PAWTUCKET, R.I. – There aren’t many student-athletes that have the competitive resume like Keene State’s former cross country and track and field standouts Mark Miller and Mary Proulx. They are two of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of Keene State and the Little East Conference, winning a combined nine National Championships in cross country and track and field during their four-year careers.
Proulx became the Owls’ first female track All-American and National Champion in 2001, winning both the 3,000 and 5,000 meter races at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Proulx returned for two more National Championships in 2002, winning the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races as a junior. Proulx captured her fifth National Championship during her senior season, winning the outdoor 10,000-meter race in 2003.
The 15-time All-American, Proulx’s overwhelming success had earned her the Keene State College Female Athlete of the Year in 2002 and 2003, becoming the only student-athlete to win the award twice in her career.
Mark Miller became the second men’s National Champion in Keene State history and is the institution’s only multiple male National Champion. Miller competed at Keene State between 1999-2003, capturing four National Championships and was a 10-time All-American. Miller was a two-time Cross Country All-American before winning his first two National Championships in 2001 when he won the indoor and outdoor 1,500-meter titles.
Miller would go on to win his third National Championship in the 2002 outdoor 1,500-meter event and concluded his career with the indoor 1,500 Championship in 2003.
The national success one student-athlete has is a special moment for everyone involved at the institution, but the odds of having two tremendously successful student-athletes competing on the national level during the same four-year period at the same school is unprecedented.
Proulx still owns the Little East Conference record for the 3,000-meter race she set in 2003 with a time of 9:53.27. Miller still owns the Little East Conference record for his 2003 time of 3:58.82 in the 1,500-meter. The duo competed and won National Championships together and were later inducted together into the Keene State College Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Little East Conference Hall of Fame in 2013.
Miller and Proulx married after their time together at Keene State and have since moved back to “the one place that made us truly happy and we called home”, Keene, N.H.
The historic competitive success the LEC has achieved throughout the 30 years, beginning as a basketball only conference in 1986 and expanding into today’s 19-Championship Sport Conference, will continue to make academic and athletic strides as the LEC continues to be the premier Division III conference of the New England region.
The Little East Conference was formed in 1986 when six public institutions gathered to create a single sport athletic conference and has expanded into what is now New England’s premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. The LEC features 19 Championship Sports and sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes while following the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenship.