The past week saw performances from Ocean State AC that introduced its athletes and the club as serious competitors on both national and international levels.
Julian Oakley Becomes 2nd fastest New Zealander Ever over 3000m Indoors
The club saved the best for last, as the week’s top highlight came on Saturday, December 16, at the Boston University Mini Meet. The weeks leading up to the event saw much hoopla about a group of New Zealand athletes, including two-time Olympic medalist Nick Willis, attempting to achieve the world indoor qualifying time in the 3k. Julian had entered to compete in this field; however, a few days before the event those athletes withdrew, leaving Julian to attempt the standard of 7:52 on his own.
With a teammate pace-setting, Julian hit the qualifying standard and more, blazing to a world-class time of 7:44.34, the second-fastest time ever run indoors by a New Zealander to Zane Robertson’s 7:44.16. If selected by New Zealand, Julian will compete in the World Indoor Championships from March 2nd to 4th.
Hugh Armstrong Finishes 19th in European Championships; Irish Senior Men Finish Fifth Overall
On December 10th, the Sunday prior to Julian’s performance on the indoor track, Hugh Armstrong toed the line in Samorin, Slovakia under much less pleasant conditions at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships. The championship’s website describes the day that “sub-zero [Celsius] temperatures and a biting wind greeted the athletes in Samorin.” Certainly, the day would test the mettle of all athletes on the course.
Hugh Armstrong was ready to rise to the challenge, finishing in 19th place out of the whole of Europe in a time of 30:46 for the 10k course. Along with teammate and NCAA Cross Country 12th-place finisher Sean Tobin, who finished 15th, Hugh contributed greatly to an outstanding fifth-place team finish for Ireland.
Pending selection for World Cross Country Championships, Hugh’s next focus will be the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on January 14th, where he hopes to improve on his debut time of 66:57.
**Note: Providence College graduate Ben Connor finished sixth in the race competing for England.
Jordan Mann Finishes 21st at USATF Club Cross Country Championships
On December 10th, Jordan Mann took to the course to compete in the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2016, the race was held in Tallahassee, Florida, allowing the athletes to compete in warm weather on a beautiful course; this year, snow showed on the forecast, and Lexington did not disappoint, as snow began to fall midway through the open men’s race.
Still, Jordan moved up through the field over the course of the race to finish just outside the top 20, coming in 21st place in a time of 30:04 for the 10k course. Not only was this a marked improvement over his 63rd place finish in the race one year ago, but it also marks his best cross country race ever, with the fastest time over 10k cross country and the highest finish in a quality field of his career.
After performing pacing duties for Julian’s 3k, Jordan looks forward to getting on the indoor track himself in late January.
Jordan and Julian competed in the Manchester Road race, finishing 11th and 19th in the race with Coach Ray Treacy and his brother, Irish Olympian John Treacy, as the honorary chairmen.
Kevin Cooper brought home third place in the Cambridge Half Marathon with a finishing time of 71:22, following it up with his first 5k on the track at the BU Season Opener, finishing in a time of 14:56.
Julian competed in the BU Season Opener as well, winning the 5k in a time of 13:49.
To qualify for European Championships, Hugh finished third in the Irish National Cross Country Championships in a time of 31:50 for 10k.