Men's Track & Field Takes Eighth Straight Skyhawk Invitational

Sophomore Stefan Balestra came within a fraction of provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the hammer with a school-record effort.

Balestra shatters hammer throw record, Baldasare takes two first place finishes

EASTON, Mass. (April 30, 2016) – Stonehill College won its home Skyhawks Invitational for the eighth straight year by posting six event wins at W.B. Mason Stadium today.

Stonehill finished its ninth annual home meet on Senior Day with 255 points to easily outdistance NCAA Division I College of the Holy Cross (188 points) in second place and Assumption College (152) in third. Bryant University (139.50) took fourth place in the team standings, while Boston University (114.50) rounded out the top five.

While not an event winner, sophomore Stefan Balestra (Lincoln, Rhode Island/Lincoln) produced one of the highlights of the afternoon when he shattered the program record in the hammer throw and came within ten centimeters of provisionally qualifying for next month's NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Saint Leo, Florida. His distance of 175-feet, 6-inches placed third overall and moves him up to third on the Northeast-10 Conference's performance chart, surpassing the previous program mark of 169-09 set by Dan Kincade '12 on April 21, 2012, at College of the Holy Cross. Senior Mason Griffin (Wellesley, Massachusetts/Wellesley) placed fifth with a throw of 140-02.

Griffin was also second out of 14 entries in the shot put with his distance of 49-feet, 3.50-inches, while freshman Darren Shi (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) was seventh with a personal-best throw of 44-01.50. Griffin finished tenth out of 18 competitors in the discus throw with a distance of 116-feet, 6-inches, while Balestra was 13th with a throw of 110-07.

Junior All-American Matt Baldasare won both the 200 and 400-meters. (PHOTO BY Mark Connolly)

Junior All-American Matt Baldasare (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) paced Stonehill's six event wins with a pair on his own. He opened with a first place finish in the 400-meter run in 49.52-seconds, leading a pack of four Skyhawks in the event. Sophomore Patrick Ahern (Charlotte, North Carolina/Providence Country Day) finished fourth in a personal-best 50.81-seconds, while freshman Daniel Madsen (West Haven, Connecticut/Notre Dame-West Haven) was fifth in a personal-record 51.35 and sophomore Joshua Hubbell (Gloucester, Massachusetts/St. John's Prep) sixth at 51.67.

Baldasare followed that up with a first place finish in the 200-meter dash with his personal-best time of 22.44-seconds leading 22 competitors in the event. Hubbell finished fifth at a personal-best 23.13-seconds, while freshman Michael Mejias Jr. (Lynn, Massachusetts/St. John's Prep) took sixth in a personal-record 23.35.

Ahern, Hubbell and Madsen were all part of Stonehill's 4x400-meter relay that finished first in 3:24.25. Ahern ran the lead leg, followed by Hubbell and Madsen, before sophomore Ruddy Severino (Methuen, Massachusetts/Methuen) completed the anchor leg for the Skyhawks.

Freshman Lucas Taxter (Readville, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) turned in a dominant performance in the 1500-meter run with a winning time of 3:54.29, shaving over seven seconds off his personal-best. Classmate Riley Dowd (Peabody, Massachusetts/Peabody Veterans Memorial) finished fifth in a personal-best 3:59.29, while senior Robert Massey (Chelmsford, Massachusetts/Chelmsford) took sixth in a personal-record 4:00.82.

Sophomore Jordan Sullivan (Sound Beach, New York/Miller Place) tied for first in the high jump as he cleared 6-feet, 2.75-inches.

Stonehill won the 4x800-meter relay in 7:56.79. Junior Duncan Burleigh (Hingham, Massachusetts/Hingham) took the baton first, followed by sophomore Jason Dimmick (Sutton, Massachusetts/Sutton) and freshman David Lockhart (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Stoughton), with freshman Stephen Vercollone (Pembroke, Massachusetts/Pembroke) running the anchor leg.

Freshman Lucas Taxter won the 1500-meter run by two seconds.

Dimmick also finished third in the 400-meter hurdles in a personal-best 56.89-seconds, while Lockhart was sixth out of 28 entries in the 800-meter run with his time of 1:56.14 and Vercollone was seventh in 1:56.49.

Sophomore Anthony Innamorati (Clinton, Massachusetts/Clinton) placed second in the pole vault by clearing 14-feet, 5.25-inches. Classmate Dillon Neumann (Harwinton, Connecticut/Lewis Mills) finished fourth on attempts with his personal-best height of 13-11.25.

Other Stonehill Highlights Included:

Junior Tyler Henseler (Coventry, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) finished second in the 5000-meter run with a time of 16:05.68.

Sophomore Mark Hamalian (West Bridgewater, Massachusetts/Bridgewater-Raynham) placed fourth in the long jump with a distance of 20-feet, 5.25-inches. Classmate Jonathan Naval (Stratford, Connecticut/Bunnell) was sixth at 19-09.50.

Naval was also fourth in the triple jump with a distance of 43-feet, 3-inches.

Sophomore Sam Bradford (Bedford, Massachusetts/Bedford) placed fifth out of 18 competitors in the 3000-meter run with a time of 9:06.42. Freshman Lawrence Carney (Lowell, Massachusetts/Lowell) finished seventh in 9:10.03.

Stonehill returns to action on Friday when it opens its championship season at the Northeast-10 Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by American International College, in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday and Saturday, May 6-7.

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Stonehill honored its ten seniors and families at the start of today's home meet.