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Oakley Near-National Record and Armstrong Top-20 Finish Highlight Outstanding Week for Ocean State AC

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.

Late Updates

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.

Hugh Armstrong: New Athlete Questionnaire

After his debut at the Lone Gull 10k, we’re incredibly excited to welcome the Mayo man Hugh Armstrong to the Ocean State AC Team! Here are some questions he answered for us earlier this summer. Check them out, and get to know Hugh a little bit! If you’re interested ladies, he always looks great running and is powered  by Flahavan’s porridge.

  • Hometown: Knockmore, Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland.
  • Where did you go to college? Providence College.
  • Main Event: 10km, cross country.
    PRs: 29:16 (10k)
  • Additional events you have trained for: 5km 14:06, 3km 8:09.
  • Story of your Best Race: running 29:16 in Stanford 2016 was special. Winning New England XC in 2014, with our “B” team at the time was one of my favourite XC team memories, along with qualifying for NCAA cross last year with much the same team. Running a big pb in the 5k at BU terrier, when [my high school coach] Dermot McDermott was there in 2016 was a big breakthrough for me.
  • Worst Race and How it Affected You: Strangely, my very first race and my very last race for Providence College were two of my worse ones: a xc race in Franklin park, Boston, and outdoor Regionals in Kentucky this year (10k). Some of the ones in the middle were much better. Bad races always show you that you have to go away and train harder (or train differently) and hopefully come back better the next day.
  • Favorite place in Rhode Island: Providence.
  • Reflection on the Last Season: I was pleased with cross and indoor seasons. I led our team at NCAAs in cross and ran pb’s in every event indoors. Outdoors was disappointing, I ran one solid 10k in Stanford to qualify for regionals, but struggled after that with sickness and tiredness, the season eventually ended with a very poor performance at regionals in Kentucky.
  • Goals for the Upcoming Season: I would like to become consistently good, and qualify for some Irish teams at senior level. I hope to successfully move up the distances on the road, and run a great half marathon this season, (and a great marathon in the future).
  • Favorite place to train: Grass, especially if it is nicely cut.
  • Favorite Food: Oranges
  • Favorite hobbies off the track? This might not count as non-athletic: I like following the GAA. During the summer, I travel around following the Mayo football team. I am also interested in politics
  • Favourite Mayo Player: Kevin McLoughlin
  • Favourite politician: Michael Davitt.
  • What you bring to a team dynamic/what you like best about being part of a team? This is a very individual sport, but I always loved having the team aspect running xc in college. It is great that we are continuing this with Ocean State AC. It is great to have a bunch of lads similar to yourself to work with in training and in races. It makes you want it a little bit more when you know that these lads need you to put in a good shift and run your hardest and you need them to do likewise.
  • Why OSAC: Ocean State was an easy choice for me. I am delighted to be staying in Providence for two more years, and I am very excited to continue working with Ray Treacy and some of the athletes who ran with me in college. It is also great that we are now getting support from New Balance.
  • What do you look forward to most about being part of the Providence running community? The Providence running community has some quality athletes in it. I look forward to competing with them on the roads and track and cross country, and seeing how well we can do as a new club in this community, and how well I myself can compete.
  • What you think is one of the most important aspects of a team mentality/environment:  I think that it is important for a team to work together. Ní neart go cur le chéile (there is no strength until we come together).
  • What is your day job? Providence College Graduate Assistant