Stonehill Wins Third-Straight NE-10 Presidents’ Cup

NE-10 Commissioner Julie Ruppert (left) presents Stonehill's third-straight Presidents' Cup Trophy to Brendan Sullivan, Director of Athletics, and rising junior Devin Ingersoll, from the field hockey team and member of the College's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. (PHOTO BY Jacob VanRyn)

Skyhawks post eighth-straight top three finish in 2011-12 with fourth Cup title

EASTON, Mass. (June 6, 2012) – Stonehill College has won the 2011-2012 Northeast-10 Conference Presidents’ Cup, it was announced at the Conference’s end of the year awards banquet in Portsmouth, N.H., last night. It marks the third-straight year the College has won the Presidents’ Cup and fourth overall, having also won the award in 2005-06, 2009-10 and 2010-11, and is the eighth-straight year it has finished in the top three in the final standings.

“Congratulations to the student-athletes, coaches, and administrators at Stonehill College on their outstanding accomplishment of capturing the Presidents' Cup for the third straight year," said Julie Ruppert, Commissioner of the Northeast-10. "In a 16-team Conference as deep and competitive as the Northeast-10, the success necessary to earn this honor requires tremendous dedication and commitment from the entire campus community and all of Stonehill should share in the celebration of this accomplishment. Stonehill is clearly living up to the ideals of Division II by providing high-level athletics competition, and balancing that with notable academic achievements in the classroom."

The Presidents’ Cup is presented annually to signify overall athletic excellence in the Northeast-10 Conference and is awarded to the institution that compiles the most points based on the placement at the conclusion of the regular season of each of its programs which compete in league championships. Points for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s swimming & diving, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field and men’s golf are awarded based on placement in respective conference championships.

Women's Cross Country won its third-straight NE-10 Championship. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Men's Cross Country won its fifth NE-10 title in the fall as well. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr) 

Men's Basketball won its first NE-10 Tournament championship since 1989 and fourth overall. (PHOTO BY Bob Blanchard) 

Women's Tennis captured a share of its sixth NE-10 regular season title this spring. 

Stonehill captured its fourth Presidents’ Cup overall by accumulating a program-best 189.5 points during the academic year to edge second place Southern Connecticut State University (177.0) by over 12 points. Bentley University finished third (176.0), while Adelphi University is fourth (169.5) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell rounds out the top five (151.0). It marks the first time an institution has won the Cup three-straight years since Bentley won its last of three in a row in 2002-03.

"This is the fourth time Stonehill has won the Presidents’ Cup and it is yet another outstanding endorsement of our athletic program, which is so central to our mission," said Rev. Mark T. Cregan C.S.C., President of Stonehill College. "At the College, we educate 'the whole person so that each Stonehill graduate thinks, acts and leads with courage.' Our student-athletes are leaders on and off the field, and their successes demonstrate our fulfillment of that mission. We are proud of how they comport themselves and of what they have achieved. All of us - students, faculty, coaches, administrators and alumni – take great satisfaction in being the recipient of this honor for the third straight year."

The Presidents’ Cup caps another successful year across Stonehill’s athletic department, which saw each of its 16 teams with a postseason championship in the Northeast-10 qualify for the first time in the school’s 32 year affiliation with the Conference. Stonehill won NE-10 Championships in men’s and women’s cross country, men’s basketball and women’s tennis. The Skyhawks earned seven NCAA Tournament bids, with men’s basketball and women’s cross country capturing regional championships. The men’s basketball team went on to advance to the national semifinal round at the Elite Eight in Highland Heights, Ky., while the volleyball team earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in program history during the fall.

In addition to the four NE-10 Championships, Stonehill placed second in the regular season standings for volleyball and finished second at the NE-10 Championships for men’s indoor and outdoor track & field as well as women’s indoor track & field. The Skyhawks baseball, men’s basketball, ice hockey, women’s lacrosse, women’s soccer, women’s outdoor track & field and men’s tennis team all finished in the top five in the Conference during their respective seasons as well. The ice hockey team also made a postseason surge, reaching the NE-10 Championship game as well.

