Stonehill to Compete in NCAA Division II East Region Cross Country Championships

Women's Preview Interviews
Men's Preview Interviews

Women aim to capture second straight regional title and ninth overall
Men seek first regional title since 2007, third overall, as both squads seek to continue long string of national appearances

EASTON, Mass. (November 20, 2010) – The Stonehill College men’s and women’s cross country teams will seek return trips to the national championship meet when they compete at the NCAA Division II East Region Cross Country Championships, hosted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell, at Franklin Park in Dorchester, Mass., on Sunday. The men’s ten-kilometer race will begin at 11:00 a.m., with the women’s six-kilometer run to follow at noon.

The Stonehill women’s team, who have held the top spot in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) East Region rankings throughout the season, seek their second consecutive regional title and ninth in program history. The Skyhawks have earned 11 straight national championship entries, and two weeks ago claimed their second straight Northeast-10 Conference championship on their home course.

Junior co-captain Jill Alves (Whitman, Mass./Whitman-Hanson), a three-time first team All-Northeast-10 honoree, is coming off a career-best second-place finish at the NE-10 Championships as she continues to be Stonehill’s top performer this season. Alves also finished 14th at the Kutztown Division II Challenge earlier this year, and placed second among DII runners at the New England Championships. At last year’s East Region meet, Alves finished eighth overall to earn her second selection to the All-East Region team.

Sophomore Lynley Joynt (Guilderland, N.Y./Guilderland) also returns from an All-East Region performance last year for the Skyhawks, when she finished ninth in the regional meet, and was an All-Conference selection as a freshman. In her best finish this year, Joynt placed second to lead Stonehill to the overall victory at the season-opening Trinity College Bantam Invitational.

Junior co-captain Jill Alves looks to repeat her All-Region performance of a year ago. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Junior Kristen Mahoney (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) finished a career-best seventh at the NE-10 Championships for her first All-Conference performance, and the Skyhawks have gotten strong rookie performances from freshmen Chelsea Bishop (Suffield, Conn./Suffield) and Emily Regan (Hanson, Mass./Whitman Hanson), who finished 18th and 19th at the conference meet to earn All-Conference third team honors.

Top challengers to Stonehill on Sunday figure to all come from fellow Northeast-10 members as the Conference holds the top four spots in the most recent East Regional rankings and eight of the ten teams in the top ten are from the NE-10. Following the top-ranked Skyhawks are NE-10 Championship runners up UMass Lowell in second, The College of Saint Rose in third and Bentley University fourth. Alves will look to challenge NE-10 individual champion Jeptui Cherutich (Springfield, Mass./Maji Mazuri Girl's), a sophomore from American International College, for the region’s individual crown.

The Stonehill men, ranked 20th in the most recent USTFCCCA Division II poll and second in the East Region, look to emerge from a very tightly packed group of contenders for the two NCAA Championships berths on the line tomorrow. The Skyhawks look to build of its second place finish at the NE-10 Championships two weeks ago to punch their ticket to an eighth-straight national championship. Stonehill has won the men’s regional crown twice previously, but not since 2007.

Senior Patrick Fullerton looks to continue his strong season with an All-Region performance tomorrow for the second-straight year. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

The Skyhawks have won two events so far this season and are coming off a second-place finish at the Kutztown Division II Challenge two weeks ago. Stonehill won the team titles at the Trinity Bantams Invitational and Quinnipiac Invitational to open the year and placed third among Division II teams at the New England Championships last month.

Senior Patrick Fullerton (Bradford, Mass./Haverhill), a two-time first team All-NE-10 performer after his fourth place finish at the NE-10 Championships, is the lone returning runner for Stonehill to earn All-East Region honors last year with his ninth place finish in 32:10.8. He also earned All-New England honors last month at the New England Championships with his tenth place showing as he completed the eight-kilometer course in 24:48 and turned in a first place finish at the Kutztown DII Challenge two weeks ago with a course record time of 25:35 over 8K.

Senior Daniel Pilz (Newington, Conn./Newington) and junior Stephen Polito (Worcester, Mass./Doherty Memorial) have also been strong performers for the Skyhawks this fall. Pilz, a three-time All-NE-10 performer after placing ninth overall two weeks ago, led the squad to its team title at Quinnipiac with a third-place finish overall in 27:03 over 8K, while finishing 13th at Kutztown in 26:22 two weeks ago. Polito, also a three-time All-Conference runner, earned All-East Region honors as a freshman with a 12th place showing (32:10) in 2008.

The top six teams in the most recent USTFCCCA East Regional rankings all hail from the Northeast-10. UMass Lowell, ranked 12th nationally, leads the way in the region, followed by Stonehill, No. 3 Bentley, No. 4 Southern Connecticut State University, No. 5 American International and sixth-ranked Saint Rose. AIC sophomore Glarius Rop (Eldoret, Kenya) will be looking to defend his East Regional crown on Sunday after posting a second-straight NE-10 Championship run.

The top two teams and individuals (not on those teams) will advance to the NCAA Division II Championships in Louisville, Ky., as part of the NCAA Division II Fall Festival on Saturday, December 4. The men’s championship will be run at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park at 11 a.m., with the women’s championship to follow at noon.