Matthew Graham Earns BIG EAST Athlete of the Week Accolades
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - For the second time this season, and third of his career, Matthew Graham was selected as the BIG EAST Conference Athlete of the Week. He ended the regular-season a perfect five-for-five, winning every race he competed in. Additionally, Graham is the only student-athlete in the league to earn the award twice this year.
Graham's fifth win came after beating 193 individuals to the finish line at the Lucian Rosa Invitational held at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course in Kenosha, Wis. The sophomore out of Glasgow, Scotland led the pack for the entire race, as he has all season, and helped the Blue Demons to a third-place overall finish with an 8K time of 25:17.4. Graham's previous wins came at the DePaul Opener, Bradley Open, National Catholic Championship and Notre Dame Invitational.
Also assisting Graham in DePaul's most recent third-place showing was Greg Udzielak, Max Clink, Brian Begalke and Max Rodrigues, who collaborated for 75 points. Topping the field of 19 teams was Wayne State.
Graham won his first Athlete of the Week award of the season following a first-place finish at the National Catholic Championship. Raced at the Notre Dame Golf Course, he clocked a better time than the 248 other runners in the competition, and improved his five-mile career-best time to 24:53.9. During the 2008 season, Graham picked up Athlete of the Week honors after placing second out of 176 individuals at the Fordham Fiasco.
DePaul is just one of two schools that have brought home the weekly honor. Georgetown boast two different student-athletes who have received accolades, while Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Providence, Villanova and West Virginia have all claimed the award once.
Sara Leslie of Connecticut was selected as the BIG EAST Athlete of the Week on the women's side after setting a new personal record at the New England Championship.
Graham and company return to the acclaimed Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course on Sat., Oct. 31 for the 2009 BIG EAST Championship. History has proved this season that experience and familiarity is key in a cross country race. The vast majority of the men's and women's squads improved their times considerably during Notre Dame Invitational - the second time the Blue Demons had set foot on the Notre Dame Golf Course this season. The men's 8K gets started at 11 a.m. (CST), while the starting pistol for the women's 6K sounds at 11:50 a.m.