The men’s track team has continued to build upon the foundation it has set this year thanks to solid performances at the URI Coaches vs. Domestic Violence Invitational. The ‘Cats finished fourth with 62.5 points, trailing by 14.5 to Providence’s third place.  Despite the fourth place finish, the team used the large, competitive nature of the meet to stay sharp mentally and lay down some solid performances in preparation for the America East Conference Championships.    

“We had about 15 guys out there battling. It was a good overall meet, good competition at all levels,” head coach Jim Boulanger said of the meet and his team.  Among those who battled, junior Chris Poggi placed first in the 800-meter race with a time of 1 minute, 53.46 seconds, which provided a much needed 10 points for the team.

The rest of the team also capitalized on the high level competition, with four athletes either tying or breaking their old personal records.  Sophomore Alex Tamulonis tied his personal record of 15 feet, 3 inches in the pole-vault which was good for a third place finish and six points.  Freshman Brett Hoerner led the charge in the 1,000-meter for the ‘Cats with a third place finish and new personal record of 2:30.04, while freshman Matt Geraci took fourth in the 3,000-meter race with a new personal record of 8:48.47.  Geraci has bested his personal record in every meet he’s run at this season.      

Senior Brendan McCarthy came back strong again this week with a new personal record in the mile, crossing the line at 4:19.39. McCarthy beat his old mile time by a significant 5.59 seconds, an impressive feat in a race as short as the mile.  This marks back to back personal bests for the senior after his victory in the 3,000-meter last weekend.

While many made gains, some were given maintenance days to rest up and recover.  Some who sat out were Michael Shanahan, Isaiah Penn, and Drew Piazza.

“Drew ran a 1:47 last week so that took a little bit out of him, more mentally than physically,” Boulanger said of his 800-meter runner, who owns the fourth fastest time in the NCAA.  Piazza and Shanahan were named America East Track and Field Performers of the week last week.

Boulanger is keeping in mind some short and long term tasks for the upcoming weeks of meets and training.

“Now we’re trying to get them fresh legs and most of all fresh minds,” he said. “Basically trying to get them physically and mentally looking at their expectations and to just focus.”  Boulanger plans on sending 12-14 athletes to the invitational meet next week in pursuit of better times and distances for the men.

Much like the men’s team, the women’s track and field team finished fourth with 79 points at URI.

The team benefitted from great placement on the track, high jump, and pole vault.  Shelby Strickland high-jumped 5 feet, 3.25 inches which was good for third place. Alyson Messina ran the 400-meter dash in a quick 1:00.13, also good for third place overall. Sophomores Danielle Gajewski and Kari Murnane both took second place in their events.  Gajewski ran the 800-meter in 2:16.16, while Murnane broke a personal record she set last week by clearing 11 feet, 3.75 inches in the pole-vault.

Senior captain Lauren Perrodin and junior Hannah Kimball both had dominant days in their events.  Kimball won the mile race by 3 seconds in a new personal best of 4:57.45. Perrodin had the biggest contribution of the day with a win in the 60-meter dash, coming in at 7.66 seconds, and a second place finish in the 200-meter, clocking in at 25.79 seconds.

UNH rested most of its distance team, which competed at the John Thomas Terrier Classic at Boston University. Among the notable athletes missing from competition Saturday were Elinor Purrier and Laura Rose Donegan. Purrier currently owns the 10th fastest mile time in the country, with a 4:37.54 that she set at BU. Donegan, who won the Elite 90 Award during the cross-country season, is currently ranked 13th in the nation in the 5,000-meter with a 16:17.12. Both women will heavily factor into UNH’s performance at the America East Championships.

You can catch the ‘Cats running, throwing, and jumping on Friday, Feb. 12 at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in the Boston Track and Tennis Center.    

Executive Editor