Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

High expectations for track teams in Boston

After qualifying seven athletes for the IC4A Championships last week at the Terrier Invitational, the Massachusetts track and field teams are looking to make their presence felt once again at Friday’s Boston Games.

The men’s team will travel to the Reggie Lewis Center on the campus of Roxbury Community College to compete against athletes from all across the globe. The Minutemen have high expectations for this year’s competition following an Atlantic-10 Championship in cross-country and a third place finish (out of 11 teams) in last year’s games.

Junior Tyler Cotto, who qualified for the IC4A Championships with a time of 7.74 seconds in the 55 meter hurdles, is looking for a repeat of his second-place finish in last years Boston Games. At last year’s games, Cotto finished with a time of 7.73 seconds. Junior Jonathan Pierce is also hoping to make another strong impact after taking first place at last years games with a time of 15 minutes, 9.66 seconds in the 5,000 meters.

The women’s team hopes to build off its own strong showing at the Great Dane Classic as they also travel to Roxbury for the Reebok Games.

After starting the season off with a disappointing last place finish at Boston University, the Minutewomen rebounded with an impressive fifth place finish (out of 30 teams) last week in New York City. Redshirt sophomore distance runner Shiyi Zan paced the Minutewomen with 10 of the team’s 55 points.

Led by graduate Danielle Bolt, the Minutewomen finished fifth in a field of 13 teams at last year’s Reebok Games. Looking to fill the void left by Bolt are Zan and senior Kristen Bakanowski. Zan finished 11th last year in the one-mile run, but looks much improved and confident after last week’s performance. Bakanowski took fifth in the pole vault at last year’s meet and was also part of a distance medley team which placed third with a time of 12:29:49.

The Reebok Boston Indoor Games have been home to some of the most recognized athletes and achievements in the history of indoor track and field.

The women’s field is touting the return of Ethiopian sensation Tirunesh Dibaba. Dibaba, 23, is coming off two gold medal performances at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (5,000 and 10,000 meters). American Jenn Stuczynski, the other female Olympian at the competition, was a silver medalist in the pole vault at the 2008 Games after clearing 15 feet 9 inches.

The men’s division is headlined by 2008 Olympians Steve Hooker of Australia and Nick Willis of New Zealand. Hooker won a gold medal in the pole vault, while Willis took home the silver in the 1,500 meters. Hooker is recognized by some as the greatest pole vaulter in Australian history after setting the Olympic record of 5.96 meters in 2008. Willis is known for winning a gold medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Mike Mastone can be reached at [email protected].

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