By DOUG RODOSKI
Laura Rose Donegan ran to All-American status in Louisville on Saturday, finishing 30th among 254 runners at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships. Donegan finished the 6-kilometer course with a time of 20:20.9, but more impressive than her time was the Elite 90 Award that the senior brought home.
The Elite 90 Award is given to a single athlete in each of the 90 NCAA sports for academic and athletic excellence. According to the NCAA website, the award “recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers,” and is given to the athlete with the highest cumulative grade point average at each sports’ finals site.
“Rosie is the epitome of the student-athlete,” head coach Robert Hoppler said after Donegan received the award. “She is a serious student, and dedicates huge amounts of time to her sport and her classwork.”
Donegan’s hard work in her sport afforded the senior the opportunity to run at the Championships, after previously placing sixth at the Nov. 13 NCAA Division I Northeast Regional Cross-Country Championship.
The captain’s hard work in the classroom has resulted in a perfect 4.0 GPA for the political science major, who is no stranger to academic awards. Donegan was a member of the America East Track & Field All-Academic Team last year in both indoor and outdoor track, and was the Elite 18 Award winner for last year’s indoor season. Donegan was a member of the America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2014 and is a member of the National College Athletic Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma.
Donegan’s performance garnered the Melbourne, Australia native her second All-American honors. During the outdoor season, Donegan took 10th place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase to earn her first All-American nod.
Donegan found herself in the middle of the pack early on. Through 2,000 meters, she was in 79th place, but she muscled the last 4,000 meters out to take the 30th spot. Her ability to close is something that Hoppler credited to the team’s conditioning.
“Our athletes work on conditioning all year round,” the 12th-year head coach said. “There are indoor and outdoor competitions, which include the steeplechases.”
While the cross-country season is officially over, Donegan won’t have much time before she returns to competition. The Wildcats’ indoor track and field season kicks off on Dec. 4 at 5 p.m. UNH will host Maine in a dual meet at the Paul Sweet Oval, in UNH’s Field House.
Donegan earns NCAA Elite 90 Award
By DOUG RODOSKI