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

Track teams head to Boston

The Massachusetts men and women’s track and field teams will travel to Roxbury, MA this Friday to compete in the Reebok Boston Indoor Games at 3:30 p.m. This will be the third competition for both squads as they look to compete against 12 to 15 schools, all of which are primarily located in the northeast.

Ken O’Brien, the men’s coach, said although it’s clear the team has not reached its full potential yet, there has been a substantial amount of good performances. The distance medley relay team had the most notable performance. Last week at the Great Dane Invitational in New York, Seniors Daniel Barry, Sean Duncan, Scott VanderMolen and sophomore Joe Doyle qualified for the IC4A Championships that will be held in March with a time of 10:09:13.

O’Brien said Friday will most likely be the last meet when he and the other coaches evaluate what everybody’s events will be for the stretch run.

“[I] still like to experiment with another event or two,” O’Brien said.

With the team of Barry, Duncan, VanderMolen and Doyle having already qualified for IC4A’s in the distance medley relay, Friday’s race will not be a major concern.

“Relays will probably be a little less stacked or loaded [on Friday],” O’Brien said.

During the first third of the season, O’Brien said it’s important to start developing the individual event. O’Brien also said Friday is an opportunity to “evaluate and build the versatility of the team.”

“We’re optimistic about where we will be able to go,” O’Brien said.

It is not yet confirmed what teams the Minutemen will be competing against, but O’Brien expects that the northeastern to non-northeastern school ratio will be around 4:1.

For this meet O’Brien considers any finish within the top five a success.

On the women’s side, coach Julie LaFreniere said both of their relays are looking fairly strong.

Friday’s 4x400m relay will include junior Deanna Julian, sophomore Michelle Jenssen and freshmen Meghan Leahy and Sarah Bitterman. LaFreniere said that Leahy and Bitterman have been holding their own in their first indoor track season.

LaFreniere said that these meets earlier in the season are good practice for May’s Atlantic 10 Championships, where many athletes will have to participate in more than one event.

Which teams will be competing against the Minutewomen on Friday is also unknown; however, it is likely the team will face a similar situation to the men’s meet, where most of the teams will be coming from the northeast. One team out of the northeast LaFreniere expects to be there is the University of South Florida.

Teams closer in proximity that generally compete are Boston College, New Hampshire University, Brown University and Harvard University.

Whoever ends up showing up to compete, LaFreniere thinks it will be beneficial for the Minutewomen.

“Better competition will make our athletes better,” LaFreniere said. “No matter what event there should be good competition.”

Assistant coach David Jackson places his focus on jumps and multi-events, and he said junior Chrissy Silvar is ready to make some good jumps, having just moved into fifth place all-time for UMass in the pole vault with a leap of 11’ 2”.

Jackson also said senior Stephanie Aguguo is also ready to take her triple jumps to the next level.

Eric Mansfield can be reached at [email protected].

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