Thomas and Staley take NE-10 Field honors for second straight week
Thomas, the reigning NCAA Division II indoor high jump national champion, earns his fifth NE-10 Field Athlete of the Week award this season (12th career), while Staley earns Field Rookie of the Week honors for the fifth time. It marks the second straight week and third time in the last four weeks Stonehill's high jumping duo have swept the NE-10 Field awards.
Thomas earned All-New England honors in his two events, highlighted by a second New England Indoor Championship in the high jump as he matched his own program record by clearing 7-feet, 2.5-inches – the fifth-highest jump in Division II this winter. He also earned All-New England honors for the third-straight year in the 60-meter high hurdles with a fourth place finish in Saturday's final in 8.20-seconds. Thomas broke his own school record in Friday's preliminary round when he clocked 8.07-seconds to qualify second overall and win his heat race. He advanced to the final with a time of 8.14-seconds in Saturday's semifinal round.
Thomas, who won the New England high jump title as a freshman in 2010 when he became the first double-champion in program history by also claiming the hurdles title that winter, matched his own school record in the high jump set in that winning performance in 2010. He broke his own previous record of 8.08-seconds in the hurdles set at the NCAA Division II Championships last winter. The two All-New England honors over the weekend give him six indoor honors over his career and ten total, including the New England Outdoor Championships. Thomas also won one outdoor high jump New England title to go with his two indoor championships.
Thomas is ranked fifth nationally in the high jump after this weekend's performance to automatically qualify for the NCAA Division II Championships in Mankato, Minn., in two weeks He is also expected to hear his name called for the 60-meter hurdles for the third-straight year where is currently ranked 14th in Division II 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 ten 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 won seven Northeast-10 titles (five hurdles and two high jump) and four New England championships, with two 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 that he matched on Saturday and an outdoor record 7-1.5 at the U.S. Junior Nationals at Drake University during the summer following his freshman year. Thomas ran the 110-meter hurdles in a record time of 14.31-seconds at the 2011 New England Outdoor. He also holds the 55-meter hurdles record of 7.45-seconds set at the 2010 New England Championships.
Staley earned All-New England honors for the first time with his fourth place finish in the high jump on Saturday. He was perfect on his first four heights, clearing each on his first attempt, before missing at 6-10.25.
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 with his season-best leap of 6-10.25 at the Charley Torpey Memorial, when he placed second to Thomas, and is currently ranked 17th nationally for the event.
Stonehill's NCAA Championship qualifiers will be announced later this week and will compete at the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships, hosted by Minnesota State University-Mankato, in two weeks on March 9 and 10.