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The Mass Media

Men’s and women’s track and field are taking spring success in stride


Women’s track and field race at Regis College. Photo by Ally Albano (She/Her) / Beacon Athletics.

UMass Boston track and field’s turnout has been nothing short of amazing in the Spring 2023 season. Since earning some top finishes this past winter, the Beacons picked up right where they left off and came out hot right out of the gate in their outdoor campaign. 

Both men’s and women’s track have performed exceptionally well this spring. Headlining the events for the Beacons were Jimmy Cannon and Ariyanna Garceau, who both took home first place finishes in some of the races they’ve participated in. Many of their fellow teammates had terrific performances as well.

It’s been a notable past few weeks for the Beacons, beginning with the Jim Sheehan Memorial Invitational Saturday, April 8. Kaitlyn Chirkis and Jacqueline Earner placed in the top three in their respective competitions. Chirkis blasted her previous career best out of orbit in javelin, launching an astonishing 34.14 meters, giving her third overall and putting six points on the board for UMass Boston. To complement her performance in javelin, she placed 11th in discus (1). 

Earner had herself a day, too; she took home third place in the 1500m run with a resounding time of 5:09.22. Harleen Bassan and Delaney Sartwell got in on the action, too. Bassan finished in eighth place in the 400m run, and in the 100m hurdles, Sartwell obtained sixth place. To round out the day for women’s track and field, Mackenzie Jorgensen recorded a personal best in the pole vault competition, reaching as high as 2.45m (1).

The men’s track had a field day alongside the women’s track. Cannon finished on top in the 1,500m run, finishing in 4:09.07. His brother, Rob Cannon, came in 11th place in the 3,000m steeplechase—the first time he’s participated in the event. The 4x100m relay race saw UMass Boston come in fourth place with the fantastic four of Melvin Wiltshire, Frank Boua, Austin Hennebury and Omosigho Asuen accounting for five of UMass Boston’s 15 points (2). 

Jimmy led the way for the men’s team the following week in the Penman Relays Saturday, April 15. He came out strong in the 5,000m run, making it out on top for his second consecutive first-place finish at 15:33.38. Rob finished fifth in the same event. Boua would add onto the Beacons’ hay day; his thirdplace finish in the 400m hurdles would come just a second behind the top two finishers in the race. Ending the day on behalf of men’s track, the fantastic four would take second place in the 4x100m relay after crossing the finish line in 45.11 seconds (3). 

The women’s track would replicate the men’s track performance with a tremendous showing of their own. Garceau paved the path toward the Beacons’ success that day with a firstplace finish in both the 100m preliminary and final, finishing with times of 15.71s and 15.65s, respectively. Earner nabbed fourth place in the 3,000m steeplechase, who was one of four Beacons to participate in the event for the first time (4).  

Sarah Campbell, Rachel Green and Abigail Schell were the other three, and they took fifth, sixth and seventh place in the race. In the 5,000m run, Grace Colon notched eighth place for UMass Boston (4). 

On the flip side, the field portion of the track and field team also performed great. Dorinda Okorji went all out in both the long jump and high jump, placing fourth and tenth, springing into the leaderboard with totals of 5.06m and 1.45m. Both Chirkis and Racquel Batista Viera threw the discus around, the latter of whom finished in ninth place; Chirkis came in 14th place and also got 11th place in javelin (4). 

With the momentum they were garnering, track and field went full steam ahead in their next meet, the Bonnie Edmundson Classic, which occurred Friday, April 21. Women’s track and field stole the show, finishing with one of their highest team totals of the season; the group finished in second among the eight schools that participated (5).  

Garceau shined in the 100m hurdles once again with a time of 15.66s. She also showed off her prowess in both the 100m run and high jump, placing second in both events. The former set a new personal record at 13.10s, while her high jump was recorded at 55 inches. Okorji made a name for herself in the tournament with some elite rankings of her own, taking fourth in the 400m run at 1:05.54, as well as a secondplace finish in the long jump after leaping 15 feet, 9.5 inches (5). 

Charlotte Millette’s performance in the 400m hurdles got her fifth place in the race, as her personal best of 1:19.83 accounted for four of UMass Boston’s 93 points on the day. Chirkis and Batista Viera made some noise in discus, the latter of whom broke her previous record with a 110foot hurl, good enough for fifth place. Chirkis came in seventh, and also participated in shot put, where she secured 11th place (5). All in all, it was an eventful day for women’s track. 

