BY KEN MORSE
Jonathan Volpe has certainly gained a whole lot of attention in his first two seasons at Southern Connecticut State University. The former All-NVL and All-State cross country and track champion at Naugatuck stepped onto the New Haven campus and has helped the Owls gain some recognition.
“Balancing athletics and classroom responsibilities comes down to proper time management,” said Volpe. “Going from high school to college it’s just a whole other level.”
He was named to second team All-Northeast 10 team for cross country as a freshman, finishing 11th at the NE10 championship and 10th at the Eastern Regional. He was part of the NE10 indoor champion 4×800-meter relay squad and a member of the New England outdoor champion 4×800 relay foursome, earning All-American status and being named the Owls’ 2022 male Rookie of the Year.
So what did Volpe do as an encore to such a fabulous start on his collegiate athletic career? He took it up a notch. In fact, he elevated it to another level. The Owls’ sophomore sensation simply went out and won the Northeast 10 Conference championship race with a first place finish of 24:39.8, and SCSU won the NE10 title for the first time since 2018.
“I had a lot of help,” said Volpe. “We had a great group of runners. Eight of our guys finished in the top 20. We all worked so hard for this and for me to finish first after placing 11th last year, it’s still such an unreal feeling, beyond words.”
The biggest difference between high school and college is the work ethic. A lot more practices and training is involved. Coaches (Ralph) Roper and (Bill) Hanley certainly had me prepared for this, but nothing can really prepare you, until you are here doing it.”
Up next was a battle at the NCAA Eastern Regional Nov. 19 in New Haven, and Volpe rose to the occasion, as did his amazing group of teammates. The Owls won their first ever regional title, finishing ahead of 19 other teams.
Volpe ran to an impressive third place finish at 31:49.30, almost three minutes better than his 10th place finish from a year ago. From regionals, SCSU competed in the NCAA Division II National Championships in Seattle, Wash., in early December.
“The competition is just so high at this levelm” added Volpe. “Everyone here has been an all-state or all-league somewhere. You just need to stay focused on what you are doing and go out and run your race.”
Last season Volpe ran at the Nationals and finished in 150th place. This year, he picked up a few spots and finished in 110th place. Now that the cross country season has concluded, Volpe has his sights set on picking up where he left off at the indoor and outdoor track seasons as an 800 meter and one-mile runner.
BY KEN MORSE