Cross Country, Sports

Cross country team overcomes obstacles in 2012

The Boston University cross country team faced plenty of obstacles in the 2012 season, but neither the men nor women suffered a shortage of success.

The year began with a pair of team victories on the men’s side at the Bryant University Invitational in Smithfield, R.I., and the University of New Hampshire Invitational in Durham, N.H.

At the Bryant Invitational on Sept. 8, a trio of seniors finished inside the top 15. Matt Paulson took home the individual victory, with a time of 25:25.1 in the eight-kilometer race. Robert Gibson finished second with a time of 25:44.2 and Michael Caputo placed 12th, crossing the finish line at 26:27.7.

The women finished eighth as a team, led by freshman Shelby Stableford who finished 19th (18:57.1) in her collegiate debut.

The UNH Invitational on Sept. 14 featured the season debut for perennial BU distance star junior Rich Peters. His first-place finish, which came in a time of 25:07.81, lifted the men to their second consecutive victory.

On the women’s side, junior Monica Adler also competed in her first race of the season, leading the women to finish fourth as a team. Adler finished in fourth place with a time of 17:15.4.

At their first major meet of the season, the Paul Short Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sept. 28, the BU men placed 15th out of 37 teams. In the absence of Peters, who developed a knee injury earlier that week, Paulson again led the Terriers, placing 32nd overall (24:43).

The women finished 26th out of 40 teams, with Adler’s 40th-place finish (21:14) leading the way.

On Oct. 7, with several key runners battling sicknesses, the Terriers competed at the New England Championships in Westfield. Adler took home the first individual victory of her career with a time of 17:00.79 in the five-kilometer race. Her win led the women to a seventh-place finish out of 37 teams.

Peters returned from his injury with a tentative, yet strong showing. He came in second and led the men to a fourth-place finish.

The Terriers traveled to the Central Connecticut State Mini Meet in New Britain, Conn., on Oct. 19 for their final regular season meet.

Gibson finished third (15:38.35) to lead the men to a fourth-place team finish. Senior Nikki Long (12th, 10:38.38) and junior Danielle Bowen (14th, 10:40.11) led the women, who finished sixth as a team.

The postseason was highlighted by several strong performances at the NCAA Northeast Regional in New London, Conn., on Nov. 9.

The men finished ninth as a team, the best finish of all America East teams. Peters led the BU men once again, finishing ninth with a time of 30:29.8 in the 10-kilometer race. His finish qualified him for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 17, making him the first national qualifier for BU since 2003.

Unfortunately for BU, Peters fell sick on the day of the race, and was unable to complete the course. Still, Peters had the best cross country season of his collegiate career, and BU coach Bruce Lehane had much to say regarding the positive progress of his superstar.

“He’s developed in terms of stamina running,” Lehane said. “From a developmental standpoint, he’s in a good place.”

Lehane said it was difficult to pick out a single highlight from the season, but the overall experience of the 2012 campaign was one to remember.

“You see the athletes pull together … that’s one of the most rewarding and refreshing aspects of participation in the sport. That’s the highlight for me. Friendships made, bonds formed, there’s a lot to like,” Lehane said.

The season was full of honors, as several Terrier harriers took home the America East Performer of the Week award over the course of the season, including Peters (Sept. 18 and Oct. 9), Paulson (Oct. 2), Adler (Oct. 9) and Gibson (Oct. 19).

While there were plenty of impressive performances from Peters, Gibson, Paulson and Adler, Lehane said most of the runners contributed to the season in a significant way.

“You get out of it what you put into it,” Lehane said. “A lot of the kids put their hearts into it. It was fulfilling for them … I’m very happy with the performance of both groups this year.”

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