The URI Coaches Tribute Invitational proved to be good competition this weekend for the ‘Cats as they head deeper into their season in preparation for the conference championship.

With 13 schools represented on the men’s side and 14 on the women’s, both teamed fared well despite missing some key players.  The men finished second with 83.5 points compared to URI’s 193. The women’s team was able to pull off a fourth-place finish and were good for 77.25 points, just behind Holy Cross’s 81.

After mostly staying at home or close by for meets, this was the team’s first lengthy journey to a meet. Sometimes the long days are just part of the experience as both teams were able to still perform well.

“It’s definitely tough,” men’s coach Jim Boulanger said on traveling far for meets. “Some of the ladies and some of the guys were remarking that they got to see a whole different group of teams that they’ve seen before in just dual meets. It was a fourteen team meet so there were people all over the place, so every section was good.”

Both teams had to perform without some crucial contributors, whether it be for resting reasons or illness.

“I felt good about it. We weren’t fully armed. We were picking away at spots and points and just picking up points here and there,” Boulanger said. “We kind of got hit by that little bug that’s been going around campus and we had to scratch eight or nine people, many of which who would have scored.”

Despite the heavy amount of scratches, second place was attained thanks to efforts lead by thrower Nicholas Ritzo and pole-vaulter Alexander Tamulonis.  Ritzo placed second with a shot-put throw of 15.88-meters while Tamulonis vaulted to a height of 4.45m for a second-place finish. 

Other notable performances include Joel NKounkou in the long jump (fourth) and a fourth place-finish from John Cox in the 400-meter, as well as Jacob Kitteredge (third), Brett Hoener (fourth) and Nathan Kitterdge (sixth) placing in the 1000m. 

This young team is always looking to improve in every area, and after three meets, there are some areas to address which include getting strong in the jumps. 

“We definitely have to get better at the jumps. [NKounkou] jumped well in the high jump…Long jump , triple jump and high jump, we can’t keep giving away points in those events,”  Boulanger said.

The women were able to perform well despite missing some key contributors.  Jessica Hackett finished third in the 400m with a time of 59.90 seconds. Alexandria Geise fared well in the mile placing second crossing the line in 5:00.82.

A pair of pole vaulters, Kari Murnane and Ashling Slevin, were able to go back-to-back for the win and second place. Both cleared a height of 3.5m.

Laura Rose Donegan placed third in the 1000m with a time of 2:59.69 and will continue to work on her speed to aid her steeplechase time. 

Both teams are preparing for the America East Championships that will take place the weekend of Feb. 24.  Last year, the women’s team saw success with a second-place finish in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.  The men placed fifth at conference last outdoor season.

Both teams will send athletes to compete at both the David Hemery Valentine Invitational in Boston on Feb. 10, and at Orono, Maine to square up against the University of Maine the following day. 

Executive Editor