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 and Field finds success in Springfield

Maria Uminski/Collegian

With the change of seasons from winter to spring comes the change of venue for all track and field teams. No longer can refuge be taken from the cold in the field houses, and now teams must face sometimes inclement and sometimes beautiful weather, on the outdoor ovals.

The Massachusetts track and field teams took the initial outdoor test well, as it collected second in the men’s competition, and first on the women’s side.

The men were competitive in a number of events, but they collected a total of 107 points falling well short of Rhode Island, which totaled 163.66 points.

David McKenna started the meet strong for the Minutemen with a seventh place finish in the discus throw (42.20), and fifth place finish in the hammer throw competition (42.26).

Daniel Wu led in the field events for UMass with strong showings in the jump events. The senior leaped to second place in the long jump (22-05.00) and third in the triple jump (44-05.25).

“It’s always difficult in New England, any cold weather climate really, to get off to a really good start,” said UMass coach Ken O’Brien. “Dan had worked diligently from the conclusion of the indoor season until now, and put in some really solid training, so even with the adverse conditions he was, by far, one of our better performances on the team.”

Junior Paul Grafov (49.90) and sophomore Zachary Hildenbrandt (49.91) came across sixth and seventh in the 400-meter dash. Meanwhile, freshman Stephen Ness (1:59.36) did surprise with a fifth-place finish in the 800-meter run.

“Pleasant surprise,” said O’Brien of Hess’ performance. “[Stephen] hadn’t broken the two-minute barrier yet … but he is a hard-nosed runner, and I had no doubt that he would break through. It was a cold and windy day, but he’s a strong runner.”

Patrick McGowan (14:50.84) and Antony Taylor (14:57.24) finished first and second in the 5000-meter run. Having been through two seasons of cross country and indoor track, the pair were well-prepared for the meet.

“One-two from those guys is impressive in one respect because we’ve been working fairly hard since the end of the indoor season,” said O’Brien. “And we haven’t really gotten to the point where we’ve gather our best ideas in which we’ll decide which kids will run what event at the end of the season, so we just put them in that event because that’s what we’re training for more right now.”

Having two seasons under their belt already, O’Brien said he does expect more out of his runners that have been competing all year.

Minutewomen claim Yellow Jacket

On the opposite side, the UMass women’s track team returned to Amherst as the top team of the Yellow Jacket Invitational.

The Minutewomen took five first-place spots, and eight second-place finishes, which contributed to their final tally of 175.5 points, a total large enough to nip Williams, who finished with 162 points.

Rachelle Bourque and Nalis Mbianda continued their strong performances from the indoor season in the field events. Bourque’s javelin throw of 138-04 earned her a first place finish, while Mbianda went first in the shot put with a 42-11.75. Jennifer Simao also contributed as she placed fourth in the javelin, and eighth in the hammer throw.

The jumps also carried over from the indoor season, with second place finishes in both the long and triple jumps. Jaclyn Lam (35-05.00) leaped to second in the triple jump, while Katherine Finnegan (17-09.00) also claimed second in the long jump. Rebecca Banker (17-02.75) collected third in the long, while Lam (16-09.75) was fifth.

Karen Roa (4:38.13) won the 1500 meter run, and earned an IC4A regional qualification. Freshman, three-season competitor Courtney Baldwin (4:43.45) finished third, and also earned qualification.

Both teams now turn their attention to the UMass Invitational, hosted at the UMass track and field facilities, next weekend.

Jeffrey Okerman can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Okerman.


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