The weekend proved to be a busy one for the ‘Cats as they kicked off their outdoor season with a bang.  Both teams split up and sent a few athletes to the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Virginia, while the bulk of the teams competed at the tri-meet against Bates College and the University of Maine at the Maine campus.   

The ‘Cats sent junior Drew Piazza and senior Brendan McCarthy of the men’s team, and their top squad of women athletes to represent UNH at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Va.  Piazza placed second in the 800 with a time of 1:48.90, while McCarthy placed 29th in the 5,000 finishing in 14:55.56. “Drew opened up at 1:48 and he would have liked to run faster but it should get him to Jacksonville, and Brendan ran 14:55 which is his best run in two years…so it’s a good sign with those two,” Boulanger said about his competitors. 

The women’s team fared well in Virginia as well, finishing 12th with 34 points against a total of 43 teams.  Some of the best performances came from two of the relay teams. The sprint medley relay team set a new school record of 3:56.75, taking second place in the meet.  Members of that team include Lauren Perrodin, Alyson Messina, Danielle Gajewski and Elinor Purrier. 

However, that was not the only new school record on the day.  The 4×1,500 relay team finished in 18:34.27. This relay team consisted of Laura Rose Donegan, Cassandra Kruse, Shannon Murdock and Elinor Purrier.  Aside from the two relay teams, Purrier set a new school record for the 800-meter race on Friday with an impressive time of 2:06.63.  Donegan also took an individual fourth place finish in the 1,500 while Gajewski set a new PR in the 800 before her relay run.    

Back up in Maine, the men’s team achieved first place with 145 points, pulling ahead of Maine’s second place of 132 points.  The first place finish overall can be attributed to ten first place individual finishes on the day.  Three athletes also set personal bests while capturing first place.  Brandon Allen set a new personal record (PR) in the 100-meter race with 11.50 seconds.  John Cox returned to action to set his new PR in his first place finish in the 800 with a time of 1-minute 58.45-seconds, and freshmen Brett Hoerner raced the 1,500 to a time of 4:00.81 for a new personal record as well. 

“It was a good effort, we covered a lot of bases, good effort from the young kids, especially like Brett Hoerner and Billy Ulrich going one-two in the 1,500” head coach Robert Boulanger said on his team’s performance. 

Another large factor that contributed to the team’s win was Junior Michael Shanahan. Shanahan continued to be a dominant force in the throwing circle after coming off a spectacular indoor season.  Shanahan captured fifth in the shot-put, second in the discus throw and first place in the hammer throw.  Shanahan contributed 14 points total on the day. 

The women’s team placed second with 130 points in Maine, falling behind to the University of Maine’s 149.5 points.  The ‘Cats saw some impressive performances including seven first place finishes and four new personal records.  Jessica Hackett (100-meter), Samantha Blais (1,500), Hannah Kimball (5,000), and Emileigh Glode (400 hurdles) all set new personal bests while capturing first for their events.

Other first place finishes include Shelby Strickland in the high jump (5.4 feet), Emily Wernig in the discus (129.59 -feet) and Carly Orlacchio with a throw of 113.09 feet in the javelin.

“Early in the season you’re talking weather conditions, 44 degrees and slight rain, so opposed to being in a building that’s being 68 degrees, no wind, warm and toasty,” Boulanger said on the difference between outdoor track and indoor track.  The teams did the jumping events indoors this weekend due to the weather. 

“We took a break between seasons and now we’ll try to progress towards conference which is only five weeks away.  It was a good way to start off with everyone,” Boulanger said of both teams. 

The ‘Cats will look to build on last weekend and put out some terrific performances at home next weekend on Saturday, April 9 at the Reggie Atkins Track & Field Facility.  UNH will compete against Holy Cross, Maine and UMass Lowell.   

Executive Editor