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Shanahan shines in the pre-conference meet

Members of the UNH track and field teams keep finding ways to set new personal records this season, and in some cases, school records.
Junior Michael Shanahan is one of those athletes that can go the distance. Shanahan broke the school record in the hammer throw this weekend at the Penn Relays. Alex Miller set the previous record back in 1980, which is a testament of how hard this record was to beat. His throw of 211feet 1 inch broke the long-standing record of 210 feet 4 inches. This is Shanahan’s second school record, with the other being in the 35-pound weight throw from this past indoor season.
Shanahan’s performance allowed him to claim fifth place at the competitive Penn Relay meets. Other contributions came from John Cox, William Ulrich, Thomas Harter and Drew Piazza as they came together to form the 4×800-meter relay team. The group of four finished with a time of 7 minutes, 36.57 seconds, which was good enough for fifth place.
Back home in Durham, the men’s and women’s team hosted a seven-team meet that allowed them to prepare for the quickly-approaching championship season. Both the men’s and women’s teams were able to capture second place in the home meet.
D’Mahl McFadden finished the day with a first-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles wih a time of 15.67 seconds. Meanwhile, Andrew McFarland, Brady Camplin, Rob Franger, and Ross Hardy were able to obtain first in the 4×100-meter relay with a 3:22.29.
“Going into conference I think it was a good chance to set us up for a solid performance at conference,” sprinter Franger said, who was part of the winning 4×400 team. “It’s kind of like that last time to fine tune everything before we run and throw. I think individually, obviously when you’re going to conference you always want to have a new personal record.”
Discus thrower Nicholas Ritzo carried a similar mindset on how this pre-conference meet would help the team next weekend at the America East Championship meet
“It’s always important when you’re running or when you’re throwing to be amongst the best competition you can put yourself in so you can excel to that level,” Ritzo said. “Also being at home, [being] nice and comfortable, it was a good way to get some throws and some times out there that boost your confidence going into conference.”
The women’s team competed well at both the pre-conference meet and the Penn relays, placing second out of seven teams at home. Also, members who went to the Penn relays enjoyed some individual placements.
Two of the most notable performances at the Penn relays were from athletes Amber Short and Chelsey Serrano. Short competed in the 10,000 and crossed the tape in 34:50.49, just shy of the school record. Serrano completed the 3,000 and finished in 9:45.18.
“[Short] was on pace for 6.5 kilometers, so she was right there for most of the race and just came up a little short,” head coach Robert Hoppler said of his distance runner. “It takes a lot of guts to go after a record, especially in a race that is long. To run that hard and aggressively, it’s really easy to be conservative and she showed a lot of heart and effort and a lot of self-confidence to even try to get that record so I’m very proud of her for that.”
In Durham, the ‘Cats had notched first-place finishes in three events and accumulated a good amount of second-place finishes on the day. Tessa Artruc set a new personal record of 58.36 seconds in the 400 to get second place, while Angelyn Masters set a personal record of her own in the 5,000 to also place second.
Coming in first place in the 100 was Jessica Hackett with a new personal record of 12.74. Sophomore Rachel Morrison took first in the high jump with a jump of 5-6.5. Along with numerous personal records set on the day, Danielle Gajewski’s 56.64-second performance in the 400 earned first place and marked a new personal record.
“I felt good and I also went out a little faster than normal so I think that is what helped me out. It’s something I’ve been working on,” said Gajewski on her race. “I’m more of an 800 runner now so it was nice going back down to the 400, which is what I originally used to run all the time, so it was nice seeing the improvements in both the 800 and 400.”
As the end of the season draws closer with the conference championships taking place next weekend, the Wildcats will be gearing up to be at their best in these last meets.
“I’m excited for the next couple of weeks, the bigger meets. At conference I feel like we can do very well as a team. I think everyone is really improving as a team so that’s cool to be a part of,” said Gajewski.
The America East Conference Championships will take place for the men’s and women’s teams May 7-8 in Burlington, Vermont.
“So the whole goal is piecing all of the puzzle pieces together for next week. We’ll try to give it the best shot we can to finished the year off really well at the conference level. We were able to win it in cross[-country], second indoors, and certainly we want to be top three contenders in the outdoors,” Hoppler said on one of the most important meets of the year.
The ‘Cats eye serious conference competition this weekend in their conference meet, and some athletes will extend their seasons beyond the conference meet to compete in the later meets leading into the summer. You can follow the team by visiting the UNH athletics website at

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