By John Manley
Both ends of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships went to teams with Irish coaches. John McDonnell’s Arkansas Razorbacks won this event for the 10th time, while first-year coach Marcus O’Sullivan broke his maiden as the Villanova women prevailed in their division.
The Arkansas men scored 97 points to runner-up Stanford’s 114. The Razorbacks had runners finish in the 5th, 14th, 16th, 22nd and 40th places. Providence, coached by Ray Treacy, finished 10th, with 339 points, while Iona, coached by Mick Byrne, was 23rd, with 538 points.
Colorado’s Adam Goucher was the individual winner, running 10,000 meters at the University of Kansas’ Rim Rock Farm Course in 29 minutes, 26.90 seconds. Keith Kelly led the Providence brigade, finishing 14th in 30:45.60. Kelly is a junior from Drogheda. Other finishers included Paul Reilly, a Providence freshman from Loughrea, Co. Galway, 78th in 31:50; Tom Carey, a Boise State junior from Castleconnell, Co. Limerick, 80th in 31:52; Larry Morrissey, a Providence junior from Waterford, 137th in 32:34.60; Barry Egan, an Iona freshman from Caher, Co. Tipperary, 141st in 32:37.70; Vinny Mulvey, an Iona sophomore from Ashbourne, Co. Meath, 177th in 33:06.60, and Ciaran Lynch, a Providence sophomore from Limerick, 231st in 34:23.90.
The depth of Villanova’s women’s squad allowed O’Sullivan to bring home a trophy in his first crack as coach. The Wildcats outpointed Brigham Young (110) and Stanford (111). Placing four runners in the 10-19 slots (10, 11, 15 and 18) made the difference for the Wildcats.
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Penn State’s Jon McClay scored the only goal in the Nittany Lions’ 1-0 NCAA playoff win over Connecticut. McClay, a senior from Whitehead, Co. Antrim, took a pass from Pete Schellenberger eight yards out and converted it into the lone goal of the match. Belfast’s Barry Gorman leads Penn State (14-5-2) into battle against St. John’s in the next round this weekend.
Trevor Adair’s top-seeded Clemson Tigers also advanced in the NCAAs, via a 5-0 victory over Lafayette. Clemson (21-1) next hosts William & Mary on Sunday at 2 p.m. Adair is also from Belfast.
Seamus McFadden received an excellent performance from his University of San Diego Toreros, who defeated California State-Fullerton, 2-1, to move on to the next round in the NCAAs. Fullerton had been seeded seventh. San Diego now faces Stanford this weekend in Palo Alto. McFadden is a Donegal man.
Count John Melody among last weekend’s winning Irish coaches. His Mercyhurst Lakers (16-3-1) defeated Truman State, 1-0, to advance to the NCAA Div. II final four. Sophomore Anthony Maher headed the ball past the Truman goalie into the left corner in the 70th minute following a pass by teammate Mark Fitzgerald, a sophomore from Co. Kerry. Melody is a native of Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
When Paul Cleary scored the first goal of the match, it appeared as if New Hampshire College might be on its way to defeating Southern Connecticut State and breaking an 11-game winless streak against that rival. But it wasn’t to be. The Penmen did themselves in with two own goals to fall to SCSU, 4-2, in an NCAA Div. II contest. Cleary’s goal came in the 20th minute, when he headed a pass from Ulf Karlsson past the SCSU goalie. Cleary is a junior from Waterford. NHC ends the season 16-3-2.
Rider began the season with a 79-64 triumph over Bucknell. Junior Ken Lacey, the Irish national team player, had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Broncs.
Clemson, with hot freshman Michael Hoey, placed third in the GolfWorld/Palmetto Dunes Invitational at Arthur Hills in Hilton Head, S.C. Hoey, a freshman from Belfast, tied for ninth in just his second collegiate tournament. He shot 1-under 215 (73-70-72), which left him nine shots behind Oklahoma State’s Edward Loar, the medalist. East Tennessee State senior Eamonn Brady, a senior from Dublin, tied for 47th at 225 (73-71-81). Clemson finished seven shots behind the winning team, Nevada-Las Vegas. ETSU tied for 10th.
Alabama-Birmingham junior Chris Devlin tied for 16th place in the USA Peninsula Fall Classic at the Peninsula Golf Club in Gulf Shores, Ala. Devlin, who hails from County Antrim, finished at 216 (71-71-74), which was seven strokes behind Memphis’ Colin Wright and South Alabama’s Matt Tanner, both at 209. UAB placed sixth among teams as South Alabama won its own tournament.