Irish echo logo 750x550

McNeese’s Rooney wins Southland 8k race

David Rooney of McNeese State set a meet record to win the Southland Conference Men’s Cross Country Championship in Beaumont, Tex. on Friday. A senior from Portmarnock, Co. Dublin, Rooney ran 8,000 meters in 23:33.5, with his nearest pursuer nearly a half-minute behind him. McNeese, coached by Brendon Gilroy (formerly of Sligo), swept the top three places and six of the top 11. Stephen Kerr, a McNeese freshman from Armagh City, placed 21st with a time of 25:09.8. An Irish duo from Lamar also competed, with Dublin junior Chris Jones finishing 15th in 24:52.2. Teammate Ryan Creech, a sophomore from Cork, got 27th place in 25:26.4.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

This was Gilroy’s first Southland Conference title while at the helm at McNeese.

“The guys came here on a mission and got the job done,” Gilroy said. “Everyone ran extremely well. We’re going to enjoy this for a little bit, but then get back to work and get ready for [regionals and nationals].”

Rooney’s conference win is the first by a McNeese runner since Tom McGrath of Mullingar, Co. Westmeath turned the trick back in 1988. The Louisiana school has a long history of storied Irish runners, reaching back to the 1960s when Olympian Fanahan McSweeney enrolled there.

Bryant University junior Eimear Black won the Northeast Conference Women’s Championship in Smithfield, R.I. on Saturday. Black, from Glengormley, Co. Antrim, led from start to finish and broke the tape in 17:34.29. Bryant, coached by Irish native Stephanie Reilly, finished third among teams.

Providence College sophomore Shane Quinn was runner-up at the Big East Championship race in the Bronx on Friday. His 8,000-meter time of 24:38.81 was exceeded only by Syracuse’s Martin Hehir, who was in at 24:37.20.

Iona swept seven of the top eight spots in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship race at Walt Disney World in Florida. Jake Byrne, an Iona sophomore from Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, took fourth place with a time of 24:30.78 for 8,000 meters. Teammate Craig Murphy, a graduate student from Cork, came in 62nd. His time was 26:45.46. Iona’s Mitch Goose led the field home in 24:08.08.