WESTFIELD, Mass. –Sunday morning and helping the Falcons to a second-place finish as a team. Bentley University freshman Tara Dooley (Lee/Lee HS) earned Women's Cross Country Rookie of the Year honors in the Northeast-10 Conference after finishing a strong second in the conference championships
Dooley, running only the second cross country race of her life, covered the 5,000-meter Stanley Park course in 17:44.23. She finished just 4.89 seconds after defending champion Jeptui Cherutich of American International, and was close to 30 seconds ahead of the third-place finisher, Maura Ferrarini of Stonehill College.
As a team, Bentley finished second for the first time since 2002 after placing four runners in the top 11. The Falcons, in Kevin Curtin's first season at the helm, had a team score of 82. Stonehill College, with five runners in the top 12 and seven in the top 17, claimed its third consecutive team title, finishing with a score of 39.
Dooley was one of four Bentley runners to earn All-Northeast-10 honors. She was a first-team honoree as was junior Amy Varsell (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S. Mills HS), who finished sixth in 18:21.99 in her 2011 season debut.
The Falcons also received strong performances from junior Caitlin Fahey (Bridgewater/Coyle-Cassidy HS) and sophomore Ashley Nichols (Kenmore, Wash./Inglemoor HS), who both earned second-team All-Conference recognition. They were 10th and 11th, respectively, with times of 18:29.11 and 18:29.84.
The next competition for the Falcons will be the NCAA Division II East Regional at Franklin Park Nov. 6. The top two teams in that meet will advance to Spokane, Wash. for the NCAA Division II Championships.
NORTHEAST-10 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Stanley Park, Westfield, Mass.
Team Standings: 1. Stonehill 39, 2. Bentley 82, 3. St. Michael's 149, 4. Merrimack 150, 5. Southern Connecticut 170, 6. Le Moyne 194, 7. Adelphi 195, 8. UMass-Lowell 203, 9. Saint Rose 210, 10. Saint Anselm 225, 11. New Haven 235, 12. American International 277, 13. Southern New Hampshire 400, 14. Pace 412, 15. Assumption 423, 16. Franklin Pierce 492.
Top Individuals: 1. Jeptui Cherutich, AIC, 17:39.34; 2. Tara Dooley, Bentley, 17:44.23; 3. Maura Ferrarini, Stonehill, 18:12.58; 4. Gabrielle Naranje, St. Michael's, 18:15.60; 5. Chloe Boutelle, St. Michael's, 18:21.46.
Other Bentley Runners: 6. Amy Varsell, 18:21.99; 10. Caitlin Fahey, 18:29.11; 11. Ashley Nichols, 18:29.84; 61. Evelyn Marrero, 19:38.40; 99. Brittany Roderman, 20:29.17; 107. Leah Schiller, 20:43.03; 117. Nikki Sirignano, 21:03.90; 122. Maddy McDonnell, 21:14.03; 129. Heather Hallstrom, 21:37.23; 132. Brittany Baudier, 21:54.35; 150. Alix Pettinella, 22:59.60; 152. Courtney Swan, 23:10.71