Traveling to Yale University over the weekend for the Giegengack Invitational, the Massachusetts track and field teams turned in another solid performance.
On the men’s side, the Minutemen qualified two members for the New England championship, beginning with sophomore Daniel Wu in the team’s first event Friday afternoon. Wu won the long jump with a distance of 22-06.5 feet, qualifying for the NEC’s while giving his team a strong first victory to start off the weekend.
Following Wu on Friday was the distance medley relay team, where Josh Boone, Joseph Doyle, Scott VanderMolen and Jonathan Pierce combined for a fifth place finish. Their combined time of 10:04.74 was good enough to qualify them for the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship. UMass coach Ken O’Brien was pleased with how his team performed heading into the second day of competition.
“We had some nice performances right out of the blocks,” O’Brien said. “This weekend is a pretty good psychological and emotional jolt for the kids, and they reacted pretty well to it. Dan was great out of the gate, and the medley team turned out a great effort.”
On Saturday, the Minutemen were led by senior Andrew McCann, who captured 10th place in the 3000-meter run. Finishing in a time of 8:32.89 minutes, McCann missed qualifying for the New England championship by .89 seconds.
Another strong finish for UMass came from junior Sean Busch, who last week won the pole vault event while setting a school record in the process. This week, Busch took fifth place in the pole vault, reaching a height of 15-03.00 feet.
“We did a good job,” said O’Brien. “With so many different schools than normal, it was nice to see they guys hold their own out there. We’re right where we need to be right now.”
Also competing in the invitational, the women’s track and field team was impressive in their performances on both days.
Leading the way for the Minutewomen was the distance medley relay team of Karen Roa, Michelle Jenssen, Gina Perno, and Courtney Baldwin. The four runners combined for a UMass record 11:49.37, while finishing second in the event. They improved on their previous ECAC qualifying time and beat the previous school record by four seconds.
Jenssen later went on to qualify for the New England championship with her seventh place finish in the 400-meter run. Jenssen, a member of the 4×400-meter relay as well as the distance medley, also helped Brittany Bakanowski, Erika Unger, and Deanna Julian finish third in the 4×400-meter relay on Saturday, with the foursome combining for a time of 3:57.91.
Both teams will be competing for the fifth-straight week this Friday when they travel to Boston for the annual Valentine Invitational.
Michael Wood can be reached at [email protected]