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Minutemen third, Minutewomen finish fifth in Atlantic 10 Championships for UMass track and field

(Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts track and field teams were in action this weekend on Saturday and Sunday at the Atlantic 10 Championships at the UMass track and field complex as the Minutemen took third place and the Minutewomen tied for fifth. Overall, four UMass athletes became 2017 A-10 Champions in their respective events.

The Minutemen found themselves comfortably in third with 123 points, behind the victors Rhode Island (201.5) and second place George Mason (193). The Minutemen had a large cushion on the rest of the competition, with the next closest team being St. Louis at 75 points.

Coach Ken O’Brien was pleased with the finish.

“I thought the team achieved the most plausible result,” he said. “We scored 123 points and I only had expected us to come in around 80, so I can’t shake my head at that.”

Redshirt senior Kris Horn had an incredible weekend in the decathlon, as his final score of 7295 points earned him a repeat title in the event and in the process, set a meet, facility and program record.

Horn’s score was aided by finishing in the top three in nine of ten events, including first place finishes in long jump (23 feet, 8.25 inches), shot-put (46 feet, 0.75 inches) and high jump (6 feet, 5 inches) Sophomore Jonathan Collins was right behind Horn in second place with a score of 6637 points, including a win in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.45.

Despite Horn’s strong performance, he’s still on the outside looking in to qualify for nationals.

“We had a couple missteps in the decathlon, and we leaked a couple points that could have made [Horn] a national qualifier now instead of having to go again,” assistant coach David Jackson said. “Going to Oregon [for nationals] has been [Horn’s] goal since he started here and we’ve got one more go at it this weekend.”

Horn additionally took first in the long jump at 23 feet, 5 inches. In pole vault, juniors Brendan Lloyd and John Chuma finished second and tied for third, respectively, both clearing 15 feet, 5 inches.

Senior Brett Davies also became the first UMass A-10 champion in discus since 2000 with a toss of 148 feet, 8 inches.

“Brett [Davies] is an exceptionally hard worker,” Jackson said. “He came in as a walk-on three years ago and said that he would work his hardest if he was given a chance, so for him to be our first A-10 champion in the discus throw since 2000 is absolutely enormous.”

On the track, sophomore Zach Frahlich finished third in the 1500-meter run with a time of 3:50.18. Frahlich was also part of a third-place 4×800-meter relay team with Alexander Finestone, Nicholas Santos and Brian Gendron. The team ran a combined time of 7:34.88.

The next time out for the Minutemen will be the beginning of the post-season, where athletes who qualified will run at the IC4A Championships in Princeton, New Jersey on Friday May 12 and Saturday May 13.

Freshman Jada Harris posts two first place finishes

Freshman Jada Harris was the top-performer for the fifth-place Minutewomen this weekend. with two wins over the weekend. Her 5 foot, 7 inch leap in high jump made her A-10 champion, while classmate Samantha Thompson matched the mark, and after a sudden-death jump-off against Harris and Duquesne sophomore Shannon Taub, finished in third-place.

Harris also took to the track and got her second A-10 championship of the weekend with a first-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at 14.20 seconds.

“After an injury to our number two high jumper Julia Witt, I’ve needed Harris to come in and jump for us in outdoors and she has done an incredible job while still hurdling exceptionally well,” Jackson said.

Although diagnosed with walking pneumonia, redshirt junior Heather MacLean finished first in the 1500-meter dash with a time of 4:23.18. She also had the best 800-meter run preliminary time at 2:09.19, but did not compete in day two’s final. Sophomore Emilie Cowan took second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.10 seconds. In the 3000-meter steeplechase, junior Colleen Sands was the runner-up at 10:42.33.

In the throws, newly named A-10 spring co-scholar athlete Kelsey Crawford (with men’s track and field senior athlete Paolo Tavares) finished in second-place in the javelin throw with a mark of 140 feet, 3 inches.

“All of our throwers really stepped up,” Jackson said. “While many of them are seniors, we are excited about how this season will finish and we are excited about a lot of athletes who aren’t competing right now that we will look to as we head into next year.”

Next weekend, the Minutewomen who qualified for the New England Championships will go in a different direction from the men, heading to Williamstown, Massachusetts for the two-day competition beginning on Friday May 12.

Tyler Movsessian can be reached at tmovsessian@umass.edu.

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