Underclassmen shine for Minutemen

By Jeffrey Engmann

The Massachusetts track and field teams traveled to Boston University to compete in the Valentine Invitational. The meet came one week before the start of the Atlantic 10 track and field championship on Friday, which is why several key contributors on both teams did not participate in the invitational.

Nevertheless, this weekend saw both teams receive several strong performances from the team across the board against several Northeastern track programs, including A-10 rival University of Rhode Island.

One standout performance occurred in the 800-meter run. Freshman Joseph Doyle crossed the finish line at the 1 minute, 52.91 second mark, which qualifies him for both the New England Championships and the IC4A Championships later on this season.

Doyle has performed well all season for the Minutemen, but this showing was very unique. Not only was the time a personal best, but it also placed Doyle in the Minutemen record books, as it was the fifth fastest time in Massachusetts history.

Doyle was not the only Minuteman to make his mark in the 800-meter run. Senior Ryan DiOrio’s performance placed him in the New England Championship as well as he finished with a time of 1:55.25. The mark earned him 30th place overall.

Senior Jonathan Pierce also led the Minutemen, and qualified for the New England Championships by finishing with a time of 8:28.87 in the 3,000-meter run.

Pierce was one of many seniors who performed well on Saturday. Among the many strong performances in the short distance events was Samuel Laorenza, who qualified for the New England Championships with his performance in the 400-meter run. He finished 46th overall in the race with a time of 49.75 seconds.

Sophomore Michael McDonough finishing 29th, also had a strong showing as well in the 500-meter run with a time of 1:06.93. Another sophomore who performed well this weekend was Phillip Weltman (49.32 seconds), who finished 31st overall in the 400-meter run.

The Minutewomen also had a strong day on Saturday, and similar to their male counterparts, they have a freshman making her mark. Nicole Pompei continues to be a solid contributor for the Minutewomen, as her mark of 11-05.75 earned her third place in the pole vaulting event.

This strong showing follows her second place finish on Feb. 7 in the Giengengack Invitational.

Senior Brittany Bakanowski helped the Minutewomen in several events on Saturday. In the 4X400-meter relay, a quartet of Deanna Julian, Michelle Jensen, Erika Unger and Bakanowski finished in third place just under two seconds behind Southern Connecticut State with a time of 3:57:91.

Both teams will travel to North Kingston, R.I., to compete in the A-10 Championship this weekend. The Minutewomen and Minutemen finished sixth and seventh respectively in the A-10, and will look to improve upon that finish this year. The meets will kick off at 9:30 a.m. on Friday.

Jeffrey Engmann can be reached at [email protected]