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Distance, field events spark UNH sweep

Team spirit and teamwork were certainly factors as the Wildcats achieved a home win Saturday against the University of Vermont and the University of Maine.
New Hampshire finished with 163 points, topping Maine’s 97 and Vermont’s 67.  Strong performances in the throwing circle provided crucial points, and victories in the triple jump, high jump, and several other field events helped pace UNH’s effort.  The ‘Cats placed first in all but five events on the day.
While the field events had given UNH a comfortable lead, it was two of the later events, the 3,000-meter and 4×400-meter, which were perhaps the most exciting races of the day.
The 3,000 appeared to be a tight race at first, with graduate Sam Gagnon leading the charge in order to set the pace for a personal record for teammate Brendan McCarthy.  Followed closely by a tight pack, the two worked together in order to ensure a Wildcat victory in the event.  Once Gagnon dropped off with a quarter of the race left to go, McCarthy surged ahead for an impressive lead.  Roars of “UNH, UNH, UNH” filled the facility as McCarthy finished his final laps on the way to a new personal record of 8:35.05.
“I was definitely glad I got that back under my belt,” said McCarthy of his first personal best in the event in two years.  “I started falling off a little bit towards the second kilometer of the race, but I was able to hold on for the last part. Focusing on the middle part of my race will definitely be key next time.”
The 4X400 team secured a victory as well, as it edged out Vermont by just under a second, with team times of 3:29.85 and 3:30.67, respectively.
Junior Michael Shanahan had another terrific performance in the throwing circle. He finished second in the shot put with a throw of 14.4 meters and first place in the weight throw with a toss of 20.96 meters.
Head coach Jim Boulanger was proud of his team’s success.
“I think when you’re home you get the chance to act as a team,” Boulanger said about the team-first feel at the track.
He is looking forward to what the team can accomplish in these next few meets while getting ready for conference championships.
“Each week right now is like a prelude to the conference,” he said. “Each one’s got to be its own act and (saying), ‘Okay, what do we have to improve on?’”
The ‘Cats look to continue their success on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the University of Rhode Island.

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