The Minutemen are coming off a bye week and will have fresh legs for this weekend's championship meet due to this past weekend's snow storm that cancelled the Valentine Invitational.
Freshmen Ben Groleau and Michael Cyphers both enter the conference championship as strong competitors in their main event. Groleau has the third best time in the A-10 so far in the mile while Cyphers has the fourth best height in the conference in the pole vault.
UMass finished eighth at the 2012 Indoor A-10 Championship. The Minutemen last year were led by Zachary Koncki and Daniel Wu in jumping events but it was returners Jared Reddy, Curt Owen and Antony Taylor who assisted graduate Evan Donadt with the third best time in the distance medley relay. Owen, Taylor and Reddy also teamed up with Thomas Mullen in the 4x800 meter relay the second day of competition to run an IC4A qualifying performance. Other returners Aaron Araujo and Stephen Bigelow also turned in stout performances on the weekend.
Groleau Highlights Giegengack Invitational, Finishes First In The Mile
UMass' performance at Coxe Cage was highlighted by Benjamin Groleau's first place finish in the mile with a time of 4:11.02. The freshman was followed by Antony Taylor in fifth place with another New England qualifying time of 4:14.30. Also in long distance events, Michael McNaughton finished eighth in the 1,000 meter run. The freshman out of Haverhill, Mass. came in at 2:35.55.
In shorter distances it was once again, Quinn Ryder, Patrick Farnham and Stephen Bigelow who starred for the Minutemen. In the 60 meter dash Ryder finished second with a time of 7.07 with Farnham not far behind at 7.13 in fourth place. Bigelow finished second in the 60 meter hurdles, clocking in at 8.36.
Farnham and Ryder also contributed in the team's fifth place finish in the 4x400 meter relay. The duo teamed up with Zach Hildenbrandt and Paul Grafov for a time of 3:22.02 in the event.
Wrapping up in the field it was the freshman standout, Michael Cyphers hoisting himself 14-feet, 9-inches for a second place finish while the sophomore Gregory Copeland tied the mark.
Cyphers Lifts UMass To Fifth Place Finish At Joe Donahue Indoor Games, Awarded UMass Co-Athlete Of The Week Honors
In Roxbury, Mass. at the Joe Donahue Indoor Games the Minutemen received a first place performance from their freshman, Michael Cyphers. Two weeks ago the Lebanon, N.H. native and teammate Gregory Copeland tied for the fourth best mark all-time at UMass in the indoor pole vault with a height of 15-feet, 1-inch. At the Reggie Lewis Center, Cyphers pulled away and leaped a mark of 15-feet, 5-inches for third all-time, surpassing Wes Shaw's height of 15-feet, 3-inches. The freshman's mark was the best of the day in the pole vault, contributing to the team's fifth place finish.
Ryder, Farnham, Grafov, Otis and Mullen all scored individually on the track as well. Farnham finished in fifth in the 60 meter dash at 7.09, qualifying for New Englands. Ryder led the way in the event with a time of 7.07 and a third place finish. Grafov came in at a time of 51.46 in the 400 meter dash and trailed Zachary Hildenbrandt in sixth place with a time of 51.35. In the 800 meter run, Otis finished seventh at 1:57.08.
Men's Track And Field Finishes Third At Sorlien Invitational
The Minutemen walk away from URI Saturday with two more New England qualifiers and an overall third place finish, only trailing URI and Stonehill College. UMass scored the majority of its points on the track, with just four point scorers in field events however the performances of the day perhaps came from Gregory Copeland and Michael Cyphers in the pole vault.
The freshman Cyphers matched Copeland's mark last week. This week he did it again, both posting a height of 15-feet, 1-inch in the pole vault and finishing third and fourth respectively with Copeland on top. The pair also qualified themselves for the New England Championships in the event.
Otis And Company Sharp In Season Debut
Nick Otis finishing second in the 800 meter run with a personal best time of 1:56.40 was a thrilling moment for the team on Saturday afternoon's season opener. Otis missed all of the 2012 season due to injury and now proven healthy, the senior will give his team a boost on the track. The local out of Williamsburg, Mass. just missed qualifying for the New England Championships by .40 seconds.
Quinn Ryder qualified for the NECs in the 60 meter dash and set a personal best of 7.00 while placing third in the event. Also qualifying for the New England Championships was Stephen Bigelow when he ran the 60 meter hurdles in 8.51 in the preliminaries.
Finishing third in the 400 meter dash was Paul Grafov. The standout senior crossed the finish line at 50.52. Also getting the job done on the track was the men's 4x400 squad. The quad placed fourth in the event, finishing at 3:23.81.
