Worcester, Mass., native is first Academic All-American in program history as he and Alves become Stonehill's ninth and tenth honorees overall
EASTON, Mass. (June 21, 2012) – Stonehill College senior Stephen Polito (Worcester, Mass./Doherty Memorial) has earned Capital One Academic All-America second team honors for Division II cross country and track & field as selected by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Polito, along with classmate Jill Alves (Whitman, Mass./Whitman-Hanson Regional) who earned third team honors on the women's side, become the ninth and tenth Academic All-Americans in Stonehill history. The pair are the first cross country or track & field athletes to receive the recognition from Stonehill and they join junior Elizabeth Belanger (Hooksett, N.H./Manchester Central) to give the College a record three Academic All-Americans during the 2011-12 academic year.
Polito, Alves and Belanger join Don Prohovich '80 (baseball), Kevin Broderick '93 (football), Julie Stockwell '00 (basketball), Amy Bartlett '02(lacrosse), Erin Acone '06 (lacrosse), who earned Academic All-American honors in 2005 and 2006, and Michael Mashkevich '10 (tennis) in the exclusive Academic All-America club at Stonehill.
Polito, who has earned Academic All-America honors for the first time, was also voted to the Capital One Academic All-District I first team for the first time earlier in the month. He has received the Northeast-10 Sport Excellence Award for cross country as a junior and senior and recently graduated with a 3.73 cumulative grade point average while majoring in graphic design at Stonehill. Polito was named the Edward E. Martin Male Scholar-Athlete Award winner at the College's senior awards banquet and received the St. Thomas Aquinas Medals for both cross country and track & field for having the highest grade point average for both programs.
Polito is an eight time NE-10 Academic All-Conference selection, earning the honors in cross country and indoor track and field all three years he has been eligible, while also collecting two outdoor track honors to date. He has earned NE-10 Commissioner's and Athletic Director's Honor Roll status every semester at the College and received Division II Athletic Directors' Association Academic Achievement Awards each of the last two years.
Polito has been a steady contributor for the cross country as well as indoor and outdoor track and field programs over his four years at Stonehill. He has earned eight All-East Region awards over his career, collecting three for cross country, four in outdoor track and one for indoor track. Four of those honors came during a standout senior season in which he posted All-Northeast-10, All-New England and All-Region performances for cross country, while earning indoor All-Region honors for the 5000-meter run and outdoor All-Region honors at both 10,000 and 5000-meters for the second-straight year.
Polito has helped lead the Stonehill cross country program to the NCAA Championships all four years of his career, earning U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honors each time. He is a three-time All-Region cross country runner, placing third overall this past fall in 31:30.4 (10K). Polito collected All-New England honors for the first time with his 11th place showing at the New England Championships in 25:07 (8K) and then led the Skyhawks to their second NE-10 Championship in three seasons with a second place finish in a personal-best 24:19.24 (8K). It marked his fourth All-NE-10 finish and second first team performance.
Polito earned indoor All-Region honors for the first time this past winter with his 5000-meter time of 14:47.81 to win the event at the Joe Donahue Boston Collegiate Games in January. He also posted a pair of third place finishes in the 3000-meters at the NE-10 Championships (8:35.61) as well as part of the Skyhawks 4x800-meter relay that finished third at the UNH Tri-Meet (8:10.57) this winter.
Polito, a two-time NE-10 10,000-meter run champion as a freshman and sophomore, has earned All-Region honors each of the last two years for that event as well as the 5000-meter run. He earned All-New England honors in the 10,000-meter run for the third time in his career this spring with his second-straight second place finish on May 11 in a school-record time of 30:50.48. Polito collected All-Northeast-10 honors in the 5000-meter run with a second place finish in 15:01.46 the week before. He holds the W.B. Mason Stadium record with his victory in the 10,000-meter run at this spring's Skyhawk Invitational (31:28.53).
In addition to winning the NE-10 Cross Country Championships last fall, Polito as part of second place team finishes at the NCAA Division II East Regionals for cross country, a pair of second place showings at the NE-10 Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships as well as a program-best third place showing at the New England Outdoor Track & Field Championships during his senior season.
To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program's inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 14,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.