Matt McClintock wasn’t sure what to do. His coaches told him his summer training program would start off with two weeks of rest.

McClintock, an Athens native, had an outstanding freshman cross country season at Purdue University, finishing eighth in the Big Ten meet and 103rd at the NCAA championships. He estimates the last time he didn’t run for two weeks straight was before his junior year at Madison Area Memorial High School. In those days, McClintock points out, he was taking the entire summer off.

“I’ve never taken that much time as part of a training regimen,” he said.

So what happened his first day back?

“I went out and ran a really fast six miles,” McClintock said. “I paid for it the next day, but I ran a really fast six miles.”

McClintock also finished 20th at the World Junior Cross Country Championships in March — the best finish by an American in four years — and his goal for this fall is an individual Big Ten title. While he finished eighth in that race last year, all seven finishers ahead of him were seniors.

“My attitude will be anything other than a win is a disappointment,” he said. “If I don’t, eventually I will be able to put it in perspective and know I was able to help my team. But the immediate reaction will be complete disappointment.”

As far as what kind of a performance he’ll need to win the Big Ten title, McClintock said that will depend on a number of factors, but he’s figuring he’ll need to come in under 24 minutes for the 8,000-meter race. McClintock finished in 24:04 at the conference meet last year.

* * *

Leah Edmondson entered the summer with a different approach. Edmondson, a Burnham native who scored 75 goals in her high school field hockey career at Maine Central Institute and Nokomis, was a backup as a freshman last fall at Northeastern.

Edmondson played 16 games and took four shots. She said her spring and summer training was devoted to “doing the little things to make sure you get better — not just physically, but mentally as well.”

Edmondson said she worked four four-day camps for Northeastern, and also worked with the Majestix field hockey club, teaching the game to younger players. She also worked a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp with former University of New Hampshire standout Margaux (Shute) Poplaski.

“It has to be year-round, but I enjoy it, so it’s not a chore or anything,” Edmondson said.

This summer, Edmondson also played one or two days a week at a High Performance camp in Boston. The drive was six or seven hours round-trip for a three-hour practice.

“It’s very high-paced,” she said. “It’s a step above college.”

This fall, Edmondson’s goal is just to make more of a difference in Northeastern’s success.

“I really want to be able to start, or be the first player off the bench,” she said. “I want to go out and show how much I’ve improved, and make an impact. And I really want to score goals this year.”

* * *

When Nicole Rugan was going through the college process, she found out a lot about Division I field hockey coaches, and the expectations they have for work ethic. As a sophomore-to-be at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., Rugan is getting a firsthand reminder that Division II coaches have similar expectations.

“My coach gave us a workout packet the day we left in May,” said Rugan, a Cony High School graduate. “It’s probably a 15-20 page packet.”

Rugan said the packet has a calendar. Three days a week are lifting, agility drills, and core workouts. Three days a week are running, plyometrics, and planks.

“These are all things that she expects us to do throughout the summer,” Rugan said. “The first day of practice, we’re going to have a fitness test, and anything in that packet is free game.”

Rugan started every game on defense as a freshman. Still, she feels she has to approach this season the same way — working as hard as she can to show coach Carolyn King that she deserves to be in the lineup.

“Our coach doesn’t do favors,” King said. “If you’re a freshman, and you’re better than a senior, she’s going to put you out there.”

St. Anselm finished 6-12 overall, and 3-7 in the Northeast-10 Conference last fall. Rugan believes the seeds are there for improvement in the near future.

“We lost five seniors, but we had 10 freshmen,” she said. “This year, we have eight or nine freshmen coming in. We’re going to be a really strong team in the next couple years, because we’re so young.”

* * *

Thomas College officially hired a new women’s basketball coach last week. Dan Leland replaces Ted Rioux, who resigned to take the girls basketball job at Cony High School. Rioux’s teams were 12-38 in two seasons at Thomas.

“It’s been a breath of fresh air here,” Leland said. “Everyone’s excited. I’m really happy.”

Leland coached the University of Maine at Machias women’s team last winter, compiling a 27-11 record. He said he moved on because “certain things didn’t work out at Machias.” Leland said he was one of the finalists for the Thomas job when Rioux was hired in 2011.

Leland received his MBA from Thomas and teaches sales and sales management at the Waterville school. The Terriers were 7-18 last season, but lost forward Megan Pelletier, who transferred to the University of Southern Maine. Pelletier led Thomas in most statistical categories last season, when she averaged 16.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a freshman.

Short-term, Leland wants the Terriers to be competitive. Down the road, he’d like Thomas to be a contender for a North Atlantic Conference championship.

Among Leland’s priorities at the moment is finding a pair of assistant coaches. He said he hopes to have those positions filled in the next couple weeks.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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