Skyhawks aim to extend NE10 record of 16 championships
EASTON, Mass. (October 20, 2017) – The Stonehill College women's cross country team, ranked first in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) East Regional poll and 23rd in the national poll seeks its ninth-straight Northeast-10 Conference Championship and 16th this Sunday, October 22 at Stanley Park in Westfield, Massachusetts, hosted by American International College. The women's event will start at 11:00 a.m., while the men kick off at noon.
Stonehill was picked to finish first in the NE10 Cross Country Pre-Championship Coaches' Poll voted on by the league's 15 head coaches with a total of 195 points. The Skyhawks, who have won the conference championship every fall dating back to 2009, received 13 of the 15 first-place votes. Assumption College (178 points) was selected to finish second with two first-place votes, followed by American International College (168 points), Merrimack College (147 points), and Bentley University (128 points).
In the fall of 2014, Stonehill surpassed Springfield College for the most women's cross country titles in the NE10 with 13. The Skyhawks have been a dominant force over the past 17 years, winning 15 of the 17 tries. In 2005 and 2008, Stonehill was not far behind as it posted runner-up finishes to UMass Lowell both times.
This year, the women have posted three first-place results out of the three meets that they participated in. Stonehill earned its first title at the Shacklette Invitational in Manchester, New Hampshire, as five Skyhawks finished in the top-10 competitors. The next weekend, the women's squad took on the Kutztown Division II/III Challenge, where three Skyhawks placed in the top-10. Stonehill took first at the 49th Codfish Bowl held at Franklin Park and had three cross the finish in the top 10. Most recently, the squad posted a 10th-place finish at the New England Championship out of 28 teams on October 7 at Franklin Park.
Leading the team this year are captains Abby Hersom (Rockland, Maine/Oceanside), Emily Knox (Worcester, Massachusetts/Notre Dame Academy), and Julie Schultz (Billerica, Massachusetts/Billerica). Hersom is a veteran at the NE10 Championship, as she is running her third championship where she previously has placed 26th last season. Knox has also run her share of NE10 Championships, putting her best mark of 13th, her freshman year in the six-kilometer race. Hersom crossed the line 15th at both the Division II/III Challenge and Codfish Bowl, as Knox was the runner-up in Kutztown. Knox has also run her share of NE10 Championships, putting her best mark of 13th, her freshman year in the six-kilometer race.
Schultz crossed the finish line third at the Shacklette Invitational and 34th at the Division II/III Challenge. She also finished 50th at the New England Championship the first weekend of October.
Juniors Elizabeth Hannon (Franklin, Massachusetts/Bishop Feehan) and Makenzie Cyr (Douglas, Massachusetts/Douglas) will be making this their third NE10 Championship. Cyr finished sixth at the Division II/III Challenge, as Hannon placed 16th at the Codfish Bowl and 30th in Kutztown. Cyr also crossed the finish line 32nd at the New England Championship on October 7.
Sophomores Anna Lastra (Bridgton, Maine/Fryeburg Academy) and Alyssa Freeman (Billerica, Massachusetts/Billerica) will be representing the Skyhawks once again this year at the championships. Lastra captured fifth place at the Codfish Bowl with a time of 19:45.4. Freeman competed in all three meets this season, taking fourth at the Shacklette Invitational, 18th at the Division II/III Challenge, and 23rd at the Codfish Bowl. Lastra made an impression last year at the NE10 Championship with her first All-Conference nod, placing 10th, while Freeman placed 31st in her first conference championship.
Freshman Sam Curtin (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) will step on the line for her first NE10 Championship, as she has started off her Skyhawk career with two top-20 finishes. She placed 10th at the Division II/III Challenge with a time of 23:40.6 and topped that at the Codfish Bowl, clocking in at 20:26.1 for 18th place. In her first appearance at the New England Championships, Curtin finished 58th among the pack of 194 competitors.
For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.