Becky Stoyle earns gold at Atlantic 10 Championships

By Joey Saade

On a weekend when the Massachusetts women’s track and field team didn’t perform up to its overall expectations, Becky Stoyle came away with the highlight of the show once again.

Stoyle claimed gold in the triple jump on Sunday at the Atlantic 10 Championships in Rhode Island, setting not only her personal best record, but also claiming the all-time conference record.

The A-10 champion’s distance of 41 feet, 1 inch, broke her personal best and program all-time record of 40 feet, 7.75 inches, which she set earlier this season. Stoyle also shattered the A-10 record of 40 feet, 9 inches, which was set back in 2007 by Fordham’s Kerstin Greene.
UMass coach Julie LaFreniere had high praise for Stoyle and her performance.

“She is just scratching the surface as a sophomore,” LaFreniere said. “She is going to be a national quality triple jumper. She is strong and talented, and it’s always fun watching her compete.” 

Stoyle entered the triple jump as the clear favorite to take home first place honors, as her previous mark entering the event was 7.75 inches greater than Charlotte’s Briauna Jones’ next closest mark of 40 feet.

“I came in here, that’s what I wanted to do. I was seeded first, so I was ready to go,” Stoyle said. “Just being focused on this specific event, the event I came here to do, and to win, and it feels great.”

While the triple jump was Stoyle’s main focus coming into championship weekend, she also had to take part in the Pentathlon a day earlier, which worried her because of the potential fatigue it would add to her body.

“It’s scary because doing five events the day before the triple jump, you don’t do that normally,” Stoyle said. “I never do that, so I definitely had to get mentally ready for it.”

Stoyle performed just fine, placing seventh in the Pentathlon with her score of 3303. 

 The Minutewomen displayed their strength in the long jump, as both Katherine Finnegan and Ashley Palmer finished in the top eight. Finnegan’s leap of 18 feet, 5 inches landed her in sixth place, while Palmer’s distance of 17 feet, 11.5 inches was good enough for the eight spot.

“We do have some very good and gifted jumpers that work hard and are very competitive,” LaFreniere said. “If they don’t set personal records every weekend, they’re disappointed.”

While LaFreniere believes that her squad could have scored more points overall as a team, she was impressed by those who gave it their all.

“We had a few disappointments, but for the most part, we also had a couple of people that stepped up and scored some points that we were not expecting,” she said..
Freshman Sarah Bierly turned in one of the Minutewomen’s best performances of the evening, as she tied for fifth place in the pole vault with her personal best height of 10 feet, 10 inches.

Another top eight finish belonged to Nalis Mbianda, the senior thrower who has consistently been on top of her game throughout the season. Mbianda finished in sixth place with her throw of 44 feet, 5.25 inches.

Although their efforts fell just short of top eight finishes, six Minutewomen set personal best marks over the weekend. In the 3,000-meter run, Molly McMahon ran a time of 10:29.96, while Megan Cummings finished the event with a time of 10:42.44. Courtney Kromko landed a jump of 36 feet, 11 inches in the triple jump.

Emma Riedel’s time of 7.97 seconds in the 60-meter dash, as well as Meghan Patrolia’s mark of 9.38 seconds in the 60-meter hurdle, both resulted in person bests. In the pentathlon, Kelsey Crawford set her personal record with a score of 3080.

UMass will be sending 24 of its athletes to the New England Championships next weekend in Boston, as day one is set to start Friday.

 Joey Saade can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_SAADE.