Men’s and women’s track and field open seasons at Dartmouth Relays

Men’s and women’s track and field open seasons at Dartmouth Relays

By Will Katcher

The Massachusetts men’s and women’s track and field teams officially began their indoor season this past Saturday in Hanover, New Hampshire at the 2018 Dartmouth Relays. Despite resting many top athletes, both teams logged top results, with the women placing second to Dartmouth and the men placing third to Northeastern and Dartmouth.

The women were led by freshman Danielle Notarfrancesco, whose 46-foot, 11.5 inch toss in the shot put earned her first place, second in the UMass record book, and a qualifying spot at the New England and ECAC Championships.

“She was consistent. It’s right about where we expect her to be,” said UMass coach Julie LaFreniere; she also added that the freshman did well in the weight throw, despite being a beginner in the event.

Sophomore Samantha Thompson and freshman Ivana Nyemeck found further success in the field events, where they both took second place in the high jump and triple jump, respectively. Thompson cleared the bar at five feet, seven inches, good enough to tie her previous record, qualfiy for New Englands and take second place at the event.

On the track, the Minutewomen enjoyed individual success in the 60 meter hurdles, where sophomore Jada Harris took second, closely followed by junior Bridget Deveau in fifth.

LaFreniere mentioned the disruption the recent spell of sub-freezing weather has caused in her distance runners’ training. “It’s been a tough winter break for them to go home,” she said. “I felt that they were a little behind than where they’ve come back in the past couple years.”

Despite those difficulties, it was the distance team that earned UMass its sole first place in a running event. Caroline Clark, Brook Hansel, Alexa Livingstone and Catherine Curtin, all members of the Women’s Cross Country team as well, took the 4×800 relay in 9:59.85.

On the men’s side, junior Jake DeGrace led the way, taking second in the 60 meter hurdles and qualifying for the New England Championships as well as the IC4A Championships. Also qualifying for New Englands were Junior Nathan Adeyemi in the triple jump (46 feet, third place), senior John Chuma in the pole vault (15 feet, five inches, third place).

The Minutemen’s sole victory came in the 4×200 relay, which Michael Hunter, Hayden Gray, Michael Cuthbert and Connor Williams ran in 1:31.94.

UMass will be back this coming weekend, when both teams will travel to Harvard for the Beantown Challenge, which is expected to feature higher competition than the Dartmouth Relays.

Will Katcher can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @will_katcher.