UMass women’s track finish third at the New England Championships, men finish ninth

Both track and field teams finished in the top half of the mid-season meet

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UMass women’s track finish third at the New England Championships, men finish ninth

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

(Nina Walat/Daily Collegian)

By Mirella Vladova, Collegian Correspondent

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Both of the Massachusetts track and field teams had successful showings at the New England Championships over the weekend, as the women finished third and the men finished ninth.

With only four weeks until the start of the Atlantic 10 Championships, both teams are starting to ramp up their training, so it was a positive to see them compete up to par against the competition.

In particular, the Minutewomen placed almost 35 points ahead of A-10 member, Rhode Island.

Jada Harris won the high jump and came in second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.49, falling just four hundredths of a second behind Dartmouth’s Cha’Mia Rothwell, who Harris tied in the preliminary round. Harris also achieved a personal best in the long jump with a distance of 5.72 meters, which ranked fifth in the finals despite it being only her second time with the event.

Additionally, senior Emilie Cowan took home first overall in the 500-meter race, with a time of 1:13.59, nearly a full second ahead of Connecticut’s second-place runner, Kristina Cherrington.

For the men’s team, Michael Cuthbert ranked fifth overall in the 200-meter race with a time of 21.97 seconds. Cuthbert also achieved a personal best time of 7.12 seconds in the preliminary round of the 60-meter race, but it was not enough for him to qualify for the event’s final round.

Senior Erik Engstrom finished eighth in the 3000-meter race with a time of 8:30.44, while sophomore Tyler Griffin finished the mile race with a time of 4:19.91, shaving just over 10 seconds from his 2018 personal record.

For the Minutewomen, freshmen Lily Robinson and Sarah Conant both achieved personal bests in the 5000 and 3000-meter races, respectively. Robinson also achieved a personal best in the 3000-meter race last week at the John Terrier Invitational.

“I was very, very impressed with the two freshman distance runners,” women’s coach Julie LaFreniere said. “They were both gutsy. [Conant] was just obsessed with breaking 10 [minutes] and sometimes she wanted it too badly. We talked beforehand, ‘just relax and get into the race, stay loose and fluid, and make it happen,’ and she did.”

In the women’s shot put, junior Lauren LaDere achieved a personal record of 14.76 meters, a full two feet farther than her previous personal best. The performance led her to finishing second in the event and bumped her from third to second all-time for the UMass women’s shot-put record. LaDere’s junior teammate Danielle Notarfrancesco came in second in the event at 14.73 meters.

At the halfway point of the indoor track season, both the men’s and women’s teams now face the challenge of handling the balancing act between training and resting their athletes down the stretch.

“Some [runners] might take a weekend off, but someone like [Conant] might drop down and just run the mile,” LaFreniere about the women’s team. “Some of the [athletes] we will rest, and we will bring other athletes, especially developmental athletes, to the meet in Dartmouth. We’ll hit [the Valentine Invitational] focusing on either relays or an individual event, and not load up like they did this past weekend […] and then we have the next weekend off to recover and hit the conference hard.”

On Feb. 8, both teams will compete in the Dartmouth College Quad Meet in Hanover, New Hampshire, before the Atlantic 10 Championships begin; scheduled for Feb. 29 and March 1.

Mirella Vladova can be reached at [email protected]