UMass track and field headed to A-10s this weekend

Both teams are looking to close the indoor season with strong showings at URI

By Mirella Vladova, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts indoor track and field season will come to a close during the two-day Atlantic 10 Championships this upcoming Saturday and Sunday. Both teams will be putting out their best possible line-ups in the hope of gathering as many points as possible to finish off the season.

The level of competition at the A-10s is exciting for both the athletes and the coaching staff.

“It’s how we respond to head-to-head competition,” says women’s head coach Julie LaFreniere. “My philosophy is [that] you want to race against people who are better than you because they will make you better.”

The men’s team is looking strong in the 200- and 400-meter races. Michael Cuthbert and Lucas Honohan hold the second-fastest times in the A-10, with Cuthbert at 21.71 seconds and Honohan with 48.67 seconds respectively. Cuthbert currently holds the UMass record in the 200-meter with his time of 21.44 seconds last season.

Sophomore Jordan Howard also ranks in the top 10 in the 200-meter and 60-meter races, with times of 21.97 seconds and 6.97 seconds. His current personal bests in the events are 21.61 seconds and 6.82 seconds.

For the women’s team, Jada Harris will be competing in the 60-meter hurdles, high jump and long jump. Harris is first in the conference in both the high jump, with a height of 1.78 meters, and the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 8.38 seconds this season.

Despite the long jump not being one of Harris’ usual events, her performance at the New England Championships was a sign for the Minutewomen that she could potentially pick up points in the event. She is currently fifth in the conference with a distance of 5.72 meters.

Lindsay Witt and Abigail Collins will be competing in the 60-meter race. The two runners have both achieved personal best times of 7.74 seconds this season, tying them for sixth place in the conference and matching the current UMass record, set by Jada Lofgren-Anderson in 2016.

The Minutemen will be looking for a solid performance from Coston O’Brien in the weight throw, where he currently holds the second place all-time UMass men’s record with a throw of 18.70 meters in the Valentine Invitational.

Both the men’s and women’s 8 x 800 relay teams currently hold the fourth place slots in the conference, and both achieved these season best times at the New England Championships. Both teams also have reasonably strong distance medley relay teams, with the women’s team ranked second and the men’s team ranked fifth with their respective New England Championship performances.

Sophia Casciano is looking to compete in the women’s pole vault in full for the first time since her injury earlier in the indoor season. She currently holds the highest vault for the 2019-2020 season, with her personal best of 3.75 meters achieved at the Beantown Challenge in January. Teammate Sydney Flanagan is ranked third in the conference with a height of 3.65 meters.

The A-10 Championships will be held at the University of Rhode Island’s Mackal Field House on Feb. 29 and March 1. Both days of competition are estimated to start at 9 a.m.

Mirella Vladova can be reached by email at [email protected]