Cambridge, Mass. -- Two Stony Brook runners had first place finishes en route to capturing the first America East Performer of the Week honors, which were announced Wednesday afternoon. Junior Daniel Denis and classmate Annie Keown also led their respective squads to victories in the Stony Brook Season Opener, held Saturday, Sept. 1.
In the men's 6K race, Denis (Bayport, N.Y./Bayport-Blue Point) paced the field of 63 runners with a time of 19:10.34. This time was over seven seconds faster than the runner-up. Denis was one of four Stony Brook men to finish in the top 10 on the day, as the Seawolves defeated runner-up Qunnipiac by a score of 31 to 49. A top-30 finisher in last season's America East Championship, Denis bested his time from the 2011 Stony Brook Season Opener by nearly nine seconds.
Keown's time of 14:45.02 was more than good enough to win the women's 4K race. Her closest challenger, teammate Lorraine McCarthy, finished 16 seconds behind the winning pace. Keown (Auckland, New Zealand/Auckland Girls Grammar) and McCarthy were joined by three other Seawolves to occupy half of the top 10. Their strong showing was good for a 29 point victory over runner-up Sacred Heart. Keown was a top 10 finisher at last year's America East Championship.
The Stony Brook women likely secured a place in the regional rankings with their convincing victory over the weekend. The five-time defending America East champions came into the year ranked 10th in the women's USTFCCCA Northeast Region ranknings. The Seawolves were joined by three other America East squads in the preseason poll with New Hampshire coming in at No. 12, Vermont at No. 13 and Boston U. rounding out the rankings at No. 15.
Elsewhere in the America East over the weekend, Albany, New Hampshire and UMBC also opened their 2012 slates. The Albany women took first behind a strong run from Brittney Lane, who took the individual crown. Meanwhile the men, behind individual champ Chris Buchanan, finished second at the Monmouth University XC Kick-Off.
Both of New Hampshire's squads took second in the College Woods run, led by Cory Sinotte, who finished fourth, and Anne Twombly, who took third.
UMBC saw its men take second place in the Spider Alumni Open led by Brandan McGee, who finished fourth. McGee set a new personal record and a school record in the 5K race. On the women's side, the Retrievers took third as Sarah Day finished 16th.
The rest of the conference will kick off the 2012 season this weekend. Binghamton is at the Army Tri-Meet on Friday, while Hartford (Trinity Invite), Maine (at UMass) and Boston U. (Bryant Invitational) all begin Saturday. Vermont is the last to open, as it will host the Vermont Invitational on Sunday, Sept. 9.