Women's Track

 
AIC Invite Marks The Start Of The 2012 Outdoor Season

Claire Pettit will look to finish her senior year strong in this years outdoor campaign.

Claire Pettit will look to finish her senior year strong in this years outdoor campaign.

April 5, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The women's indoor track and field team is beginning their 2012 outdoor season this weekend at the AIC Invitational in Springfield, Mass. Head Coach, Julie LaFreniere and her Minutewomen will look to build off a successful indoor campaign where they had 13 New England qualifiers, three ECAC qualifiers and entered five new records into the UMass all-time record book. This year's seniors will strive to make a lasting impression on UMass track and field, as they compete in the final stretch of their collegiate careers. The AIC Invite kicks off the outdoor season at 10:00 a.m.

The Finish Line Nearing

Karen Roa

Senior, Karen Roa enters the season as a strong harrier in outdoor competition with hopes of adding to her list of credentials. The senior out of Jamaica, N.Y. already holds the UMass all-time record in the steeplechase. Roa set the UMass record for the steeplechase last year while claiming the gold medal in the New England Championships, beating the previous record in the by 24 seconds. Roa is UMass' most recent New England Champion in outdoor competition. Before Roa's championship performance in 2011, the last Minutewoman to earn the title of New England Champion was Rachelle Bourque when she won the javelin throw in 2010.

Roa had a strong 2012 indoor campaign, making her way into the UMass record books yet again. The long distance runner moved up in the record books from fourth to second all-time in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 9:40.33. The finish also qualified the senior for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships. The harrier was a strong competitor in the 3,000 meter run all season long, racking up a second place finish at the Atlantic 10 Championships as well as a third place finish at the Joe Donahue Indoor Games. The senior gave a strong performance in the mile run to open the season at the Sorlein Invitational where she finished first place overall and qualified for the New England Championships.

 

 

Chrissy Silvar

Chrissy Silvar is a senior that is no stranger to the UMass record books and has improved year-to-year in the pole vault, breaking into the UMass record books her junior season at the New England Championships where she placed sixth overall. The Fitchburg, Mass. native currently holds the fifth best mark in UMass history in outdoor competition with a height of 11-05.75.

Silvar competed well in the indoor season and continued to improve her marks in the pole vault. The senior moved up this year from fifth all-time at UMass in indoor competition to fourth all-time in the pole vault with a mark of 11-09.75. The senior set her personal best at the Atlantic 10 Championships, where she placed fourth overall and also qualified for the ECAC championships. The senior put up solid marks week-to-week, never placing less than eighth overall in the pole vault. The senior had herself a first place finish at the GoRhody Invite while also qualifying for the New England Championships.

Deanna Julian

In 2011, Deanna Julian, made her presence known at the indoor New England Championships, where she placed third overall and fifth all-time with a finish of 1:15.70 in the 500 meter run. The senior is also apart of the indoor 4x800 meter relay squad that sits at second place all-time in UMass history. Julian, Claire Pettit, Gina Perno, and Caroline Conena came together to finish third overall at the New England Championships with a time of 9:14.71. In outdoor competition the Dudley, Mass. native is a member of the second place all-time 4x800 meter relay squad with a time of 9:04.30, a record that was set in 2010 alongside Gina Perno, Liz Fisk, and Courtney Baldwin.

In the indoor season, Julian competed in multiple events including the 800 meter run, 1000 meter run, 4x400 meter and 4x800 meter relays, and the distance medley relay. The senior had two first place finishes this year, one in the 800 meter run at the Sorein Invite with a time of 2:17.79, and one in the 1000 meter run at the GoRhody Invitational, both performances qualified her for the New England Championships. However, Julian's best time in the 1000 meter run came at the New England Championships when she finished ninth in the preliminaries with a time of 2:56.92.

Claire Pettit

The senior out of Warwick, N.Y. teamed up with Michelle Jenssen, Gina Perno, and fellow senior Karen Roa for the second best all-time record in the distance medley relay at the indoor A-10 Championships in 2011 with a time of 11:49.64. The finish was good for a third place finish overall. Pettit also set the second best all-time record in indoor competition for the 4x800 meter relay with Deanna Julian, Gina Perno, and Caroline Conena. Their combined effort in the New England Championships was good enough for a third place finish with a time of 9:14.71.