The men’s track had an appreciable showing at the Classic too. This time around, Rob Cannon outran his brother in the 800m run, coming up with a spot in eighth place while Jimmy placed 11th place. Asuen came in eighth place in the 200m run, and Wiltshire made a mark in the 400m, getting fifth. Boua and Hennebury finished in back-to-back slots in 400m hurdles; Boua finishing third and Hennebury not far behind in fourth (6).  

Boua also came in ninth in the long jump after soaring 19 feet, 1.5 inches, a new personal best. He wasn’t the only one to set a personal record on the day, as Sam Grant also set one in shot put after letting it fly for a 33 foot, 10-inch heave. In total, the Beacons tallied 30 points to come in sixth on the day (6).  

The Beacons’ success translated over into the next day on Saturday, April 22. The day marked a tournament at Regis College, and once again, UMass Boston showed up and pulled through with purpose. Many athletes broke personal bests, including Jimmy and Rob Cannon, who were the frontrunners in men’s track’s outstanding day.  

The one-two punch took first and second place in the 5,000m run, finishing at times of 15:21.51 and 16:16.74. Jimmy’s first place victory was a personal best for this season. Zeph Alvarado took fourth in the same race, also recording a seasonal best (7). April 22 was a day to remember for Wiltshire, taking sixth place in the 100m run, and running home with second place in the 200m run with a personal record of 23.19s.  

Boua and Asuen also had personal bests in the long jump, springing into back-to-back rankings at second and third place and leaps of 19 feet, 6.75 inches and 17 feet, 8.25 inches. Olutemi Alofe and Arthur Grant finished sixth and seventh in shot put, closing out the day of personal bests for the Beacons with distances of 34 feet, 8.25 inches and 34 feet, 0.75 inches, respectively (7).

The women’s track were top-notch and sharp as a blade in their respective races and events, as it was personal bests galore for both teams on the day. Garceau ran away with first place in the 100m run with a 13.10s finish, while Earner did the same in the 800m run, notching first place with a personal record of 2:27.19; Bassan came in fourth in the same race. Angelina Mazzone came out of the 400m run in first place with a finishing time of 1:08.17; Millette crossed the finish line four seconds later for sixth place (8). 

Elia Valez ran the 3,000m steeplechase, closing in on a thirdplace finish in 13:59.66. Colon, Campbell and Green all finished in the top 10 in the 5,000m run, with third, seventh and eighth place rankings. Okorji killed it in the high jump, getting up there with a height of 55 inches.  

Batista Viera and Chirkis made a name for themselves in discus; Batista Viera came in second place after launching one 105 feet, nine inches, and Chirkis came in seventh with a 95foot, sixinch rocket of a throw. Chirkisalso beamed a Javelin 98 feet, one inch for a secondplace ranking in the event.  

Men’s and women’s track and field did a lot of damage during their outdoor season, resulting in a lot of personal highs among athletes. The Spring 2023 campaign brought forward a lot of excitement and displayed a lot of potential for both teams. If they keep progressing, this team will undoubtedly reach bigger heights and better things in the future, whether it be in the fall with cross country, or the winter and spring with their indoor and outdoor seasons. 

  1. Kaitlyn Chirkis Breaks Personal Best (Again) at Jim Sheehan Memorial Invitational – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  2. Men’s Track and Field Competes at Jim Sheehan Memorial Invitational – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  3. Jimmy Cannon Wins Men’s 5,000 Meter Run at Penman Relays – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  4. Aryianna Garceau Wins Women’s 100 Meter Hurdles at Penman Relays – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  5. Dazzling Day For Women’s Track and Field Sees Personal Bests, Best Team Finish This Season at Bonnie Edmondson Classic – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  6. Freshmen Frenzy Highlights Big Day for Men’s Track and Field at Bonnie Edmondson Classic – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  7. Jimmy Cannon Wins Men’s 5,000 Meter Run For Second Straight Week, Men’s Track and Field Has Strong Team Showing at Regis College – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

  8. Four Individual Winners Highlight Affternoon for Women’s Track and Field at Regis College – UMass Boston (beaconsathletics.com)

About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor