Vercollone & Taxter Lead Men's Track & Field at New England Championships

Taxter won his first individual New England title with an NCAA provisional time in the 1500m today

Vercollone blisters school 800-meter record with top ten national time
Taxter claims 1500-meter New England title and hits NCAA PQ

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (May 11, 2019) – The Stonehill College men's track & field team captured one individual New England title, posted three school records and collected eight All-New England honors in turning in a seventh place team finish at the 2019 New England Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Southern Connecticut State University, at Jess Dow Field today.

Senior All-American Stephen Vercollone posted the 12th All-New England performance of his career, blistering the school-record and vaulting into the top ten on the NCAA Division II provisional qualifying charts with his second place finish in the 800-meter run in 1:50.28 – just 0.18 behind Franklin Pierce University sophomore Hugo Arlabosse in first place. Vercollone, who earns his second individual All-New England award to go with ten relay honors, now ranks ninth nationally in Division II and is in great position to earn a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in two weeks, hosted by Texas A&M Kingsville, May 23-25. He broke the previous school record of 1:51.53 set by classmate Lucas Taxter at the 2018 Skyhawk Invitational.

Taxter captured the New England Championship for the 1500-meter run for the first time in his career, marking his first individual New England title to go with two relay championships, with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:48.99. He ranks 23rd nationally for the event and now awaits potential entry to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in two weeks. Taxter's performance marks his eighth All-New England honor of his career.

Vercollone shattered the program record and moved up to ninth nationally with his second place finish in the 800-meters (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard)

Vercollone also earned All-New England honors as part of Stonehill's 4x800-meter relay that finished fourth in 7:45.82. He ran the lead leg in 1:56.6, followed by freshman Nickolas McNamee with a 1:57.8 second leg, before senior Matthew Shaw completed the third leg in 1:57.7 and then sophomore Christopher Lanahan finished the anchor leg in 1:54.6.

Senior Xavier Young earned All-New England honors for the first time with a third place finish in the shot put. He broke his own school-record for the second-straight week and improves his NCAA provisional qualifying distance with a throw of 54-feet, 8.25-inches. The distance moves him up to 43rd nationally in Division II, breaking his own previous record of 54-01.25 in winning the Northeast-10 Conference Championship last weekend. Young also placed 16th in the discus throw with a distance of 130-feet, 8-inches.

Senior Joe Connolly finished sixth in the 400-meter dash to earn All-New England honors for the fourth time in his career with a school-record time of 48.62-seconds. He qualified for the final with a preliminary time of 49.01-seconds on Friday to finish second in his heat with the eighth-fastest time overall out of 29 entries. Connolly edged the eight-year-old school record of 48.63-seconds by Pak Lul at the 2011 Skyhawk Invitational.

Connolly also collected All-New England honors with Stonehill's 4x400-meter relay that finished eighth in 3:19.13. He was joined by junior Jeremy Breen and freshmen Jack Bowers and Anthony Magazzu. Bowers ran the lead leg in 49.6-seconds, followed by Breen for a 49.4-second split on the second leg, before Magazzu finished the third leg in 50.7-seconds and then Connolly brought the baton home on the anchor leg in 49.2-seconds.

Connolly set a school record in the 400-meters and picked up a pair of All-New England honors on Saturday (PHOTO BY Mark Connolly)

Sophomore Ethan Famiano earned All-New England honors for the first time in his career with an eighth place finish in the 110-meter high hurdles in 14.81-seconds. He qualified eighth out of 29 entries overall on Friday with a time of 14.69-seconds.

Junior Justin Ireland picked up All-New England honors for the third time with his eighth place finish in the 100-meter dash in 10.92-seconds. On Friday, he qualified with the sixth-fastest time in Friday's prelims in 10.93-seconds to finish second in his heat, in a field of 31 competitors.

Stonehill finished the day with 35 points to finish seventh in the team standings. Host Southern Connecticut State took the team title with 112 points, followed by 109.5 points by University of Rhode Island and then the University of Massachusetts totaled 66 points. The Skyhawks finished third among NE10 programs at the championships, with Merrimack College totaling 39 points for sixth overall.

Stonehill will await official entries for the 2019 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, when they are announced this week.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.