The Massachusetts track and field teams will host the Nine-Way Meet this weekend in Amherst. UMass will be competing against Albany, Amherst, Holy Cross, Hartford, Trinity, Central Connecticut State University, Boston College, Williams and Yale.
Both the men’s and women’s teams began the season with third place finishes at the Connecticut Invitational. Each squad will have some tough competition this weekend. Alex Leuchanka, a freshman of Albany won the 10,000-meter run last weekend at the Duke Invitational and won American East conference track honors as did Laura Cummings of Albany, who placed first in the women’s 3,000 meter steeplechase.
BC and CCSU bring experienced sprinters to the table as well as Amherst, which has a strong distance team and excels in the field events.
To combat their opponents, the Minutemen will have a variety of athletes of different ages to help the team. Upperclassmen such as Tyler Cotto will lead the sprinting team, after a successful indoor season as well as underclassmen such as freshmen Joe Doyle and Nick Otis who had successful indoor seasons in the mid-distance events and look to continue that success in the spring.
Sophomore hurdler and jumper Zachary Koncki qualified for the New England Championships last weekend in the long jump and 110-meter hurdles, and will likely lead the jumping events. Tyler Cotto will lead the sprinting team, coming off a successful indoor season during the winter.
Both the men and women have strong throwing teams. Senior Chris Vercollone, who won the javelin throw last weekend, throwing for the fifth-best distance at UMass, will be a factor. Lisa Wilson, a thrower for the women, excels in the shot put, discus and hammer throw.
The meet begins at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. UMass will also host the A-10 Championships later in the spring.
Michael Counos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.