DURHAM, N.H. -
With just one week to go until the all-important Atlantic 10 Championships, the UMass men's outdoor track and field team is slated to travel north this Saturday for the UNH Pre-Conference Meet. The Wildcats host the annual competition, which is scheduled for an 11 a.m. start at the Reggie Atkins Track and Field Facility.
Wu Rising High And Going Long
Senior Daniel Wu has been top notch this outdoor season for UMass in the long jump. Just this past weekend, the Tenafly, N.J. native recorded the fourth best mark in Massachusetts school history in the long jump with a leap of 23-7.50 at the Larry Ellis Invite (4/21). Wu now ranks 82nd in the NCAA East Region and second in the A-10 in the event with just a week to go until the Conference Meet.
Apart from the long jump, Wu has also been a solid competitor in the triple jump, ranking 12th in the A-10 with a season-best mark of 44-5.25 recorded at the AIC Invite on April 7.
Jumpers Aiming For New Heights
As just a freshman, Gregory Copeland has surged to fourth in the A-10 Conference in the men's pole vault with a season-best height of 14-9.00. Through the first two weeks of his inaugural collegiate outdoor campaign, the versatile jumper has recorded two top-5 finishes including ranking third at the UMass Invite on April 14.
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 holds the top-season mark on the UMass squad in the high jump with a personal record height of 6-3.25 this past Saturday at home (4/14).
The young faces comprised of Quinn Ryder and Patrick Farnham have propelled the Minutemen through three weeks of competition in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Ryder recently clocked in with a team season-best time of 11.04 in the 100 meter event at the Larry Ellis Invite (4/21). He ranks 16th in the conference. Both Ryder and Farnham are tied for 19th in the Atlantic 10 in the 200 meter event with a season-best time of 22.20.
In the 400 meter dash, Aaron Araujo and Paul Grafov have been at the front of the pack for coach Ken O'Brien with the 13th and 19th best A-10 Conference times through three weeks. The North Dartmouth, Mass. native, Grafov, posted his top-season time at the Larry Ellis Invite (4/21) by crossing the line at 49.36 this past Saturday. With the new team-season-best time, Grafov moved up three spots in the A-10 rankings in the event from a week ago. The New Bedford, Mass. native, Araujo, zipped out a readout of 49.78 at the UMass Invite (4/14), marking a new career-best.
Ready For The Relays
Two relay teams rank in the A-10's top-10 in their respective events as of the week of April 23. In the 4x400 meter relay, Aaron Araujo, Evan Donadt, Zach Hildenbrandt, and Paul Grafov ran a 3:19.31 while placing 18th at the Larry Ellis Invite (4/21). The team's time sits seventh in the Atlantic 10.
The rebuilding process in the 110 meter hurdles has been expedited this season through the first two weeks of the outdoor campaign. Sophomore standout Stephen Bigelow recorded a personal career-best time of 15.02 in the event in week one of the outdoor campaign (4/7), while capturing his first 110 meter hurdles victory of his career in week two at the UMass Invitational. Bigelow ranks tenth in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Evan Donadt has been the face to watch in the 400 meter hurdles thus far for the Minutemen. The senior's top season time of 54.17 sits sixth-best in the A-10 Conference, and fastest on the UMass squad. His career-best time was reeled off just last spring with a readout of 53.98.
Multis Making Moves
In the first decathlon only meet of the season, the Minutemen sent three competitors to the docket at the Holy Cross Invite. Mark Hewitt, Daniel Schwartz, and Conor Megee comprised the UMass contingent.
Hewitt placed fourth with a tally of 5801 points, while Schwartz followed in fifth with 5774. The story of the day came with a strong finish in the 1500 meter run as Schwartz took home first place with a career-best time of 4:23.26. Hewitt followed in second by crossing the line with a personal record readout of 4:30.59.
McKenna's Monster Throws
Two straight weeks have pushed David McKenna to the top of the rankings on the team in both the hammer and discus throws. His highest finish has came at the UMass Invitational on April 14 with a throw of 139-00 in the discus on Senior Day, taking home third place. Through two meets, McKenna has recorded two top-5 finishes between the two events.
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.
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.
Since arriving on campus, Thomas Mullen has solidified himself as one to watch out for in the coming years. His top-season time in the 800 meter run ranks 15th in the A-10 at 1:53.84, recorded last Saturday at the UMass Invitational (4/14). The readout is 2:19 off from the UMass record book. Jared Reddy was also a speedy sophomore at the home opener, as he logged a personal record time of 3:56.81 while placing second in the 1500 meter run. Reddy's time is top on the UMass squad and ranks 22nd in the A-10.
Antony Taylor logged a personal record time of 3:57.44 (16th place) in the 1500 meter run at the Larry Ellis Invite on April 21. The readout ranks 24 in the A-10 and second on the team only behind co-sophomore Jared Reddy.
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.
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 has ran in both the 800 and 1500 meter runs through three weeks of the outdoor campaign.
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. The readouts rank 15th and 23rd in the Atlantic 10 Conference as of the week of April 16.
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.