Blanchflower, Gracel Named UMass Co-Athletes Of The Week
Nov. 27, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - Junior tight end Rob Blanchflower and junior forward Branden Gracel were named the UMass Co-Athletes of the Week after outstanding weekend performances for the football and hockey teams, respectively. The pair will be honored on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the UMass Sports Luncheon which will be held at Noon in the Massachusetts Room of the Mullins Center.
Along with this week's selection, the UMass Sports Luncheon will also honor last week's Athlete of the Week selection which was a quintet of women's swimmers: Molly Smyth, Zoe Judd, Jocelyn Yuen, Rebecca Quirie and Katie Arnott.
Blanchflower had an outstanding game in the Minutemen's season ending loss to Central Michigan. The Leominster, Mass., native hauled in a career-high 10 catches for 100 yards. He became the first tight end at UMass to hit the 100-yard mark since All-American Kerry Taylor did so in the 1998 NCAA Playoffs. Seven of Blanchflower's 10 catches came on third downs with four picking up first downs. He also scored a touchdown at the end of the first half to pull the Minutemen even 14-14 with Central Michigan.
Gracel led the hockey team to a 1-0-1 week with two goals and an assist. The native of Calgary, Alberta, logged his first career multi-goal game, which included the game-winner, in 3-1 victory over Vermont. He also assisted on a go-ahead goal in 2-2 tie versus #18 Quinnipiac on Saturday. Gracel is currently tied for the team lead in goals (5) on the year and is second in points (8).
Wednesday's Sports Luncheon will also feature guest speakers Bob Newcomb (head women's swimming coach), Jeff Smith (Assoc. A.D. Sports Medicine/Hockey) and Jenn Brodeur (Assoc. Head Athletic Trainer/Football). The field hockey team will also be honored for winning the Atlantic 10 Championship and reaching the NCAA Tournament.