Vercollone Hits NCAA PQ at BU, Stonehill Takes First at Tufts

Vercollone provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 800m and then helped the Skyhawks post a season-best time in the 4x400. (PHOTO BY SportsPix)

Vercollone posts NCAA provisional qualifying time in 800m

BOSTON, Mass. (January 27, 2018) – Stonehill College junior Stephen Vercollone (Pembroke, Massachusetts/Pembroke) provisionally qualified for the NCAA Division II Championships at the John Thomas Terrier Invitational, hosted by Boston University, while the rest of his teammates were posting a first place team finish at the inaugural Branwen Smith-King Invitational, hosted by Tufts University, today.

Vercollone posted the 13th-fastest time in the 800-meter run in Division II this season and the third fastest in the Northeast-10 Conference with his indoor career-best 1:52.71. He placed 21st in the field of 128 entries at the Terrier Invitational at the BU Track & Tennis Center – good for 11th among collegiate runners in the event and third among NE10 runners. Vercollone provisionally qualifies for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas, in March.

Vercollone later joined his teammates at Tufts' Gantcher Athletic Center, and helped lead Stonehill's 4x400-meter relay to a second place finish in a season-best time of 3:25.06. Junior Daniel Madsen (West Haven, Massachusetts/Notre Dame-West Haven) ran the lead leg in 52.0-seconds, followed by freshman Hampton Boyd (Holliston, Massachusetts/Holliston) with a 50.7-second split for the second leg, followed by Vercollone with a 49.8-second third leg, before freshman Desmond Bernal (Warwick, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) completed the anchor leg in 52.6-seconds. The adjusted relay time of 3:21.84 for a flat track currently ranks second in the NE10 this season.

Boyd also won the 400-meter dash with his time of 50.79-seconds, which converted down for a flat track at 50-seconds flat is the eighth-fastest time in the East Region this winter. Madsen finished fourth in an indoor personal-best 51.56-seconds.

Boyd won the 400-meter dash and also helped the 4x400 post the second-ranked time in the NE10 this winter. (PHOTO BY SportsPix)

Sophomore Justin Ireland (Norton, Massachusetts/Norton) won the 200-meter dash in a personal-best 22.64-seconds to improve his New England Championships qualifying time and lead a field of 54 entries. He also finished fourth in the 60-meter dash final in 7.15-seconds, while junior Joe Connolly (Wilmington, Massachusetts/Austin Prep) placed eighth in 7.28-seconds. Ireland matched his preliminary time, which qualified him fourth for the final, while Connolly qualified third in 7.12-seconds.

Senior Jimmy Murphy (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) led a Stonehill sweep of the top three positions in the 3000-meter run, which featured four Skyhawks in the top seven, with his first place finish in a personal-best and New England qualifying time of 8:34.75 – second-fastest in the NE10 this season. Freshman Kevin Wheelock (Melrose, Massachusetts/Melrose) took second in a personal-best 8:37.63, while junior Alexander Demeule (Merrimac, Massachusetts/Pentucket Regional) was third in a personal-best 8:40.80. Freshman Jeff Pichie (Burrillville, Rhode Island/Burrillville) placed seventh in 9:04.33.

Stonehill's 4x800-meter relay took first place in a season-best 8:02.22, defeating a Tufts team by over nine seconds. Juniors David Lockhart (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Stoughton), Christopher Drace (Franklin, New Jersey/Pope John XXIII), Matthew Shaw (Goffstown, New Hampshire/Goffstown) and Riley Dowd (Peabody, Massachusetts/Peabody Veterans Memorial) ran the event for the Skyhawks. Lockhart completed the lead leg in 2:03.0, before Drace ran the second leg in 1:59.5 and then handed the baton to Shaw for a 2:01.1 split on the third leg, before Dowd completed the anchor leg in 1:58.2. The relay time currently ranks third in the NE10 this season.

Dowd and Drace also finished third and fifth, respectively, in the one mile run. Dowd posted a time of 4:20.15, while Drace finished in 4:23.77. Dowd's converted time of 4:16.88 for a flat track ranks sixth in the NE10 this season, while Drace's converted time of 4:20.45 ranks ninth.

Lockhart led three Stonehill runners in the 800-meter run at Tufts with a third place finish in 1:58.84. Shaw ran fifth in an indoor personal-best time of 1:58.93, while freshman Sean Conlan (Melrose, Massachusetts/Melrose) was tenth in 2:01.68.

Murphy led a sweep of the top three spots in the 3000m with a personal-best time. (PHOTO BY SportsPix)

Freshman Ethan Famiano (Warwick, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) and sophomore Collin Kuchachik (Orange, Connecticut/Amity Regional) finished second and third, respectively, in the 60-meter high hurdles final, separated by just 0.002-seconds. Famiano, who qualified fourth for the final with a time of 8.70-seconds in the prelims, edged his teammate with his personal-best time of 8.586-seconds in the final as Kuchachik finished third in 8.588. Kuchachik qualified fifth with a prelim time of 8.76-seconds.

Senior Stefan Balestra (Lincoln, Rhode Island/Lincoln) finished third in the weight throw with a personal-best distance of 54-feet, 6.50-inches, which now puts him third on the NE10's performance list for the season. Junior Xavier Young (Barnegat, New Jersey/Barnegat) placed second in the shot put in just his second collegiate meet with a distance of 48-feet, 8-inches. Classmate Darren Shi (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) placed sixth with a throw of 45-5.75.

Junior Lucas Taxter (Readville, Massachusetts/Xaverian) placed second out of 21 runners in the 1000-meter run with his time of 2:31.45, competing in the event for the first time in his career. Senior Jordan Sullivan (Sound Beach, New York/Miller Place) placed fourth in the high jump by clearing a season-best height of 6-feet, 4-inches to move up to fifth on the NE10's season rankings chart.

Senior Sam Bradford (Bedford, Massachusetts/Bedford) finished fourth out of 27 entries in the 5000-meter dash, including five from Stonehill, with his personal-best and New England Championships qualifying time of 15:10.13. His adjusted time of 15:00.49 ranks second among NE10 runners in the event this season. Senior Kenny Vinacco (Scituate, Rhode Island/Scituate) placed seventh in an indoor personal-best 15:19.03, with his flat track adjusted time of 15:09.29 ranking fourth in the NE10 this winter.

Stonehill's four event wins and 20 top-five finishes propelled the Skyhawks to the team title at the inaugural event with 147 points, with host Tufts in second with 119 points.       

Stonehill returns to action next weekend, with its first championship meet of the season, when it competes at the New England Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center, in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on Friday and Saturday.

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