Delaney setting personal records in junior year

Matt GadContributor

Junior Meghan Delaney is making sure to put a mark on her second to last season as an Owl, hitting new personal records and continuing to be her best every time out.

“My season has been going really well,” she said. “I feel really good with how I’ve been performing.”

At the James Earley Invitational on Oct. 3, Delaney set a new personal record of 20:13 for a five kilometer race. Delabey displaced her previous best performance of 20:35 at the Ted Owen Invitational as a freshman Sept. 24, 2016, creating a 22-second improvement.

“I was hoping to break my personal record but I wasn’t going into the race thinking
that but I started off well so I just kept going faster,” Delaney said. “It just kind of happened.”

Last Saturday at the Bruce Kirsh Invitational Delaney ran 20:25.5 and the women’s squad finished eleventh overall. Her only other 5K this year was at the beginning of the season, on Aug. 31, at the Adelphi Panther Invitational, where she ran 20:56.9. The other two races were six kilometers each, or 3.7 miles. At the Division II/III Challenge on Sept. 15 she raced to a time of 25:44.8. Two weeks later, on Sept. 29, at the Paul Short Invitational, she ran 24:45.5.

“Meghan’s been doing wonderfully,” head coach Melissa Stoll said. “She’s been asking more questions on how to get to the national meet. Her level of fitness has improved from one year to the next and in terms of racing she’s getting into a rhythm.”

Delaney ran for Old Saybrook in high school, and towards the end of her time there, she got some feedback from Jan Merrill-Morin who was, according to Stoll, instrumental in pushing Delaney’s recruitment over the top. Merrill-Morin competed in the 1976 Olympics and also at the 1975 and 1979 Pan-American Games. She now coaches the combined men’s and women’s program at Division III Mitchell College.

“For the first three years of high school, I had a coach, and he was great, but he wasn’t
a distance runner,” Delaney said. “He tried his best to coach the distance team, but he just had never done it before. But my senior year we got this coach, Jan Merrill, who came from Rutgers and not only that but she was the 1,500-meter world record holder. She was a fantastic coach.”

“The team is getting shaper and shaper,” Stoll said. “This time where teams focus on these last few weeks of the season and may be tapering off to go for the conference meet, [assistant coach] Brian [Nill] has more of a long term plan.”

Delaney and her teammates will continue their season Nov. 4 with the NE10 Championships in Hopkinton, N.H. at the same course as last week’s meet.

“We have a very good team bond,” she said. “Inside and outside of cross country we’re a really close team and I think that contributes to us encouraging others to run well and go faster.”

Senior Ashley Betts said that Delaney has really matured through running and that her development since freshman year has become stronger.

Stoll does not appoint a traditional captain because the cross country team is so small but she will assign duties to various individuals.

“In cross country you don’t really needa captain,” Stoll said. “I feel like the younger girls just kind of look up to the older girls and follow what we do.”

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