Men's Track Season Jump Starts At Sparks Sorlein Invite
Jan. 7, 2011
KINGSTON, R.I. - The 2011 men's indoor track and field season is set to kick off Saturday, January 15th at the Sparks Sorlein Invitational. The Kingston, R.I. hosted meet will mark the commencement of an eight meet indoor season for the men's squad going all the way through the IC4A Championships, with NCAA's to follow.
Cotto Returns For Senior Campaign
2010 New England 55 meter hurdle Champion Tyler Cotto returns for his fourth and final indoor track and field season at UMass. In terms of success in the past, Cotto is at the top of the ranks, following an outstanding 2010 season.
Not only was the Holliston, Mass. native the top performer at the New England Meet, but he also set the second best time in school history at the February 27th competition. He also was a IC4A qualifier in the 55 meter hurdles.
Relay Teams Seeking Success
The combination of a 4x400 meter relay, 4x800 meter relay, and distance medley relay squads equaled triumph for the Minutemen last indoor season.
Returning from the IC4A qualifying 4x400 meter relay squad are Phillip Weltman, Brian Tino, Sam Laorenza, and Nick Otis, who posted the second best team season time in the event by a relay quad of 3:19.85 at last year's New England Championships (2/27).
Another accomplished relay squad, that also qualified for the IC4A Championships last season, returns Michael McDonough and Scott VanderMolen for their junior and senior campaigns respectively. The quad that both were a part of stole sixth place at the New England Championships (2/27), while posting a team best season time of 7:46.04 in the event.
Finally, the distance medley relay squads were another success for UMass last season, as VanderMolen and Joe Doyle return to lead the way in this heavily contested event. In 2010, the duo was part of a four man team that qualified for the IC4A Meet at the Giegengack Invite (2/5) in 10:04.74. Another quad of distance medley runners posted a third place finish in the preliminaries of the event at the IC4A Championships (3/5) in a team best season time of 9:55.80. Daniel Schwartz and VanderMolen both return from that quad.
Bountiful Field Of Newcomers
Ken O'Brien's freshman class includes the largest number of student-athletes present in any class on the current Minutemen squad. Nineteen newcomers outdo 18 seniors, nine juniors, and six sophomores.
The class of 2014 includes four sprinters, five distance harriers, two mid-distance competitors, four jumpers, three throwers, and two hurdlers, making for a diverse freshman group.
Doyle Back For Domination
In terms immediate success Joseph Doyle was stunning last year for the Minutemen in his freshman campaign. During the indoor season, the mid-distance competitor qualified for both the New England and IC4A Championships, while setting the fifth best time in school history at the Valentine Invitational (2/13). The time of 1:52.91 was good enough for 10th place.
Doyle also competed in the 4x400 meter relay and distance medley relay, carrying his success directly to the outdoor season.
Busch Seeks A-10 Re-Crowning
The lone A-10 Crown for UMass was awarded to Sean Busch last indoor season in the pole vault. Not only was he the best at the conference meet by reaching a height of 15-3, but he also tied the school record in the event later in the season at the IC4A Championships (3/5), with an outstanding mark of 15-9.
Busch will compete in his final track season in 2011, seeking additional championship awards.
Coaching Staff Restructured
2011 brings a new look to the track and field coaching staff at UMass, aside from the return of head coach Ken O'Brien. Returning for their second seasons are David Jackson and Darcy Wilson, for jumps, multi-events, and throws; however, two new faces have emerged this year in the forms of Jose Genao and Elaina Zizza.
Ken O'Brien enters his 43rd year as head coach of the UMass men's track and field program. In O'Brien's 42 seasons coaching cross country and track and field at UMass, the Minutemen have won 19 conference titles (Yankee, Atlantic 10 and Eastern), four New England crowns, two IC4A titles and have had seven All-America performers. In 1999, O'Brien was named NCAA District 1 Track and Field Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, and the fourth time he has won the award in track and field to go along with District 1 Coach of the Year honors for cross country on four different occasions in his 42-year career at UMass.
Jackson returns in 2011 after helping to earn UMass three A-10 Champions and one New England Champion. Sean Busch was crowned an A-10 Champion during both the indoor and outdoor seasons in the pole vault, Tyler Cotto was crowned a New England Champion in the indoor 55 meter hurdles, and Brian Miller was crowned an A-10 Champion in the outdoor high jump.
Prior to coming to Amherst, Genao served as a high school assistant coach for track and field in New York State. As a member of the Fighting Irish at the University of Notre Dame, Genao was a standout track and field athlete in the sprints events. Some highlights of the New York native's career include qualifying for the Big East Conference Indoor T&F Championships as a freshman, junior, and senior. As an outdoor competitor Genao's outstanding performances allowed him to qualify for the Big East Championships as a freshman and senior.
Elaina Zizza will enter her first year as a volunteer student-assistant coach with the men's and women's track and field programs at UMass in 2010-11. Zizza currently has a USA Track and Field Level 1 Coaching Certification.
Competing as a Minutewoman from 2007-2009, Zizza was a multi-event indoor and outdoor track & field athlete. During her sophomore campaign, Zizza ran in the 100 meter hurdles, 800 meter run, 60 meter hurdles, long jump, and competed in the heptathlon between the indoor and outdoor seasons. The 2007-2008 year was the most active for the student-assistant in terms of number of events participated in, as Zizza competed solely during the outdoor season in the heptathlon, javelin, 100 meter dash, high jump, 800 meter run, 100 meter hurdles, 4x400 meter relay, and long jump.