UMass track and field sees record-breaking performances at Terrier Classic

By Adam Aucoin

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The Massachusetts women’s track and field team continued to ride its  success with a quality performance at the John Thomas Terrier Classic this weekend in Boston.

UMass’ effort was spearheaded by its standout sophomore runner Heather MacLean. MacLean recorded the fastest finish in the 800-meter run in the program’s history, with a 2:07.36 time. The run broke her own record that she set last year and earned her a third-place finish.

The sophomore comes off an impressive freshman year that saw her place first in the 800-meter run in the Atlantic 10 championships and first in the event at the New England championships last May. MacLean carried last year’s success into this season with consistent quality performances in this season’s early meets.

“I continue to see Heather get better and better from meet to meet,” Minutewomen coach Julie LaFreniere said. “She continues to mold herself into one of the best runners on this team and I couldn’t be more proud to see it happen.”

Rachel Hilliard also continued her season’s success, running the second-fastest time in school history in the 3,000-meter run with a 9:37.88 time. Carly Zinner and Alexandra Purdue-Smithe also qualified for New England championships with their finishes in the 1-mile run and 5,000-meter run, respectively.

“It’s great as a coach seeing the individual successes of your athletes,” LaFreniere said. “It’s not easy to qualify for New Englands so whenever someone does it, no matter how many times I see it, I love it.”

In field events, UMass was led by senior Becky Stoyle, who took gold in the triple jump competition with a 40-foot, 2-inch jump. The mark qualified her for the ECAC championships.

LaFreniere said she recognizes the success her team is having but knows there is still room for improvement and potential down the road.

“It’s still fairly early in the season, so we can’t get too ahead of ourselves.” LaFreniere said. “We need to take it day by day and work hard and if we do that the success will happen for us during the meets.”

The Minutewomen hit the track again Saturday in the Coaches Invitational in Kingston, Rhode Island. Events start at 11 a.m.

Minutemen have decent performance

The UMass men’s track and field team did not see as much success as the women did this weekend at the Terrier Classic, but had a solid performance in the event.

The Minutemen were led by junior Michael McNaughton, who broke a 27-year-old UMass record in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:52.50. The finish was .08 seconds faster than the previous record time set by Bill Stewart in 1988.

McNaughton’s performance earned him 12th place in the event and qualified him for the New England championships.

Sophomore Brett Davies and senior Greg Copeland added to the Minutemen’s success this weekend in field events. Davies finished 22nd in the shotput event with a 46-foot, 0.5-inch throw. In pole vault, Copeland recorded a 13-foot, 11.25-inch leap that also placed him 22nd.

UMass hopes to expand on this weekend’s success next Saturday in the Coaches Invitational with events starting at 10 a.m.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at [email protected]