Chronicle Athletes of the Week: Brianna Rooney and Brian Leitch

Zach Smart

Brianna Rooney
Sport: Basketball
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Guilford, Conn.
Major: Undecided

Nagging injuries delayed it, but Brianna Rooney’s coming out party took place on the evening of Feb. 18, as the Bobcats fended off Wagner College, 74-64.

Rooney erupted for a career-high 24 points, hitting on 7-of-12 from the floor. The reigning Gatorade Player of the Year (Conn.) buried 4-of-8 from beyond the arc while hitting on all six free throw attempts, handing out three assists and picking off five passes.

“The past couple of games since I was hurt, I wasn’t playing how I wanted to play,” said Rooney, who underwent two knee surgeries earlier in the season. “I think (that game) kind of helped me out and helped the team out.”

On Feb. 20, Rooney was named the Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week. It was Rooney’s second time receiving the accolade. This marks the fourth consecutive time that a member of the ‘Cats stacked freshman class has earned the honor.

Prior to her career day against Wagner, Rooney put on a show in overtime, one which included a 3-point dagger to seal the deal, vaulting ‘Cats to a 69-63 win at Monmouth on Feb. 16.

Rooney, who was actively pursued by a number of D-I schools, including the ACC’s Boston College, has helped cushion the loss of some of last year’s key backcourt players. Rooney and her classmates made nothing short of an immediate impact after leaping in from the high school level.

“We all helped each other through the transition from high school to Division I,” Rooney said. “I think we can only get better from here.”

Brian Leitch
Sport: Hockey
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Coquitlam, British Columbia
Major: Undecided

Leitch, who starred for Merit in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) before inking with Quinnipiac, has found his niche as one of the Bobcats go-to guys.

Leitch registered 87 points on 40 goals and 47 assists during a solid 2004-2005 campaign with Merit. Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold, who’s known to land prized recruits and convert them into players to watch on the ice, felt that Leitch was capable of coming in and emerging into a scoring threat right away.

The freshman currently leads the Bobcats with 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points in 34 games. Leitch has the hot stick right now, as he’s scored 18 points in the past eight games. He finished the regular season leading all ECAC rookies in points.

Leitch is amongst the leaders of a potent freshman class that has made a big name for itself this season.

“I just came in (to the season) hoping to help the team,” said Leitch, who is playing alongside another standout freshman, David Marshall.

He didn’t fail to mention how pleased he is with the impact his classmates have made this season.

“Dave’s an unreal goal-scorer,” Leitch said. “I mean he’s scored some amazing goals this year. With Wally (Chris Walsh), Mark Nelson, and Fish (Bud Fisher) in net, everyone’s playing well.”

Leitch continued, “Our line’s been doing really well lately. So, as long as we keep on scoring, everything’s going great.”