BROCKTON ENTERPRISE: "Stonehill College cross country teams in NCAAs again"

Sophomore Nicole Borofski earned All-NE-10 first team and All-East Region honors in Stonehill's last two races.

The Stonehill women's team is making its 15th straight appearance at the national meet while the men are in the race for the 12th straight year. The Skyhawks will be competing in the Divsion 2 meet on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

By Jim Fenton
Brockton Enterprise

EASTON – The Stonehill College cross country teams are back in a familiar place – competing at the NCAA Division 2 championship meets.

The Skyhawks women’s squad has advanced to the national race for the 15th consecutive year while the men’s team is appearing in its 12th straight NCAA meet.

The Stonehill teams will race on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

“It really doesn’t get old,’’ said Karen Boen, who coaches both teams. “We don’t have the right to let it get old.

“Like I told them when they came in on Aug. 16, the guys from 12 years ago graduated 12 years ago. As much as it’s tradition here, it’s more of a tradition to live up to, which creates a new pressure.

“Those guys and women from the past are all gone. It’s a whole new group now. To everybody else, we always go, but to a kid who’s never gone before, well, he’s never gone. That’s where the pressure comes from, to live up to that expectation.’’

The 20th-ranked Stonehill women, who placed 25th a year ago in Spokane, Wash., when senior Chelsea Bishop earned All-American honors, have four runners making return appearances in the NCAAs.

They include sophomore Nicole Borofski of Plymouth, who was second in the Northeast-10 Conference meet and third in the East Region race, senior Emily Anderson (sixth in the region last month), senior Brittany Venturo of Taunton (13th) and sophomore Aisha McAdams (16th).

They will be joined by another All-East Region selection, sophomore Alexandra Buonfiglio, freshman Emily Knox and senior Erin Rielly.

“We’re very young with three sophomores and a freshman, so that’s young,’’ said Boen. “But they’re holding up just fine. They really look good.’’

Senior Bryan Wilcox will be running in his third consecutive NCAA Championship on Saturday.

Borofski is leading the way for the Skyhawks and is ready for a second trip to the NCAAs in as many years.

“Nicole has separated herself,’’ said Boen, whose team won a sixth straight NE-10 title. “I think she still has more to give. She can handle the pressure of having 100 other people just like her but who don’t go away. That’s the hardest thing to adjust to.’

The men’s team, which finished 28th last season, was second at the NE-10 and East Region races this fall.

The all-region performers include seniors Bryan Wilcox (who was eighth), Dan Zawalich (12th), Michael Gendron (21st) and Dan Gordon of Plymouth (24th). They are joined by senior Trent Fontanella plus sophomores Joe Santo and Tyler Henseler.

Fontanella, Wilcox and Zawalich ran in the NCAA championship race a year ago.

“The men are just gritty this year,’’ said Boen. “We don’t have any one, up-front superstar.

“Our guys are the toughest thing in terms of the whole team thing, fighting as a team, being accountability as a team. It’s just a tough group of kids. They’re old-school cross country guys.’’

Wilcox led the way at the past two meets, finishing fifth in the NE-10 to earn first-team honors and eighth at the regional meet.

“Bryan Wilcox has defined himself as the lead guy the last few weeks,’’ said Boen.

Jim Fenton may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JFenton_ent.