Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Men’s track wraps up indoor season at IC4A Championships

By Jesse Mayfield Sheehan

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The Massachusetts men’s track and field team’s indoor season came to a close this weekend after a hard-fought performance at the IC4A Championships resulted in no players qualifying for the NCAA Championships. UMass coach Ken O’Brien said the IC4A is one of the biggest and toughest meets in college track. He wasn’t expecting anyone to qualify for the NCAA Championships, but he still wished the team could have done a little better.

Flickr/katie schenk

“It’s unreasonable to expect that everyone is going to be able to survive and record performances with flying colors,” O’Brien said. “We had some really good performances, and I guess we probably stayed consistent with what we had done the week before at the New England meet … I guess I should just say that I had hoped that we could have done about ten percent better.”

The Minutemen put up solid performances, but were unable to score against the stiff competition of the IC4As. Michael Cyphers was nearest to turning in a scoring performance, tying for 10th in the pole vault with a height of 15 feet, nine inches.

Thomas Mullen came close to reaching the finals in the 1,000-meter run, but fell short, finishing in 12th place with a time of two minutes, 27.39 seconds. The 4×800-meter relay squad of Nick Otis, Michael Giardina, Stephen Ness and Curtis Owen also made a push for the finals in its event, but finished in 16th place with a combined time of 7:43.14.

Distance runner Anthony Taylor represented UMass in two events. As the only player from the Atlantic 10 conference competing in the mile run, Taylor finished the event in 4:23.07 to come in 34th place. In the 3,000-meter run, Taylor came out in 25th place, crossing the line at 8:27.76.

Taylor also joined up with the distance medley relay squad of Michael McNaughton, Paul Grafov, and Zachary Hildenbrandt, but the squad was unable to finish.

One athlete absent from the meet was Benjamin Groleau. The freshman distance runner had qualified for the mile run, the 4×800-meter, and the distance medley, but had to miss the event due to the flu.

O’Brien said the team had to make some last-minute changes to the relay squads with Groleau sidelined, which may have hurt the team’s performance at the event.

“[Groleau’s] absence from the team actually caused us to probably underperform a little bit in both relays,” O’Brien said. “He had been a main cog in both of those, and we had a couple of other guys that ran very, very well, but the difference was just enough to kind of make our performances a little slower.”

O’Brien said the indoor season showed him how the team can perform, but with such a young team, he is still not sure what to expect from them for the upcoming outdoor season.

“There’s always a danger that with younger kids,” O’Brien said. “They start to get tired at the end of our season, simply because they’re 18 years old, for the most part, maybe 19 with sophomores, but they’ve been training and competing against kids who are 21 and 22 years old for an entire year … sometimes that can wear the younger kids down.”

The Minutemen will have their first meet of the outdoor season Saturday, April 6, when they travel to Springfield for the AIC Invitational.

Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter at @jgms88.

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