Men's Track & Field Takes Tenth-Straight Skyhawk Invitational

Taxter provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships with his record-breaking first place finish in the 800m

Taxter leads seven event winners with NCAA provisional and school-record performance

EASTON, Mass. (April 28, 2018) – The Stonehill College men's track and field program, ranked No. 2 in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II East Region rankings, won its home Skyhawk Invitational for the tenth straight year, buoyed by seven event winners at W.B. Mason Stadium today.

Junior All-American Lucas Taxter (Readville, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) led Stonehill's nine first place efforts as he posted an impressive winning performance in the 800-meter run. He finished in a school-record 1:51.53, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina, next month. His time ranks 30th on the national performance list for Division II this season, ranks third on the Northeast-10 Conference performance list and edged the previous school record of 1:51.65 set by classmate Stephen Vercollone (Pembroke, Massachusetts/Pembroke) at the New England Outdoor Championships last spring.

Taxter was one of two Stonehill runners in the field of 34 in the top ten, but six Skyhawks finished between tenth and 19th, led by freshman Christopher Lanahan (Mendham, New Jersey/West Morris Mendham) who finished tenth in a personal-best time of 1:55.07. Stonehill swept the No. 10 through 13th place positions, with junior David Lockhart (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Stoughton) taking 11th in a season-best 1:55.36, junior All-American Alexander Demeule (Merrimac, Massachusetts/Pentucket Regional) placing 12th in a personal-best 1:55.40 and sophomore Jeremy Breen (Watertown, Massachusetts/Watertown) finishing 13th in a personal-best 1:56.13.

Stonehill took the team title at its 11th annual home meet for the tenth straight year with 155 points, followed by fellow NE10 member Assumption College in second with 108 points. College of the Holy Cross finished third (97 points), Bryant University fourth (95) and Bentley University rounded out the top five (86).

Connolly helped lead a strong afternoon in the sprints, posting a 100m PR and anchoring the 4x100 to a school record

Junior Joe Connolly (Wilmington, Massachusetts/Austin Prep) and sophomore Justin Ireland (Norton, Massachusetts/Norton) swept the top two spots in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes and were both part of three first place finishes overall today. Connolly won the 100-meter dash in a personal-best 10.89-seconds, while Ireland won the 200-meter dash in 22.21-seconds. Ireland finished second out of 40 entries in the 100m in 10.95-seconds, while Connolly took second out of 41 sprinters in the 200m at 22.33-seconds. Senior All-American Joshua Hubbell (Gloucester, Massachusetts/St. John's Prep) was sixth in the 200-meter dash in 22.88-seconds, while freshman Desmond Bernal (Warwick, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) took 12th in the 100m in 11.38.

Connolly, Ireland, Hubbell and Bernal started their afternoon by combining for a school-record first place finish in the 4x100-meter relay. The Skyhawks finished in 42.03-seconds, improving their third place spot on the NE10 performance chart, and breaking the previous school mark of 42.09 set at the 2007 NE10 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at UMass Lowell. Bernal ran the lead leg, followed by Ireland and then Hubbell, before Connolly moved into first place with his anchor leg sprint.

Senior Stefan Balestra (Lincoln, Rhode Island/Lincoln) won the hammer throw in his last home meet, leading 13 entries with a distance of 178-feet, 9-inches. He cleared the distance on his final throw of the final round. Junior Darren Shi (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) placed fourth in the hammer with a personal-best throw of 134-feet, 10-inches and he was fourth in the shot put with a distance of 45-feet, 2.25-inches. Balestra also finished tenth in the discus throw, clearing a distance of 109-feet, 8-inches.

Senior Jordan Sullivan (Sound Beach, New York/Miller Place) posted a first place finish in the high jump, clearing a season-best height of 6-feet, 3.25-inches on his third attempt. classmate Jimmy Murphy (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) turned in a first place performance in the 3000-meter run, leading the field of 16 with his time of 9:04.93.

Balestra won the hammer throw in his final home meet

Freshman Kevin Wheelock (Melrose, Massachusetts/Melrose) and junior Christopher Drace (Franklin, New Jersey/Pope John XXIII) finished second and third, respectively, out of 26 entries in the 1500-meter run, leading a pack of eight Stonehill entries, of which, six finished in the top ten. Wheelock finished in 4:00.84, with Drace close behind in 4:01.75, while senior Kenny Vinacco (Scituate, Rhode Island/Scituate) rounded out the top five in a personal-best 4:03.74 and classmate Sam Bradford (Bedford, Massachusetts/Bedford) was right on his heels in sixth at a personal-best 4:03.75. Junior Lawrence Carney (Lowell, Massachusetts/Lowell) placed eighth in a personal-best 4:04.54 and classmate Riley Dowd (Peabody, Massachusetts/Peabody Veterans Memorial) capped the top ten in 4:06.31.

Other Stonehill results include:

Junior Daniel Madsen (West Haven, Connecticut/Notre Dame-West Haven) and sophomore Andrew Scarlotto (Portsmouth, New Hampshire/Portsmouth) ran fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 400-meter dash. Madsen finished in a season-best 50.69-seconds for fourth place out of 16 entries, while Scarlotto posted a season-best time of 50.86.

Sophomore Collin Kuchachik (Orange, Connecticut/Amity Regional) and freshman Ethan Famiano (Warwick, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 110-meter high hurdles. Kuchachik finished in a person-best 15.20-seconds, with Famiano close behind in 15.22. Famiano also finished fifth in the 400-meter hurdles in a season-best 57.60-seconds.

Senior Anthony Innamorati (Clinton, Massachusetts/Clinton) placed third in the pole vault with a height of 14-feet, 11-inches, clearing the height on his first attempt.

Senior Jonathan Naval (Stratford, Connecticut/Bunnell) placed tenth out of 23 entries in the long jump with a distance of 20-feet, 4.50-inches on his first attempt.

Sophomore Alex Buchan (Norton, Massachusetts/Norton) placed 13th out of 24 entries in the javelin throw with a distance of 153-feet, 6-inches.

Stonehill is back in action next weekend, when it opens its championship schedule at the Northeast-10 Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Southern Connecticut State University, at Jess Dow Field on Friday and Saturday.

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