Vercollone qualified for tomorrow's 800m final with the fourth-fastest time of the day (PHOTO BY Leo Garcia)
Pembroke, Massachusetts, senior All-American qualifies for first individual final
KINGSVILLE, Texas (May 24, 2019) – Stonehill College senior All-American Stephen Vercollone has qualified for an individual event final for the first time in his collegiate career by posting the fourth-fastest qualifying time this evening in the 800-meter run on day two of the 2019 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Texas A&M University-Kingsville, at Javelina Stadium.
Vercollone finished third in the third of three qualifying heats in the 800-meter run, posting the fourth-fastest time out of 19 entries overall, to grab the first of two at-large spots in tomorrow night's finals in 1:52.93. He will join teammate and fellow senior All-American Lucas Taxter on finals night tomorrow when he runs the 800-meter final at 8:05 p.m. (EDT), after Taxter competes in the 1500-meter run final at 6:45 p.m. (EDT).
Vercollone stayed patient in tonight's 800-meter prelims biding his time through the first half of the race to take the bell lap in seventh place after a 54.93-second 400-meter split. He started to make his move over the first bend of the last lap, moving to sixth after 500-meters. Vercollone remained steady across the backstretch and then kicked in around the final turn, moving up to fourth before making a big push into third and nearly catching second at the tape to finish the final 400 in 58.01. Colorado State University-Pueblo junior Thomas Staines won the heat in 1:52.43, with senior teammate Devundrick Walker taking second in 1:52.58. Albany State University senior Joshua Ajiero posted the fastest qualifying time by winning the first heat in 1:52.07.
Vercollone, making his first appearance at the NCAA II Outdoor Championships, will be competing in his first individual final tomorrow night after finishing 17th in the indoor 800-meters in Pittsburg, Kansas, in March. He, along with Taxter, earned All-America honors as part of Stonehill's 4000-meter distance medley relay that finished fifth (9:49.12) at the 2018 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Last night, Taxter finished fourth in the second of two 1500-meter run qualifying heats to lock down an automatic spot in tomorrow night's final with a time of 3:55.45. He is aiming to become just the second male student-athlete in program history to earn All-America honors for cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field in the same academic year, joining Stonehill Athletic Hall of Famer Keith Gill, '09. Taxter is a four-time All-American overall in his career, seeking his first honor for outdoor track & field on Saturday night.
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