Record-setting distance runner finishes 11th at NCAA Div. I Championships
Hogan capped his record-setting distance running career at UMass Lowell by becoming the track and field program’s first All-American. Competing in the finals of the men’s 10,000 meters at the 2019 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Austin, Texas, Hogan achieved second team All-American status by finishing 11th in a time of 29 minutes, 42.60 seconds.
“It was really hot, and I didn't feel great,” says Hogan, who finished 26 seconds off the winning pace on a muggy night at the University of Texas at Austin. “In the last 10 laps, I had to play the mental game and stay focused. I had a bit left in the tank, and I thought about all the hard work that I'd done. I had to stay mentally tough. I just focused on the guy in front of me and kept pushing.”
"He was patient; he hung in there and ran tough in horrible conditions,” says Coach Gary Gardner. “He was fantastic. We're really proud. To finish his career as an All-American is awesome.”
Hogan was the first River Hawk to compete in the Div. I track and field championships since the athletics program completed its transition from Div. II in 2017. Last fall, Hogan competed at the Div. I Cross Country 10K National Championships, finishing 60th in a field of 255 runners.
“Qualifying for nationals in track was definitely the big goal since the beginning of the season,” says Hogan, who rewrote the UML record books during his illustrious career, setting three outdoor marks (3,000, 5,000 and 10,000) and two indoor records (3,000 and 5,000). He won his final seven America East Championships races in cross-country, indoor and outdoor track, and won the NCAA Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships last fall.
“He has helped to enhance and establish the school's reputation on a national level,” says Gardner, who’s led the track and field and cross-country programs since 2002. “He's the one who led us to the national championships after the transition (to Div. I) was complete."
Every Minute Counts
Hogan discovered his love for running back in grade school, when he would routinely win races in gym class. He also comes from an athletic family; his mom Marsha has run more than a dozen marathons.
At Burlington High School, Hogan was national champion in the indoor 2-mile in his senior year and a two-time All-American. He chose UML because of its strong athletic and academic reputation, and for the fact that it was close to home.
“I knew they had a good engineering program. It made sense to go here,” says Hogan, who originally majored in mechanical engineering (his father Paul’s profession). He switched majors to mathematics before settling on civil engineering with a business minor. With all the maneuvering, Hogan spread his four years of athletic eligibility over five academic years.
Despite the demands of competing year-round in cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track, Hogan excelled in the classroom. He was named “All Academic” by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association this year with a 3.57 cumulative grade point average. He has also been a regular member of various America East All-Academic teams.
“It takes a lot of discipline and time management,” says Hogan, who estimates that he runs about 80 miles a week. “I don’t regard myself as the smartest kid in the world, but I feel like I work hard and use my time wisely.”
Hogan says his engineering professors and his athletic academic coordinator, Mike Anderson, were always available for support.
“Some semesters were really hard,” Hogan says. “I literally had to utilize every minute of my day. You can’t stay up studying until 2 a.m. and think you’re going to do well in your workout the next day.”
Gardner says Hogan developed a maturity “long before we got hold of him.”
“His drive, in and out of the classroom, sets him apart,” Gardner says. “When he decides he wants to accomplish something, he’s all in. And he does all the little things right, like going to bed early and getting his rest. He’s not falling into some of the pitfalls of college life.”
Hogan credits Gardner’s guidance for getting the best out of him.
“Gary’s a great coach. He can be tough, like a football coach, but he also has a softer side,” says Hogan, who won the 2018 Lester H. Cushing Award as UML’s top male student-athlete.
Bloodied but Unbowed
While many people think of running as an individual sport, Hogan savors the team aspect. One of his favorite moments was at last October’s America East Cross Country Championships, held on a rainy Saturday in Nashua, N.H.
“I remember warming up as a team,” Hogan says. “We were all together, chanting some song. It was great.”
When the race began, Hogan, the defending champion, got out to an early lead. But as he was coming down a muddy, rocky slope in the woods, disaster struck: Another runner spiked the back of Hogan’s foot, sending him and teammate Benjamin Drezek tumbling.
“For a split second, I was shocked,” says Hogan, who didn’t realize he’d cut his head and had blood dripping on his jersey.
He and Drezek got back on their feet and spent the next mile catching up to the pack. In the final mile, a bloodied Hogan separated himself from the field and won by 15 seconds, in a time of 24:19.7. Drezek, who needed stitches to close a gash on his right knee, took seventh. Every place mattered, as the River Hawks won the team title by one point.
“That’s one race I’ll always remember,” says Hogan, whose resilience caught the attention of Chancellor Jacquie Moloney; she used the story as a parable in a speech to faculty and staff later in the year.
Hogan’s collegiate career has ended, but he isn’t about to slow down. He plans to work in construction management or structural engineering while also continuing a competitive running career. He would love to follow in the footsteps of UML Hall of Famer and Olympian Ruben Sanca ’10, who occasionally volunteers with the team.
“He’s been a good role model,” says Hogan, who broke Sanca’s school records in the indoor and outdoor 5,000. “It would be pretty cool to travel around the world like he does and see places while running marathons.”
Having watched Hogan develop over the past five years, Sanca wouldn’t bet against him.
“I’ve enjoyed watching him accomplish his goals and engage his teammates in raising the level of excellence within the entire program,” says Sanca, who notes that Hogan’s willingness to ask for help and use his support system have been instrumental in his development. “I’m confident that he can have a very prosperous career in distance running if he chooses to continue pursuing the sport.”
Looking back at his River Hawk career, Hogan doesn’t focus much on the records he’s set.
“It’s satisfying, but records don’t mean much at the end of the day; they’re always going to be broken,” Hogan says. “It’s more about the experience I’ve had. That’s what I’m doing this for.”
He now has the experience of earning All-American status on the NCAA championship stage.
“It's not the last race that I'll run; I plan to continue to compete,” Hogan says. “But it was a special race. I'll always be a River Hawk.”