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Cross Country: Warriors Excel at WNEU


Men and women rounding into shape as Little East meet approaches

By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff

Men's Results

Women's Results 

wxc_wneu72_3840.jpgEastern Connecticut State University's men and women's cross-country teams ran at the Western New England University Invitational Saturday.  Both teams ran extremely well, the women placing sixth in a field of 22 and the men ninth out of 18 teams.

The  five scoring runners for the women were junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) - who has led the team at the finish in each race this season and placed in the top five percent Saturday -- freshmen Mariah McPhee (Bristol), Sofia Amaral (New Milford), and Julie Trifone (Cheshire), and junior Alexandra Maciolek (Ellington).

The top five runners for the men were first-year sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook) - the team's pace-setter once again -- freshman Joe Rainville (Montville), senior Evan Glaude (East Hampton), freshman Chris Burkle (Guilford), and first-year cross country runner Michael Dolde (East Hampton), a second-year junior transfer.

Second-year head coach Kathy Manizza believes that the team is hitting its peak at the perfect time.  'I think they're all peaking just in time for (Little East Conference Championships Nov. 2).  I'm excited. I think we'll have a good day (at the LEC Championships)."

mxc_wneu72_3879.jpgInjuries have plagued both the men's and the women's team all season.  Two of the top five women, senior fourth-year participants Katie France (Portland) and Alexa Palasky (Griswold) -- were both out on Saturday.  France has not competed this season, while Palasky was sideline for the second consecutive meet.

While injuries have been an obstacle, this year's schedule has been favorable.  The team has had a week off  between meets for the past month, and it will be another two weeks before the  conference championship meet.  Manizza, a long distance runner herself, planned the schedule in order to rest the team members for the most important races of the season.  She believes that the weeks between races allow the team ample time to rest, but still allows the runners to train hard enough to prepare for the next race.

"Hopefully this gives everyone a chance to recover," Manizza stated, "If everyone is healthy for the conference championship, it will be the first time this season that the entire women's team runs."

McPhee, a four-year cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field letterwinner Bristol Eastern, is one individual in particular who has shown steady improvement throughout the entire season.  McPhee wasn't able to train as frequently as she would have liked over the summer because of her busy work schedule.  However, since the semester began, she has rounded into top shape.  She started the season as the fifth runner, but has worked her way up all the way to No. 2 behind Labanara, whom she pushing for the No. spot. On Saturday, Labanara was tenth overall in a field of 190 in a time of 20:10 over the 5,000 meter course, with McPhee right behind in 16th place overall in a time of 20:27. Amaral checked in in 27th place overall, Trifone 44th and Maciolek 79th.

"I thought the whole team worked very hard (Saturday)," McPhee stated.  "We all ran really well."

Flynn and Rainville ran a strong 1-2 over the 8,000 meter course, Flynn placing 32nd overall in a time of 28:21, while Rainville was 25 seconds and seven spots back. Glaude was 58th overall, Burkle 73rd and Dolde 86th.

Iron-Willed Manizza is World Qualifier

By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff

Kathy Lake T72dpi.jpgWILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Move over Robert Downey Jr... There's a new Ironman in town: Eastern Connecticut State University cross country and track and field coach Kathy Manizza is training to compete in next year's World Ironman 70.3 Championship at Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.

This past summer, 59 Ironman competitions were held around the world, and the winners from each age group qualified to compete at Mont-Tremblant, which is located about 80 miles north-west of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains.  Manizza qualified by winning her age group (55-60 years old) in an Ironman competition in Gilford, NH on Aug. 18.

An Ironman 70.3 competition consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run.  Manizza's time for the qualifying event was five hours, 29 minutes, 54 seconds.  To put that time in perspective, the average time for a woman in her age group is about 7 hours.  Her incredible performance was over an hour and a half faster than the average competitor.