2012 In Review
In 2012 the men's squad graduated nine seniors, two of which stole the spotlight throughout the season. UMass fans swarmed to the UMass Track and Field Complex and all over New England in order to see their friends, family and two seniors competing for the all-time UMass long jump crown.
UMass graduates Zachary Koncki and Daniel Wu graduated last season after a season long battle for the best outdoor long jump mark in UMass history. At the season's end Koncki finished on top by a half-inch margin with a distance of 24-0.75, Wu finished the season second best all-time with a mark of 24-0.25. Koncki also leaves UMass as the indoor champion as well with a mark of 24-0.25.
The long jump record wasn't the only dent the 2012 team made in the UMass record book. Evan Donadt graduated with the fifth best time in the 400 meter hurdles finishing with a personal best of 53.18. Donadt also assisted in the fifth best 4x400 meter relay time in indoor competition at UMass. The record came during the IC4A Championships when Donadt, Aaron Araujo, Zachary Hildenbrandt, and Paul Grafov crossed the finish line at 3:15.67. It was also at the IC4A Championships when Grafov set the fourth best time in UMass history of 1:04.06 in the 500 meter run.
Grafov leads the five in accolades with his two UMass records he set or assisted in last season. Grafov has been a key part in the team's success on the track, setting the fourth best time at UMass in the 500 meter run (1:04.06) and assisting in the fifth best 4x400 meter relay time of 3:15.67.
Otis will bring depth to the team's sprint, mid-distance and relay events in 2013. A New England qualifier in an array of events and an eighth place finish in the 400 meter hurdles at the A-10 Championships. His personal best time of 56.88 as a sophomore in the event is less than three seconds away from topping Grafov's fifth-best all-time mark.
Grube competed in the 100 meter dash, long jump and high jump last season and was the team's best in the high jump. The senior set a career best 6-6.25 in the high jump at the indoor A-10 Championships.
Strong Core Of Returners
The 2012 men's track and field squad was built for the future with a total of 32 underclassmen. However with the 32 underclassmen now with another year of experience and a strong freshman class entering the 2013 season, the future may be already here. The team is returning their best athletes in a majority of their events.
In sprints junior, Quinn Ryder and sophomore, Patrick Farnham will lead the way. Ryder led the squad in the 200 meter dash and second in the 100 meter dash Farnham landed opposite of Ryder and held the season best time in the 100 meter dash, and was second in the 200 meter dash. The two will also factor in relays as well.
In distance events the team has a group of juniors just coming off of successful seasons in cross country this fall. Jared Reddy led the team in the 1,500 meter run last season with a season best time of 3:56.81. Antony Taylor is the team's top returner in the 3,000 meter steeple chase and the 5,000 meter run. Taylor is also coming off of an All-Conference season in cross country, finishing 11th overall at the 2012 A-10 Championships. Patrick McGowan set the pace in the 10,000 meter run during 2012 with his best time of 30:38.36 coming in the A-10 Championships. McGowan battled Taylor all season long in cross country for the top spot and was a big part of the team's success this past season.
Another sophomore to keep an eye on this spring is Gregory Copeland, the team's best in the pole vault, setting a season best 14-9 at the UMass Invite as a freshman. Copeland is one coaches are particularly excited about heading into the 2013 campaign and will look to build on a successful freshman season.
Peter Farlow had success his freshman season in the 400 meter hurdles. The sophomore was a New England qualifier in the event and posted his best time of the season at the A-10 Championships when he finished the hurdles at 54.46.
Raymond Acciavatti is the team's best returning thrower this spring. In his freshman campaign Acciavatti finished fifth in the javelin at the A-10 Championships with a season best 178-10, also qualifying for the New England Championships.
Freshmen Fast Facts
This year the Coach O'Brien and Coach Jackson have brought in eight freshmen, many of whom gained experience this fall during the cross country season.
Benjamin Groleau, Michael McNaughton, Daniel Sheldon and Quentin Stipp all ran cross country this fall. Groleau makes a case for the most success in his freshman season with three top four performances on the team with one first place finish. He was the only freshman to finish first in a meet in 2012. Stipp finished the season with two top three performances while Sheldon finished the season with four top five finishes on the team.
One freshman that didn't compete this fall was brother of Andrew Grube, Zack Grube. The freshman will compete in jumps and hurdles this spring and currently holds six records at his high school. Grube holds records in the 4x50 shuttle hurdles, indoor high jump, 55 meter hurdles, 4x400 meter relay, 110 meter hurdles, and the 400 meter hurdle.