SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 20, 2013

Jean DePlacido column: Hale making immediate impact running at Williams

By Jean DePlacido
The Salem News

---- — Peter Hale wasted no time making an impact at Williams College.

In the first cross country meet of the season, the Ephs traveled to Canada to compete against both college and club teams in the McGill Invitational. Hale, a freshman from Swampscott, finished with the same time (19:12) as his All-American teammate, last Saturday as the duo placed sixth and seventh, respectively, on the hilly 6K course through Mount Royal Park in Montreal.

Williams had 13 runners in the top 37 finishers and bested 22 other teams. Williams and Laval University from Quebec City each had 43 points, but the Ephs were declared the winner because they were the first team to have six runners cross the finish line. (In Canada that’s how a winner is determined).

“I was definitely excited to start my college career and felt the race went extremely well,” said Hale, who starred at Swampscott High. “The six kilometer course was nestled in the heart of Montreal, which reminded me of racing at Franklin Park in high school.

“Coming into the race coach (Pete) Farwell told us to pack up and run conservatively until the third and final loop of the course, which played to my usual ‘sit and kick’ strategy. Despite never running anything longer than a 5K, I felt strong over the extra 1,000 meters and kicked into high gear to meet our captain (Lee) with half-a-minute to go. Our front four runners held tight with a seven-second separation.”

Hale and the Ephs will now get ready for the 17-team Purple Valley Classic at Mount Greylock next Saturday. Williams has high hopes this season after being fourth at the NCAA Regional and 12th at nationals a year ago.

“The results from the McGill look promising and I am excited about the team’s potential this season, both within the NESCAC and on a national level,” said Hale. “I’m slowing learning to work as part of a pack and becoming comfortable with the fact that need to prove myself as a runner all over again. It’s actually quite relieving to come into races without a target on my back.”

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Another local star who is now a college freshman, Cataina Rocha, helped Providence College earn its second win of the young season at the Stony Brook Invitational. Providence had 26 points, besting three other colleges, and Rocha was the fourth scorer for the Friars. The former Peabody High star and Massachusetts Gatorade Runner of the Year last year, placed 7th in her college debut in 18:40.48.

Providence, ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls and maintaining that position, beat Columbia, Stony Brook and Marist.

The Friars have a big test next weekend when they compete in the Boston College Invitational. The competition will be stiff with last year’s national champion, Oregon, coming to Boston along with highly regarded Wisconsin.

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Fred Glatz didn’t operate the clock in St. John’s Prep’s opening football game against Bridgewater-Raynham two weeks ago — but the former football coach and athletic director had a good reason to miss the game.

Glatz was a coach at UMass Amherst 50 years ago when the Minutemen won the Yankee Conference with an 8-0-1 record back in 1963. The team was honored at a reunion and went to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough to see UMass take on UMaine in their first home game.

“They didn’t win, but we had a good time,” said Glatz, who had a .701 winning percentage in his 17 seasons as the Prep’s head coach. “It was good to see all of the players, and that’s a great place to watch a college football game.”

Glatz was back in the Cronin Stadium press box at his customary seat operating the clock when the Eagles beat Brockton last Saturday.

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Through two games, the Prep’s Johnny Thomas has five rushing touchdowns and has gained 424 yards. He is averaging almost eight yards a carry and would easily be over 500 yards heading into the third game of the year at Central Catholic tonight (7 p.m.) if not for a number of holding calls against the Eagles that wiped out long gains.

Last year Thomas ran for over 1,800 yards in 11 games but had teammate to share the workload. So far this season, he has found a way to make something out of nothing time and time again.

Tonight the young St. John’s defense will have its hands full trying to contain UNH-bound .

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Jean DePlacido is a part-time writer and columnist for The Salem News. Contact her at jmdeplacido@aol.com.