This type of performance obviously demands a strict training regime. Manizza trains about 15-20 hours per week.  She bikes about 180 miles, and runs about 30 miles every week.  When asked about her swimming, she admitted to hating it.  However she still pushes herself to swim three or four days every week. She has a strict vegan diet, and she does not eat any processed foods.  When asked how she stays motivated, she responded, "My husband Ken is a competitor too.  I enjoy training with him because he is always pushing me to do my best."

Manizza is in her second stint on the Eastern coaching staff.  Born in Hawaii, and a graduate of Cal State Fresno, Manizza coached cross-country and track at Eastern in the mid-1990s before spending 13 seasons at the University of Hartford.

Manizza has been active her entire life.  She first became involve in triathlons about 30 years ago.  Since that time, she has run in seven marathons, many more half-marathons, and countless 5K and 10K races.   She was also a member of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak team, which won the world championship three times.

Manizza is the kind of person that wants to be the best.  She does marathons and triathlons because she loves being fit and active, and she truly believes that leading an active lifestyle leads to happiness.  Also, she wants to be a role model for her cross country and track teams.  She trains hard, and her hard work pays off.  She is an inspiration to everyone.

Cross Country:Strong at Tri-State Open

Men and women's teams show depth with impressive finishes at CCRI

Complete Results

By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff

mcphee72_3855.jpgLINCOLN, R.I. -- Eastern Connecticut State University's men's and women's cross country teams raced this weekend at the Community College of Rhode Island Tri-State Open, competing at the college's Lincoln campus. 

The Eastern women's team finished third out of seven teams, and the men tied for second  in a field of ten teams. 

At right: Mariah McPhee

However, the scoreboard doesn't always tell the full story. 

Four of the girls --  junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) and freshmen Mariah McPhee (Bristol), Sofia Amaral (New Milford), and Julie Trifone (Cheshire) -- all finished in the top 15.  Three of the men - senior Evan Glaude (East Hampton), first-year sophomore Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook), and freshman Joe Rainville (Montville) also finished in the top 15.  Even more amazing is that five of the women and two of the men did not run because they were ill.

Head coach Kathy Manizza credits this success to the tough practices the week leading up to the meet.  "Since we didn't have a meet last week, we had 10 and 12 mile runs in practice to try to prepare as best we could for this meet."

rainville72_6504.jpgLabanara (5th overall) and Flynn (11th) were first across the line Saturday for their respective programs for the fourth straight race. Rainville and Glaude followed by checking in at 12th and 15th, respectively (just 13 seconds apart) over the 8,000 meter course, to provide the Warriors with a solid top three.  Sophomore Steven LaFlamme (Moosup) ignited the second wave of Eastern men's runners by finishing 23rd, with freshmen Mike Underwood (Farmington) and Chris Burkle (Guilford) engaged in a battle as the team's fifth and final scorer in 25th and 26th place, respectively.

At right: Joe Rainville

 McPhee and Amaral supported Labanara by steaming in two seconds apart in eighth and ninth place, respectively, giving the Warriors three of the top nine finishers.  Trifone was Eastern's fourth finisher in 15th place overall. Bridgewater, however, won the duel for second place in the team standings. The Bears' No. 5 runner, freshman Brittany Reed, took 13th place to secure second place for Bridgewater behind team winner Wheaton College (MA), eight points better than Eastern. First-year sophomore Kelsey Nixon (Ledyard) rounded out Eastern's five scorers with an overall finish of 30th, scoring 25 points, to allow the Warriors to ease to a 45-point victory over fourth-place finisher Roger Williams University.

Manizza is excited for the future of the program because of the development of the underclassmen, as seven of the women are newcomers to the program, as are eight of the men. The two teams have a combined total of 11 freshmen.

Eastern will be idle again this Saturday  before competing at the Western New England University Invitational Oct. 19, then will have another two-week layoff in preparation for the Little East Conference/New England Alliance Championship Nov. 2.

Labanara, Flynn Lead Cross Country


By Matt Sinkewicz / Sports Information Staff

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- After their third meet of the season Saturday at the University of Massachusetts Invitational, the Eastern Connecticut State University men and women's cross-country teams are in full swing. 