The senior did well in her junior season competing in the 800 meter run with her best time of 2:16.63 placed her ninth at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. In the outdoor season Pettit had a season best time of 2:15.30 at the UMass Pre-Conference Meet where she finished second overall and qualified for the the New England Championships. The veteran also competed in the 1500 meter run last spring at the UMass Invitational. There she placed 13th overall with a time of 4:45.58.

Jennifer Simao

Simao had herself a solid year last year in outdoor competition competing in the javelin and hammer throw. The local thrower out of Ludlow, Mass. threw for her best mark in the javelin throw on May 13 at the New England Championships where she threw for a distance of 114-04, landing her in 14th place overall. In the hammer throw, Simao had her best distance at the A-10 Championships where she placed 20th with a mark of 113-07.

The senior thrower saw action this indoor season in the weight throw and shot put. Simao competed in the weight throw at the Sorlein Invite where she posted her season best mark of 35-02.50. She then threw for her best distance in the weight throw the following week at the GoRhody Invitational with a distance of 30-04.25 which placed her eighth overall in the meet.

Junior Throwers Shoot To Build On Past Success

Nalis Mbianda

Nalis Mbianda holds the second best mark in UMass history in both, the indoor and outdoor shot put. The Newton, Mass. native set her personal best outdoor mark last season at the Larry Ellis Invitational where she threw a distance of 45-03.75, placing third overall in the meet. Mbianda's record is 3-3.00 short of the all-time record at UMass, set by former teammate Lisa Wilson.

The junior thrower continued to give standout performances in this year's indoor season with her best performance coming at the Joe Donahue Indoor Games. Mbianda placed second overall, throwing a distance of 44-09.50, qualifying her for the ECAC championships. The mark was just short of her personal best of 44-11.50, which is second all-time at UMass. The indoor record is also just shy of Lisa Wilson's all-time best record of 45-01.75.

Rachelle Bourque

The thrower out of Rowley, Mass. had a very strong 2011 outdoor campaign. The junior was a strong competitor in a number of events, including the shot put, javelin throw, and hammer throw. The junior was most impressive in the javelin throw, setting the all-time best record at UMass with a distance of 141-11, placing her second overall at the New England Championships. Bourque's best performance in the shot put came on April 23 when she posted a mark of 40-05.50, placing her 11th overall in the Larry Ellis Invitational and qualifying her for the New England Championships. In the hammer throw, Bourque posted her season best distance at the UMass Invitational, throwing for 121-11 and placing seventh overall.

Bourque competed in both, the weight throw and the shot put this indoor season. The junior tied her personal best this season in the shot put which sits at fourth all-time at UMass. Her mark of 43-06.00 placed her eighth overall in the Atlantic 10 Championships. Bourque's best performance in the weight throw came at the GoRhody Invitational when she posted a mark of 43-00.25. The mark was good enough for fourth overall in the meet.

Kaylee DeVincent

DeVincent showed her versatility in the 2011 outdoor season when she performed in three events throughout the year. The senior out of Southborough, Mass. appeared in the shot put, hammer throw and discuss throw for the Minutewomen and performed well in all three events. DeVincent's best mark in the shot put was at the New England Championships where she posted a mark of 40-03.25, placing 10th overall. Her season best in the hammer throw led the team and was good enough for a fourth place finish overall. The junior threw a distance of 128-00 to open the season at the AIC Invitational. The thrower also led the team in the discus throw, with her best mark coming on April 30 at the UMass Pre6Conference Meet. Her team leading and season best mark of 119-05 was good enough for sixth overall in the competition.

In this year's indoor campaign, DeVincent's best distance in the weight throw qualified her for the New England Championships. The distance of 50-00.00 placed her 11th overall at the Atlantic 10 Championships. The junior also competed in the shot put all season long with her season best mark of 40-09.50 came at the Joe Donahue Indoor Games where she placed fourth overall.

