UMass Lowell sophomore distance runner Nicole Murphy (Mendon, Mass.) has been named the America East Women’s Cross Country “Performer of the Week” after winning the Vermont 5K in record time, Saturday, in Red Rocks Park in Burlington, Vermont.
“That was her debut,” said UMass Lowell Head Coach Gary Gardner. “That’s a pretty good start.”
Murphy crossed the finish line in a time of 17-minutes and 42-seconds, nine seconds ahead of her nearest challenger. The time demolished the course record by some 35-secondfs. UMass Lowell placed five runners in the top nine as the River Hawks defeated the host school, Vermont, 25-30.
“She was very patient,” said Gardner. “She ran a smart race, stayed with the lead pack and closed it out in the final thousand meters.
The event was the first cross country race Murphy had ever run. She had solid indoor and outdoor seasons a year ago, but had not competed during the cross country season and has freshman eligibility in the event. She did not run cross country in high school.
“She’s a tough kid period,” said Gardner. “She’s super competitive, even in workouts. We are just beginning to tap her potential.”
UMass Lowell is schedule to compete Saturday at the Dartmouth Invitational. Things will get far more interesting the following Friday when the River Hawks take part in the Coast to Coast Invitational hosted by Boston College at Franklin Park in Boston.