April 7, 2011
AMHERST, Mass. -
The UMass women's track and field team will have their home opener of the 2011 season, the UMass Invitational, this Saturday, April 9 at 11:30 a.m. Last year at the home opener, Nalis Mbianda set the fourth all-time record at UMass in the shot put and Rachelle Bourque set the second all-time record in the javelin.
Last Time Out
At last weeks meet, the AIC Invitational, the Minutewomen finished in second place overall, with standout performances coming from Gina Perno in the 1500 meter run, Stephanie Aguguo in the triple jump, Rebecca Banker in the high jump, and Katherine Finnegan in the long jump.
This year's group of seniors have proven themselves strong competitors in the indoor season and look to continue their success this outdoor season:
Coming off an indoor season where she placed second at the New England Championships in the 1000 meter run, Gina Perno looks to continue her stellar senior year in the outdoor season. Perno's time of 2:51.47, which tied the second best all-time mark at UMass and qualified her for the ECAC Championship meet, where she finished in seventh. She also holds the second best all-time mark at UMass in the 800 meter run, with a time of 2:12.62.
In this past indoor season, Aguguo has started to leave her mark at UMass, grabbing the second best all-time mark at UMass in the triple jump with a leap of 40-03.25. This mark also made her an A-10 Champion in the triple jump and qualified her for the New England Championship meet, where she took second place, and the ECAC Championship meet, where she took seventh place.
Along with Stephanie Aguguo
, Ida Okkonen
has helped form a dynamic duo in both the long jump and triple jump. Okkonen was a New England Championship qualifier in the two events and set the fourth highest all-time mark in the triple jump in the 2010 indoor season. During the 2010 outdoor season, Okkonen was the team's top long jumper and was once again a New England Championship qualifier in both the long and triple jumps.
Coming of a great indoor season, Elizabeth Fisk looks to finish her senior year with a bang. She qualified for the New England Championships in the mile run with a time of 5:05.93, where she finished 16th with a time of 5:08.64. In the 2010 outdoor season, Fisk was a New England Championship qualifier in the 1500 meter run and was a member of the 4X800 meter relay squad that set the second fastest all-time mark at UMass.
Changing of the Guard
When Lisa Wilson graduated from UMass, she had undoubtedly become the greatest track and field thrower in UMass history. While those expectations are extremely hard to live up to, freshman Nalis Mbianda showed signs last season that she could capture some of the greatness that Wilson had at UMass. Mbianda set the second highest UMass all-time mark in the shot put during her freshman indoor season and the third highest UMass all-time mark in the event during her freshman outdoor season. At the Great Dane Invitational (1/22) where Mbianda set the mark for second all-time (44-08.25), had Lisa Wilson not bettered her toss with a distance of 45-00.25, Mbianda would have claimed the school record in the shot put during the very first meet of her collegiate career. In the 2011 indoor season, Mbianda bested that second all-time mark with a throw of 44-11.50, with the hopes of overtaking that best all-time mark in this outdoor season.
These sophomore Minutewomen all had impressive indoor seasons and are itching to prove themselves in the outdoor competition:
This sophomore made her mark this past indoor season, qualifying for both the New England Championship meet and the ECAC Championship meet in the 500 meter run. At the NEC meet, she set the team's season best time in the 500 with a time of 1:15.65, which was also the fourth best all-time mark at UMass.
This high jumper sought new heights in this past indoor season, jumping a personal best 5-05.00 and setting the fourth best all-time mark at UMass in the event. She looks to continue her success this outdoor season in the high jump, as well as in the long jump.
Starting to stand out on this squad is Erika Unger, who qualified for the New England Championship meet in the 500 meter run with a time of 1:17.46. She also competed in the 4x400 meter relay at the NEC meet along with fellow sophomore Michelle Jenssen.