Track teams strong in Boston Games

Heading into Friday’s Boston Games, Massachusetts men’s track and field coach Ken O’Brien planned on tinkering with his strategy.

‘Most people will be working their ‘second event’ for this meet,’ O’Brien said. ‘But I still have high expectations.’

The Minutemen all but surpassed those expectations by finishing second in a field of 13 teams. Junior Tyler Cotto continued his blazing start with a first-place finish in the 55-meter hurdles. Freshman Zach Koncki also finished third in the hurdles with a time of 8.02 seconds.

The Minutemen scored the most points in the 5000-meter event. Junior Nicolai Naranjo finished third with a time of 14 minutes, 53.47 seconds, while junior Jonathon Pierce finished right behind him with a time of 14:32:92.

Seniors Peter Fortunato and Josh Boone left their mark in the mile. Fortunato finished third with a time of 4:16.89, as Boone clocked in 3.28 seconds behind him in fourth place.

Sophomores Darius Velez and Scott VanderMolen earned third-place finishes. Velez completed the 55-meter dash in 6.50 seconds and VanderMolen finished the 1,000-meters with a time of 2:32.95.

The women’s team also had a strong showing at the Reebok Games. Most of the team’s points came from the field events, with junior Lisa Wilson leading the way. Wilson scored the most points for the Minutewomen, finishing third in the shot put (43-05.25 inches) and seventh in the weight throw (49-00.25).

Other strong field events performances came from Stephanie Aguguo and Kristen Bakanowski. Aguguo finished third in the triple jump, while Bakanowski did the same in the pole vault.

Junior Holly Heinricher placed third in the 200 meters with a time of 25.62 seconds. Heinricher also placed third in the 4×400-relay along with Claire Pettit, and sisters Kirsten Bakanowski and Brittany Bakanowski.

Northeastern finished first in the men’s division by scoring 118 points. The Huskies were propelled by the first-place finishes of Adrian Li (high jump and long jump), Brian Racca (triple jump), Nate Hunter (shot put) and Bamidele Faboyede (weight throw).

The Huskies were followed in standings by UMass (83.5 points), Stonehill (66), Vermont (59) and Maine (58.5). UMass-Lowell finished 3.5 points behind Maine.

On the women’s side, Boston College finished first, followed by South Florida, Northeastern, Vermont and UMass. The Minutewomen beat Maine by four and a half points to finish fifth.

Like the Northeastern men’s team, the BC women’s squad notched five first-place finishes. Junior Caitlyn Bailey won the 800 meters with a time of 2:07.95, which was good enough to qualify her for the NCAA Provisionals. The Eagles also claimed the top five spots in the mile, with senior Mallory Champa winning the event.

Both the UMass men’s and women’s teams return to action Friday for the Giegengack Invitational at Yale University. The meet starts at 6 p.m. and ends Sunday afternoon.

Mike Mastone can be reached at [email protected]