Even though both teams were missing some of their top runners because of injury, second-year head coach Kathy Manizza was very proud of her squad.  "A lot of the time, the team runs as individuals, but (Saturday) they really ran together as a team.  The team chemistry is amazing this year," she said.

The men's team finished 18th out of 28, and the women finished 13th out of 29.   Last year at the same meet, the teams finished 28th and 25th, respectively. For the third straight race, first-year sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybook) led the way for the men and junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) was first across the line for the women.

Injuries are a big storyline for the cross-country teams.  The men's team is missing its top runner from last year.  Also, freshman Dustin Plourde (Norwich) aggravated a stress fracture during the race.  For the women, senior Katie France (Portland) has been out all season with an injury. 

Coach Manizza hopes everyone will be healthy in time for Little East Conference Championship Nov. 2 at the University of Southern Maine. Eastern is idle this Saturday but returns to action Oct. 5 at the Community College of Rhode Island Tri-State Open.

Run over 8,000 meters
(Eastern finished 18th in a field of 28 teams)

(210 finishers)


78. (72) Taylor Flynn 28:22; 98. (91) Joe Rainville 28:51; 114. (107) Steven LaFlamme 29:09; 140. (127) Michael Dolde 30:13; 154. (139) Mike Underwood 30:44; 169. (152) Dustin Plourde 31:37; 180. (161) Chris Burkle 32:47; 182. (--) Chris Armstrong 32:51.

Run over 5,000 meters
(Eastern finished 13th in a field of 29 teams)

(207 finishers)


43. (42) Kelly Labanara 20:06; 55. (53) Sofia Amaral 20:21; 60. (58) Mariah McPhee 20:28; 95. (92) Julie Trifone 21:10;  101 (98) Alexa Palasky 21:19; 141. (136) Kelsey Nixon 22:20; 165. (157) Kailynn Violette 23:45.

Kelly Labanara: Leader of the Pack


Above: At last Saturday's home cross country meet, junior Kelly Labanara (at far right) led the Warriors at the finish for the second straight race, placing second overall. (Photo by Liam Murphy)


By Brent Pelella / Sports Information Staff

labanara_head_72_2950.jpg"Your season starts way before the first event."

Every coach in America preaches this statement to their athletes, but it takes a truly inspired individual to follow through. It's a tedious process, but it's hard to deny the improvement it brings.

Kelly Labanara, a junior cross-country runner at Eastern, is a first-hand example of what it takes to be the best. Last season, as a sophomore, she hovered around the 22-minute mark in the 5k and as a result was the 5th best runner on her own team.

Three long summer months and 500 miles of running later and last year's Kelly is a faint shadow lagging behind. In turn, the new Labanara is stealing the show this season.  In her first two events, she has finished first on the team both times and a career best 2nd overall in her last race.

To put her astounding summer running totals into perspective, it could be estimated that her efforts would have brought her from Eastern to Philadelphia  and back (in case she's looking for an adventure next summer). Nonetheless, listening to her talk about her passion is envious.

labanara_72_8580.jpg"I am so proud of Kelly and what she has accomplished," noted second-year Eastern head coach Kathy Manizza. "Her summer training program set her up for a fantastic season and I know she will continue to improve.  She takes running very seriously, but she also enjoys it and that is so important to being a lifelong runner."

Labanara runs until her legs waver, and then shakes it out and continues to trek, "It helps me clear my head," he proclaimed. "I fell in love with running at a young age, and never looked back."

Labanara grew up in nearby Chaplin and graduated from Parish Hill High School, where she ran cross country and track for four years under Richard Gogan. In cross country at Parish Hill, she also showed drastic improvement, earning the program's Most Improved Runner Award as a freshman and sophomore before being named team MVP as a junior and senior. As a junior in track in high school, she received the Coaches' Award, then proceeded to earn team MVP honors in that program as a senior, as well.

In addition to cross country, Labanara is a two-year indoor and outdoor letterwinner with the Eastern track and field programs, running distances from 800 to 3,000 meters.

