Skyhawks looking to qualify for 15th-consecutive trip to NCAA DII Championships
EASTON, Mass. (November 2, 2017) – The Stonehill College men's cross country team, ranked 18th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II poll, and ranked first in the East Region, will attempt to punch its 15th-straight ticket to the NCAA Division II Championships this Saturday at the Audubon Golf Course in Amherst, New York. The women's six-kilometer race will begin at 11:00 a.m., while the men's squad will compete in the 10-kilometer race at 12:15 p.m.
Stonehill won the Northeast-10 Championship two weekends ago in Westfield, Massachusetts, in dominating fashion, placing six of its seven runners in the top 21 overall, and finishing ahead of the runners-up by a mere two points. Six Stonehill athletes earned All-Conference accolades, including first teamers junior Alexander Demeule (Merrimac, Massachusetts/Pentucket Regional) and senior Jimmy Murphy (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield). Head coach Karen Boen won her 51st and 52nd Coach of the Year Award by winning the men's and women's title.
Senior co-captain Murphy, with his first cross country All-Northeast-10 honor, is coming off a career-best sixth-place finish at the NE10 Championships. Murphy also led the program to its first-ever New England Championship title with his fifth-place finish and his first All-New England accolade. The Mansfield, Massachusetts native also was the runner-up at the Division II/III Challenge in September.
Demeule lead the team to its ninth NE10 Championship title with his fifth-place mark, a career-best. He will also be running in his second regional championship. Earlier in the year he captured two top-15 marks with an eighth-place tally at the Division II/III Championship and a 13th-place finish at the Codfish Bowl.
Classmate and co-captain Riley Dowd (Peabody, Massachusetts/Peabody Veterans Memorial) was impressive this year as he took his first-career individual title at the Division II/III Challenge and followed that with a seventh- and ninth-place tally at the Codfish Bowl and New England Championship, respectively. He will be competing in his third regional championship this year.
Junior Lawrence Carney (Lowell, Massachusetts/Lowell) finished with the sub-varsity individual title at the New England Championship this season and will run in his second regional championship. He also captured two top-10 finishes, including ninth at the Codfish Bowl and eighth at the NE10 Championship.
Senior co-captain Kenny Vinacco (Scituate, Rhode Island/Scituate) will step foot on the line for his first East Regional Championship, as he placed 12th at the NE10 Championship two weekends ago. He also placed 24th at the New England Championship and seventh at the DII/III Challenge.
Junior Christopher Drace (Franklin, New Jersey/Pope John XXIII) will also race in his first regional championship. This season he has totaled four top-25 marks, including a career-best eighth at the New England Championship. Classmate Lucas Taxter (Readville, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) follows Drace in competing in his first NCAA Championship. Taxter has improved thus far as he has tallied three top-25 marks including a season-best 13th-place at the NE10 Championship.
With a top-3 finish on Saturday, Stonehill would advance to its 15th-consecutive NCAA Division II National Championship. The event will take place in Evansville, Indiana, hosted by the University of Southern Indiana, on Saturday, November 18.
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