Junior captain Bryan Wilcox helped Stonehill to its first East Region title since 2007 with his 11th place finish today.
Skyhawks secure third regional title in program history
BOSTON, Mass. (November 10, 2013) – The Stonehill College men's cross country team, ranked 22nd in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II poll, and ranked first in the East Region, notched its 11th straight NCAA Division II National Championship berth, by finishing first among 28 schools today at Franklin Park. The East Region title is Stonehill's first since 2007, and third such championship in program history.
Sophomore Robert Massey (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford) led the way for Stonehill today, as he placed eighth overall. Massey was the first Skyhawk to complete the ten kilometer course, doing so in 32:04.8. Senior Stephen Leonard (Chatham, N.J./Chatham), who was Stonehill's top finisher two weekends ago at the Northeast-10 Championship, placed ninth overall today, clocking in at 32:07. Massey and Leonard were the lone Skyhawks to earn top-10 finishes in today's meet.
Junior captain Bryan Wilcox (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) crossed the finish line a mere two spots behind Leonard, earning an 11th place finish with a time of 32:19.6. Wilcox was followed by junior Daniel Zawalich (Paxton, Mass./St. John's), who placed 23rd and clocked in at 32:45.5. Zawalich was the last of four Skyhawks to earn All-East Region honors for finishing in the top-25, along with Massey, Leonard, and Wilcox. Zawalich earns the accolades for the second consecutive season, as he placed 21st overall at the 2012 East Regionals held at Mine Falls Park in Nashua, N.H.
Stonehill won today's event with 78 total points, followed by Franklin Pierce University (97 points), Wilmington (Del.) University (100 points), American International College (126 points), and Adelphi University (134 points). American International's Mike Biwott (Kapsowar, Kenya/Kerio Valley Secondary School) won the individual title with a dominant 30:30.9 effort. The sophomore finished more than 45 seconds better than the second place runner, Adelphi's Nicholas Filippazzo (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh).
Stonehill senior Scott Waller (Andover, Mass./Andover), who earned All-East Region honors in 2011 as a sophomore, narrowly missed accomplishing the same feat today, as he placed 27th with a time of 32:53.7. Waller was followed by classmate Nathaniel Webber (Atkinson, N.H./Central Catholic), who finished 34th overall in 33:13.4. Rounding out Stonehill's participants today was senior captain Trent Fontanella (Pelham, N.H./Bishop Guertin), who placed 36th, clocking in at 33:18.6.
Head coach Karen Boen, a five-time Northeast-10 Men's Coach of the Year, cited her team's resiliency and heart as primary factors behind its success not only today, but this entire season. "We had our ups and downs this year, with Paul Cina getting hurt, then Dan Gordon getting hurt, then we had a bug hit our team, and had a bunch of guys on antibiotics", Boen said. "But the best athletes are the ones that pull themselves out of a hole and continue to compete".
Stonehill will now begin preparations for its 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA DII National Championship. For the second time in three years, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference will serve as host of the DII National Championship. The event will take place the weekend of November 21-23 at the Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex in Spokane, Washington.