However, the soft-spoken accounting major is not content with her most recent goals. She plans to get her 5k time under 20 minutes and continue to improve the other aspects of being a leader on the team.

Kelly understands with success comes not only higher expectations, but also more responsibilities, "We have some great senior leaders, but I also know younger girls might start looking up to me with what I've done. I have to continue to lead by example, and also motivate them vocally."

Her development into a forerunner will give her experience in not only athletics, but also situations that will impact her life after college. This is one of the most essential aspects of being on a team. Most athletes experience togetherness and sacrifice, but Kelly is getting one better.

"Kelly is very quiet, but she is leading by example and setting a great standard for the younger girls as well as for potential incoming athletes," said Manizza.

Running will always fill a vast abyss in her life, and her discreet competitive nature will continue to propagate on roads, and trails countrywide. Her immediate plan after college, aside from crunching numbers, is pretty predictable, "I intend on running throughout my life. My first goal after I graduate is to run a marathon. That would be pretty cool."



Weight Room Renovation Completed

weight room72_7464.jpg

weight_room72x_7440.jpgThe Eastern Connecticut State University Sports Center weight room underwent a facelift this past summer. The room, which is located on the bottom floor of the building and services the entire Eastern community, includes new rubberized flooring, new stereo system, signage, expanded mirror coverage, "Eastern Warrior" platform/power racks, new polyurethane dumbells, kettle bells, barbells, bands, free weights, assisted dip and pull-up machine, two fixed glute/hamstring machines, TRX suspension training packs, medicine balls, leather jump ropes, plyo boxes, bosu balls and jammer machines. Weight room hours are Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

LEC: Four Eastern Athletes are Feted

 Sports of volleyball, soccer and cross country are represented


Karahalios (far left), Labanara

NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Four female athletes representing the sports of cross country, volleyball and soccer represent Eastern Connecticut State University in the second weekly Little East Conference awards program for the week of Sept. 9-15.

Junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) was named Runner-of-the-Week in cross country, sophomore defender Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) Defensive Player-of-the-Week in soccer and in volleyball, senior libero Erynn Miller (Stratford) repeated as Defensive Player-of the-Week and freshman outside hitter Adrianna Mihalek (Woodbury) Rookie-of-the-Week.

Labanara becomes the first-ever Eastern women's cross country runner named as the LEC's Runner-of-the-Week. After running mihalek_72_4408.jpgas the team's No. 5 runner as a sophomore in 2012, the third-year competitor led the Warriors at the finish for the second time in as many meets when the Warriors defeated visiting Bridgewater State University and U. of Saint Joseph (CT)   at Mansfield Hollow State Park this past Saturday. Over the 5,000 meter course, Labanara was second overall among 22 runners in a time of 20:36. In the first meet of the season Sept. 7 at the Trinity College Invitational, Labanara was 12th  overall in a field of 93.

Only the sixth solo captain in the volleyball program's 39-year history, Miller successfully handled 33 of 35 reception attempts for a .943 percentage as the Warriors won two of three matches (by sweep) at the Trinity College Invitational this past weekend. Defensively, Miller led Eastern with 61 digs in nine sets for a 6.78 average.

Mihalek (left), Miller (below)

Against homestanding Wesleyan University in the tournament, Miller was perfect on 13 receptions and dug up a team-high 19 balls, and in three sets the next day against regionally-ranked Trinity College, had 23 digs for an
average of nearly eight per set. With 189 digs in 34 sets this year, Miller has totaled nearly 100 more digs than her closest teammate, averaging 5.56 digs per set. She also leads all players with 180 reception and has a .911 reception percentage.

The 5-foot-8 inch Miller leads the conference in total digs (189) miller_72_4439.jpgand digs per set (5.56), averaging 1.24 digs per set more than her nearest conference competitor.

