Gold Medals Fuel Third Place Finish In New England Championship
March 1, 2014
BOSTON, Mass. - Two Minutewomen were crowned champion on the final day of the New England Championship, powering the team's third place finish overall at Boston University's Track and Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon. Becky Stoyle continued her dominance in the triple jump while Heather MacLean won her first gold medal at the collegiate level.
The women's track and field team took home the bronze with 69 points, finishing behind the University of Rhode Island and 2014 Indoor New England Champion, Northeastern. The team's third place finish out of 36 teams is the program's best New England indoor performance since 1999 when they were the silver medalists.
MacLean is the 2014 Indoor New England Champion in the 800 meter run as a freshman. The Peabody, Mass. native ran a UMass program record time of 2-minutes, 9.42-seconds after running the event in 2-minutes, 13.77-seconds in the qualifying round the day before. Her time was just 2-seconds shy of the New England record.
The gold medal marks the first UMass New England Champion in the 800 meter run in at least 20 years. She is the first UMass freshman to be crowned an Indoor New England Champion since 2005 when Kristen Bakanowski won the pole vault. The last Minutewoman to win gold as a freshman in a New England Championship was in 2013 when Kelsey Crawford won the heptathlon at last year's outdoor championship.
Stoyle claimed her third consecutive New England Championship and her second consecutive Indoor New England Championship in the triple jump with a leap measuring 42-feet, 0.25-inches. The mark betters her UMass program record and places her 27th nationally in the event. The junior from Pembroke, Mass. now has one more chance to crack the top 18 at the ECAC Championship. A top 18 mark in the nation qualifies her for the 2014 Indoor NCAA Championship.
The triple jumper is the first Minutewoman to win three consecutive New England Championships in at least 20 years and is the first Minutewoman to win three New England Championships since Rhianna DaCruz. DaCruz won the pole vault at the 2001 indoor championship and the 2001 and 2002 outdoor championship. Stoyle is the first to win back-to-back indoor New England titles since Melissa Henderson won the mile in 2001 and 2002.
Joining Stoyle on the podium was fellow junior Courtney Kromko. After winning the long jump the first day of competition Kromko leaped 40-feet, 2.25-inches in the long jump for a third place finish. The championship performance makes her the first Minutewoman to medal in two events at a New England Championship since Rose Bryan won the triple jump and medaled in the 55 meter hurdles in 1999.
The third UMass competitor to medal was Rachel Hilliard finishing the mile run in 4-minutes, 53.08-seconds. The third fastest time in program history won her the bronze medal, the first medal of her collegiate career. She is the first Minutewoman to podium in the mile since Melissa Henderson won the event in the 2001 Indoor New England Championship.
UMass continued its success in relays recording the third fastest time in program history in the 4x800 meter run. MacLean, Courtney Neves, Sarah Bittermann and Krista Webb ran for a combined time of 9-minutes, 7.37-seconds for a fifth place finish. The Minutewomen have now recorded a top five relay time in UMass history in four of the last five New England Championships.
Kelsey Crawford just missed the podium with a personal best throw in the shot put. Her toss equaling 44-feet, 5.25-inches keeps her fourth all-time in program history and is just a quarter of an inch shy of Jordan Veney who ranks third on the all-time list. Margaret Riseborough fell short of cracking the top eight in the shot put with a personal best throw of 41-feet, 1.5-inches placing her ninth in the meet.
Just missing the podium as well was Bittany Green in the 60 meter hurdles. The freshman placed sixth in the semi-finals with a time of 9.07-seconds and took fourth in the finals of the event, crossing the finish line in 8.92-seconds. She was joined by Meghan Patrolia who ran the semi-final race in 8.99-seconds for a fifth place finish and finished the finals in 8.93-seconds for a fifth place finish.
Also scoring for UMass was Ashley Palmer and Katie Osborne. Palmer joined Stoyle and Kromko in the triple jump with an eighth place performance with a 38-foot, 4.75-inch jump. Osborne set a height of 5-feet, 5-inches in the high jump for a sixth place finish.