Men's Track & Field Finishes Third at NE10 Indoor Championships

Taxter won the indoor mile in record time, improving his NCAA provisional qualifying status (PHOTO BY Denise Archetto)

Taxter and Connolly win NE10 titles to highlight six All-NE10 performances this weekend

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (February 17, 2019) – The Stonehill College men's track & field program captured a pair of individual championships and rode six All-Northeast-10 Conference performances to a third place team finish at the 2019 NE10 Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by American International College, a the Smith College Indoor Track facility today.

Senior All-American Lucas Taxter smashed his personal-best to win the one mile run in an NE10 Championships record 4:06.49. He defeated the field by over four seconds and led five Stonehill runners in the field of 17. Taxter improved his NCAA provisional qualifying time by an additional three seconds with the flat track conversion to 4:03.39, which ranks third in the country. It marks the first NE10 individual title for Taxter, who has now collected seven All-NE10 honors over his career in cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field, improving on a second place finish in the mile last year.

Freshman Nickolas McNamee finished sixth in the mile in 4:22.24, while senior All-American Alex Demeule also scored a point for Stonehill with his eighth place finish in 4:23.91. Senior Riley Dowd rounded out the top ten in 4:26.64.

Connolly won the 60-meter dash title for the first time for his fourth All-NE10 honor. (PHOTO BY Sinead O'Brien)

Stonehill swept the top two spots in the 60-meter dash, with senior Joe Connolly capturing his first NE10 title in a personal-best 6.91-seconds – just 0.03 shy of the NCAA Division II provisional qualifying standard and 0.09 shy of the program record. He edged out junior Justin Ireland by 0.09 as he clocked in at 7.00-seconds flat for second place, earning All-NE10 honors. Connolly turned in the fastest time in Saturday's preliminary heats, breaking the seven-second barrier for the first time in his career at 6.98-seconds, while Ireland qualified for today's final third in 7.04-seconds. It's the fourth All-NE10 performance for Connolly, who finished second in the 60-meter dash last winter, while Ireland earns his second All-NE10 award.

Connolly narrowly missed out on a second individual All-NE10 performance, finishing fourth in the 200-meter dash final in 22.20-seconds, while Ireland finished seventh in 22.40. Connolly also qualified third with a personal-best matching time of 22.02-seconds in Saturday's prelims, while Ireland grabbed the last qualification spot at 22.52-seconds.

Connolly also ran the anchor leg for Stonehill's 4x400-meter relay that finished fourth in 3:23.86, while Merrimack College took first in 3:18.26. Also running the event for the Skyhawks were freshman Jack Bowers on the lead leg, followed by junior Andrew Scarlotto and then freshman Anthony Magazzu, before Connolly ran the anchor.

Senior All-American Stephen Vercollone earned All-NE10 honors for the eighth time in his career with a narrow second place finish in the 800-meter run, marking his third All-NE10 performance for this event in his career, after capturing the individual title at year ago. He finished in 1:52.99, less than a second behind Franklin Pierce University's Hugo Arlabosse, who set an NE10 Championships record at 1:52.08. Both finished inside the previous NE10 record of 1:53.14 by Jon Seymour of Southern Connecticut State University in 2004, and with the flat track conversion, Vercollone improves his NCAA provisional qualifying time to 1:51.40, which ranks 13th in the country this season.

Vercollone earned All-NE10 honors for the eight time with his second place finish in the 800-meter run (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Vercollone led six Stonehill entries in the 800-meters as junior Jeremy Breen and sophomore Christopher Lanahan finished sixth and seventh, respectively, out of 24 entries to score points for the Skyhawks. Breen posted a time of 1:57.29, while Lanahan finished in 1:58.65. Freshman Evan Kennedy and senior Matthew Shaw rounded out the top ten in the event, finishing ninth and tenth, respectively, while sophomore Jack Herndon placed 11th. Kennedy clocked in at 2:00.23, while Shaw finished in 2:00.80 and Herndon rounded out the three-man pack in 2:00.80.

Vercollone, Shaw, Breen and Herndon also comprised Stonehill's 4x800-meter relay that finished fourth in 8:06.39, with American International College taking first in 7:49.97. Shaw ran the lead leg, followed by Breen and Herndon, before Vercollone took the baton for the anchor leg.

Senior Xavier Young earned All-NE10 honors for the third time with his second place finish in the shot put, throwing a distance of 49-feet, 9.00-inches. Classmate Darren Shi placed tenth for the Skyhawks out of 29 entries with a throw of 44-3.50.

Stonehill finished third in the team standings, moving up one spot from Saturday's fourth place standing, with 89.50 points. Southern Connecticut State University took home its third-straight title and 14th NE10 indoor championship overall with 215 points. American International College (96 points) finished second, followed by Stonehill and then Merrimack College (73) and Assumption (69) rounded out the top five.

Sophomore Ethan Famiano finished fifth in the 60-meter hurdles final in 8.56-seconds after qualifying fourth in a personal-best 8.43-seconds on Saturday. Senior Christopher Drace earned points for Stonehill with his seventh place finish in the 3000-meter run with a time of 9:05.04.

Stonehill collected its first All-NE10 performance of the weekend on Saturday, when McNamee, Bowers, Lanahan and Demeule guided the 4000-meter distance medley relay team to a third place finish in 10:12.02.

Stonehill is scheduled to compete at the Boston University Last Chance Meet next Sunday, February 24, at the BU Track & Tennis Center, pending individuals who need to improve their NCAA qualifying times leading into the NCAA Division II Indoor Championships selections the following Monday. The 2019 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Pittsburg State University, in Pittsburg, Kansas, is scheduled for March 8-9.

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