New records have been set on both a school and championship level this past weekend thanks to some spectacular performances by the women’s indoor track and field team. Capturing a respectable third-place at the America East Conference Championships in Boston, the ‘Cats saw success on multiple levels.
Junior Elinor Purrier continued to shine this season by running a powerful 800-meter race where she took control from the beginning. With a healthy lead, it was not a question of if she would win or not, rather if she would eclipse the meet record from 1991. Purrier’s time of 2 minutes, 4.02 seconds put the 26-year old record of 2:05.88 to rest and donned her as the conference champion in that event.
“We were looking [towards] running a good fast , improve her personal record [and] school record. The meet record was 2:05 so we certainly felt she could run that so running a 2:04 flat was certainly exciting for her,” women’s coach Robert Hoppler said.
Purrier wasn’t the only conference champion, as teammate Hannah Kimball won the 1000m event with a time of 2:50.11.
“Kimball just ran a tactically beautiful race and was able to win the 1,000 meters. That was really exciting,” Hoppler said. Kimball also accomplished a second-place finish with the 4x800m relay team where she ran the leadoff leg.
Another school record fell this meet as Junior Emma Checovich placed sixth in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.94s. Checovich also broke a school record in the pentathlon with a schore of 3,475 points. Simply put “That’s a fantastic day by [Checovich],” Hoppler said.
Other notable performances include Sophomore Shannon Murdock who fought her way into second place in the mile (4:52.00), Laura Rose Donegan fourth in the mile (4:52.54), and Alex Giese (9:51.80) and Amanda Syzmanski (9:43.16) going third and fourth in the 3,000m respectively.
The women’s jumpers were also able to show their depth, with Jeannette Mara (third), Rachel Morrison (sixth), and Tessa Artruc (eight) all scoring in the high jump. Freshman Koryn Jozwiakowski placed fourth in the triple jump. Kari Murnane (third), Grace Slevin (fifth), and Sabrina Anderson (sixth) capped off the jumpers’ success in the pole vault.
Coming in top-five was a goal for the men’s team this season and they were able to do just that. The men placed fifth overall with 70 points and saw some impressive leadership and teamwork.
“Most of all this was one of the most fun teams I’ve been with. Every kid competed hard. If you look at most of the kids [they were] running better than their seasonal best by a lot,” head coach Jim Boulanger said.
The men had one individual conference champion in sophomore Brett Hoerner. Hoerner won the 1,000m in a time of 2:29.03 and scored a valuable 10 points for his team.
“The race went out real slow. The [Umass Lowell] kids tried to control it and then we yelled at him and he took off and came back. It was a battle between [Hoerner] and the kid from [Umass Lowell],” said Boulanger. “He did a great job. His confidence was up, so very happy with [Hoerner].”
Wildcat Joel Nkounkou made great strides in multiple events and was able to finish second in the heptathlon with 4,998 points, shy of the first-place mark of 5,133.
“Well he was 400 points better than he was at the beginning of the year. Seven events over two days finishing with the 1,000 meter. He had personal bests all around [in the] pole vault, shotput, hurdles, [and] dash,” Boulanger said. “That’s a tough event and he did a good job.”
Senior John Cox and freshman Matthew Adams battled their way into the finals of the 500m on Saturday with Cox running an impressive 1:03.73 for fourth place, and Adams a seventh-place finish with 1:07.29.
“Most of all we were in the top five and second of all we couldn’t have asked for a hotter team, they went at it and they were loud and fun today. It was a good weekend,” Boulanger said.
A select group of qualifiers for the men will compete at the IC4A championships next weekend while the women will compete at the ECAC championships, both will be held at Boston University.