No. 16 Men’s Cross Country NCAA Division II Championship Preview

Skyhawks look to impress after dream season

NCAA Division II Cross Country Championship Central

Taxter was the first Skyhawk across the line at the East Regional with a third-place finish

EASTON, Mass. (November 17, 2017) – The Stonehill College men's cross country team, ranked 16th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II poll, and ranked first in the East Region compete in its 15th-straight NCAA Division II Championships this Saturday at the Angel Mounds in Evansville, Indiana. The women's six-kilometer race will begin at 10:15 a.m., while the men's squad will compete in the 10-kilometer race at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets for the races will be sold at the gate on race day. Prices will be $10 for adults, $5 for children, and free admission for children ages five and under. For those who will not be making the races, NCAA cross country fans can watch the live streams of the CNAA Cross Country Championships as FloTrack Pro subscribers for a monthly price of $19.99 or an annual price of $150. The subscription will include access to all FloTrack live broadcasts, video on-demand from all events, documentaries, technique videos and more. Free replay of all three championships will be available on-demand on afterwards.

Stonehill won the its first NCAA Division II East Regional Title since 2013 after totaling 39 points, 66 points higher than runner-up American International College who combined for 105 points. Five runners posted All-Region performances including Lucas Taxter (Readville, Massachusetts/Xaverian Brothers) who took home third, Alexander Demeule (Merrimac, Massachusetts/Pentucket Regional) who placed fourth, Jimmy Murphy (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) who finished ninth, Riley Dowd (Peabody, Massachusetts/Peabody Veterans Memorial) who earned 10th, and Kenny Vinacco (Scituate, Rhode Island/Scituate) who finished 13th.

The men also captured its ninth Northeast-10 Championship in program history in Westfield, Massachusetts, in dominating fashion, placing six of its seven runners in the top 21 overall, and finishing ahead of the runners-up by a mere two points. Six Stonehill athletes earned All-Conference accolades, including first teamers Demeule and Murphy. Head coach Karen Boen won her 51st and 52nd Coach of the Year Award by winning the men's and women's title.

Senior co-captain Murphy, with his second All-East Region honor and first cross country All-Northeast-10 honor, is coming off a ninth-place finish at the East Regional and a sixth-place mark at the NE10 Championships. Murphy also led the program to its first-ever New England Championship title with his fifth-place finish and his first All-New England accolade. The Mansfield, Massachusetts native also was the runner-up at the Division II/III Challenge in September.

Vinacco will run in his first NCAA Division II Championship after earning his first All-Region honor

Demeule will run in his second NCAA Championship this weekend as he took home his second All-East Region honor with a career-best fourth place mark at the Regional Championship. He also led the team to its ninth NE10 Championship title with his fifth-place mark. Earlier in the year he captured two top-15 marks with an eighth-place tally at the Division II/III Championship and a 13th-place finish at the Codfish Bowl.

Classmate and co-captain Dowd took home another 10th-place mark at the East Regional Championship, as he finished 10th the year before. Dowd also posted his first-career individual title at the Division II/III Challenge and followed that with a seventh- and ninth-place tally at the Codfish Bowl and New England Championship, respectively. He will be competing in his third NCAA Championship this year.

Junior Lawrence Carney (Lowell, Massachusetts/Lowell) will step foot on the NCAA Championship line for the second time in his career after posting a 38th-place mark at the regional. Earlier he finished with the sub-varsity individual title at the New England Championship this season and captured two top-10 finishes, including ninth at the Codfish Bowl and eighth at the NE10 Championship.

Senior co-captain Vinacco will step foot on the line for his first NCAA Championship, as he placed 13th at the Regional Championship and 12th at the NE10 Championship. He also placed 24th at the New England Championship and seventh at the DII/III Challenge.

Junior Christopher Drace (Franklin, New Jersey/Pope John XXIII) will also race in his first NCAA Championship after posting a 26th-place mark at the East Regional. This season he has totaled four top-25 marks, including a career-best eighth at the New England Championship. Classmate Taxter follows Drace in competing in his first NCAA Championship. Taxter has improved thus far as he has tallied four top-25 marks including a season-best third at the East Regional Championship and 13th at the NE10 Championship.

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