LOUDONVILLE - After three years as assistant coach at Sacred Heart University, Gloversville graduate John Kenworthy was named head coach of the Siena College cross-country program Monday.
"It's a big step forward," Kenworthy said. "I think I'm ready. I'm excited to take it on. I want to grow the program. It's a great situation."
While at Sacred Heart, Kenworthy helped its men's team to a fourth-place finish at the Northeast Conference Championships and the women's team to a second-place finish at the NEC Championships. The Sacred Heart women also won the ECAC championship.
"We are fortunate to have been able to attract such a dedicated person from the running community to mentor and train our student athletes," Associate Athletic Director Dennis Bates said in a news release. "As a local product, his strong ties to the immensely talented New York state high school cross country circuit will help identify talented student athletes throughout the state."
Kenworthy also served as an assistant for the indoor and outdoor track and field teams while at Sacred Heart, which is located in Fairfield, Conn.
In indoor and outdoor track and field, Kenworthy coached six conference champions in distance events, 14 all-New England athletes and an NCAA Regional Qualifier.
Last winter, Kenworthy coached Gloversville graduate Patrick Peterson, who ranked 20th nationally in the 800 meters with a time of 1:48.69, and Brianna Castrogivanni, who was the Northeast Conference champion in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters.
In addition to his duties at Sacred Heart, Kenworthy also coached the girls cross country team an served as the assistant to the athletic director at Lauralton Hall High School in Milford, Conn.
Kenworthy, also has served as the head counselor and staff coordinator at Five-Star Cross Country Camp in Rock Hill, N.Y., since 2006.
Kenworthy, who competed for longtime Gloversville coach Bob Fisher, also ran cross country at Sacred Heart from 2005-09. Kenworthy, a three-time team captain, was a member of the Pioneers' 2008 Northeast Conference indoor and outdoor track and field championship squads.
"I've definitely stayed in touch with what's going on in the area," Kenworthy said. "It's sort of like a big family."
Kenworthy was a two-time Northeast Conference Champion in both the 3,000 and 5,000-meter events in track and field and an eight-time all-Northeast Conference selection in various events. He broke five Sacred Heart school records and was a three-time IC4A qualifier and six-time all-New England Athlete.
Kenworthy received his B.A. in political science in 2009 and is currently pursuing his MBA.
Kenworthy inherits a Siena cross-country program that had its best finish at the Metro Athlantic Athletic Conference since 2004, placing sixth, while the women placed ninth.
The Siena men placed fourth at the ECAC Championship this year, while the women placed 13th.
"I think on the men's side, we want to stay in the top half of the MAAC," Kenworthy said. "We have a great group already. We have a good mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen. I want us to continue that success and start to be one of the most competitive cross-country programs in the MAAC."
The men's team had just one senior on its roster this season, while the women's team featured just two seniors on its roster.
"The women's team has got a couple of young runners that were the team's top two runners last season," Kenworthy said. "We've got a great start to the program, but the key will be getting depth there to continue to move up in the MAAC."
Kenworthy said he is looking forward to returning as a college coach to his home section - Section II.
"That was one of biggest perks of coming back to the Capital District," he said. "Not only do I know the area, but it's a hotbed of distance running. Section II has always been so competitive," Kenworthy said. "The area has produced a lot of great runners."