

However, even though the women’s team is fairly young and familiar with the course, it is still a great deal of pressure to be competing for an 18 consecutive LEC title.

Hebert said that even though there is pressure, that exact pressure will push her team to do even better.

“We have a shot but it will be interesting to watch. It will be probably closer than years past have been.”

The women’s race heard the gun at exactly 11:00 a.m.. As the teams took off through the course, the KSC fans looked on with high hopes of success.

The women’s cross country worked hard, but unfortunately came in sixth out of seven teams. First-year Christina Martin, was the first Owl to finish, placing in 11th out of 72 runners.

Brendan Jones / Equinox Staff

Brendan Jones / Equinox Staff

Martin finished with a time of 20:22 for the 5k. The next Keene State runner to come in was junior Brittany Gravallese, who finished in 18th with a time of 20:40. The third Owl to ring in was junior Alana Olendorf, who placed in 21st with a finishing time of 20:56.

Ultimately the Owls placed sixth in the championship, but are still proud about time improvements said Hebert.

The Keene State men’s cross country team kicked off their race after the women’s race, setting a fast pace.

Beforehand senior Matt Dudley said that his team is hoping to get back into the top spot and redeem themselves from the year before. It’s important that everyone is focused and ready to work their hardest added Dudley.

“It’s going to be tough this year, but I like our chances. We know what to expect from everyone at this point,” said Dudley.

Junior Tyler DeChane was also hopeful for his teams success in the championship. DeChane admitted that the men’s team had been dwindling in numbers, but still believed that this race can be the men’s stand out race.

“I’m hoping this is really the race that gets us back into the groove of things before regionals,” said DeChane.

The KSC men’s cross country team was able to place second out of seven teams, two of their runners placing in the top ten runners. Junior Iid Sheikh-Yusuf finished in fourth place out of 58 runners, his finishing time being 25:53 for the 8k.

Senior Phil Parent came in next for the Owls, finishing in ninth place with a time of 26:12. The third place KSC runner was first-year Cameron Giordano who finished came in 12th place with a time of 26:26.

Although Keene State did not finish in first, the dedication that each KSC athlete has in their sport shows the true value in the race.

Dudley said, “Yes cross country is more of an individual sport, but I think a lot of people don’t realize how much of a team sport it also is. We all build each other up, we all contribute to each other’s success.”

Caroline Perry can be contacted at cperry@kscequinox.com