BOSTON, Mass. – Only about 24 months removed from her first-ever cross country race, Bentley University junior Tara Dooley (Lee/Lee HS) became the first Division II runner in seven years to finish as high as third in the New England Women's Cross Country Championships Saturday at Franklin Park.
Dooley covered the 5,000-meter course in 17:29, finishing behind only Rosa Moriello of Boston University and Eimear Black of Bryant University. Moriello captured the championship in 17:13 and Black outran Dooley by two seconds.
The last Division II runner to place as high as Dooley was UMass-Lowell's Nicole Plante, with a third-place finish in 2006.
"Tara ran a very patient race, which is one of the things that we've been focusing on this year," said coach Kevin Curtin. "She was probably in 10th place or so at the mile and did a nice job working through traffic and moving up into third by the end. This was another great race for her which sets her up nicely for the Northeast-10's and NCAA Regionals over the next month."
Dooley, who was sixth a year ago, was one of only two Division II runners to earn All-New England honors, the other being her Bentley teammate, grad student Amy Varsell (Burlington, Conn./ Lewis S. Mills HS). She placed 15th overall in 17:58.
Rounding out Bentley's top three was senior Ashley Nichols (Kenmore, Wash./Inglemoor HS), 92nd in 19:02. That was seventh best amongst Division II student-athletes.
As a team, Bentley placed 19th of 43 overall, including second amongst the eight Division II teams that competed in the annual championship
Next up for Bentley is the Northeast-10 Championships Oct. 27 at Saint Anselm College.