Skyhawks bring strong squad to Boston as they seek to continue streak of high finishes
EASTON, Mass. (February 16, 2011) – Stonehill College, ranked fourth in this week’s U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II East Regional index, will challenge for a Northeast-10 Conference title tomorrow at the NE-10 Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center beginning at 4:00 p.m.
The women’s team has earned six consecutive top-three finishes at the conference meet, and aims to continue that success against a strong NE-10 field which occupies the top eight of ten spots in the East Regional index, led by Southern Connecticut State University at #1. UMass Lowell and the University of New Haven check in at second and third, followed by Stonehill holding steady in the #4 slot for the fourth consecutive week, and American International College rounding out the top five.
The Skyhawks will look to their experienced distance runners to set the tone tomorrow, led by two-time conference champion Lindsey Booth (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) and multiple All-Conference honorees Jill Alves (Whitman, Mass./Whitman-Hanson) and Kristen Mahoney (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth). Booth claimed NE-10 titles as part of the distance medley relay in 2008 and the 4x800m squad in 2009. She comes into tomorrow’s 800m event having posted her fastest time of the season last week at BU, and seeks to lower her mark of 2:20.50 at the conference meet.
Alves ranks among the NE-10 leaders in two events this season, holding the conference’s third-fastest time in both the 1000m run and the mile. She enters tomorrow’s meet having set a season-best mark of 5:09.73 in the mile at last week’s Boston University Valentine Invitational. Mahoney has posted top-three finishes in the 3000m run in each of her first two NE-10 championship meets, and currently ranks second in the conference in both the 3000m and 5000m events. She leads a strong Stonehill field in the 5000m event, as the Skyhawks own three of the top five performances in the conference this season: sophomore Caroline McBride (North Reading, Mass./North Reading) stands third, and senior Amanda Tripodi (Darien, Conn./Darien) holds the fifth spot.
Junior Maura Ferrarini (Springfield, Mass./Cathedral) is also having a career year in the distance events, capturing the mile title in 5:12.00 at this month’s Tufts Stampede and ranking among the top five conference performances in both the mile and the 3000m run. Ferrarini will seek to challenge in the mile at tomorrow’s meet, after running the 3000m event at the past two championships.
Sophomore Olivia Dyson (Reading, Mass./Reading) and freshman Meaghan Olin (Goshen, N.Y./Goshen) lead a young squad in the field events, and will look to continue a series of strong performances leading up to the conference meet. Dyson was an All-Conference honoree in the high jump at her first NE-10 meet last year, placing second overall and setting a new Stonehill record in the event as she cleared five feet, 3.75 inches. Olin owns the program record in the pole vault in her first year of competition, a leap of nine feet, 0.25 inches set at the Tufts Stampede and good for fifth-highest in the NE-10 this season.
Aiming to make an impact in the sprint events are freshman Katie Polakowski (Essex Junction, Vt./Essex) and junior Susan O’Connell (East Greenwich, R.I./East Greenwich). Polakowski has been strong in her first season with the Skyhawks and will lead the squad in the 55m hurdles event, where she currently holds the fourth-fastest time in the NE-10 with her mark of 8.58 seconds, set with a second-place finish in a field of Division I competitors at the University of New Hampshire last month. O’Connell broke into the top five conference performances in the 500m dash last week, posting a time of 1:19.11 at BU. She finished fourth in the 800m run at last year’s championships.
Admission for tomorrow’s meet is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. Following the conference meet, Stonehill will head to the New England Championships, hosted at the BU Track & Tennis Center on February 26.
Below: Lindsey Booth, Olivia Dyson, Maura Ferrarini, and head coach Karen Boen preview the NE-10 meet.