By Ryan Fitzgerald – Sports Editor
Patrick O’Neill leads the men’s and women’s cross country teams this fall for his first time as head coach. “I’ve only been here a few weeks and I can already tell how much the coaches are really invested in [their] athletes,” says O’Neill. “They work 60-70 hours a week and they love it, I’m happy to be a part of that.” It’s clear O’Neill is impressed with what Lasell has to offer.
In addition, O’Neill will coach the men’s and women’s track and field teams in the spring semester. His experience includes being a Division I athlete at his alma mater Seton Hall University and working as an assistant coach for both American International College and Brandeis University.
“I think Division III experience is the right opportunity to succeed, both for coaches and players, because at the Division 1 level you’re only a number, while [in Division III] you get to build relationships,” O’ Neill explained.
Currently, there are eight women and 11 men on the cross country roster. Most of them are underclassmen, which only adds to the newly appointed coach’s excitement, “It’s a big advantage because it gives me more time to work with them and help the young athletes adapt.” “I would like to see the numbers grow, for both cross country and track,” O’Neill said. “That means bringing more depth to the program by hitting the recruiting trail hard.”
Both the men and women’s cross country seasons are underway. They finished in third and fifth respectively in their first meet at the Fitchburg State Invitational. The men’s side placed seventh out of 15 in the University of New England Invitational, an improvement from placing tenth last season.
“One of our goals is to finish in the top three or on top of the [Great Northeast Athletic Conference],” said O’Neill. “I’d like to see us do better at the regional level as well, hopefully finish in the top 30.”