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March 23, 2017

UMass competes in final indoor event of season

In their final event of the indoor season, the Massachusetts track and field teams came away with respectable performances heading into the halfway point of their season.

While neither of the two teams dominated the field in any single event, each athlete fared well in his or her specialty.

The Minutemen visited Boston University for the second consecutive week and third time this season as they competed in the two-day IC4A Championship. They were not able to tally any points after the first day of competition, but had several performances to be proud of.

Sean Busch, UMass’ best pole vaulter and a school record holder, helped get the meet off to a good start. He vaulted to a height of 15-09.00 feet, which ties him for first place in UMass indoor pole vault history with Ken Schneider who hit that height in 2002.

Additionally, the Minutemen saw encouraging showings from its distance medley relay team and senior hurdler Tyler Cotto. Scott VanderMolen, Daniel Schwartz, Ryan DiOrio and Josh Boone combined for a third-place finish in the preliminary event Saturday with their time of nine minutes, 55.80 seconds and left themselves in good position for the finals. Cotto turned in a solid performance in his signature event, the 55-meter hurdles, for the second straight week as he finished in 7.53 seconds and also sat in fourth place going into day two.

Rounding out day one’s events were 3,000-meter runners Jonathon Pierce and Daniel Barry, who finished 16th and 20th respectively, long jumper Zachary Koncki who’s leap of 21-10.25 feet left him in 19th place, and the 4×400-meter relay team who finished in 26th place.

After a good showing in the preliminary events and several athletes in contention, the Minutemen were not able to capitalize and only placed in one event in the finals.

The squad’s distance medley relay team turned in a time of 10:00.73, which was good enough for seventh place. Cotto, who sat in fourth place overall in the 55-meter hurdles Saturday, qualified for the finals and raced, but did not finish. No other members of the team finished in Sunday’s finals.

The Minutewomen traveled to Roxbury, Mass. for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship, and were able to best their male counterparts in competition.

In an impressive showing on day one of the championship, UMass saw more of what it has relied on all year. A healthy mix of veteran leadership and underclassmen standouts helped the team into 23rd place heading into day two of the meet.

The shot put event saw two Minutewomen in contention. Lisa Wilson set a distance of 45-05.75 feet with her throw, bettering her own personal best of 45-03.50 feet. She finished the preliminary event in seventh place, and still holds the school record for the shot put for the Minutewomen. Right behind Wilson was Nalis Mbianda, whose distance of 41-04.50 feet left her in 21st place.

The 4×800-meter relay team, consisting on Courtney Baldwin, Karen Roa, Gina Perno and Lauren Stocker, raced to a 12th-place finish and the second best time in school history. Their mark of 9:15.10 put them in the record book, and served as the best time achieved by any 4×800-meter relay team this season at UMass.

The Minutewomen closed out their indoor season on Sunday and finished strongly in three events.

Nicole Pompei proved that she can lead a team, as she did for UMass on the final day of competition, placing sixth in the pole vault. Pompei reached a height of 12-01.50 feet, a mark which leaves her second all-time at UMass in the event.

Junior Stephanie Aguguo, who won the triple jump event at the New England Championship last weekend, placed 10th in this national event on Sunday with her mark of 39-01.75 feet.

The distance medley relay team, comprised of Karen Roa, Courtney Baldwin, Gina Perno and Michelle Jenssen also placed eighth with their time of 11:49.96.

Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams will take three weeks off from competition as they rest and begin to adjust to New England’s weather before heading into their first outdoor action April 3.

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

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