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The Mass Media

Track and Field are paving the way with a successful season

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Mass Boston’s Track and field team during a meet. Photo courtesy of Beacon Athletics.

Members of UMass Boston’s track and field teams have built quite a track record since their seasons began in early December. Members from each team are anticipating invites to the NCAA DIII New England Regional Championship, which will be held on both Feb. 24 and 25. Since the beginning of the semester, both teams have seen success in races that span across many distances, some of which saw members take home top-three finishes, not to mention wins. Taking a look at their past month, both men’s and women’s track and field teams have paved the way toward a chance at achieving the grand satisfaction of going to regionals and finals.
Men’s track and field have some heavy artillery on their squad with the Cannon brothers, Jimmy and Rob, rifling past their opponents for top finishes. Women’s track has some earnest members of their own, with freshman Jacqueline Earner leading the way on a team that is full of promising players, all of whom have yet to reach their senior year (1). Both teams have showcased their potential in multiple tournaments throughout the past month, with the Reggie Payou Memorial Invitational on Jan. 14 being a prelim of what went on during the season.
Men’s track and field came out of the invitational placing ninth out of the nine teams that competed, though there were still noteworthy performances by the Cannon brothers, as well as a great team effort that went down during the relay races. Elder brother Jimmy racked up a point for the Beacons in the 1,000m run, crossing the finish line in sixth place at a time of 2:47.25, while Rob finished just seconds later, coming in ninth with a time of 2:50.79 (2).
Jimmy also recorded a personal best in the mile run, an outstanding feat as a graduate student athlete, as he came in third place and contributed six more points to the team with a time of 4:32.29. To round out the events for the day, a collective effort by Austin Henneberry, Christopher Druding, Sami Mezrouh and Mockar Seck in the 4x400m relay saw the Beacons finish fifth in the race with a time of 3:52.24 (2).
At the same invitational, women’s track and field also put up great stats across the board. The team came in eighth place out of the 11 teams that competed, a lot of which was attributed to superb runs by sophomore Dorinda Okorji and freshman Aryianna Garceau, who both stole the show. Okorji had a masterful victory in the 60m dash, taking home first place with a lightning fast time of 7.99 seconds, impressively beating out three Division II athletes in the process (3).
Garceau came in fifth place in the same race at 8.09s, while also racking up points on the team scoreboard in the 60m hurdles, finishing at 9.96s (3). The emphatic performances by both teams only showed a sliver of what was to come in the latter portion of the season. The runners built on the momentum garnered from the Payou Invitational and used it as motivation for upcoming events. The execution in their succeeding meets further solidified the point that the teams only rose from there.
At the Riverhawk Invitational two weeks later on Jan. 27, men’s and women’s track saw runners reach seasonal bests, while others came close to accomplishing the feats for strong finishes. Earner had her best 1,000m run of the season with a time of 3:18.21, while Garceau broke her personal best in the 60m hurdles she had set at the Payou Invitational, as she crossed the finish line in 9.91s (4).
Okorji finished the 60m dash in 8.05s and came in 13th place, while freshman Alessandra Albano completed the 200m run in 33.51s and senior Charlotte Millette crossed the finish line in the 400m at 1:14.31, good enough for 48th. Both sophomore Harleen Bassan and freshman Angelina Mazzone competed in the 800m run, finishing with times of 2:44.97 and 2:52.53 (4).
Men’s track had an awesome showing at the same event. Jimmy Cannon came in 14th in the 5,000m run with a time 15:23.18. Cannon coincidentally finished the race exactly three seconds slower than his program record, which he shattered at the Suffolk relays on Dec. 3 of last year. His little brother, Rob, finished the same race in 32nd with a time of 16:39.89 (5).
In shot put, freshmen Clark Ohlenbusch and Frank Boua finished back to back in the standings, with imposing distances of 10.46m and 10.33m. Freshman Melvin Wiltshire ran in both the 200m and 400m events, finishing the 200m in 23.62s and the 400m in 53.42s (5). While both men’s and women’s track performed well in the Riverhawk Invitational, nothing topped their encore in the final regular season event of the season, the Westfield State Invitational at Smith College on Feb. 11.
The Westfield Invitational was second place galore for men’s track and field, and the Beacons finished fourth out of the four teams that competed in the event. Wiltshire came in second in the 60m dash with a time of 7.45s, notching eight points for the Beacons’ team score. He tacked on two more points in his spectacular showing, coming in fourth place at 24.62s (6).
Boua had a second-place finish in the 400m dash, completing the race in 55.67s in his first time competing in the event this season. Rob Cannon and Druding finished back to back in the 1,000m dash, adding six points with their third and fourth-place times of 2:49.30 and 3:10.33. The final second-place finish of the day for men’s track belonged to Jimmy Cannon, as he finished just two seconds shy of first-place winner Taban Manyok of Fitchburg State with a roaring time of 4:32.29 (6).
On the flip side, women’s track saw the same success and placed third out of the five teams competing. Earner and freshman Abigail Schell were the biggest highlights of the day, as both came home with victories in their respective events. Earner took first place in the 800m dash, competing with ferocity and posting her personal best with a time of 2:28.06, while Schell won the weight throw event with a terrific 9.86m toss (7).
Garceau came in third place in the 60m dash final after coming out on top in the preliminary race and posted a third-place finish in the 60m hurdles with times of 8.29s and 9.73s, respectively. Bassan came in fifth place in the 400m dash at 1:05.24, adding a point to the Beacons’ team total (7).
Sophomore Grace Colon competed in the 1,000m dash, also coming in third for the Beacons; she completed the race in 3:54.16. The 4x200m relay saw Albano and Schell, alongside freshman Delaney Sartwell and junior Cayla Jean-Louis compete and contribute to the overall strong showing in the invitational. The quartet finished the relay in 2:27.16, adding to the array of success for the day as they came out of the relay with a second-place finish.
Moving onto the field portion of the invitational, freshman Kaitlyn Chirkis got second place in shot put with an 8.58m throw, while Jean-Louis and Sartwell came in third and fourth for the event with distances of 8.52m and 8.52m, topping off a monumental day for both track and field teams.
It comes as no surprise that the winter track teams improved as their season carried on, and as noted previously, there’s no question that the teams will be a cornerstone of winter sports moving forward. The untapped potential of both teams has manifested this season with the strides they have made. With regionals and outdoor track just around the corner, it’ll be fun to see the athletes flaunt their skills even more, as it will furthermore remind the dwellers of UMass Boston that this team may reach infinity and beyond. And this applies not only for the winter season, but in cross country and outdoor track, too.

  1. https://www.beaconsathletics.com/sports/womens-track-and-field/roster?path=wtrack
  2. https://www.beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/1/14/mens-track-and-field-mens-indoor-track-kicks-off-new-year-at-reggie-payou-memorial-invite.aspx
  3. https://www.beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/1/14/womens-track-and-field-okorji-wins-60-meter-dash-at-reggie-payou-memorial-invite-for-womens-indoor-track.aspx
  4. https://www.beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/1/27/womens-track-and-field-womens-indoor-track-competes-in-first-day-of-riverhawk-invitational.aspx
  5. https://www.beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/1/28/mens-track-and-field-jimmy-cannon-places-14th-in-5-000-meter-run-at-riverhawk-invitational.aspx
  6. https://www.beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/2/11/mens-track-and-field-mens-indoor-hits-stride-at-westfield-state-invitational.aspx
  7. https://www.beaconsathletics.com/news/2023/2/11/womens-track-and-field-earner-wins-womens-800-meter-dash-in-big-day-for-womens-indoor-track.aspx
About the Contributor
Nick Collins, Sports Editor