AMHERST, Mass. -
For the second time in program history the UMass track and field program will host a home meet being broadcast on television. This Saturday, the UMass Invitational will take place at the UMass Track and Field complex starting with the 10,000 meter run at 11 a.m. A total of 16 schools will be taking part in this weekend's competition.
UMass Invitational To Be Televised
The UMass Athletic Media Relations office is proud to announce the televising of the second UMass track and field meet in program history. The UMass Invitational on April 14 will be broadcast via tape delay on CBS 3 NOW (Comcast Cable 293, Charter Cable 290, and UMass Cable 79) on Wednesday, April 18 at 8 p.m.
The broadcast team will include Adam Frenier on play-by-play, former UMass Academic All-American Jon Korhonen on color commentary, and Ethan Sobel on sideline interviews.
Senior Day On Saturday
Eight seniors will be recognized at 10:30 a.m. prior to the UMass Invitational on Saturday. The Senior Day Ceremony will take place next to the jumps pits, and will feature a short highlight of each competitor's career while at UMass.
Senior Zachary Koncki will complete his collegiate track and field career this spring. The Northampton, Mass. native returns from the indoor season after setting the school record in the long jump (24-00.25), along with recording the top mark in UMass history last spring in the outdoor version of the event (23-10.75).
Koncki will have his sights set on the NCAA East Regional Championships this spring, having six meets to qualify for the National Meet.
Apart from the jumps, Koncki comes back as UMass' top 110 meter hurdler following the graduation of Tyler Cotto last year. His top time of 14.78 sits just shy of the Masssachusetts' record book by 0.18 seconds.
McKenna's Monster Throws
David McKenna was the lead thrower for UMass in the discus and hammer throws at the AIC Invite. The senior's season opening meet brought marks of 139-11 in the former of the two events, and a distance of 138-05 in the latter.
For throws coach Darcy Wilson, David McKenna returns as the leading strongman for the Minutemen in the shot put, hammer throw, and discus throw. The senior's career-bests in each sit at 42-7.50, 160-06, and 149-09.
Returning from a strong indoor season will be Stephen Bigelow who has yet to compete during the outdoor season. Bigelow was UMass' top 60 meter hurdler only behind senior Zachary Koncki this winter. Bigelow crossed the lined at 15.02, placing second at the AIC Invite (4/7) in week one and finishing first for the Minutemen.
In the 400 hurdles sophomore Aaron Araujo is at the top of the list in terms of career-best times. Araujo posted a personal record readout of 53.74 last spring as a freshman, which also marked a team best time as well. He was one-of-two Minutemen to travel to and compete in the USATF Junior Nationals last June.
Evan Donadt reeled off a time of 54.65 in the 400 meter hurdles in Springfield, Mass. (4/7), while taking home second place and first on the UMass squad.
In the season's opening meet Ryder cocked in at 11.25 while placing fourth and taking the top spot for UMass at the AIC Invite (4/7).
Grafov was the speediest 400 meter dasher in 2011, recording a team, season, and personal best time of 49.14 at the UMass Pre-Conference Meet on April 30. The North Dartmouth, Mass. native was the Minutemen's top finisher in the 400 dash at the AIC Yellow Jacket Invite (4/7) by registering a readout of 49.90 and placing sixth overall.
Zachary Hildenbrandt and Ted Greene were in action as well in the 400 meter dash at the AIC Invite (4/7). The sophomore duo raked in seventh and 12th place respectively with times of 49.91 and 50.76.
Jumpers Aiming For New Heights
Apart from Zachary Koncki, UMass' jumping core will be comprised of a combination of new and old faces. Senior Daniel Wu, a 2011 A-10 Academic All-Conference member for the indoor campaign, will lead the way in the triple jump for the Minutemen. The Tenafly, N.J. native jumped a distance of 22-5.00 in the long jump (second place) and 44-5.25 in the triple jump (third place) at the AIC Invite (4/7) last Saturday in the season's opening meet.
In the pole vault, much ground and height will have to be made up in lieu of the graduated Sean Busch. Gregory Copeland was the Minutemen's top vaulter during the indoor season, and he showed his strength at the AIC Invite (4/7) by reaching a height of 13-8.25 in the event while taking home fifth pace. He was the sole Minuteman to compete in the event.
Freshman Wesley Calhoun and junior AJ Grube provided depth for coach O'Brien in the jumping events this indoor season, and will see action this spring as well. Grube's mark of 6-2.25 in the high jump marked a career-high at the American International College Invite on April 7. Grube's height was good enough for second place.
Last spring, UMass was able to reel off five top-3 finishes between the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays. Returning from those quads are Chris Greene, Ted Greene, Conor Megee, Quinn Ryder, Zach Hildenbrandt, Paul Grafov, Michael McDonough, Tom Mullen, and Nick Otis. The fastest of the 4x100 relay times from 2011 stood at 42.43 set by C. Greene, T. Greene, Ryder, and Tyler Cotto (graduated) on April 9. In the 4x400 event, Grafov, Hildenbrandt, Otis, and McDonough combined for a readout of 3:24.19 on April 16.
The best of the 4x800 meter relay times came on May 7 last spring with an IC4A qualifying time of 7:28.22. Mullen as well competed on that team, along with current junior Joe Doyle.
It was a freshman leading the way in the 800 meter run at the AIC Invite (4/7) as Stephen Ness, out of Plymouth, Mass., placed fifth in 1:59.36.
Since arriving in Amherst, Mullen has performed to impress in both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Last spring he competed in both the 800 and 1500 meter runs, recording the second-best team season time among those returning in 2012, with a time of 1:54.06. Mullen's top 1500 meter time stood at 4:02.88.
Doyle is the fastest returning 800 meter athlete, holding a career-best time of 1:53.52, which is about two seconds away from the UMass record book. The junior also competed in the 1500 meter run last spring, posting a season-best time of 4:01.09 on April 30.
Distance Core Goes Long
Roommates Patrick McGowan and Antony Taylor combined to take home the top two spots in the 5K at the AIC Invite (4/7) with times of 14:45.02 and 14:57.24. Taylor's time was a new personal record. First year Zachary Florence also ran in the event and recorded a readout of 15:30.60, good enough for tenth overall.
Seven of the 12 distance harriers for UMass will be returnees, with five newcomers being added to the squad this season. Leading the way are standouts from the cross country and indoor campaigns in the forms of Antony Taylor, Patrick McAllister, and Patrick McGowan.
McAllister returns as just one-of-three to have ran the 10K last outdoor season, and the only Minuteman back from that trio. The senior posted a season-best time of 31:05.65 on May 7, 2011 and qualified himself for the IC4A Championships last spring.
A-10's At Home
For the second time in three years, the Minutemen will host the Atlantic 10 Championships at the UMass Track and Field Complex. This will be the second-of-two home meets this spring with the UMass Invitational being held on April 14.
When UMass last hosted the Conference Meet back in 2010, Ken O'Brien's squad faired quite well, finishing fourth overall with 104 points. A-10 Championship central with the meet schedule, facility records, and A-10 Championship records can be found by clicking here.
O'Brien Pulling The Reigns
With head coach Ken O'Brien returning for his 45th season at the helm of the men's track and field program as 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.