At 5-foot-8 inches tall, Mihalek had nearly twice as many kills (44) and averaged nearly twice as many points per set as any of her teammates when Eastern won two of three matches at Trinity. The former two-time All-State player at Holy Cross HS  attacked at .258 in nine tournament sets, handled a team-high 42 receptions and was second on the team with 31 digs (3.44 per set).

In a sweep of Wesleyan University in the tournament-opener, Mihalek amassed 16 kills with just one error for a .517 attack percentage and also led Eastern with 18 reception attempts and was second on the team with 12 digs. She also served two service aces. In a sweep of Bridgewater State University, Mihalek had nine kills in her first 19 swings and did not commit an error  on her first 26 attempts.

With an average of 3.53 kills per set, Mihalek leads the LEC in that category (0.62 more than her nearest conference competitor) and also tops the conference in points per set (3.88) and total points (139 ½).

Behind Miller and Mihalek, the Warriors (4-6 record)  lead the LEC in kills (391) and kills per set (10.86) and are second in digs per set (15.14). The two also rank 1-2 on the team in reception attempts with 180 and 166, respectively. Miller has a success percentage of .911, Mihalek .904.

Last year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year and the conference's only first-team All-LEC freshman selection, Karahalios helped the Warriors to a 1-0 road overtime shutout of 2012 NCAA qualifier Westfield State University in the team's only match of last week.

A center back, Karahalios is second on the team in minutes, having played  all but 44 minutes for the 4-1-0 Warriors. Eastern has given up only one goal all season, none in four shutouts against New England opponents. Previously in her career, Karahalios was selected as LEC Rookie-of-the-Week once as a freshman.

The selections bring to seven the number of Eastern athletes honored this season by the conference. In addition to Miller last week, women's soccer senior defender Megan Godwin (Manchester) was cited as Defensive Player-of-the-Week (also gaining an identical honor with the ECAC) and freshman midfielder Nicholas Warren (Southbury) was tabbed as men's soccer Rookie-of-the-Week.

The volleyball team visits Salve Regina University for a non-conference match Tuesday at 4 p.m. On Saturday, the cross country team competes in the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational Saturday and the women's soccer team opens its Little East season with a 1 p.m. kickoff at Western Connecticut State University.


Cross Country: Encouraging Results


Far left: Kelly Labanara; near left: Steven LaFlamme (Photos by Liam Murphy and Nikki Chambers).

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - Second-year head cross country coach Kathy Manizza knows that there's a lot of work ahead as her young men's and women's teams develop into post-season shape, but she was  encouraged after the teams completed their only home race of the season this past Saturday at Mansfield Hollow State Park.

Featuring six newcomers among the eight Eastern competitors, the women's team eased past Bridgewater State University by 18 points, and downed the University of Saint Joseph (CT) by 50 points over the challenging 5,000 meter layout Saturday morning.

Similarly young with seven first-year runners among the nine which finished the 4.2 mile course, the men's team ran a strong second to Bridgewater State in the dual meet, falling a point shy when No. 3 Bears' runner Ben Dinobile was able to hold off the charge of Eastern's top runner, sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook), at the finish line.

Both Eastern teams ran for the second straight week without a key runner. For the men, it was No. 1 runner Lee Cattanach (New London), a junior, and for the women, it was senior Katie France (Portland). One of two three-year letterwinners on the team, France ran 1-2 a year ago but has been rehabilitating a stress fracture since the summer.

Saturday, the Eastern men were unable to break up Bridgewater's top three of individual winner Dallas O'Brien, Mark Waller and Ben Dinobile, but filled in the next seven spots. Needing to outrun Dinobile for Eastern to pull out the win, Flynn came out of the final loop hard but could not quite overtake his competitor over the final stretch of just under 200 meters.

"Our men really did run well," noted Manizza, "certainly gave it a really solid effort, and supported each other as a team. That's what was really impressive. They ran as a pack throughout the race and definitely were pushing each other, and that was what was exciting."

Scoring points for Eastern behind Flynn - who transferred from Southern Connecticut State University this fall --  were freshmen Dustin Plourde (Norwich) and Joe Rainville (Montville), sophomore Steven LaFlamme (Moosup), and first-year junior track competitor Michael Dolde (East Hampton).

