BOSTON, Mass. -
The regular season comes to a conclusion this Friday and Saturday for the UMass men's indoor track and field team. A trip to Boston, Mass. and the Boston University Track and Tennis Center will bring a close to the eight meet indoor campaign that started back in early January. The action on Saturday and Sunday is set to commence at 10:00 a.m.
At last year's IC4A Championships, the Minutemen tied for 31st with 8.50 points. Included in the top performances for UMass was the school record breaking performance of Sean Busch in the pole vault. Also breaking into the UMass record books was a 4x800 meter relay team who recorded the fifth-best time in school history.
High Performing Relay Quads
The New England Championships brought the fastest UMass teams thus far this season to the forefront in all three relay events: 4x400, 4x800, and distance medley.
At the NEC's (2/25), Curt Owen, Jared Reddy, Michael Giardina, and Michael McDonough were a speedy team in the 4x800 meter relay event. The quad posted the best team season time by any UMass foursome this season, by clocking in at 7:46.61. The mark reached the qualifying time for the IC4A Championships, while placing the team eighth overall.
It was Aaron Araujo, Evan Donadt, Zach Hildenbrandt, and Paul Grafov who worked together to produce the best time by a UMass 4x400 meter relay unit this season at the New England Championships (2/25). The quad reeled off a readout of 3:17.26, which was good enough for seventh place and to qualify for the IC4A Championships.
The distance medley relay team comprised of Jared Reddy, Evan Donadt, Joe Doyle, and Michael Giardina combined to record the best team season time in the event at the New England Championships (2/24). With a finish in 10:10.91, the quad placed ninth and qualified for the IC4A Championships.
Mid-Distance Making Moves
Paul Grafov produced the fifth-best time in UMass history in the 500 meter run at the New England Championships (2/24). The junior registered a readout of 1:04.16, and placed sixth in the prelims of the event. Grafov's handiwork in the 500 meter run, pushed him to a seventh place finish at the A-10 Championships. The third-year crossed the line at 1:06.15, marking UMass' top finisher in a mid-distance event at A-10's.
Thomas Mullen continued to pursue his string of luck in the 1000 meter run at the A-10 Championships (2/18). With a readout of 2:31.19, the sophomore recorded a career-best mark in the event while placing tenth. At the Valentine Invite (2/11), Mullen ran his signature event from his freshman campaign, the 800 meter run. The New Bedford, Mass. native came home with a career-best time of 1:53.14, which qualified him for the IC4A Championships while placing 24th in the event.
First-year harrier Curt Owen was a bright spot for the Minutemen at the Giegengack Invitational. He set a new personal record of 1:58.06, placed 14th, and was the top Minuteman in the event.
Thomas Mullen reeled off a career-best 4:13.10 in the mile run at the New England Championships (2/25), while taking home 22nd. The sophomore is now qualified for this weekend's IC4A meet in both the mile and 1000 meter runs.
The NEC's (2/25) signaled a surge in the 3K for Antony Taylor. The Arlington, Mass. native cocked in with a personal record time of 8:24.83, while taking home seventh. The readout was good enough to qualify for this weekend's competition. In the mile run, Antony Taylor recorded a new personal record at the Joe Donahue Invitational (1/27) in week three. By crossing the line at 4:19.07, the sophomore bested his previous personal record by nearly five seconds.
With personal records in their sights, Patrick McGowan and Michael Giardina came through for UMass in the mile run as well at the Giegengack Invitational (2/4). With readouts of 4:18.54 and 4:19.67, the duo placed consecutively sixth and seventh at the Cox Cage in New Haven, Conn. Behind only Thomas Mullen, Giardina posts the best time in the mile run for UMass in 2012.
Sprinting Towards Success
Peter Farlow was a bright spot in the 60 meter dash in the heptathlon at the New England Championships (2/24). The first year placed first in a career-best 7.22, tying the top individual time for UMass this season in the event, also recorded by Raymond Acciavatti in week four.
At the New England Championships (2/25) Aaron Araujo delivered a time of 49.34 while placing 12th in the 400 meter dash. The readout was the best thus far during the championship season for the sophomore. Araujo reeled off a second place finish in 49.59 at the A-10 Championships (2/18) in the 400 meter dash. He was just 0.29 away from claiming his first-career A-10 Crown. Adding to his list of accomplishments this season, at the Valentine Invitational (2/11), Araujo qualified for the IC4A Championships in the 400 meter dash. The sophomore clocked in at 48.89 while placing 19th and setting a new personal record.
With championships season commencing two weeks ago at the A-10 Meet, the Minutemen have been able to send several competitors to the heptathlon competition, competing in six events over two days.
The top two multi athletes through two meets have been Mark Hewitt and Peter Farlow The former of the two tallied 4491 points at the New England Championships (2/25), while Farlow's season best sum came at the A-10 Championships (2/18) with 4422 points. Both Minutemen placed eighth at the respective meets.
Stability At The Helm
With head coach Ken O'Brien returning for his 45th season at the helm of the men's track and field program, the Minutemen own the most seasoned leader in the A-10 Conference. In O'Brien's 44 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. During the 2008 cross country season, O'Brien was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, as the Minutemen finished first in the league. This was the second-ever Minutemen A-10 Cross Country Title, the first coming in 1995.
A long time contributor to the sport of track and field, O'Brien has served numerous regional and national associations. He served as secretary of the NCAA Cross Country Coaches Association from 1975-80, has been president of the IC4A coaches association and was re-selected to the coaching staff of the National Olympic Development Distance Runners Training Center at Lake Placid, N.Y.
A native of Foxboro, Mass., O'Brien won 10 letters in football, basketball, baseball and track and captained all four sports his senior year at Foxboro High School. O'Brien and his wife Claudia, reside in Amherst, Mass.
Behind O'Brien are third year assistants David Jackson and Darcy Wilson. Both have made the most of their stints in Amherst, helping to produce multiple UMass record book performances and A-10 Conference and New England Champions.
Completing his second season coaching for the Minutemen, Jackson has already set a track record for excellence, producing one NCAA East Region Qualifier (Brian Miller-high jump); six conference champions (Sean Busch - 2x indoor & 2x outdoor pole vault; Brian Miller outdoor high jump, & Zachary Koncki indoor long jump), one indoor New England Champion (Zach Koncki indoor long jump), and three school records (indoor pole vault (16'.75"), outdoor high jump (7' .25"), outdoor long jump (23' 10.75"). He also has helped yield one Atlantic 10 Field Event Performer of the Year(B. Miller), one A-10 Student-Athlete of the Year, a UMass Student-Athlete of the Year, two UMass Winter Student-Athletes, a Spring Student-Athlete of the Year (S. Busch), and multiple Student-Athletes of the Weeks as well UMass top three record holders.
Darcy Wilson enters her third season as an assistant coach for the UMass track and field programs. Wilson, who has worked with several NCAA qualifiers and an NCAA champion at the Division III level, will be coaching the throwing events for the Minutemen and Minutewomen.
Cameron Carter will also be on staff this season as a volunteer assistant coach. Carter was a four-year standout thrower at Colorado State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Kinesiology at UMass.