Stonehill Posts Runner-Up Finish At NE-10 Championship

Stonehill posted a top two finish in the NE-10 Championship for the 14th-straight year. (PHOTO BY Jim Stankiewicz)

Eight Skyhawks earn All-Conference honors, led by senior Bryan Wilcox

RINDGE, N.H. (November 9, 2014) – Eight members of the Stonehill College men's cross country team earned All-Conference honors and seven finished inside the top-20 as Stonehill, receiving votes in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II poll, and ranked third in the East Region, ran to a second-place finish this morning at the Northeast-10 Conference Championship at the Gates Farm Course on the campus of host school Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire.

Senior Bryan Wilcox (Plantsville, Connecticut/Southington) led the Skyhawks with the first All-Conference first team effort of his career and third straight All-NE-10 performance overall, as he crossed the finish line fifth with a time of 27:58.3 on the eight-kilometer course.

Freshman Dillon McGee (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) continued his impressive rookie campaign with a tenth-place finish in 28:27.2 to earn All-NE-10 second team honors in the first Championship race of his career. McGee, who collected Rookie of the Week honors from the NE-10 on October 14th, posted a fifth-place finish in his collegiate debut at the Shacklette Invitational on September 6th.

Immediately following McGee in 11th and 12th place was the duo of sophomores Tyler Henseler (Coventry, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) and Joe Santo (Newburyport, Massachusetts/Newburyport), who turned in times of 28:29.4 and 28:32.6, respectively. Competing in their first NE-10 Championship races as well, Henseler and Santo joined McGee in earning All-Conference second team accolades.

Merrimack College sophomore Phil Harris separated Santo from the next two Skyhawks to finish, seniors Dan Zawalich (Paxton, Massachusetts/St. John's) and Trent Fontanella (Pelham, New Hampshire/Bishop Guertin). Zawalich placed 14th and clocked in at 28:37.9 to earn second team honors, the first All-Conference performance of his career, while Fontanella's 15th-place effort in 28:40.9 was good for third team accolades. Fontanella has now registered three All-NE-10 performances in the last five seasons, after posting a second team finish last fall (8th place in 25:49) and a third team effort as a sophomore in 2011 (17th place in 25:08.21). Stonehill's 2nd-6th finishers were separated by less than 15 seconds.

Senior Bryan Wilcox posted his third straight All-Conference performance with a fifth place finish today. (PHOTO BY Jim Stankiewicz)

Senior Dan Gordon (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) was the seventh Skyhawk to finish today, as he placed 20th and clocked in at 28:52.4 to earn All-NE-10 third team honors. Classmate Paul Cina (Pembroke, Massachusetts/Pembroke) became the eighth and final Stonehill entry to post an All-Conference effort, as he crossed the finish line 21st with a time of 28:56.6. Cina earns All-NE-10 honors for the first time since 2010, when he placed tenth in 24:55.08 for a second team nod.

American International College snapped Stonehill's streak of three straight NE-10 titles from 2011-13, as the Yellow Jackets took first place today with 19 points. American International junior Michael Biwott won his third straight NE-10 Championship individual title with a time of 26:07.6, and Yellow Jackets occupied the next two spots as well. Stonehill finished second with 52 points, followed by Franklin Pierce University (124 points), Bentley University (144 points) and Adelphi University (161 points).

Stonehill head coach Karen Boen was impressed with the way her team handled the difficult course conditions, and the impact some of the underclassmen made. "It was an extremely difficult course, it was muddy, slippery, and unpredictable," Boen said. "Our guys ran very well.  Our top guys put us in a good position, and the younger guys were close enough to take over and help us to a strong finish."

Junior Nick Kirkpatrick (Carmel, Indiana/Brebeuf Jesuit Prep) placed 31st this morning with a time of 29:17.5, while sophomore Antonio Xelhua (Arlington, Massachusetts/Arlington) and senior Michael Gendron (Lowell, Massachusetts/Lowell) finished 36th and 37th, respectively. Xelhua clocked in at 29:27.7, while Gendron earned a time of 29:28.4.

Rounding out Stonehill's entries were senior Seamus McEvoy (Longmeadow, Massachusetts/Longmeadow), and sophomores Adam Rego (Rumford, Rhode Island/La Salle Academy) and Dan Nolan (Chelmsford, Massachusetts/Chelmsford). McEvoy placed 45th in 29:47.3, while Rego, who finished 25th at last season's NE-10 Championship, posted a time of 29:53.8 today, good for 50th overall. Nolan placed 58th, earning a time of 30:04.9.

Stonehill will be off next weekend before attempting to win its second consecutive East Region Championship, and fourth in program history on Saturday, November 22nd at Mine Falls Park in Nashua, New Hampshire.

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