Brunnette named Runner of the Year for second straight season
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University junior Sam Brunnette (Newport, Vt.) continued his stranglehold on the Little East Conference cross country field as he was named the LEC Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year for the second straight season.
Brunnette, who followed his Rookie Runner of the Year honor in 2015 with Runner of the Year last fall, is the first back-to-back winner since Southern Maine's Tyler Jasud won in 2008 and 2009. He becomes the first runner in LEC history to earn Rookie Runner of the Year and consecutive Runner of the Year honors.
"Sam has successfully married a unique will to prepare with an elite racing confidence," said head coach John Ostler. "He's made a lot of sacrifices and worked hard to develop the right habits to be a national caliber student-athlete. He's tenaciously goal-oriented and possesses a calm self-assurance one can only derive from a comprehensive preparation."
Brunnette has enjoyed another spectacular season for the Panthers. In his five races this fall he has three individual titles, a runner up and a ninth place finish. He defended his individual title in the LEC Championships on Oct. 28 in school record time, while posting the third fastest time in championship history.
He also took the top spot in a field of 266 runners at the James Earley Invitational, hosted by Westfield State University, on Oct. 7, and was the fastest runner in the PSU Short Course Opener, Plymouth State's first home event in 38 years.
The second place finish came at the Bowdoin Invitational on Sept. 16, when Brunnette crossed the finish line just 12 seconds after Bowdoin College's Ben Torda, a national qualifier in the steeplechase last spring.
His ninth place finish came at the Purple Valley Classic hosted by Amherst College, among a field littered with 2016 All-Americans.
"It's been an enriching experience to think of new ways to challenge Sam," continued Ostler, "and yet he still comes into my office a couple times a season and says, 'Hey coach, for this week's workout I really want to have to dig deep.'"
Brunnette and the rest of the men's and women's cross country teams will compete in the NCAA Regional Championships on Saturday at the University of Southern Maine, with an opportunity to qualify for the NCAA National Championships held Nov. 18 at Principia College in Elsah, Ill.
Little East Conference
2017 Cross Country Major Awards
|Men's Runner of the Year||Sam Brunnette, Plymouth State|
|Men's Rookie Runner of the Year||Bruno Pires, UMass Dartmouth|
|Coach of the Year||Ryan Harkleroad, Southern Maine|
|Women's Runner of the Year||Shayna Cousineau, Rhode Island College|
|Women's Rookie Runner of the Year||Shayna Cousineau, Rhode Island College|
|Coach of the Year||Kathy Manizza, Eastern Connecticut|
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