Sports

Hawkins has solid 1st season at Rhode Island

Thursday, December 5, 2013

By GEORGE SCIONE

Staff Writer

If there is one thing that’s certain about Milford’s Courtney Hawkins, she can run long distances like nobody’s business.

That was on display in plenty of meets throughout her time at Milford High School. Now the college freshman is showing off her skills at the University of Rhode Island.

“It’s been great here,” said Hawkins, who just wrapped up women’s cross country season. “I started off really well. Things ended a little rough, but overall it was a great first season here for me.”

In her first meet as a Ram, Hawkins paced the team with a 74th-place finish (18 minutes, 50 seconds) in the Sept. 27 Coast-to-Coast Battle in Boston. She followed that up with a run of 18:14 for 22nd at the New England Championships in Boston on Oct. 12. The following week, at the Rothenberg-Brown Invitational in Warwick, R.I., she paced the Rams again by recording a personal best of 18:08.4 for seventh overall.

Three races in and Hawkins was three for three as URI’s top finisher.

“I felt really good in those first three runs,” she said. “My thing is getting faster as the distance gets longer. I tend to speed up over greater distance.”

That may explain why a short track event through her off her game a little. Hawkins fell and recovered for 32nd (10:39) in a field of 137 runners at the Central Connecticut State University Short Course (3K) Meet on Oct. 25 in New Britain, Conn. It was the first collegiate meet she ran in that she wasn’t the first on her team across the finish line. Sophomore Paige Ethier paced the Rams in ninth at 10:19.

Despite her trip up in the CCSU meet, Hawkins earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors for the week of Oct. 21-27.

“When I fell, it jumbled me up a bit,” she said. “I got up and finished as strong as I could.”

She finished out the fall season strong as well, taking 40th in the A-10 Championship (18:18.7) at Richmond, Va., and 163rd out of 254 competitors in the NCAA Regional Championship (23:02.3) in Bronx, N.Y. Ethier, the only other URI qualifier, finished 184th in New York.

Now, Hawkins takes a short breather before competing in indoor track.

“The season just started, but I’m not running until after the new year,” said Hawkins, who will also compete in outdoor track this spring. “I need to give my body a little time to recuperate from cross country season.”

When she does get on the track, it will be in distance events (3K, 5K, mile). Until then she’s simply enjoying her surroundings.

“I love it here,” she said. “I love the area. And the community on campus and off campus is amazing. So many great people all over the place here. I definitely made the right choice.”

MORGAN ANDREWS

The first fall in South Bend, Ind., was a good one for Milford’s Morgan Andrews.

The Notre Dame freshman midfielder started all 22 games, leading the women’s soccer team in points (19), goals scored (seven) and game-winning goals (four). She finished her first season as a member of the Fighting Irish in style, scoring the game-winner against Iowa in their 4-1 NCAA Championship first-round victory.

Notre Dame went on to beat Western Michigan, 1-0, in Round 2, before falling by the same score in the Round of 16 against Michigan.

Notre Dame closed its inaugural season with Andrews and as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference at 13-8-1 after reaching the final 16 of the NCAA tournament for the 13th time since 1997.

CHRIS SMITH

Merrimack’s Chris Smith is a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference All-Conference Second Team selection for 2013.

A 5-9, 186-pound defensive back and return specialist, Smith averaged 30.6 yards per kick return, including an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Bridgewater State University. The junior also took over as starting punter the last half of the season, averaging 33.7 yards a boot, and he ranked seventh on the team with 34 tackles.

The Panthers finished the 2013 campaign with a 2-8 overall record, and a 1-7 mark in the inaugural season of MASCAC Football.

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