AAC Cross Country Championship Central | Final Results
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The UConn men’s cross country team took home a second place finish at the 2017 American Athletic Conference Championship at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia, Pa. UConn had a trio of Huskies in r-junior Patrick Begley (Suffield, Conn.), senior Mike O’Donnell (Methuen, Mass.) and junior Kyle Brackman (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) claim All-AAC honors.
“It was a tough, tough meet today and the race was up in the air right up to the end,” stated head coach Greg Roy. “Tulsa got away early, but I thought we kept coming at them, it just wasn’t quite enough today. Our kids ran well, very proud of all of them. Tulsa is perennially a top-25 team and they are tough to beat. They did a good job. I though we went right at them.”
The Huskies finished with 63 points, coming in just 10 points behind the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes who took home the team title. The 10 team field was rounded out by Temple in third, ECU in fourth, Wichita State in fifth, Houston in sixth, Tulane in seventh, Memphis in eighth, Cincinnati in ninth and USF in tenth.
Begley and O’Donnell both came home inside the top-10 on Saturday. Begley finished in sixth place overall, running the 8k course in a time of 25:26.8 while O’Donnell was on his heels in seventh place, clocking in at 25:34.0. O’Donnell finished his Husky career with four-consecutive All-Conference showings. “I ran well, tried to be competitive throughout the entire race," said the senior. "Once the lead pack started to pull away I struggled a little bit but worked hard and raced with Patrick (Begley) right to the finish.”
“The team competed well today,” stated O’Donnell. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and today was an all-out battle. If as a freshman, you told me we could compete with a top-25 team, I would say that’s crazy but from now on that is going to be the norm for this program. This bodes well for the future of UConn cross country.”
Brackman took 15th in the race, running the course in a time of 26:06.9, qualifying for All-AAC accolades. On Brackman’s heels was sophomore James Mas (Trumbull, Conn.), crossing the line in 26:07.9 for 16th overall. UConn junior PJ Garmon (Billerica, Mass.) and sophomore Ian Mickool (Ridgefield, Conn.) gave the Huskies six runners in the top-20 and rookie Eric Van der els (Norwalk, Conn.) finished in 21st. Garmon, 19th in the race, finished with a time of 26:14.9, followed by Mickool in 20th at 26:20.2 and Van der els in 26:26.9.
Next up on the Huskies’ schedule is the NCAA Northeast Regional in Buffalo, N.Y. on Friday, November 10.