Track and Field compete at NECs

By Taylor C. Snow

The Massachusetts men’s track and field team finished in the middle of the pack this weekend, placing 18th out of 34 teams at the New England Championships with 11.50 points.

The meet started out on Friday with the heptathlon, which started out in UMass’ favor. Freshman Peter Farlow immediately gave the Minutemen hope, taking first place in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.22 seconds. However, he did not fare as well in the remaining six portions of the heptathlon, placing 11th overall. Senior Mark Hewitt was UMass’ only scorer in the event, placing in eighth and earning one point.

The Minutemen were unable to register a point until the 12th event, when A.J. Grube earned his team one-and-a-half points in the high jump. He finished tied for seventh place with a leap of 6-04.25 feet.

Tyler Cotto – a UMass graduate and record holder of the NEC 60-meter dash – dropped down in the record books when Sacred Heart’s Bertony Jean-Louis placed first in the final heat. Cotto’s 7.87 record time was broken by two hundredths of a second by Jean-Louis.

Junior Paul Grafov had the best showing of any Minutemen, as he finished in fifth place in the 500-meter dash, and gathered four points for UMass. He clocked in at 1:04.49, a personal best for him and a top-five time in Minutemen history.

The last individual score came from Sophomore Antony Taylor who placed seventh in the 3000-meter run for two points. Taylor also had a career day, with a personal-best 8:24.83 time.

The 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams finished off the weekend by each qualifying for the IC4A Championships, which will take place next weekend. They finished seventh and eighth with times of 3:17.26 and 7:46.61, respectively.

Connecticut took home the New England crown with 118.50 total points. They were followed by Rhode Island with 94 points and Southern Connecticut State with 71.

Minutewomen take 14th

The Minutewomen registered 20 points in the meet and finished in14th place out of 35 teams.

Highlighting the weekend was sophomore Sarah Bitterman, who gathered more than 50 percent of UMass’ points.

Bitterman took third place and six points in the 500-meter dash, recording a 1:16.21 time. She also competed in the 4×400 and finished in third place. The 4×400 relay team – consisting of Bitterman, Meghan Leahy, Michelle Jenssen and Meghan Landry – posted a 3:52.74 time, which was the fifth-best all-time mark in the history of the New England Championships.

Junior shot putter Nalis Mbianda also had a solid throwing performance for the ladies, with a throw of 42-09.50 feet, good enough for sixth place and three points. Finishing three places behind her, also in the top 10, was junior Rachelle Bourque, who threw 41-04.50 feet.

Freshman triple jumper Rebecca Stoyle added two points to UMass’ total, as she finished in seventh with three bounds totaling to 37.09.25 feet. Christine Silvar tallied another point for UMass in the pole vault, placing in eighth with a vault of 11-06.50 feet.

In the last event of the weekend, the distance medley, the ladies pulled off a seventh place finish, and contributing to the last portion of the 20 points earned.

Just as the men did, the ladies’ Connecticut squad dominated the meet, as it scored 123 total points. Sacred Heart finished behind the Huskies with 76 points and Rhode Island took third place with 60 points.

Taylor Snow can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Snow.