As a bonus, Eastern's top four men ran as a unit, with only 37 seconds separating Flynn from LaFlamme at the tape.

"Taylor gave 100 percent effort once he turned out of the woods," praised Manizza. "He tried to outkick the Bridgewater kid, but our top guys just waited too long (to overcome Bridgewater's first three). They knew that they needed to break up those top three by making their move a little earlier. It's impossible to win a cross country race if the other school gets 1-2-3."

Manizza points to LaFlamme as one of the team's most improved runners, citing his exhaustive training regimen this past summer.

Led by junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin) and freshman Sofia Amaral (New Milford), the five scoring runners for the women's team all finished among the first seven runners.

Labanara, named as the Little East Conference's Runner-of-the-Week Monday for her effort in the race, led the Warriors for the second straight race this season, with only nine seconds separating her from individual winner Danielle Poto of Bridgewater.

Amaral was third overall - 24 seconds behind Labanara - with senior three-year letterwinner Alexa Palasky (Griswold) fourth overall, freshman Mariah McPhee (Bristol) sixth and freshman Julie Trifone (Cheshire) rounding out Eastern's five scorers with a seventh-place overall showing.

Behind Labanara and Amaral, Palasky, McPhee and Trifone ran as a group, with only 39 seconds between the three.

"Our women ran as a pack, and they did a great job of pushing each other. Mariah  is getting stronger and stronger every time out," said Manizza of McPhee, who was unable to put in maximum mileage this summer due to academic commitments. "I think that she will eventually catch up to Sofia (Amaral), then we'll really have a strong top three, and Alexa (Palasky) and Julie (Trifone) will be right there, as well. It's exciting that we have such a strong top seven."

Although Poto took the coveted top spot, her teammates could not submit similar results. All five Eastern scorers, as well as Kaneen Gomez-Hixson of Saint Joseph, crossed the tape before Natalya Riberdy managed to record an eight-place finish as Bridgewater's second finisher.

While injuries have sidelined Cattanach and France, Plourde has also been nursing stress fractures which sidelined during his senior season at Norwich Free Academy. He mixes an alternative running program with pool workouts this fall as he rehabs his injury.  For the women, senior Wendy Bouton (Stratford), junior Alexandra Maciolek (Ellington) and freshman Ashley Skolozdra (Mount Laurel, NJ) all sat out Saturday's competition with injuries, according to Manizza.

Eastern closes out the month of September Saturday at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Invitational.

Run over 4.2 miles

Bridgewater State U. 29, Eastern Conn. 30

1. Dallas O'Brien (B) 24:05; 2. Mark Waller (B) 24:50; 3. Ben Dinobile (B) 25:04; 4. Taylor Flynn  € 25:08; 5. Dustin Plourde  € 25:21; 6. Joe Rainville € 25:32; 7. Steven LaFlamme € 25:45;  8. Michael Dolde € 26:16; 9. Chris Burkle € 26:18; 10. Mike Underwood € 26:26; 11. Andrew Single (B) 26:30; 12. Evan Glaude € 27:03; 13. John Whittemore (B) 27:22; 14. Chris Armstrong € 27:41; 15. Mike Gillis (B) 29:21.

Run over 5,000 meters

Eastern Conn. 23, Bridgewater State U. 41, U. of Saint Joseph (CT) 73

1. Danielle Poto (B) 20:27; 2. Kelly Labanara € 20:36; 3. Sofia Amaral € 21:00; 4. Kaneen Gomez-Hixson (S) 21:27; 5. 5. Alexa Palasky € 21:34; 6. Mariah McPhee € 21:57; 7. Julie Trifone € 22:13; 8. Natalya Riberdy (B) 22:19; 9. Brittany Reed (B) 22:21; 10. Kelsy Nixon € 22:30; 11. Rachel Ducharme (B) 22:37; 12. Emily Ducharme (B) 22:50; 13. Stephanie Ward-Smith (B) 24:27; 14. Kailynn Violette € 24:34; 15. Amber Trembley (S) 24:57; 16. Joyce Simon (B) 25:05; 17. Rachel Mauthe (S) 25:28; 18. Rachel Mezzoni € 26:25; 19. Anne Pitoniak (S) 26:46; 20. Bridget Saur (S) 27:45; 21. Serena Cochran (S) 37:02; 22. Lovely Jourdan (S) 37:47.

