Sophomore Representing Ireland on International Stage
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Yale men's cross country team sophomore Kevin Dooney—a native of Dublin, Ireland—will compete as a member of Ireland's Under-23 squad at the 20th SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday. Dooney will be competing in the 8K race, serving as a representative not only of his country, but also of Raheny Shamrock AC, an Irish athletics club devoted to competitive running. Athletics Ireland, the country's official national athletic association, made its team selections on Nov. 25. Dooney is one of three runners from American colleges competing for the Irish U-23 team.
Dooney, who also represented Ireland at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Barcelona, emerged as a national cross country star during the recently concluded season. He placed eighth at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps) before placing 11th at the Division I NCAA Northeast Regional Championships and becoming the sixth Yale runner to qualify for the Division I NCAA National Championships since 1991. It was at Heps that Dooney set his 8K personal record (23:56.6)—a mark he will be looking to break again in Belgrade.
"Being chosen to represent your country is a great honor, and I'm certainly looking forward to it," Dooney said. "Following my runs at Heps and Regionals and then again at NCAAs, I knew I had a chance at making the team, but it's a competitive group, so I took nothing for granted and was delighted to get the nod."
Head Men's Cross Country Coach Paul Harkins believes Dooney is slowly becoming one of Yale's all-time cross county greats and has high hopes and expectations for the sophomore heading into the weekend.
"It is a great honor for Kevin to be recognized for his accomplishments this season by Athletics Ireland," Harkins said. "I am confident that he will represent both Ireland and Yale extremely well. Hopefully, this is a start of a long international career for Kevin that will extend well beyond his time at Yale."
Dooney believes his two years of running under Coach Harkins will prove beneficial when he takes to the course on Sunday.
"I feel running at the collegiate level will help me in such a race," he said. "I've been exposed to great competition and highly competitive fields, and hopefully those experiences will stand to me in Belgrade. You have to take each race on its merits and just go out knowing you're ready for it."
All European Championship races will take place on Sunday. The U-23 men's race is slated to begin at 12:19 p.m. Serbian time (6:19 p.m. EST). The meet's official website can be accessed here, and a map of the course at Friendship Park is available here. The full Irish roster for the meet, meanwhile, is available here. Results will be available on www.yalebulldogs.com following the conclusion of the race.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity