“I think this might be the greatest race [Purrier] has run at UNH.”

These were the words that women’s coach Robert Hoppler used to describe Elinor Purrier’s fastest mile run yet when he spoke to UNH Athletics. Purrier eclipsed her previous time of 4-minutes, 29.71-seconds to improve to a 4:29.44.  Those .27 seconds may not seem like a lot, but, when you’re as fast as Purrier, every millisecond is fought for.

Purrier laid down the time at the prestigious Milrose Games on Saturday, a meet where Olympians and other professional athletes flock to for great competition.  Purrier finished eighth out of 13 runners, and her time is the second fastest out of all collegiate runners so far this indoor track season.

“It’s one thing to run fast at BU on a track you know close to home, and another thing to come to New York City and warm up next to the American record holder in the 1500 meters. She had to deal with that and handled it well and handled the event well,” Hoppler said to UNH athletics. “I think it’s a real big step for her in her career.” Purrier will continue to work on her mile this indoor season. Last season she placed third in the NCAA indoor championships.

With the conference meet two weeks away, both the men’s and women’s team used the David Hemery Valentine Invitational hosted by BU to get ready, sending athletes to a dual meet in Maine this past weekend. The Valentine invitational had a mix of collegiate and professional runners competing.

COURTESY OF ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Junior Elinor Purrier set a new personal record in the mile with a time of 4:29.44.

The women’s team saw an array of new personal bests across multiple events at Boston.  Standing out was Alex Giese’s 9:57.59 time in the 3000-meter, breaking her old best by more than 12 seconds.  Sarah Keiran also joined her for a time of 9:48.03 and a new personal record (PR). Keiran placed 28th.

Tessa Artuc placed 30th in the 400m for a new PR of 57.81, while Alyson Messina posted an impressive third-place finish in the 500m in this very large meet, with a time of 1:15.63.

Senior Laura Rose Donegan continued her mile campaign by setting a new PR by almost two seconds, crossing the line in 4:45.64 and finishing 18th overall. Shannon Murdock also competed in the mile for a new PR of 4:48.91, placing 23rd.

The women’s squad that was sent to Maine was able to pull off the win on Saturday, scoring 85.5 collective points against Maine’s 79.5.  New Hampshire had a clean sweep in both the 60m dash and the 500m.

The men weren’t able to pull off the win, falling to Maine 94 to 71.  Highlights include placing 2-6 in the 1000m, and Christopher Gansfuss and Andrew Matteucci going first and second in the 60m hurdles respectively.

“Even though we didn’t run fast we’re running solid and I’m still thinking long term. I’m very excited about it,” men’s head coach Jim Boulanger said. “Think long term, get people healthy, get the freshmen to learn how to train. It’s all very exciting.”

Next time out both teams will be competing in the America East Conference Championships on February 24 and 25 at Boston University.