Plymouth State University Adds Men’s and Women’s Cross Country as Varsity Sports

December 3rd, 2012 by blyndes

PLYMOUTH, N.H. –Plymouth State University has announced that men’s and women’s cross country have been added as varsity athletic programs, and runners will begin competing for the Panthers in the fall of 2013.

The Panther athletic program is also proud to announce the new head coach of the cross country programs will be PSU Athletic Hall of Fame runner Dave Severance. A 1981 graduate of Plymouth State, Severance has been the boys and girls cross country coach at Moultonborough Academy (N.H.) the past decade along with a running career that includes a New England collegiate title and All-America honors in the 10,000 meters and the completion of more than 20 marathons. The Panthers will compete in the Little East Conference in cross country, aiming to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships. The addition of the two cross country teams bump Plymouth State’s number of varsity programs to 20, including 11 women’s and nine men’s.The PSU athletic program also has affiliate programs in competitive cheer and men’s and women’s ice hockey and a large student athletic training program. The announcement of adding cross country was made by Director of Athletics John Clark, with the full support of PSU President Sara Jayne Steen and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Jim Hundreiser.

Former All-American distance runner Dave Severance, a 1981 Plymouth State graduate, is the new head coach of PSU's cross country programs.

“Cross Country is the sport that we previously didn’t have that we get asked about the most often,” said Clark.  “We are very happy to provide new athletic opportunities for students, including those already on campus as well as high school student-athletes looking for a place to run when considering their college plans.  We look forward to welcoming new student-athletes to our athletics program.”

This will be the first women’s cross country team in the school’s history, while there was previously a men’s team in the 1970s under coaches Doug Wiseman, Jack Rhodes, and Rick Hutchins before being discontinued in 1980.

“As a member of the last cross country team to run at Plymouth State more than 30 years ago,” said Severance, “I am excited to see cross country return as a sport at my alma mater.  It is especially rewarding to return as a coach for the rebirth of the running program.  I look forward to sharing my love of running and the Plymouth State educational experience with the young men and women who will be members of the newest athletic team. I hope our program includes current PSU students who are interested in joining the team as well as prospective student-athletes who may be looking at PSU for the first time.”
Severance says that the greater Plymouth area provides an outstanding environment for distance runners.

“I have always felt that this area is one of the best distance training locations in the Northeast,” said Severance.  “The mixture of rolling hills, trails, and varied loops make it ideal for laying the foundation for a strong Division III cross country program.  Running is a sport that requires hard work and discipline but is certainly a sport that welcomes all student-athletes.”

Dave Severance takes over the PSU men’s and women’s cross country programs in 2012-13 after serving the past 10 years as boys and girls cross country coach at Moultonborough Academy (N.H.).  Severance led the team to four Granite State Conference championships and had All-State runner nominations for eight straight years.

A 1988 inductee in the Plymouth State Athletic Hall of Fame, Severance’s running career has spanned more than three decades.  He was the New England Collegiate Outdoor 10,000 meter champion and record holder in 1978, when he also captured the 10,000 title at the Boston College Relays, and he earned NCAA All-America honors with a runner-up finish at the 1978 NCAA Division III Championships. Severance has been very successful in marathons, completing more than 20 in his career.

He won the 1978 Lowell Marathon in a career-best time of 2:18.26, and his 2:19.21 at the 1979 Skylon International Marathon qualified him for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials.  More recently, he was the Adirondack Marathon runner-up in both 2007 and 2008, and he completed a 2:49.40 marathon at age 50.  He also hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1981 and made a 335-mile 30th-anniversary hike from Mount Katahdin to Mount Washington in 2011. A 1976 New England high school two-mile champion for Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, N.H., Severance is a 1981 graduate of Plymouth State and he earned a JD from the University of Maine Law School in 1986.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or blyndes@plymouth.edu

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