Thomas Highlights Day Two for Stonehill at New Englands

Junior All-American Corey Thomas captured the second New England indoor high jump championship and also collected All-New England honors in the 60-meter hurdles. (PHOTO BY Blake Wood)

Junior All-American captures second New England indoor high jump title, posts two All-New England performances

BOSTON, Mass. (February 25, 2012) – Stonehill College, ranked fourth in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches' Association (USTFCCCA) Division II East Regional index, built on the momentum of a strong day one at the 2012 New England Indoor Track & Field Championships with another standout day on day two at the Boston University Track & Tennis Center today.

Junior All-American Corey Thomas (Brookline, Mass./BC High), the reigning NCAA Division II indoor high jump national champion, turned in his strongest performance of the winter so far and claimed the second New England indoor high jump title of his career, matching his own school-record with a leap of 7-feet, 2.25-inches. Thomas, who won both the indoor and outdoor New England high jump championships as a freshman, collected All-New England honors indoors for the third-straight year by matching the second-highest jump in Division II this season. He also matched his own school record set here at BU in his winning performance at the 2010 New Englands.

Freshman Nicholas Staley (Medway, Mass./BC High) collected All-New England honors for the first time with his fourth place finish in the high jump with a height of 6-feet, 8.25-inches.

Thomas also turned in an All-New England performance in the 60-meter high hurdles for the third-straight year, giving him six career indoor All-New England awards (10 including outdoor), with his fourth place finish in the final with his time of 8.20-seconds. Sophomore Xavier Harris-Dixon (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) also earned All-New England honors for the first time with his eighth place finish in 8.27-seconds.

Thomas, who broke his own school-record in Friday's prelims with his run of 8.07-seconds, reached the final by placing third in the semifinal heat earlier today in 8.14-seconds, while Harris qualified seventh in 8.35.

Freshman Daniel Zawalich (Paxton, Mass./St. John's), who ran the anchor leg for Stonehill's 4000-meter distance medley relay team that locked up a spot at the NCAA Championships in Minnesota in two weeks, posted a provisional NCAA qualifying time in the mile run of 4:10.30 to place 13th on Saturday (out of 27 runners).

Sophomore Xavier Harris-Dixon earned All-New England honors in the 60-meter hurdles for the first time. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill's 4x800-meter relay team turned in a fifth place finish with its time of 7:41.53, just over a half second off school-record pace. Earning All-New England honors in the event for the Skyhawks are freshman Nicholas Capezzuto (North Reading, Mass./North Reading), who provisionally qualified for nationals in the 800 on Friday night, classmate Patrick Cooney (Douglaston, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy), also a part of Stonehill's NCAA qualifying DMR team that placed second to earn All-New England honors on Friday, sophomore Christopher Dooley (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) and classmate Justin Blaszczyk (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown), also a member of the DMR team.

Stonehill held in eighth place in the team standings with 33 points over the two days, marking the second-straight year the Skyhawks have finished eighth in the team standings. The University of Connecticut won the team title with 118.50 points, with the University of Rhode Island second with 94 points and Southern Connecticut State University third with 71.

Stonehill's highlights on Friday included:

Stonehill's 4000-meter distance medley relay shattered the school-record and provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships in Minnesota in two weeks with its time of 9:50.33 to place second out of 22 teams – just a quarter of a second behind first place University of Massachusetts Lowell (9:50.08). The Skyhawks broke the previous school mark of 9:53.45 set on this very track at the 2011 BU Valentine Invitational and posted the sixth fastest time in Division II this winter to date. Earning All-New England honors for their efforts on Friday night were Blaszczyk with a 3:00.2 split on the opening 1200-meter leg, while Cooney completed in the 400-meter leg in 50.6-seconds, junior All-American Sean Hanlon (Georgetown, Mass./St. John's Prep), who was also a part of the previous school-record holding DMR team, finished the 800-meter leg in 1:52.2 and Zawalich completed the mile anchor leg in 4:06.9.

While Capezzuto didn't qualify for the 800-meter finals, he came within a second of the school record and provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships next month with his time of 1:52.81 – the 20th fastest time in Division II so far this winter. He placed 15th overall in the field of 29 competitors with his prelim time.

Junior Luke Byrnes (Glen Head, N.Y./Chaminade) matched his own school record in the pole vault as he cleared 14-feet, 7.25-inches to place 15th in the event.