Men's Track & Field Strong at Holy Cross Invitational

Balestra breaks own program record in hammer throw for second time this spring

Balestra broke his own school record in the hammer throw for the second time this spring. (PHOTO BY SportsPix)

WORCESTER, Mass. (April 21, 2018) – The Stonehill College men's track and field program, ranked No. 2 in this week's U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II East Region rankings, turned in 16 top five finishes to post a second place team finish at the Holy Cross Invitational, hosted by College of the Holy Cross, at Hart Track today.

Senior Stefan Balestra (Lincoln, Rhode Island/Lincoln) led two first place finishes for Stonehill on the day by winning the hammer throw with a school-record distance of 179-feet, even, on his first throw of the final round and fourth of the day overall. He broke his own school record of 177-05 set at the UMass Lowell Invitational last month and came within 0.10-meters of provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships, in Charlotte, North Carolina, in May. The distance ranks second on the Northeast-10 Conference performance list. Balestra also placed 12th in the discus throw with a distance of 109-feet, 9-inches. Junior Darren Shi (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) placed sixth in the hammer with a personal-best throw of 126-feet, 10-inches.

Senior Jimmy Murphy (Mansfield, Massachusetts/Mansfield) and junior Riley Dowd (Peabody, Massachusetts/Peabody Veterans Memorial) swept the top two spots in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Murphy posted a time of 9:54.63, which ranks third on the NE10 performance chart, while Dowd finished in 10:02.41 while running the event for the first time in his career.

Murphy won the 3000-meter steeplechase in his season debut for the event.

Junior Joe Connolly (Wilmington, Massachusetts/Austin Prep) finished second in the 100-meter dash in 10.84-seconds, and then third in the 200-meter dash in 22.49-seconds to lead three Stonehill sprinters in the 100 and five out of 16 sprinters overall in the 200. Sophomore Justin Ireland (Norton, Massachusetts/Norton) placed fourth in both races, clocking in at 11.07-seconds in the 100-meter dash and 22.51-seconds in the 200. Senior All-American Josh Hubbell (Gloucester, Massachusetts/St. John's Prep) finished sixth in the 200-meter dash for the Skyhawks in a season-best 22.67-seconds.

Connolly, Hubbell, Ireland and freshman Desmond Bernal (Warwick, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) also compiled Stonehill's 4x100-meter relay team which finished second and inched closer to a school record with its season-best time of 42.16-seconds. Bernal ran the lead leg, followed by Ireland and Hubbell, before Connolly completed the anchor leg.

Hubbell ran a leg for one of two Stonehill 4x400-meter relays as well, which finished second in 3:23.19. Freshman Hampton Boyd (Holliston, Massachusetts/Holliston) ran the lead leg, followed by sophomore Andrew Scarlotto (Portsmouth, New Hampshire/Portsmouth) for the second leg, and then Hubbell ran the third leg, before junior Daniel Madsen (West Haven, Connecticut/Notre Dame-West Haven) took the baton for the anchor leg.

Stonehill finished second in the team standings as the lone non-Division I program competing at the event with 105 points. The University of Rhode Island won the team title with 179 points, while host Holy Cross was third with 101.

Junior Jordan Sullivan (Sound Beach, New York/Miller Place) placed second in the high jump, clearing a season-best height of 6-feet, 2.75-inches on his first attempt, good for fourth on the NE10 performance chart. Senior Kenny Vinacco (Scituate, Rhode Island/Scituate) finished second out of 13 competitors in the 5000-meter run with a personal-best time of 15:12.98, which ranks fifth on the NE10 performance list, while junior John Onken (Holbrook, New York/Sachem North) placed eighth in 15:35.82. Sophomore Alexander Buchan (Norton, Massachusetts/Norton) placed third in the javelin throw with a personal-best distance of 172-feet, 2-inches, on his third throw of the day.

Connolly turned in a PR in the 100-meter dash today and was part of three strong performances overall. (PHOTO BY Mark Connolly)

Madsen also finished seventh in the 400-meter dash in a season-low time of 50.83-seconds, while classmate David Lockhart (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Stoughton) finished ninth in a personal-best 51.06-seconds.      

Other Stonehill results include: 

Junior All-American Stephen Vercollone (Pembroke, Massachusetts/Pembroke) took second out of 26 entries in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.92. 

Freshman Ethan Famiano (Warwick, Rhode Island/Bishop Hendricken) and sophomore Collin Kuchachik (Orange, Connecticut/Amity Regional) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 110-meter high hurdles. Famiano clocked in with a personal-best time of 15.05-seconds ,while Kuchachik finished in a personal-best 15.32. 

Junior All-American Alexander Demeule (Merrimac, Massachusetts/Pentucket Regional) finished fourth out of 16 runners in the 1500-meter run with a season-best time of 3:58.47. 

Stonehill returns to action next Saturday, when it hosts its 11th annual Skyhawk Invitational at W.B. Mason Stadium starting at 10:30 a.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.