The Continentals compete in NESCAC, NYSCTC and NCAA Atlantic Regional championship races. Hamilton will host two races in 2012 -- a short-course meet on Sept. 8 and the Continentals' own annual invitational on Oct. 6. The 2012 NCAA Division III Championships will be held in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 17.
National champion Peter Kosgei '11 has graduated, but his legacy will live on for several years. Kosgei finished first at the 2008 NCAA championships and was later named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) men's athlete of the year. He ended up with three All-America awards, including the last in 2010 when he finished sixth at the NCAA meet. He was all-region four times and the USTFCCCA Atlantic Region men's athlete of the year on three occasions for finishing first at the NCAA Atlantic Regional championships. He is the only cross country athlete to capture the NESCAC most outstanding performer award four times. He was the NYSCTC runner of the year for winning the conference championship race in 2007 and 2008, and holds the Hamilton 8-kilometer course record with a time of 24:39.9. And then there was the 2009 Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Competing against a field dominated by athletes from Divisions I and II, Kosgei unleashed a program-record time of 23:42 and finished in the top five.
On Nov. 22, 2008, it took Kosgei just 24 minutes, 22 seconds to race into the Hamilton record books. Kosgei finished first at the NCAA championships in Hanover, Indiana, to claim the first national title in program history. His 10-second victory capped a remarkable season in which he won all nine races and set the Hamilton course record.
The program boasts a tradition of excellence that dates back almost 60 years. Andy Bartlett '89 and Phil Sanderson '90 led Hamilton to a NESCAC title in 1988, and both competed in the NCAA championships twice. Bruce Carter '76 and Jon Schmeyer '77 qualified for the 1975 NCAA championship at Brandeis University. Carter was the state and NESCAC champion in 1975, but Schmeyer earned all-America honors by finishing 15th at the NCAA meet. Carter, who also captured the NYSCTC individual title in 1974, ended up in 36th place at nationals. The Continentals' Al Shaler '57 claimed the first-ever NYSCTC individual title back in 1954.
Seven Hamilton men's runners have qualified as individuals for the national championships. The entire team competed at the 1971 NCAA meet under the direction of legendary head coach Gene Long. Long led the cross country and track & field programs from 1953 to 1991. He guided the cross country teams to NYSCTC titles in 1957, 1958, 1971 and 1975.
Exceptional academic performance is another important part of this program. No fewer than six student-athletes made the 2011 NESCAC Fall All-Academic team. Each honoree has a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.35 and must have reached sophomore academic standing at his institution. Hamilton received a USTFCCCA all-academic team award for the fourth straight year. Keith Gross '09 was elected to the Epsilon chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which is the nation's oldest honor society, in 2009.