Eastern Conn.       2   3   5   6   7  -- 23
Bridgewater           1   8   9 11 12  -- 41
Saint Joseph, CT    4 15 17 18 19  -- 73







Cross Country: Warriors Open Season

At Wickham Park, Labanara leads women; two newcomers pace men

labanara72_3519.jpgMANCHESTER, Conn. - Junior Kelly Labanara (Chaplin), the team's No. 5-6 runner a year ago, finished among the top 13 percent of the field as the team leader for Eastern Connecticut State University, when the women's cross country team opened the 2013 season at the Trinity College Invitational Saturday at Wickham Park.

At left: Kelly Labanara

On the men's side, newcomers comprised six of the team's nine finishers, with first-year sophomore transfer Taylor Flynn (Old Saybrook) placing among the top third finishers with an overall place of 28th in a field of 85.

The Eastern women totaled 124 points in a fifth-place finish among seven full teams, with the men checking in in seventh place among ten teams with 188 points.

Salve Regina won the women's event by pushing their five scoring runners among the first 11 for a 30-point win over host Trinity College. Division I Siena College placed its five scorers within the top nine for an easy victory in the men's race.

Labanara took 12th place in a field of 93 in a time of 18:03 over the 4,000 meter layout and was followed by freshmen Sofia Amaral (New Milford) and Julie Trifone (Cheshire), who placed 17th and 32nd overall, respectively. Rounding out the Eastern women's top five were senior Alexa Palasky (Griswold) and freshman Mariah McPhee (Bristol). Palasky was 42nd overall, McPhee 44th.

For the men, Flynn was timed in 18:08 over 5,000 meters and freshman Joe Rainville (Montville) placed 45th. Completing Eastern's scoring five were senior Evan Glaude (East Hampton) and freshmen Dustin Plourde (Norwich) and Michael Underwood (Farmington). Glaude was 50th, Plourde 52nd and Underwood 56th.

Eastern is home Saturday for a 10 a.m. meet at Mansfield Hollow State Park.

Men's Results
Run over 5,000 meters

Team Results

1. Siena College 28; 2. Connecticut College 73; 3. Trinity College 94; 4. U. of New Haven 105; 5. Salve Regina U. 121; 6. Lesley College 137; 7. EASTERN CONN. 188; 9. Post U. 2015; 10. Mitchell College 274.

(85 total finishers)

28. (25) Taylor Flynn 18:08; 45. (36) Joe Rainville 18:56; 50. (40) Evan Glaude 19:10; 52. (42) Dustin Plourde 19:15; 55. (45) Michael Underwood 19:28; 59. (47) Chris Burkle  19:36; 60 (48) Steven LaFlamme 19:42; 62. (--) Michael Dolde 19:52; 65. (--) Chris Armstrong 20:08.

Women's Results
Run over 4,000 meters

Team Results

1. Salve Regina U. 29; 2. Trinity College 59; 3. Siena College 68; 4. Lesley College 114; 5. EASTERN CONN. 124; 6. U. of New Haven 139; 7. Mitchell College 224.

(93 total finishers)

12. (12) Kelly Labanara 18:03; 17. (17) Sofia Amaral 18:20;  32. (28) Julie Trifone 18:49; 42. (33) Alexa Palasky 19:19; 44. (34) Mariah McPhee 19:25; 46. (35) Kelsey Nixon 19:29; 71. (43) Wendy Bouton  20:58; 85. (--) Kailynn Violette 22:15; 91 (--) Rachel Mezzoni 23:11.





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