Athlete Profile: Benjamin Sweesy shares his experiences as a Sophomore runner for the Hawks cross country team

David Micali, Crier staff

Benjamin Sweesy, Class of 2021, has discovered friends, the college of his choice, and a fun way to stay in shape all through cross country and running.

Sweesy began running in the sixth grade as a member of the Manchester Parkside Middle School cross country team. He originally joined the team to get into shape but soon realized that he enjoyed and excelled at the sport. When he moved to Merrimack, NH in the eighth grade, he joined Merrimack’s cross country team.

During his senior year of high school, Sweesy ran The Rotary Club of Merrimack’s 5K Turkey Trot, an annual race held on Thanksgiving morning. After the race, he was approached by Brian Stankiewicz, a Saint Anselm College student and Merrimack resident, according to Saint Anselm Hawks. At the time, Stankiewicz was a member of the cross country team at Saint Anselm and asked Sweesy about his plans for college. Stankiewicz suggested that Sweesy look at Saint Anselm College, located in Goffstown, NH.

Sweesy had never considered going to the institution, located about 20 minutes away from the center of Merrimack. After exploring the college, Sweesy chose Saint Anselm and entered as part of the class of 2021.

Sweesy has been running for the cross country team since arriving at Saint Anselm. Through running, Sweesy has met Brodie Deshaies, Jordon Cook, and Anthony Galasso, his current roommates and friends. The men’s cross country team consists of eleven males. According to Sweesy, the top seven of them are ranked as varsity athletes and the top five of them are scored during races. At the time of his interview with the Crier, Sweesy was ranked as the number four male runner at Saint Anselm. To practice, the cross country team meets on Tuesdays through Fridays at 4 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, the cross country team meets at 9 am and 8:30 am, respectfully. Sweesy reflected on how it is difficult to balance academics with athletics.

“You have four-hour practices and then you’re tired afterward,” he said, “and you have to do three hours of homework.”

Despite these difficulties, Sweesy says he still enjoys his cross country experience. On Saturday, Oct. 20, Sweesy had a race where he achieved a time of 28 minutes and one second, placing him as the fourth best player on the team and qualifying him to run in Northeast-10 Conference Championship race on Nov. 4. During the race, Sweesy beat his personal record by a minute and three seconds. Sweesy estimates that he can run a “little over nine miles-per-hour at a comfortable pace.” When asked how he felt concerning the championship race, Sweesy said he was “so excited.” During the championship race, Sweesy performed “about the same” with a time that was 15 seconds slower. He was ranked as the fifth best male runner on the cross country team.

Leading up to the championship race, Sweesy said that the cross country team was “tapering,” meaning that practices were getting “less intense” so that the runners can maintain their physical health. Sweesy describes the coach, Brian Stankiewicz, as “bringing a good vibe to the team.” Being a former Saint Anselm student, Sweesy noted, Coach Stankiewicz makes cross country easier. According to Sweesy, Coach Stankiewicz understands the kinds of issues that being a Saint Anselm athlete and student brings, such as balancing homework with practices.

Outside of athletics, Sweesy is a biology major. He says biology helps him understand the physiological aspect of running such as the effect of his eating habits on his ability to run. After college, he plans to continue to run races, although he does not know what he wants to do for a career.