Ten Stonehill student-athletes earned All-America status in their respective sports, including junior Elizabeth Belanger (Hooksett, N.H./Manchester Central), from the women’s soccer team, who became the College’s eighth Capital One Academic All-American. Seniors Samantha Lynott (Holbrook, N.Y./Sachem East) and Kathryn Nelson (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) were both consensus All-Americans for their respective sports of lacrosse and field hockey this past season, with Lynott earning second team honors from the IWLCA for the third-straight year and Nelson earning consensus All-America status for the second straight season, including first team honors from the NFHCA. Junior Corey Thomas (Brookline, Mass./BC High) earned indoor All-America honors for the high jump for the third-straight year, giving him six All-America awards for his career.

Stonehill’s student-athletes also performed in the classroom, with 21 earning NE-10 Academic All-Conference honors (through the winter sports program) to date, including senior All-Region cross country runners Maura Ferrarini (Springfield, Mass./Springfield Cathedral) and Stephen Polito (Worcester, Mass./Doherty Memorial) who received NE-10 Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence honors for women’s and men’s cross country, while junior Dana Borges (Taunton, Mass./Coyle & Cassidy) received the award for ice hockey. It marks the second-straight year Polito has received the award in cross country. Stonehill placed ten on the Capital One Academic All-District teams and the College is among the first to receive the NCAA Division II Presidents’ Award for Academic Achievement for having a four year Academic Success Rate of 98-percent.

“Stonehill athletics, again, had a tremendous year as a result of the talent, commitment, and perseverance of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff,” said Brendan J. Sullivan, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at the College. “To win this award for the third consecutive year in such a competitive conference is a remarkable accomplishment, and on behalf of Stonehill I am grateful to everyone within the department for their contributions.

Beyond that, I would like to thank and recognize our President Fr. Mark Cregan, CSC, and our Vice President for Student Affairs, Fr. John Denning, CSC, and our Assistant Vice President for Athletics and Recreation, Paula Sullivan. This is an institutional award, and it would not be possible without their constant support and promotion of our dedicated student-athletes and coaches.”

Stonehill, which participates in 19 of the 23 total sports offered by the Conference compiled an overall mark of 208-125-5 (.623) in team competition during the course of the 2011-2012 academic year, including a 131-76-5 (.630) clip in NE-10 play, with 10 of 13 team sports finishing .500 or better. The Skyhawks saw an overall increase of 24 wins over the previous year and its overall winning percentage rise by 56 percentage points. In NE-10 play, Stonehill won ten more games and increased its winning percentage by 30 points.

NE-10 Team Championships (4)
Women’s Cross Country
Men’s Cross Country
Men’s Basketball
Women’s Tennis

All-Americans (10)
Elizabeth Belanger – Women’s Soccer (Academic)
Kathryn Nelson – Field Hockey
Corey Thomas – Indoor Track & Field (high jump)
Justin Blaszczyk – Indoor Track & Field (DMR)
Patrick Cooney – Indoor Track & Field (DMR)
Sean Hanlon – Indoor Track & Field (DMR)
Daniel Zawalich – Indoor Track & Field (DMR)
Samantha Lynott – Lacrosse
Kelsey Reilly – Lacrosse
Michael White – Baseball (honorable mention)

Capital One Academic All-District (9)
Elizabeth Belanger – Women’s Soccer
Sara Nagle – Women’s Soccer
Michael White – Baseball
Samantha Lynott – Lacrosse (at large team)
Dana Borges – Ice Hockey (at large team)
Jill Alves – Cross Country/Track & Field #
Maura Ferrarini – Cross Country/Track & Field #
Caroline McBride – Cross Country/Track & Field #
Stephen Polito – Cross Country/Track & Field #

# - still eligible for Academic All-America honors to be announced next week