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UMass to compete in ECAC, IC4A Championship meets

At Boston University’s Track and Tennis Center last weekend, the Massachusetts men’s and women’s track teams competed in the New England Championship and each took sixth place. The event left both teams feeling confident and eager going into competition this Saturday.

This weekend, the teams will travel to Boston and Roxbury, Mass. for the IC4A and Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship meets. Both events mark the culmination of the indoor track season, and a great opportunity for athletes to compete against the best, not only in the region, but across the country. Each meet includes the best individual athletes from over 70 colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The men’s team will revisit BU for the second consecutive week, as they send their athletes into competition in the IC4A Championship. Coach Ken O’Brien said that he is confident in his team and that although there are fewer competitors in the IC4A, they are the absolute best in their event, and he expects it to be a challenge. When asked about last weekend’s success, O’Brien said it was a morale boost heading into the last event of the season this weekend.

“[NEC’s] helped us dramatically,” said O’Brien. “We were able to qualify some additional events and the anticipation for the last big event has been building all season.”

O’Brien also talked about the upcoming meet itself, saying that there is great anticipation and excitement about the IC4A meet, but that he has stressed to his team that they should not forget that there is still an entire outdoor season remaining.

“The IC4A’s are a great tournament, probably the second best in the country at the collegiate level,” O’Brien said. “There should be about 75 athletes there, which is great for our guys, and they’re excited. But what they have to remember is that there is still another season. This isn’t it for us.”

The Minutemen finished sixth overall in a field of 30 teams at the NECs. They rode the momentum from record-breaking performances by their upperclassmen and qualified several members for this week’s IC4A meet.

Tyler Cotto was the headliner for UMass last time, as he broke his own record in the 55-meter hurdles event, missing the NCAA Championship meet by only milliseconds. Cotto was named a UMass Athlete of the Week for his outstanding performance.

Looking to duplicate their success from the NEC’s, the Minutewomen will visit Roxbury, Mass. for the second time this season, as they will compete in the ECAC Championship meet, also set to begin Saturday.

Last week the Minutewomen were able to vault 11 places in the standings after rebounding from a subpar showing on the first day of the meet. Upperclassmen with experience in such circumstances helped the Minutewomen come back for day two.

Stephanie Aguguo and Lisa Wilson helped lead UMass in point totals with Aguguo winning the triple jump event with a record-breaking mark of 39-08.75 meters, while Wilson improved upon her own record in the shot put.

UMass also saw impressive performances from freshman Nicole Pompei and Courtney Baldwin. Pompei finished sixth in the pole vault event and was the sole scorer for the Minutewomen on day one, as Baldwin set a record in the 1000-meter run.

Both the IC4A and the ECAC Championship meets are set to begin on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Michael Wood can be reached at mcwood@student.umass.edu.

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