Cross Country team holds alumni meet to honor Doug Watts

By Tyler Trumbauer
Sports Editor/The Spectator

Many runners have sped through Edinboro’s cross country program throughout its 44-year history.

Last week, they all slowed down for one essential man.

Over 30 participants, including 17 alumni, laced up their running shoes for the first alumni meet at Edinboro University that was designed to honor recently retired coaching legend, Doug Watts.

“To the best of my knowledge, they never put a great emphasis on getting the alumni back together and being the new guy, I just wanted to connect the past with the current people,” said cur- rent head cross country coach Rick Hammer. Current and former Boro harriers connected on the course in a friendly race.

In an effort to maintain fairness, each runner received a five-second deduction off their clocked time for each year they have been out of school.

Many alumni took advantage of the stipulation including Edinboro’s first ever All-American and national champion, Dave Antignoli, who is 42 years removed from his tenure as a Fighting Scot and finished with a final time of 37:05 after the reduction.

Also, 1978 graduate Dennis Packard participated in the race boasting a time of 30:13.

Senior Kasey Jones paced all women with a time of 18:14 while 2011 graduate Danielle Cerroni led all female alumni with a time of 19:53.

On the men’s side, current senior Matt Link was the first male competitor to finish with a time of 27:15. 2014 graduate Bryan Deibel ran a 31:54, topping all male alumni.

Also 2010 graduate and one of the newest faculty members at Edinboro University, Chris Lantinen, ran a 34:30.

“We did not have as many people run as I had hoped,” said Hammer, who is only the second cross-country coach ever at Edinboro. “We may need to just adjust some things with the race. We’d love to have some more participants.

“I thought it was a success overall though.”

A barbecue and social followed the race to honor Watts who won six national championships during his 44-years leading the program as well as coached over 200 All-American ath- letes between cross country and track and field.

According to Hammer, even more alumni attended the social following the race to support Watts.

Hammer hopes to continue the event in the future, but has to figure out one small detail.

“We are going to have to find another reason to barbecue,” he joked.

Tyler Trumbauer is the sports editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at sports@spectator@gmail.com.