HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's cross country team will look to win its fifth straight Northeast Conference Championship Saturday on its home course at noon. The Bobcats will host the conference championship meet for the second time in program history. After winning the last four NEC titles, Quinnipiac will try and seek its first on the 5K Quinnipiac Cross Country Course. Defending NEC Rookie of the Year sophomore Morgan Roche (Clifton Park, N.Y.) and five-time Road Runner Sports NEC Rookie of the Week Becca White (Natick, Mass.) will lead the Bobcats in their bid to become the first program in NEC history to win five consecutive championships.
This season, Roche has been named the Road Runner Sports NEC Athlete of the Week on two separate occasions, including the final week of the season. Finishing fourth at last year's NEC Championships, Roche earned the third Rookie of the Year award in program history. With last year's NEC Performer of the Year Chelsea Bollerman having graduated, Roche and senior Kristen Stevens (Succasunna, N.J.) will be two members of the team vying to continue the trend a Quinnipiac runner placing first at the conference meet. In each of the last five seasons, a Bobcat runner has finished first at NEC's, including Stevens in 2006 and 2007.
White has been named the league's top rookie runner on five occasions in 2009, while twice being honored as the Athlete of the Week. This season, she has finished as one of the top two runners for the Bobcats in every race she has run. On Sept. 19, the freshman placed first in a field of 110 at the Quinnipiac University Invitational on the course that will be used Saturday for the NEC title race. In finishing first, White was the only runner to cross the line of the 5K Quinnipiac Cross Country Course in under 18 minutes, posting a time of 17:58.
A three-time member of the All-NEC Team, senior Lindsey Pierret (Morristown, N.J.) will look to finish her career having won four NEC Championships. At last season's conference meet, Pierret finished seventh overall in 19:13. Pierret was one of the four Bobcats to finish in the top five at this season's Quinnipiac University Invitational, placing fifth overall in 18:40.
Sophomore Katie Beam (South Windsor, Conn.) is also looking for her second appearance on the All-Conference Team after a sixth-place finish in her first season. In 2008, Beam crossed the line at the Holmdel Park Course in 18:54 as a freshman.
Sophomore Kelly Sorrell's (Lebanon, Conn.) seventh-place overall finish rounded out the Quinnipiac scoring as the fifth member of the team to cross the finish line at the 2009 Quinnipiac University Invitational, posting a time of 18:48. Sorrell will be one of the many new members of the Bobcats trying to break in the top 14 and a spot on the all-conference team at this year's league championships.
Quinnipiac's 32 points led a field of 12 teams in 2008. Sacred Heart (62), Monmouth (76), Saint Francis (Pa.) (113) and Central Connecticut (129) rounded out the top five teams.
"We are very excited to be hosting our second NEC Championship," said head coach Carolyn Martin. "The women really know their course and know how to use it to their advantage. We hope that hard work, team work and strategic running will allow us to come out on top for our fifth consecutive year."