Skyhawks selected to USTFCCCA East Region and National Preseason Polls

Senior captain Jill Alves leads the region's top ranked women's team. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill women's cross country team tabbed 16th in USTFCCCA National Poll, 1st in East Regional
Men slated 2nd overall in regional poll, 20th nationally 

EASTON, Mass. (August 25, 2011) – The Stonehill College women's cross country team – coming off of back-to-back Northeast-10 Conference titles and 12-straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Championships – was selected No. 16 nationally and No. 1 overall in the East Region by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), it was announced on Wednesday.

The men's squad was chosen 20th nationally and 2nd overall in the East Region after finishing 21st at last year's NCAA Division II Championships. Last season's trip marks the eighth-straight appearance to Nationals for Stonehill.

In the women's East Regional poll, the Skyhawks rank first ahead of Southern Connecticut, Bentley, UMass Lowell and Saint Rose, respectively.

In the national poll, Stonehill represents the only team from the East Region out of 25 squads. Western State will begin the season as No. 1 following their runner-up team showing a year ago. The Mountaineers were second to current-No. 2 Grand Valley State at last year's national championships.

UMass Lowell, the NCAA Division II East Region Champion for the last five seasons, ranks first in the East Regional poll on the men's side. Stonehill is slated second in front of Southern Connecticut, Bentley and Adelphi.

Nationally, the River Hawks are 11th overall and the Skyhawks are 20th overall representing the East Region. The preseason top six in the men's rankings follows the exact order of finish from the 2010 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships as Adams State (three-time defending champion) stands at No. 1, Western State ranks second and Grand Valley State third. Colorado Mines, Chico State and Augustana (S.D.) round out the top six.

Both the men's and women's cross country teams will host their annual Skyhawk Relays event on Saturday, September 3 and open their season on Saturday, September 10 at the Shacklette Invitational hosted by Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

The Northeast-10 Conference Championships will be held at Stanley Park in Westfield, Mass. on Sunday, September 23 at 10:00 am and the NCAA Division II East Regionals will be held at Franklin Park in Dorchester, Mass. on Sunday, November 6 at 11:00 am.

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