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Wellesley’s Claire Crowther a two-time track captain at University of Rochester

Claire Crowther

Unviersity of Rochester

Claire Crowther

Rochester honors Wellesley’s Crowther

Since arriving at the University of Rochester three years ago, Wellesley High grad Claire Crowther (inset) has been a part of two school-record-setting relay squads for the women’s track team, as a walk-on no less, participated in a language and culture immersion program in Morocco, and performed with the university’s female a cappella group at the White House.

“I wouldn’t change a minute of my experience here,’’ said Crowther, a two-year track captain and recipient of Rochester’s Spike Garnish  Award, presented to seniors for excellence in athletics and academics. “The hard work in the classroom, the late-night meets, and early morning practices have taught me to never doubt myself, lessons I hope will apply to other aspects of my life,’’ she said.

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Crowther, a linguistics major who is minoring in French and plans to minor in Arabic, considered herself a “decent but not outstanding’’ runner at Wellesley High.

“I wasn’t sure how much time I’d have for track at Rochester as a freshman,’’ she said, “but I started to miss it and so I e-mailed our head coach in late October, and the first day I started running was the first day of indoor practice.’’

Coach Sam Albert felt Crowther’s high school times weren’t a true indication of her potential. She proved him right during her sophomore year.

Her indoor and outdoor accomplishments in 2010-11 included first-place finishes in 500- and 800-meter events, as well as running a leg for Rochester’s victorious 4x400 and (school-record-breaking) 4x800 relay squads at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference meet.

Last season, she helped set another program record with the 4x400 relay team, and her time of 1:04.20 in the 400-meter hurdles put her among the top 50 runners in Division 3.

“She’s just been an exciting success story for our program,’’  said Albert, whose squad has placed among the top three at the 12-team conference meet annually since Crowther’s freshman year.

“I think even during her sophomore year, Claire wasn’t quite believing she was that good, but after winning six 4x400 relays in three seasons, she’s a believer now,’’ he said.

“She’s a key part of our success because of her work ethic and her level-headed approach to her training and competition. And she’s probably the most coachable athlete I’ve ever worked with.’’

When the Yellowjackets hosted the conference championships last May, Crowther — a soprano in the campus ensemble Vocal Point — sang the national anthem before competing.

In early December, Vocal Point performed carols under the “First Lady Tree’’ at the White House. Crowther recalled seeing one spectator with tears in her eyes during the group’s rendition of “Silent Night.’’

“I’m happiest when I’m running or singing,’’ said Crowther, who performed with a Wellesley High choir, the Rice Street Singers, and sang with the all-state high school choir during her junior and senior years.

In the fall of 2011, she lived with a family in Rabat, Morocco, sparking her interest in Arabic and the region’s culture. She also studied in France as a high school student.

“It definitely opened my eyes and erased some stereotypes I didn’t realize I had about Islam,’’ she said. “My host family was wonderful to me.’’

As she prepares for the final two track seasons of her college career, Crowther said, everything about her senior year takes on added importance.

“Being a captain and receiving the award has meant a lot to me, so I want to keep earning my team’s respect and perhaps get a shot at making nationals,’’ said Crowther.

“Whatever happens, Rochester has been an inspiring place to be and will always be an important part of my life.’’

Bedford adds to hall

The Bedford High School Athletic Hall of Fame has announced its fourth class, which will be honored April 6 in a ceremony in the Parish Center of the Church of St. Michael.

The student-athletes being inducted are Chuck Axtell (class of 1995), Joe Dooley (1971), Carla (Inferrera) Monte (1995), Kim (Ginder) Ratcliffe (’79), Kip Sternberg   ( ’76), and Carol Ward (’82).

The other honorees are Globe sports writer/columnist Kevin Paul Dupont   (’71); soccer, softball, and basketball coach Dave Wilson, and his 2001 boys’ soccer team, which went 21-1-1 and advanced to the state semifinals.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available through the high school’s athletic department (781-275-1700).  For more details, contact Mike Rosenberg at 781-983-1763 or razzn@aol.com.  

Butler’s All-Star goal

Marlborough’s Bobby Butler   registered an assist for the Eastern Conference in Monday’s American Hockey League All-Star game in Providence. The Western Conference prevailed, 7-6.

Butler, 25, led the Albany Devils in scoring through 36 games with 16 goals and 10 assists, and had a plus-11 goal differential. Five of the right wing’s goals were on the power play; one was shorthanded.

He led the NCAA with 29 goals his senior year at the University of New Hampshire, and played 56 games last season with the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators, totaling 6 goals and 10 assists.

Here and there

Franklin Pierce University senior right fielder Nick LaCroix of Grafton has been named an East Region Preseason All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association. Last season, LaCroix ranked in the top 10 in the Northeast-10 Conference in average (.355), hits (75), doubles (14), runs batted in (44), and stolen bases (23-for-28).

St. Michael’s College sophomore defenseman Mark Higgins  of Plainville beat the clock and Southern Maine late last month. His power-play tip with 0.9 seconds left in regulation gave the Purple Knights a 5-4 win. Heading into this weekend, he was fifth in team scoring with 2 goals and 8 assists.

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.
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