Chronicle Athletes of the Week: Maria Browne and Ian O’Connor
Hometown: Park Ridge, N.J.
Major: Graphic Design
Browne has come into her own this season, leading the way for the Bobcats’ quintet of juniors.
A transfer by way of William Paterson, Browne’s decision to ditch the Bergen County commuter school and climb aboard a Division I program has proven to be a wise one.
She’s set the tone early this season, showing All-NEC first-team potential throughout the first 30 games.
Browne is hitting a robust .307 to lead the Bobcats, who defeated conference foe Mount St. Mary’s 11-5 in extra innings Sunday, splitting a doubleheader in what was both teams’ NEC opener.
The centerfielder leads the team with 13 runs scored and has seven RBIs. She’s registered 27 hits, with four doubles to go along with a triple and a dinger. Her .365 on base percentage leads all batters.
It was the late game heroics of Browne, who notched three hits and scored two runs, that helped lift the ‘Cats to Sunday’s victory. The New Jersey native scored the game-winning run after being placed on second base in a monster 11th inning in which saw the Bobcats score six runs on five hits.
Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.
O’Connor, a highly-touted recruit when head coach Todd Howes snagged him from the recruiting marketplace, has made an impact that most freshman won’t this year.
The former Westhill High star showed poise well beyond his years during the St. Thomas Aquinas Invitational on March 29, when he fell just six strokes short of claiming first place.
O’Connor posted rounds of 76 and 74 in two days of mucky conditions at the Rum Pointe Golf Course in Ocean City, Md., tying for third-place out of 70 golfers.
His efforts helped catapult the Bobcats to a fifth-place finish in the 14-team event which included formidable foes such as Southern New Hampshire and Pace. The Bobcats finished with an aggregate team score of 633 (317, 316).
O’Connor was recognized by the Northeast Conference shortly after his breakout performance. The Syracuse native was named NEC Men’s Golfer of the Week. It is the first time in program history that a freshman or first-year player has earned such an honor.
O’Connor shot an 81 in Day One of the Monmouth Golf Invitational, which saw Quinnipiac shoot an aggregate 312 at the opening round at Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Lakewood, N.J.