December 11, 2013

Dooney Receives Stanley-Cleary Award at Team Banquet

Sophomore Earned All-Region and Second Team All-Ivy Honors This Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's cross country team held its annual banquet on the evening of Dec. 9, celebrating the end of its successful season. Sophomore Kevin Dooney received the Mike Stanley-John Cleary Class of 1954 Men's Cross Country Award, given annually to "the outstanding member of the Yale men's cross country team who excels in Dedication, Commitment, and Inspiration to the sport of cross country."

Nobody would argue with the fact that the sophomore standout fully deserved the honor, after putting together one of the best individual cross country seasons in Yale history. Dooney placed first on the team at the Paul Short Invitational, Pre-National Invitational, Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and Division I NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, in the process breaking his 8K personal record on three separate occasions. After finishing 11th overall at Regionals, Dooney became just the sixth Bulldog to qualify for the Division I NCAA National Championships since 1991.

Following Dooney's string of top finishes (including an impressive 31:18.5 at Nationals), Athletics Ireland—Ireland's official national athletic association—named Dooney to its Under-23 squad competing at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. Dooney helped the Irish U-23 team secure a fourth-place finish at the international event.

"Kevin is a most deserving recipient of the Stanley-Cleary award," said Head Men's Cross Country Coach Paul Harkins. "There are many on the team who are dedicated and committed to the team, but Kevin set himself apart with his performances. He had a fantastic finish to his sophomore season, and I am incredibly excited to see his career progress over the next two years."

For Dooney, receiving the Stanley-Cleary award was a nice form of recognition for all the hard work he had put in this season, especially after beginning the year with some injury issues.

"I'm very happy to win the award," Dooney said. "It's a nice way to cap off the season. Overall, I'm very happy with how the season went. Coach and I had set high goals for the season, so we just took things day-to-day and week-to-week and took each race on its merits."

Even with his cross country season just now coming to a close, Dooney could not help but voice excitement and optimism for next season. Specifically, he emphasized returning to Nationals next season—not just as an individual, but with the entire team.

"I believe we're in a very good position for next year," he said. "We've got a young team, and we've been waiting for the moment we run at Nationals all our lives."

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity

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