BOSTON GLOBE: South Notebook - "Local runners make impact at Stonehill"

Jill Alves

Kristen Mahoney is making great strides in her junior season for the women's track & field program at Stonehill College.

In last week's Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton University, the former Weymouth High standout set a school record in the 5,000 meters (17:29.40), qualifying for next month's New England Outdoor Championships. Earlier, Mahoney made the cut in the 10,000 meters with a personal-best clocking of 38:24.80 at the Tufts Snowflake Classic.

She is not the only area athlete making an impact for the Skyhawks, ranked third in the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Division 2 East Region.

Jill Alves, a junior captain from Whitman, posted a strong showing in the 1,500 meters (4:57.47) while Kate Bernazzani, a sophomore from Norwood, improved on her season best in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.64.

"Jill is my captain and a great leader. She is one of the hardest-working women on the team and expects a great deal of herself both in practice, in meets, and outside of track & field,'' said Stonehill head coach Karen Boen.

"Kristen had some health issues when she first arrived at Stonehill and is only now coming into her own. Her confidence has been increasing each season and only now are her race performances indicative of her work ethic. And Katie is always one of the smallest competitors on the line. What she lacks in height is made up for in her determination to win, and she has surpassed all of her high school performances in college.''

The Stonehill roster also includes freshman Emily Regan, another former Whitman-Hanson standout who was Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year last fall in cross country.

"Emily has continued to improve throughout both the indoor and the outdoor track and field season,'' said Boen. "She never cuts corners and is a true fighter when the gun goes off.''

Mahoney was a US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association East Region honoree in the indoor 5000 meters. Her time of 18:10.43, set at the Boston University Valentine's Invitational in February, was the second-fastest in the East Region during the winter season.

Alves, one of the Skyhawks' most consistent and versatile runners in both cross country and track, has seen action in three meets this spring, with the highlight a victory in the 1,500 meters in the Bridgewater State Invitational. She was also an USTFCCCA All-East Region honoree in the indoor mile this winter, ranking third in the region with a time of 5:09.73, and was the Northeast-10 champ in the indoor 1,000 meters.

Bernazzani has qualified for the New England Outdoor Championships in the 100 meters and holds program records in the outdoor 100 meter hurdles (15.47) and indoor 55 meter hurdles (8.56).