UMass women’s track and field finishes third at Joe Donahue Indoor Games

By Nick Souza

(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)
(Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian)

In a strong field of teams that included Central Florida, South Florida and West Point Academy along with the usual New England contenders, the Massachusetts men’s and women’s track teams saw slightly different results.

The Minutewomen finished third at the Joe Donahue Indoor Games with a team score of 71.5 points. Central Florida was first with 154 points and they were followed by Northeastern with 105.5.

UMass continues to display a freshman class that is capable of competing with the best in the region, with Emilie Cowan leading the charge Friday.

Cowan scored points both in the 200 and 400 meter dash where she posted a time of 55.52. That earned her first place in the event, as her time currently stands as the best time this year in the Atlantic 10, and second fastest in program history.

Junior Heather MacLean, along with freshman Mary Lavery, took first and second place in 1000 meter run with respective times of 2:47 and 2:57. MacLean’s time set a new program record, beating her own time of 2:49.

In the field events Minutewomen freshman standout Tatiyanna Sanders finished fourth with a jump of 18 feet and six inches, a mark good enough for second in the A-10 this season.

Adding to the freshman class’ strong showing, Gabrielle Bennett took fourth in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.79 seconds. Also, fellow freshman Olivia Weir took fourth in the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:15.

The 4×400 meter relay comprised of MacLean, Cowan, Elizabeth Gulino and Melissa Beaupre finished second with a time of 3:53. That time currently stands as second in the A-10 this year.

UMass is building strong momentum heading into the middle of the season, with several athletes qualifying for ECAC and New England’s across multiple events. Many of these athletes also have times that put them in the top eight of their respective events in the A-10.

Minutemen a little off

The Minutemen finished seventh in the field of 15 scoring 45 points.  The first place team was Rhode Island with 112, followed by South Florida with 105.5 and Northeastern with 86.5.

UMass could have finished as high as fifth but came up just three points short of New Hampshire at 48, and Vermont with 47.5.

“I think last week everyone felt at home, and the expectations were more certain against fewer schools,” UMass men’s coach Ken O’Brien said. “The larger meet presents a different challenge and it’s a more unique situation for the athletes.”

The performance of the day may have come from freshman Cole Acoveno in the high jump with a mark of six feet, eight inches, earning him third place. It also stands as the fourth best mark in the A-10 this season and the third best in program history.

UMass’s depth at mid-distance showed with six of their runners finishing in the top 15 of the 1000 meter. Sophomore Russell Wells led the Minutemen with a time of 2:31, which was good for second place.

However, much of the meet consisted of scrapping for points and resulted in a slightly lower finish than what the team may have accomplished otherwise.

“The athletes did improve, just not as much as I thought they would. I don’t think the team suffered a lot, we just didn’t get those few points when we needed them,” O’Brien said.

In the sprinting events, points were few and far between. Freshman Jonathan Derolus finished sixth in the 60 meter dash with a time of 7.01 seconds.

Outside of Acoveno, the field events for UMass saw points from the triple jump. Junior Deion Arneaud finished sixth with a mark of 45 feet, eight inches. Teammate and freshman Nathan Adeyemi followed him at seventh with a jump of 45 feet and seven inches.

Despite the team’s struggles for points, O’Brien still feels this meet was a successful trip for his team.

“Thankfully, as you move a long into the conference championships, the field gets more restrictive, and meets like this set the table well for future championships,” O’Brien said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will be looking for a strong showing next week in Boston at the John Thomas Terrier Invitational this Saturday.

 

Nick Souza can be reached at [email protected]