02.20.13: CCRI Cross Country and Track sensation Bobby Allen (Cranston, RI) will be honored as the Tom Doherty/Male Athlete of the year Award at the 67th annual Words Unlimited Sports Awards Banquet this Sunday night February the 24th at the Radisson hotel on Post Rd. in Warwick. Allen becomes the first ever CCRI Student-athlete to earn this prestigious award which has been won in the past by Rhode Island sports legends such as: Ernie DiGregorio, Davey Lopes, Mark Van Eeghen, Brad Faxon and Rocco Baldelli, just to name a few.
Allen burst upon the seen for the Community College of Rhode Island cross country and track teams with a flourish in the 2011-12 academic year. In a year and a half, Bobby has amassed six All-American honors, four national championships, two national records and six college records for the Knights. With indoor and outdoor track seasons to finish during his CCRI career, he has an opportunity to earn additional All-American and national championship honors.
Allen came into the 2011 season with high expectations, but no one predicted he would go on to win four of the eight meets he entered. He became the first-ever CCRI runner to win the Division III Cross Country National Championship, outrunning 154 competitors to complete the 8,000-meter course in the NJCAA Division III national record time of 25 minutes and 23.46 seconds, averaging 5:06.5 per mile. Allen was challenged by Pablo Ramirez of Harper, Cesar Gatete of the Community College of Allegheny and Chris Burnett of SUNY-Delhi over the first 3,000 meters of the race. At the 4,000-meter mark, he battled Burnett, who could handle the five-minute per mile pace. Allen ran away with the win with 400 meters to go, pulling off a gigantic surge to which Burnett could not respond. For his efforts, he became the national champion and earned First Team All-American honors.
During the winter, Allen was a member of CCRI’s indoor track squad, which competes at the NJCAA Division I level with many scholarship athletes. During the season, he set CCRI school records in the 3,000-meter, mile and 800-meter. He set the mile record three times, which now stands at 4:11.79, and he set the 3,000-meter record twice, which now stands at 8:29.27. Allen only competed in the 800-meter race once, and set the college record with an impressive time of 2:04.07. He qualified for the national championship held at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. in all three events, but only competed in the mile and 3,000-meter. In his first event, Allen won the 3,000 meter run with a time of 8 minutes and 34.87 seconds, outkicking Kenyan sophomore Stanley Kebenei from Iowa Central Community College in the last lap. He won by the narrow margin of .27 seconds. Allen and Kebenei later competed at the championships as the top two seeds in the mile run. Allen’s finishing kick again proved to be too much for Kebenei and he finished the race in an impressive time of 4:14.93, outpacing Kebenei by .7 seconds. Kebenei came into the meet as the top middle-distance runner in the mile, 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter and was later named the David Rowlands Male Athlete of the Year by the NJCAA after only losing two races all year to Bobby Allen.
Allen capped his spectacular freshman campaign with an excellent year in outdoor track and field. During that season, he rewrote the record book, breaking the 1,500-meter record three times, which now stands at 3:55.70, and the NJCAA national meet record, which is 3:55.99. He also broke the 5,000-meter record with a time of 15.16.22. He finished the season by competing at the Division III track and field national championship at Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y. He won the 1,500m run with a national meet record of 3:55.99 seconds. Allen was challenged by Younes Benzaid of Queensborough Community College over the first 1,000 meters of the race, but surged ahead with 500 meters to go. Benzaid had no answer for Allen’s tremendous finishing-kick. Allen returned an hour-and-a-half later to place second in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:32.16. He was outpaced by Pablo Ramirez, who came into the race as the favorite, running a qualifying time of 14.47.34 (the national meet record was 15:10.92). Ramirez finished the race in a national meet record time of 15:04.42. Allen earned First Team All-American honors for the 1,500-meter run and Second Team All-American honors for the 5,000-meter run.
In fall 2012, Allen led the Knights to their first-ever appearance in the Division I Cross Country National Championship held at Rend Lake College in Ina, Ill. On the route to the nationals, Allen won six of the eight races in which he competed. He set course records at New Hampshire Tech, which stand at 25:53, and at Franklin Park, where he ran the fastest JUCO time ever, 25:11.46. Allen finished the challenging 8k course at Rend Lake in fifth place (25:54.9) to be the first CCRI runner to earn First Team All-American honors in Division I cross country. He has earned six All-American honors in six attempts and three Division I All-American honors during his CCRI running career.
Head Cross Country and Track Coach Gregg Cornell said, “We are all proud and happy for Bobby who continues to rewrite the history running books here at CCRI. He has been the leader of our cross country and track programs since he walked through the doors. He is, by far, our hardest worker who leads by example. No matter what the coaches ask of him, he does it and his only question is, ‘What’s next coach?’ In addition, he loves competition; the tougher the competition the better he performs. It is a pleasure coaching him and watching his success as he is rewarded for all his hard work and dedication to the CCRI cross country and track programs.”
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.