Men’s Cross Country New England Championship Preview

Dowd earned his first title at the DII/III Challenge this year.

Aims to best last years' 11th-place finish 

New England Championship Information

EASTON, Mass. (October 5, 2017) – The Stonehill College men's cross country team, ranked second in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) East Regional poll and 23rd in the national poll head to Dorchester, Massachusetts to compete in the New England Championships at Franklin Park on Saturday, October 7.

Stonehill finished just outside the top-10 teams last season, taking 11th place, as Northeast-10 Conference foe American International College earned sixth place out of 33 teams. The Skyhawks totaled 300 points in the eight-kilometer race, as first-place Northeastern University tallied 102 points.

This year, the men have posted three first-place results out of the three meets that they participated in. Stonehill earned its first title at the Shacklette Invitational in Manchester, New Hampshire, as five Skyhawks finished in the top-10 competitors. The next weekend, the men's squad took on the Kutztown Division II/III Challenge, where four Skyhawks placed in the top-10. Most recently, Stonehill took first at the 49th Codfish Bowl held at Franklin Park and had three cross the finish in the top 10.

Leading the team this year are captains Kenny Vinacco (Scituate, Rhode Island/Scituate), Jimmy Murphy (Mansfield, Massachsetts/Mansfield), and Riley Dowd (Peabody, Massachusetts/Peabody Veterans Memorial). Vinacco is making his third appearance in the New England Championships, where he has posted a 90th and 113th mark. This season, he finished seventh in Kutztown with a time of 26:45.07.

Bradford captured the other individual title for the Skyhawks this season.

Murphy has made two appearances in the championship in his career finishing fifth and 61st in the sub-varsity meet. In his senior season, Murphy was the runner-up at the Division II/III Challenge, while also placing eighth at the Codfish Bowl. Junior Dowd has lead the Skyhawks this season as he earned his first individual title by taking first at the Division II/III Challenge, posting a time of 26:28.0, and leading Stonehill at the Codfish Bowl, taking seventh overall. He has also previously competed in two New England Championships during his time in the Purple & White, finishing 65th and 68th.

Junior Alexander Demeule (Merrimac, Massachusetts/Pentucket Regional) is also a veteran at the New England Championships, as he has competed during his freshman and sophomore years, finishing 135th and 76th, respectively. Senior Alex Southiere (Cumberland, Rhode Island/Cumberland) also will look to best his two previous New England Championship marks, 21st in his junior year and 226th during his freshman year. Southiere competed at the Shacklette Invitational and finished third, while also crossing the finish line 35th at the Division II/III Challenge.

Junior Lucas Taxter (Readville, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) will be making his second-career appearance at the championship, where he previously took 23rd in his freshman season. This year, Taxter crossed the finish 18th in Kutztown and 23rd at Franklin Park. Classmate Christopher Drace (Franklin, New Jersey/Pope John XXIII) will be competing in his second New England Championship, where he last finished 69th as a freshman. Drace has finished 10th and 14th this season at the Shacklette Invitational and the Division II/III Challenge, respectively.

Along with Drace, senior Sam Bradford (Bedford, Massachusetts/Bedford) will also be running in his second New England Championship. This season, Bradford ran in all three races this season, taking the title at the Shacklette Invitational while also posting 19th-and 22nd-place marks at the Division II/III Challenge and Codfish Bowl, respectively.

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