Women's Track And Field Begins 2014 Season At Yale Invitational
Jan. 10, 2014
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -
And They're Off!
The UMass Women's Track and Field team will kick off its 2014 journey at the Yale Invitational. The meet is slated for 9:00 A.M. in New Haven Conn. on Saturday January 11. After a 2013 season full of team and individual successes, Coach LaFreniere's squad is viewed as a program on the rise in the Atlantic 10.
The Minutewomen graduated a very talented senior class in 2013 however the coaches responded by recruiting a deep and highly touted freshman class. The class consists of 23 athletes, all of which adding depth and addressing areas of need on the team.
Minutewomen On The Run
The squad's six freshmen distance runners who shined on the cross country course this fall will make an immediate impact. Two in particular Coach LaFreniere is excited about are Heather MacLean and Christine Davis.
MacLean was on her way to having a stellar freshman cross country campaign until it was cut short by injury. The Peabody, Mass. native will compete anywhere from the 400 to the mile over the course of the season and will surely be a factor in the teams already strong relay quads.
Davis will compete in the longer distance events, adding depth in the 800, 1,000 and mile as well as the 4x800 and distance medley relay. The Acton, Mass. native was one of the few freshmen to make it through the cross season avoiding injury and excelled in the process, consistently finishing in the front of the pack for UMass.
The two freshmen will add to what could be a strength for UMass this season. The distance events will surely be led by Rachel Hilliard, who led her team in all but one meet this past cross country season. UMass' other three experienced mid-distance-to-distance runners are Katie Powers, Courtney Neves and Sarah Bittermann. The three will compete primarily in the 800 and have been back-to-back New England champions in the 4x800 meter relay.
Another freshman that will step in and compete right away in mid-distance events and relays is Krista Webb. Webb, along with fellow first year Minutewoman Madison Nadeau will join Kayla Baldwin, Andrea Saccardo, Ashley Palmer and Sarah Murphy in the faster races. The team also adds Alex Puccia this season after missing her freshman season to injury.
Remaining Consistent And Successful In The Field
One thing that will remain constant is the team's success in the jump events. Becky Stoyle, Courtney Kromko and Palmer are all back for their junior season and will lead the way. Camille Edwards is also returning for her third season. The Brooklyn, N.Y. native has battled injury since she arrived and has been right in the mix of elite jumpers when healthy.
The Minutewomen still have their depth in the pole vault with Rachel Busch returning for her junior season and Sarah Bierly and Lexi Rewick beginning their second season as Minutewomen. A season ago Bierly and Busch consistently scored together in the top eight week-to-week.
UMass graduated most of its talent in the throwing events, losing Rachelle Bourque and Nalis Mbianda to graduation. However the team has its standout sophomore Kelsey Crawford who excelled in the shot put and javelin as a freshman and will be competing in the weight throw this year. Sarah Wagner, Alexa Fearing and freshman Margaret Risenborough will join Crawford.