Sophomore Nicole Borofski led Stonehill to its second straight victory to start the season last Saturday at the DII/DIII Challenge with her fourth-place finish in 23:08.
by Jim Fenton
The Skyhawks, who graduated three top runners, have won two straight meets to open the season.
EASTON - Despite losing three top runners to graduation, the Stonehill College women's cross country team is off to a perfect start this season.
The Skyhawks, who are without All-America Chelsea Bishop, Elizabeth La Regina and Emily Regan of Hanson, won their opening two meets this month.
They were Stonehill's three top runners at the NCAA Championships last fall.
"We graduated three of our top seven and we haven't missed a beat,'' said coach Karen Boen. "The young kids are really stepping up in a hurry.''
Stonehill began the season Sept. 6 by winning the Shacklette Invitational in Manchester, N.H., for the fourth straight year. This past Saturday, the Skyhawks were first at the Kutztown DII-DIII Challenge in Pennsylvania.
They were ranked No. 22 in the national preseason poll and first in the East Region.
"I had a feeling everyone was in real good shape coming in,'' said Boen. "I knew we had a good freshman class last year, but the transformation to this season has exceeded my expectations.''
Borofski, a Plymouth North graduate, was the Northeast-10 Conference Rookie of the Year last season.
Also placing at the Kutztown meet were senior captain Emily Anderson (fifth), sophomore Alexandra Buonfiglio (eighth), freshman Emily Knox (ninth) and seniors Brittany Venturo (11th), Erin Rielly (12th), Brianna Venturo (13th) and Sarah Wilson (14th) and freshman Kiera Murray.
Knox was 11th and Murray placed 12th in their Stonehill debuts at the Shacklette Invitational, and the Skyhawks have depth on the roster.
"We have as good a shot as anyone to win the conference,'' said Boen. "This team is pretty comparable to last year.''
Stonehill is idle until Oct. 4 when it travels back to Pennsylvania to take part in the Lehigh Paul Short Run before competing in the New England Championships in Boston a week later.
The Skyhawks men's team finished second in both the Shacklette Invitational and the Kutztown meet with senior Michael Gendron leading the way with a third-place finish in the opener and senior Dan Zawalich taking first last weekend.
"We just have to plug some holes, but I think this team has a shot at the (conference) championship, too,'' said Boen.
Jim Fenton may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JFenton_ent.