#23 Stonehill Captures Fifth NE-10 Championship

Stephen Polito finished 2nd overall to lead the Skyhawks   Men's XC NE-10 Championship Interviews

WESTFIELD, Mass. (October 23, 2011) – The Stonehill College men's cross country team, ranked 23rd overall in the latest U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II national poll and second in the East Regional poll, won its second Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10) championship in its last three seasons and fifth in program history overall at Stanley Park on Sunday morning.

Stonehill won the team title with 44 points placing four of its runners in the top-10 while Southern Connecticut finished second with 66 points and Umass Lowell, ranked no.1 in the East Regional poll, placed third with 71 points.

"Our clear ability to pack run was the difference today for us, said NE-10 Men's and Women's Coach of the Year Karen Boen. "They stuck together and it really played to their strength in the race."

Junior Glarius Rop (Eldoret, Kenya/Lelokwo High School) earned top individual honors cruising through the 8-kilometer course in 23:59.72.

Stephen Polito finished second
overall earning NE-10 All-Conf.
First Team honors

Senior co-captain Stephen Polito (Worcester, Mass./Doherty Memorial) paced the Skyhawks with a second place finish overall crossing the line in 24:19.94. Polito earned NE-10 All-Conference First Team honors for the first time in his collegiate career for his performance.

"Stephen is having a great year, he has worked so hard from his freshman year and has improved every year and once he broke 15 minutes in the 5,000 meters outdoors it showed him that he has the turnover to run at a higher level," said Boen. "He went in there knowing that he wouldn't beat Rop but would go after second place. Stephen just let it rip and never backed off."

Junior Ethan Penney (Haverhill, Mass./Haverhill) also garnered NE-10 All-Conference First Team accolades with his sixth place finish in a time of 24:27.43.

Sophomore Scott Waller (Andover, Mass./Andover) followed in 24:52.33 for ninth place overall while classmate Paul Cina (Pembroke Mass./Pembroke) finished 10th overall in 24:55.08. For their efforts, both runners were selected to the NE-10 All-Conference Second Team for the first time in their careers.

Trent Fontanella (Pelham, N.H./Bishop Guertin) finished 17th overall in a time of 25:08.21, freshman Daniel Gordon (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth) crossed the line in 20th place in 25:28.65 and junior co-captain Corey Donahoe (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) placed 27th overall in 25:40.69 to round out Stonehill's top-seven harriers.

Fontanella and Gordon were named to the NE-10 All-Conference Third Team giving the Skyhawks six all-conference selections on the day.

Stonehill, which won its fifth NE-10 Championship in program history today, has also won titles in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

The Skyhawks return to action on Sunday, November 6 at the NCAA Division II East Regionals at Franklin Park in Dorchester, Mass.

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