Friday, November 7, 2003
Written by Michael Douglas

Connie Putnam named Coach of the Year; Kennedy is top Rookie

MEDFORD - The New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) has announced it's all-conference award winners for Men's and Women's Cross-Country for the Fall 2003 season. The Tufts University Jumbos were well represented. Six members of the Men's and Women's squads were recognized, including Men's Rookie of the Year Josh Kennedy (Guilford, CT/Hopkins School). Tufts Head Coach Connie Putnam was honored as Men's Coach of the Year. The Jumbo Men won their first-ever NESCAC Cross-Country Championship last weekend at Middlebury College (Nov. 1).

The All-NESCAC teams are selected based on the performances at the conference championship meet. Seven runners are named to both the First and Second Teams.

Kennedy led a pack of five Tufts runners from the Men's squad who were named to the All-Conference teams. In addition to his Rookie of the Year award, Kennedy was also named to the First-Team All-NESCAC. Junior Nate Brigham (Penacook, NH/Merrimack Valley HS), sophomore Kyle Doran (North Attleborough, MA/Bishop Feehan HS), junior Brian McNamara (Saratoga Springs, NY/Saratoga Springs HS), and junior Neil Orfield (Burnsville, MN/Apple Valley HS) were all named to the All-NESCAC Second Team.

Kennedy finished seventh overall at the NESCAC Championships with a time of 26 minutes, 54.4 seconds on the 8K course, which was 27 seconds behind event-winner Neal Holtschulte of Williams College. Kennedy was the only freshman among the top-10 finishers. Brigham (26:57.5), Doran (27:02.2), and McNamara (27:04.4) were right behind, finishing in an 8-9-10 pack. Orfield was only five seconds behind McNamara at (27:09.5), placing 14th. The Jumbos finished with a combined overall score of 48, nine places better than runner-up Williams College.

Following Tufts' victory, Putnam was named Coach of the Year for leading a program that made a turnaround after finishing fifth in a field of eleven only one year ago. Tufts has featured a successful and balanced team this year, with five different runners finishing atop the squad over the course of eight races. The team is currently ranked ninth in the nation, and is the top-ranked squad in New England. This is Brigham's third consecutive All-NESCAC recognition. He was named conference Rookie of the Year and to the Second Team in 2001, and was a Second Team pick last season.

Senior Lauren Caputo (Belmont, MA/Belmont) was the lone Tufts member of the All-NESCAC Women's squad after being named to the second team.  It was the senior tri-captain's first all-conference selection. Caputo finished twelfth overall with a time of 19:00.7 on the 5K course, 47 seconds behind event-winner Shauneen Garrahan of Amherst College. The Lord Jeffs captured the conference title with a team score of 55, while head coach Kristen Morwick's Jumbos finished seventh overall with a team score of 174. Caputo was Tufts' top runner this season, finishing atop the team in all but one race, and gracing the top-15 in six of her seven races.

The Jumbos will host the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship meets this weekend (Nov. 8). Both squads will look to use the ECAC meet as a tune-up in preparation for next weekend's crucial NCAA New England Championship meets (Nov. 15) at Southern Maine.