Freshmen Continue To Develop

Rebecca Stoyle The freshman out of Pembroke, Mass. competed in two events for the Minutewomen this indoor season. Stoyle set the fourth best all-time record in UMass history in the triple jump this year. Her distance of 38-04.75 placed her fifth overall at the A-10 Championships. The freshman also qualified for the New England Championships and posted a team best time in the 200 meter dash of 25.77 at the Valentine Invitational.

Jaclyn Lam

Another freshman jumper who had a strong freshman indoor season is the Stockton, Cal. native, Jaclyn Lam. Lam has competed in the high, long and triple jump so far this year and showed potential in all three events. Lam's best mark in the high jump of 5-03.00 came at the Charles Torpey Tribute where she placed third overall. The freshman posted a team best in the long jump of 17-04.75 and placed 10th overall at the Atlantic 10 Championships. She also posted her personal best in the triple jump at the A-10 Championships when she leaped for a distance of 37-05.25 and placed eighth overall.

Katie Powers

Powers, like many freshmen this season competed in a number of events. The Holbrook, Mass. native competed in the 800 meter run, mile run, and the 4x400, 4x800 and distance medley relay but found most of her success in the 1000 meter run. The freshman qualified for the New England Championships early in the season crossing the finish line at 7:02.45 in the Joe Donahue Indoor Games. Powers then posted her season best mark in the 1000 meter run in the New England Championships with a time of 2:57.99 placing sixth in the preliminaries. Powers took 10th overall in the finals of the 1000 meter run with a time of 3:02.40.

Ashley Palmer

Perhaps UMass' most versatile freshman this 2011 indoor campaign is Ashley Palmer out of Phoenix, N.Y. Palmer competed in a total of nine different events but gave her strongest performances in the long jump. The freshman's personal best of 17-04.25 placed her third overall at the Charles Torpey Tribute.

Minutewomen In Good Hands

Positioning the Minutewomen for success are head coach, Julie LaFreniere and assistants David Jackson and Darcy Wilson. LaFreniere is in the midst her 25th season as head coach of UMass women's cross country and track and field teams. Both Jackson and Wilson are in their third season as UMass assistants.

  • Julie LaFreniere has been the head coach of the Minutewomen since 1987 and graduated from UMass in 1977. The Gardner Mass. native competed for the cross country and track and field squads in her collegiate years and set school records in the half-mile and mile. She was also named MVP of the cross country and track and field team her junior and senior season. LaFrenier has coached four NCAA qualifiers in the sport of track and field. Adding on to her list of achievements she has claimed two outdoor A-10 titles, two indoor A-10 titles, and has been named Coach of the Year by the A-10 three times.

    The long time head coach is assisted by David Jackson and Darcy Wilson. Both coaches are in their third season with UMass and both have made an impact in their short time with the team.

  • David Jackson is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo in 1998 and has been an assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Roberts Wesleyan College. In his time with the Tar Heels, Jackson coached three All-Americans and four ACC Champions. At Roberts Wesleyan College, Jackson helped claim three NCCAA national titles and coached five NCCAA All-Americans. The assistant has made a significant impact with the Minutewomen, helping UMass great, Stephanie Aguguo in all her successes. Jackson assisted Aguguo claim a school record in the triple jump, an indoor New England Championship, two Conference Championships, and assisted her in becoming a NCAA East Region Qualifier.

  • Assistant Coach, Darcy Wilson is a former assistant coach at Keene State. There she coached several NCAA qualifiers and a NCAA Champion. The Boston University graduate coached students to ECAC and national titles in the men's hammer throw and men's and women's javelin. At UMass, Wilson has helped athletes such as Nalis Mbianda, Rachelle Bourque and Lisa Wilson enter their names into the UMass record books.

  • Cameron Carter will also be on staff this season as a volunteer assistant coach. Carter was a standout thrower at Colorado State University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Kinesiology at UMass.
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      Event Calendar

      Saturday, Apr 26
      at UNH Pre-Conference Meet 11:30 AM
      Saturday, May 3
      vs Atlantic 10 Championship 9:00 AM
      Sunday, May 4
      vs Atlantic 10 Championship 9:00 AM
      Friday, May 9
      at New England Championship 12:00 PM
      Saturday, May 10
      at New England Championship 12:00 PM
      Saturday, May 17
      at ECAC Championship All Day
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