There is something special about donning the red and white getup and lacing up the running spikes for the Stags cross country program. For Sam Daly ‘17, his past four years at Fairfield were nothing short of fantastic. Daly was a key cog on the course for the Stags since his freshman year and posted his best finish yet at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships on Oct. 29 at Disney World when he came in 10th place out of 137 runners.

Daly was the first Stag in 20 years to break the top 10 when he crossed the line with a time of 25:19:13. The three-time MAAC Runner of the Week propelled Fairfield to a ninth place finish in the Sunshine State behind his remarkable performance.

“I was blown away with my performance,” said Daly. “I did not expect a top 20 finish, let alone a top 10 finish. With a mile to go, my coach yelled at me to say I was in 12th place so I turned it on and ended up in 10th, so it was really satisfying and really exciting.”

Despite the numerous injuries that put a damper on what was expected to be a collectively impressive showing from the Stags, the group gave 150 percent during the weekend. As one of only two seniors on the team, Daly led a squad with nine underclassmen on the roster. Regardless, the group made his last MAAC Championships experience one that he will never forget.

“This is the most fun group of guys I have been a part of as a team,” said Daly. “There are all sorts of different characters on our team and I think we mesh really well so I would not have wanted to go with another group of guys.”

Championship season for the Stags is not over just yet as the group has two more races on the slate this month. On Nov. 11, they will travel to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Northeast Region Championship.

Fairfield will then return to Van Cortlandt Park on Nov. 19 to take part in their final run of the season in the Intercollegiate Association of Ameteur Athletes of America Championship. For Daly and the team, they are hungry for two more chances to compete in such renowned events.

“We are going to go out there and compete like we always do,” said Daly. “We will throw our hat in the ring and see what happens.”

If the Stags manage to get healthy down the stretch, anything is possible with the way that Daly is running at this time of the year. We may not have even seen the best from the senior just yet.

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