WILLIMANTIC, CT (12/21/2017) Written by Casey Collins; (see photo attachments below)
Eastern Connecticut State University cross country coach Kathy Manizza was named Little East Conference (LEC) Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year this fall after leading the Warriors to their first-ever LEC title. Manizza, who resides in Lebanon, has been coaching at the university level for more than 24 years, serving as head coach of Eastern's cross country and track and field teams for the past six years. She is the first LEC Cross Country Coach-of-the-Year in Eastern's history.
At this year's LEC championships, the Warriors found themselves matched up against a daunting field of competitors. Eastern's main rival, Keene State College, entered the championship as the 17-time defending conference champions. In the end, Eastern placed all five of its scoring runners within the top 14 finishers, out of a seven-team field from seven schools. As a result, the Warriors edged out second-place Plymouth State University by a mere eight points to take home the championship.
"This was my dream team," said Manizza. "We had been building this team for the past five years, and we had an outside chance of winning the conference last year. We knew that it was a small chance, but we also knew that we had the talent to do it."
Junior Christina Gosselin has been running for Manizza for the past three years. When asked about her head coach she said, "Coach Manizza has been a great mentor and coach to me. Not only has she helped me become a stronger runner, but she has led our team to achieve success and many accomplishments over the year."
The Little East Conference (LEC) was established in 1986 as a single-sport league by six public institutions throughout New England. The LEC has since become a multi-sport league with eight primary members, six affiliate members and 19 championships.
Eastern offers a broad-based, Division III athletic program aimed at safeguarding the amateur aspects of the various sports and maintaining the proper perspective of athletics within Eastern's academic mission. By placing emphasis on the values of equity, diversity, sportsmanship, health and wellbeing, Eastern's athletic program encourages students to contribute more effectively to our society and live richer, fuller lives.
About Eastern Connecticut State University: Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut's public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 163 of Connecticut's 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 29 other states and 20 other countries. A residential campus offering 39 majors and 65 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 25th top public university in the North Region by U.S. News and World Report in its 2018 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded "Green Campus" status by the U.S. Green Building Council seven years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.