Track team recruits top talent
Have you ever noticed a large group of males running around campus? That would be the UMass men’s cross country team on their daily workout of up to 14 miles. One of those runners, Patrick McGowan ’14, is a top recruit from Mansfield, Mass.
A highly touted distance runner, McGowan was selected as the Boston Globe, All-Scholastic Cross Country Boys Athlete of the Year in 2009. Many schools recruited him, but when he weighed academics, athletics, and finances, the decision to attend UMass Amherst was easy. Head coach Ken O’Brien’s reputation and the lure of a four-year scholarship sealed the deal.
As O’Brien enters his 43rd season coaching cross country and track and field at UMass, the Minutemen have won 19 conference titles (Yankee, Atlantic 10, and Eastern), four New England crowns, two IC4A titles, and have had seven All-American performers. The team captured an impressive third place at the 2010 A-10 cross country championships. The team members routinely are ace academic performers with several achieving 3.5 GPAs or better each semester.
McGowan, a business major and art minor, relishes the chance to run for UMass Amherst. “It is a rare opportunity and keeps my head on straight, knowing what I came here for,” he says. Being part of “a great group of guys” has also eased his first year adjustment. He rooms with teammate Antony Taylor ’14 as he navigates his way around campus.
McGowan’s scholarship is part of an endowment created by a group of star men’s track and field alumni to demonstrate their gratitude and help recruit elite athletes. “I think it’s cool that they want to see the team succeed even after they graduate,” says McGowan.