August 20, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

UMass names Blake Frohnapfel as the starting quarterback -

Monday, August 18, 2014

Decision looms for Mark Whipple as UMass football looks to name starting quarterback -

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Former UMass star Marcel Shipp overseeing a strong running back competition -

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Former UMass basketball star Chaz Williams signs professional contract in Turkey, still eyeing NBA career -

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Minutemen anxious to display aggressive defense -

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

UMass football turns the page, excited for 2014 season -

Monday, August 4, 2014

UMass student struck and killed by vehicle Thursday night -

Friday, August 1, 2014

UMass receives anonymous $10.3 million gift -

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UMass Football summer coverage 2014 -

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chiarelli: Sam Koch’s impact evident in those who knew him best -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Longtime UMass men’s soccer coach Sam Koch dies after two-year battle with sinus cancer -

Monday, July 21, 2014

Southwest evacuated after gas leak -

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

UMass Rowing finishes NCAA Championships, ends year ranked No. 21 in the nation -

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Two UMass basketball alums to compete for a lofty prize in The Basketball Tournament -

Friday, May 23, 2014

Commencement Photos 2014 -

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Two arrested in relation to series of vandalism -

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Students push for relocation of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health -

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: No. 14 UMass WLAX ends season in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No. 14 UMass women’s lacrosse season ends in loss to Loyola (MD) -

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sixth inning rally propels UMass past Dayton 7-2 -

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

UMass cross-country prepares for A-10 Championship in Richmond, Va.

The Massachusetts men’s cross-country team is hoping that its long break going into the highly anticipated Atlantic-10 championships proves to be beneficial.

Collegian File Photo

Having not raced since the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 19, the Minutemen have had plenty of time to prepare for the meet that everyone has been waiting for.

The team was predicted to place eighth in the preseason polls, but the surprising emergence of the underclassmen has turned heads this season.

Although the team is led by upperclassman Antony Taylor, the bulk of the team’s scoring this season has come from first- and second-year runners, including Ben Groleau, Miles Hodge, Daniel Sheldon and two-time A-10 Rookie of the Week winner Blake Croteau.

What started off as a rebuilding year for UMass coach Ken O’Brien has turned into a season with many high notes coming as early as the UMass Invitational that opened the season.

In the A-10 championships, the Minutemen will try to capture their first title in the 13-team event since 2008. That task was made a little easier when defending champion Butler left the conference in the recent offseason.

With their heap of talent led by veteran Taylor, and experience against some of the top teams in the conference and in the country, UMass looks to make some noise down in Richmond, Va. this Saturday.

Minutewomen gaining momentum

Throughout the season, UMass women’s cross-country coach Julie LaFreniere has said that the focus of the team is to perform at their peak when it matters most. She was referring to the A-10 championships this upcoming Saturday.

The Minutewomen have come together at what seems to be the perfect time after they tied with Providence for first place this Friday at the CCSU mini-meet, even with an injured Rachel Hilliard (who is expected to return this weekend).

Freshman standout Christine Davis is coming off her best finish of the season and was named Atlantic 10 Performer of the Week and UMass Athlete of the Week as a result.

Although LaFreniere is enjoying the spotlight, she is looking out for the team’s cohesion on Saturday.

“There’s no one particular person for this team to do well,” LaFreniere said. “We need to have seven or eight people get out hard and maintain, and that’s what’ll make them successful, not one or two people. That’s not a team.”

LaFreniere pointed out that there was only a 22-second gap between their top five finishers on Friday, which has made her excited about the team’s ability to run together effectively.

With all the positive news, LaFreniere and the rest of the runners are excited to compete against the best in the A-10 after receiving a No. 8 seed in the preseason rankings.

“This is the best they’ve looked all season,” LaFreniere said. “They’ve worked really hard over the past three weeks and they’re feeling pretty excited.”

The highly anticipated race is one that the whole team has been focused on, and with a healthy Alexandra Purdue-Smithe, an emerging Davis and the consistency of Hillard, it seems that the team will continue its success against the conference’s best.

The men’s team will compete at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and the women will start at 10:50 a.m.

Frank Corona can be reached at fcorona@umass.edu.

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