COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Piepergerdes, O’Connors enjoy championship season

Holy Cross’s Gabe Piepergerdes competes at the NCAA Men’s Track & Field East Region preliminary round. (HOLY CROSS PHOTO)

WORCESTER – Holy Cross senior men’s track and field’s Gabe Piepergerdes, of Westfield has been selected as the 2020-21 winner of the Daniel Allen Sportsmanship Award.
Presented by the Holy Cross Varsity Club, the Allen Award goes to the player whose unselfish teamwork and dedication to the good of the team reflect the values lived by Coach Allen. The winning student-athlete need not be a star or even a starter, but a solid performer with an outstanding attitude whose contributions are not frequently recognized. The award is designed to recognize a student-athlete who is dedicated to the good of the team, possesses integrity, and is a great teammate.
Piepergerdes served as a team captain during his senior year, when he placed second at the Patriot League outdoor championship in the 400-meter hurdles with a school-record time of 51.89 seconds. He previously won the IC4A outdoor title in the 400-meter hurdles in 2019, becoming the first Crusader to win an IC4A outdoor championship in almost 50 years.
Piepergerdes competed in the 400-meter hurdles at the East Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championship at the University of North Florida on Wed., May 26. He ran a time of 52.60 seconds to place 37th out of the top 48 hurdlers in the east region.
This is the first time Piepergerdes has competed at the meet; he is the first Holy Cross men’s track and field athlete to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Round since Nathaniel Couture in 2007.
Away from the track, Piepergerdes served as vice president of the Holy Cross Class of 2021, in addition to being an annual giving student intern for the Crusader Athletics Fund. He was also selected to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll during his junior year. – Material from Holy Cross used in this report

CHAMPIONSHIP ROW: Northeastern University junior Grace O’Connor, of Westfield and her fellow Huskies recently enjoyed a row all the way to the 2021 NCAA Division I Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson State Park in Sarasota, Florida.


Sitting in the 1 seat of Northeastern’s varsity eight, O’Connor and the Huskies traded bow balls in an early three-boat race for second place during its semifinal with Washington State and Navy.
Keeping their overlap with first-place Wisconsin through the first 750 meters, Northeastern soon found itself in a steady duel with Navy for the coveted third-and-final advancing position.
Entering the third quarter of the race, Northeastern did well matching Navy’s pace, but witnessed the Mids turn its half-length lead into a full-length margin by the finish.
On the final day of competition, Northeastern rode its powerful start to an early three-quarters length lead against second-place Gonzaga, quickly putting open water between themselves and third-place Marist. Clearing 500 meters, the Huskies witnessed their lead shrink to six seats as the Bulldogs charged, closing within a bow ball at the midway points.


Locked in a two-boat race, Northeastern slipped to a half-length behind Gonzaga with 750 meters remaining, relinquishing its overlap with the Bulldogs within the final 200 meters.
Northeastern’s varsity eight, which finished in 20th place, qualified for the NCAA Championships by capturing the CAA Championship in New Jersey.
Wisconsin’s second varsity eight, which included sophomore Lauren O’Connor, of Westfield placed 12th overall. With limited early-season water time due to COVID-19, the Badgers used a late-season push that included a fourth-place result at the Big Ten championships to earn the program’s 13th consecutive NCAA bid. – Material from Northeastern and Wisconsin used in this report

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