Track & Field: Women take first at home meet

By Max Sullivan
On April 15, 2014

The UNH women's track and field team posted another win at Durham last weekend, while the men improved from last weekend to second place in the Wildcat Invitational Saturday afternoon at Reggie F. Atkins Track.

The women got their second win of the outdoor season by scoring 165, beating Dartmouth by 24 and Maine by 68. The men scored 123, 29 points behind first-place Maine.

Fitchburg State University, Babson University, Southern New Hampshire University, Colby-Sawyer College, New England College, and Bentley also competed.

Among the women's highlights was the 4x100 relay, which despite not having sophomore Sydney Kay as its third leg due to injury, broke a 16-year-old school record with its time of 47.87 seconds. 

Sophomore Lauren Perrodin, a member of the 4x100 relay team, said she didn't expect the team to run the relay. Kay went down with a knee injury during practice on Tuesday, April 8, and it wasn't until the end of the week that the coaches approached Caroline Bonsaint, a senior who had run the relay the previous three years, to run the third leg.

 "I was very nervous," Bonsaint said. "I've always run on the relay... but because we had some really fast incoming freshmen, I moved on, and went to do some individual work [for her senior year], so it was definitely a surprise that I'd be running it on Saturday."

"Oh, yeah, definitely, [Bonsaint was nervous]," Perrodin said. "She's been through the relay before, and she's a really strong runner, but being thrown into a relay [last minute]... she was pretty nervous about it."

Bonsaint was approached by coaches Robert Hoppler and Casey Carroll on Friday, the day before the race. Despite her nerves, she was thrilled to run in what she said was her favorite event at least one more time in her senior year.

Carroll said that Bonsaint's history of working with the relay team, both in meets and practices, helped her find a place again as the third leg.

"It didn't take long for her to just fit right in," Carroll said. "I'm very happy for her because she's a senior who's worked very hard, and now she's a member of a school record relay team."

The women also won a close 4x400 relay. At the start of the fourth leg, Dartmouth's Emily Grotz barely led UNH's Anne Twombly. In the final stretch, Twombly kicked and caught up to Grotz. In the final meters of the race, she passed Grotz, giving the Wildcats the win.

"It was really exciting," Twombly said. "My team set me up perfectly, so that was just amazing to see them set that up and [let me] do my part."

Twombly came in second in the 800-meter earlier in the day. She drew on that loss for motivation when she was handed the baton for the final lap of Saturday's meet.

 "I was really happy because I got outkicked in the 800," Twombly said. "So the 400, my leg in that race, I was thinking about that, and I was able to relax and push through for my team."

Twombly broke into a big smile as she ran the final meters of the relay for the win, and she and her teammates celebrated in a huddle on the grass. Being the final event of the day, the 4x400 was a good way to put a cap on UNH's second home meet.

"It's always exciting," Twombly said of the 4x4. "It's the last race, everybody's lined up, they're all excited, you've got all your teammates are cheering for you, it's a great vibe."

In the 100-meter dash, Perrodin broke a school record with her time of 12.08 seconds.

Perrodin has done well in just under two years at UNH. In this past indoor season, she broke a school record in 60-meter dash and tied the school record in the 55-meter dash.

"I'm really excited," Perrodin said. "It's been such a whirlwind honestly, I did not expect to just come in and have all this happen, but the coaches work so well with the team." 

For the men, John Prizzi took first place in the 5,000-meter race, an event he ran for the first time in his college career that day. Prizzi trailed Maine's Kelton Cullenberg for the first 3,000 meters, but the two competed for first place in the final 2,000, Prizzi taking over the lead for the final two laps.

"It feels good," Prizzi said, regarding a win in his first attempt at the event. "It was nice to race awesome, competitive people."

Prizzi has developed a friendship with Cullenberg. The two have enjoyed a friendly rivalry over the past year. They encouraged each other in the 5K to meet their goals. They didn't quite get the times they'd wanted.

"We didn't run the time we wanted to," Prizzi said. "But it my first 5k of college, so I was pretty happy with that."

Senior George Jumpp won his second straight hammer throw event of the season, beating Dartmouth's Thomas Servino by 1.39 meters with a score 57.39. The two wins this season are the first of his career.

"It felt really great," Jumpp said. "My practice is going the way that I want to. What I've been doing in practice has been [translating to] the meet."

Junior Isaiah Penn took first place in the 400 meter dash with a time of 48.93. Penn also came close to overcoming a huge deficit in the 4x400 relay as well. On the last lap of the race, Penn was well behind Maine's fourth leg runner, but by the final stretch he managed to make a good amount of distance.

"I thought I had a chance, but I thought it was a bit of a wide gap," Penn said. "I was closing the whole time I ran but when it's that big of a gap and you're trailing, you just get a good time, that's all."

Freshman Chris Poggi also had a good day, coming in second behind Penn with a personal record of 49.25 in the 400 meter. Poggi, a highly athletic runner, is having a successful first year. He helped the 4x800 relay team take first place at the New England Championship. 

"That was a pretty big jump for me," Poggi said of his personal record in the 400-meter. "I felt great, and I had great day to day. I'm happy about it."

This has been a rare month for the Wildcats schedule-wise. They've hosted two straight home meets, which means they've spent over 20 days without taking a four hour bus drive for a road meet.

Prizzi said it was nice to wake up in his own room and walk to the meet on Saturday.

"Sleep in your own bed, eat what you want for breakfast," Prizzi said. "It's very nice to just walk over from your apartment or dorm and just race."

The Wildcats get back on the bus and head to Worcester, Mass, for the Holy Cross Heptathlon this Saturday, April 16.

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