Chea, UMD Men Earn Little East Conference Cross Country Honors

Chea, UMD Men Earn Little East Conference Cross Country Honors

Jan. 26, 2011

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Freshman Dekontee Chea (Chelmsford, MA/ Chelmsford HS) of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's women's cross country team and the UMass Dartmouth's men's cross country team have been honored by the Little East Conference.

Chea has been named LEC Women's Rookie Runner of the Year for the fall 2010 season, while the UMass Dartmouth men earned the LEC's annual Sportsmanship Award.

Chea is the second consecutive UMass Dartmouth student-athlete to be named LEC Women's Rookie Runner of the year, following Caitlin McGarigal (Jr. Shutesbury, MA/Amherst Regional HS), who won the award last season. Chea led the Corsairs in each of the six races she competed in. She was the top freshman runner and fourth overall finisher at the Little East Conference/New England Alliance Championship in a time of 19 minutes, 20.7 seconds, and she was named All-Conference and All-New England Alliance. Her best time was at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational, when she finished 21st overall in 18:50. She finished 53rd at the NCAA Division III Regional Championships in 23:58 for six kilometers.

"If Dekontee Chea had not been selected as Women's Rookie Runner of the Year, there would need to be an investigation," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Jon Hird. "She continued to be fearless meet after meet as she challenged experienced runners from some of the top teams in New England. Finishing fourth overall in the Little East /New England Alliance Cross Country Championships is an exceptional feat, but to do it with no prior collegiate experience speaks very well for Dekontee's competitive spirit. Not only was she the top freshman in our conference, but she was among the top ten freshmen in New England, the most difficult cross country region for women in the nation."

The Sportsmanship Award is chosen by a vote of the conference coaches. "Cross country has a reputation for being a sport where all the competitors respect each other and value each other's efforts, so when rival coaches signal out your team as deserving of a sportsmanship award, it speaks very well for the young men we have here at UMass Dartmouth," said Hird " It speaks well for our assistant coach, Deon Barrett, as well. We constantly emphasize that you honor your opponent by giving them your best effort, win or lose, and this group absorbed that message well."