Thomas and Staley take NE-10 Field honors for second time in three weeks
Thomas, the reigning NCAA Division II indoor high jump national champion, earns his fourth NE-10 Field Athlete of the Week award (11th career) this season, while Staley earns Field Rookie of the Week honors for the fourth time this season. It marks the second time in the last three weeks Stonehill's high jumping duo have swept the NE-10 Field awards.
Thomas earned All-Northeast-10 Conference honors in his two events, including a second place finish in the high jump after being edged in a jump off by University of New Haven sophomore Matthew Jeune after clearing 7-feet, 0.25-inches. It marks the third-straight year Thomas has earned All-Conference honors in the high jump, winning the event title as a sophomore to go with two second place finishes.
Thomas also captured his third-straight individual NE-10 Championship in the 55-meter high hurdles after he won the final in 7.57-seconds as Stonehill took the top two spots for the second-straight year with sophomore Xavier Harris-Dixon (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) in second place with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 7.72-seconds. Thomas qualified first for the finals with his time of 7.65-seconds in his preliminary heat.
Thomas enters this weekend's New England Championships ranked eighth nationally in the high jump with his NCAA automatic qualifying effort of 7-0.25 established at the Charley Torpey Memorial Invitational, hosted by the University of Rhode Island, on February 4 and matched on Saturday. He is also 13th in Division II for the 60-meter high hurdles with his converted time of 8.01-seconds set over 55-meters at the Joe Donahue Boston Indoor Collegiate Games on January 27.
Thomas, who captured the first track and field national championship in Stonehill history with his high jump victory last March, is a five time NCAA Division II All-American, collecting four in the high jump (two indoor, two outdoor) and another in the 60-meter high hurdles. He has also earned eight All-New England and All-Northeast-10 Conference honors, four U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) All-Region and two USTFCCCA East Region Field Athlete of the Year awards. Thomas has now won seven Northeast-10 titles (five hurdles and two high jump) and three New England championships, with one indoor and one outdoor high jump championship to go with a 60-meter hurdles title when he became the first double New England champion in program history during the indoor championships as a freshman.
Thomas holds the school record in all five events he competes in at Stonehill. He cleared an indoor school-record 7-feet, 2.25-inches at the 2010 New England Championships and an outdoor record 7-1.5 at the U.S. Junior Nationals at Drake University later that year. Thomas ran the 60-meter hurdles in a school-record 8.08-seconds at the 2011 NCAA Division II Championships in New Mexico, while his 110-meter hurdles time of 14.31-seconds at the 2011 New England Outdoor Championships is the school standard. He also holds the 55-meter hurdles record of 7.45-seconds set at the 2010 New England Championships.
Staley placed third to Jeune and Thomas in the high jump at Saturday's NE-10 Indoor Championships to collect points for Stonehill on its way to the second place finish as a team. Staley cleared 6-feet, 8.25-inches on Saturday.
Staley has shined in the high jump in his first collegiate season, posting a pair of first place finishes in the event at the season-opening Jay Carisella Invitational (6-9.75) before also winning the event at the Reggie Poyau Memorial Invitational (6-8.00), helping the Skyhawks to the team title at the latter event. He has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships next month with his season-best leap of 6-10.25 at the Charley Torpey Memorial, when he placed second to Thomas, and is currently ranked 16th nationally for the event.
Thomas and Staley will be back in action this weekend, along with those qualifying teammates, at the New England Championships, hosted by Boston University, at the BU Track & Tennis Center on Friday and Saturday.