#24 Stonehill Among Favorites for Saturday’s NE-10 Indoor Track & Field Championships

Senior All-American Corey Thomas seeks his fourth-straight NE-10 hurdles championship and second high jump title on Saturday night.

Skyhawks picked third in championship coaches' poll


EASTON, Mass. (February 15, 2013) – The Stonehill College men's track and field team, ranked 24th in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II National Computer Rankings, opens its championship season on Saturday night with the 2013 Northeast-10 Conference Indoor Championships at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston, Mass., starting at 4 p.m.

Stonehill, also ranked third in the USTFCCCA East Regional rankings, have been picked third in the NE-10 pre-championship coaches' poll released today. The Skyhawks received 81 points in the men's NE-10 poll, with ten-time defending champions Southern Connecticut State University picked first with 95 points and five first place votes, while UMass Lowell is picked second with 89 points, but also receiving five first place votes. American International College received the remaining first place vote and is selected fourth with 80 points.

Stonehill has finished as runners up to Southern Connecticut State each of the last two NE-10 Indoor Championships. The Skyhawks finished just 15.50 points behind the ten-time champs (165.50-150) last winter, with American International taking third with 138 points. It marked a 37.5 point improvement over the 2011 championship when the Owls won with 158 points to 105 for the Skyhawks.

So far this winter, Stonehill has produced one event win at Brandeis University's Reggie Poyau  Memorial Invitational in December to go with a second place team finish at the University of Rhode Island Sorlien Invitational, a third place effort at the URI Coaches' Tribute Meet as well as a fifth place showing at the Joe Donahue Indoor Collegiate Games.

Senior All-American Corey Thomas (Brookline, Mass./BC High) will compete at the NE-10 Indoor Championships for the final time on Saturday night. He will look to sweep to his fourth indoor hurdles title as the event's top seed with his school-record time of 8.04-seconds, which also ranks 12th nationally in Division II. Thomas is also gunning for a second indoor high jump championship, having won the event as a sophomore when he also went on to capture the Division II Indoor National Championship. He is seeded first for that event as well with his school-record height of 7-feet, 3-inches, good for No. 2 nationally and will be gunning for All-Conference honors in that event for the fourth straight year as well.

Senior All-American Sean Hanlon will be a factor in the Stonehill's scoring in the 1000-meter run as well as distance medley relay. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

His top competitors for both events may come from his own teammates. Junior Xavier Dixon (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) is seeded second for the 60-meter hurdles with his NCAA provisional qualifying time of 8.22-seconds (31st nationally). He is a two-time All-Conference performer in the event, finishing behind just Thomas as a freshman and sophomore.

Sophomore Nick Staley (Medway, Mass./BC High) is seeded second in the high jump with his NCAA provisional qualifying height of 6-feet, 11.50-inches – good for fifth nationally in Division II. Staley just missed out on All-Conference honors for the event as a freshman, placing third but did earn All-New England and All-East Region honors.

Stonehill's 4x800-meter and 4000-meter distance medley relay teams are both seeded second heading into the NE-10 Championships. The Skyhawks are the defending champions in the DMR and have a seed-time of 9:58.80 behind just favorites UMass Lowell (9:54.59). Stonehill's DMR has gone on to earn All-America honors each of the last two years and five times over the last six.

The 4x800-meter relay is seeded behind just Adelphi University (7:47.88) with its time of 7:59.94. The Skyhawks placed second for the event in 2012 behind Southern Connecticut State, which is seeded sixth this year (8:27.64).

Stonehill looks to eat up some points in the 800-meter run with three runners seeded in the top six, led by freshman Nick Kirkpatrick (Carmel, Ind./Brebeuf Jesuit Prep) at No. 4 with a time of 1:55.45, while sophomore All-American Patrick Cooney (Douglaston, N.Y./Archbishop Molloy) is seeded fifth at 1:56.36 and senior Sam Spencer (Seekonk, Mass./Seekonk) sixth at 1:57.34.

Stonehill also has three runners seeded in scoring positions for the 1000-meter run, led by No. 2 junior Christopher Dooley (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) with a time of 2:29.45, while senior All-American Sean Hanlon (Georgetown, Mass./St. John's Prep) is third at 2:29.96 and junior All-American Justin Blaszczyk (Saint James, N.Y./Smithtown) seeded eighth at 2:33.99.

Senior Tim Johnson (Thomaston, Conn./Thomaston) and sophomore All-American Daniel Zawalich (Paxton, Mass./St. John's of Shrewsbury) are seeded second and third, respectively in the one mile run. Johnson's time of 4:11.89 is just 0.05-seconds behind that the event's top seed, Eric McDonald of UMass Lowell. Zawalich has a seed time of 4:13.74.

Senior Tim Johnson is seeded second in the one mile run and will also figure in the Skyhawks relay teams. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Stonehill will have seven entries in the 5000-meter run, led by senior Ethan Penney (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill) who earned All-Northeast-10 honors in the event last year with his second place finish. He is seeded third this year with a time of 15:09.74. Junior Stephen Leonard (Chatham, N.J./Chatham) and sophomore Bryan Wilcox (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) are also in the mix to score for the Skyhawks. Wilcox is seeded seventh at 15:23.28, while Leonard is ninth at 15:30.51.

Other Stonehill Athletes to Watch:

Senior Luke Byrnes (Glen Head, N.Y./Chaminade) is seeded third in the pole vault with his school-record height of 14-feet, 11-inches set at the Joe Donahue Games in January. He placed third at the 2012 NE-10 Championships (13-07.25) after not placing his sophomore year and finishing fourth as a freshman (13-05.25). Byrnes was an All-East Region performer during the 2011-12 indoor season.

Sophomore Daniel Cormier (Methuen, Mass./Methuen) is in position to score highly in both throwing events on Saturday night. He is seeded third in the weight throw with a personal-best distance of 51-feet, 5.5-inches at the URI Coaches' Tribute Meet and is seeded sixth for the shot put after his school-record throw of 47-feet, 3.75-inches at Tufts last weekend. He was 11th in the shot put as a freshman and did not compete in the weight throw.

Sophomore Teague Grubel (Phoenix, Ariz./Shadow Mountain) is seeded fourth in the 60-meter dash and tenth for the 200-meter dash. He finished seventh in the 55-meter dash at the NE-10 Championships as a freshman and has posted a personal-best time of 7.20-seconds in the 60-meters at the URI Coaches' Tribute Meet. He was 12th in the 200-meters at last year's championship and with a modest improvement on his seed time of 22.53-seconds, he could score some valuable points for the Skyhawks in two events.

Junior Trent Fontanella (Pelham, N.H./Bishop Guertin) is seeded third in the 3000-meter run with a time of 8:34.58, while classmate Scott Waller (Andover, Mass./Andover) is also in the mix to collect points with his No. 8 seed at 8:49.32.

Junior Tyler Moules (Billerica, Mass./Billerica) is seeded fourth and will make his NE-10 Indoor Championships debut in the 500-meter run with his personal-best time of 1:07.27 at the Joe Donahue Games.

Junior Herby Saintil (Roslindale, Mass./BC High) is seeded fifth in the triple jump with a distance of 44-feet, 9-inches at the URI Sorlien Invitational in January. He earned All-Region honors for the event as sophomore and looks to collect All-NE-10 honors after placing third at the NE-10 Indoor Championships last winter (44-10.25).

 Next weekend, Stonehill's qualifiers will compete at the New England Championships, hosted by Boston University, at the BU Track and Tennis Center on Friday and Saturday, February 22 and 23.

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