Track & Field: 4x800 relay places seventh at Penn Relays
The University of New Hampshire track teams sent their best athletes to the prestigious Penn Relays at University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field, while some of the younger athletes got a chance to compete in the Wildcat Invitational II in Durham Saturday afternoon.
The Penn Relays, held since 1922, make for a big stage. The event was seen more as an exciting opportunity than a chance to compete for a win.
"Penn is more of an experience," sophomore Lauren Perrodin said. "I didn't really go with any expectation that we would win, so it was really fun; it was a nice team bonding experience, it was good weekend."
In Pennsylvania, the men's 4x800 team placed seventh. John Prizzi, Eric Stys, Christopher Poggi and Drew Piazza completed a time of 7:34.13, making for the only top-eight finish for the men in the event. In the distance medley, Prizzi, junior Isaiah Penn, Poggi and Jeffrey Moretti ran a time of 10:06.74 to take 18th. Tyler Mulcahy, Seth Sheridan, Joseph Lemay and D'mahl McFadden ran the 4x400 to complete a time of 3:21.14 to finish in 54th-place. In the 4x100, Sheridan, Ryan Maney, Chris DeCarlo and Dylan Pelletier took 62nd with a time of 43.18.
For the women, senior Rosemary Read placed fifth in the hammer throw with a 173-foot, 11-inch toss.
Women's coach Casey Carroll was happy with Read's weekend. She also threw on Saturday at the home meet, hitting a mark of 179 feet, eight inches; her second best throw in her career.
"Rosey [Read] had a great week," Carroll said. "She went to Penn and finished in the hammer throw, and she came back on Saturday and won the meet in the hammer throw and threw her second best throw ever."
Carroll said the senior has done well in her four years.
"I'd say she's had a good progression over the four years," Carroll said. "Particularly in the bigger meets."
Read's counterpart on the men's side, George Jumpp, did not have as successful of a day. After winning his event back-to-back weeks, Jumpp failed to place at Penn. He was disappointed, considereing the magnitude of the event.
"It was probably the biggest meet of my life, and I think I was a little nervous," Jumpp said. "I just couldn't pull it together."
Jumpp hopes he can find the problem this week in the film room. He and his coaches will compare his performance at Penn with the personal record he set in Durham earlier this month.
"We're going to see what the difference is between the two meets between what I'm doing wrong and just make some minor adjustments, see if it's anything major," Jumpp said. "I think I'm going to be ready."
Jumpp holds dual citizenship in the US and Jamaica, having been born there and lived the first six years of his life there. That said, he had a great time talking to the Jamaican athletes who competed in the Penn Relays. Their high school athletes are renounced as some of the best in the world.
In Durham on Saturday, the women took second place with 133 points, 55 behind UMass-Amherst in first. The men took sixth with 62.50 points, some of their best competitors at the Penn Relays that day.
Perrodin took first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.30. The sophomore set a personal record in consecutive weeks prior to this meet, but she was just two-tenths of a second behind that record.
"I wasn't expecting to do that well, only because I had raced earlier in the week," Perrodin said. "I wasn't necessarily happy about the time, but I wasn't upset about it."
Alison Brehm took second place in the 200-meter dash. When asked about her performance, Carroll said she could have finished stronger. Despite a strong beginning, her strides became shorter, affecting her time.
"She had a great start, and then at the end, she tightened," Carroll said. "That hasn't been an issue all season. In fact, she had really great indoor season with the 200 [meter], I think it's a matter of learning and relearning redistribution."
One younger athlete who did well for the women was Alyson Messina, a freshman walk-on who won the 400-meter hurdles.
Carroll said there is usually one walk-on who makes an impression, and he thinks Messina has the building blocks for a solid collegiate career.
"[Messina] really started to come along at the end of indoor - set a personal best indoors. I think that was a good stepping stone to now being a competitive college runner," Carroll said. "Still young, not a lot of collegiate racing experience."
For the men, Michael Shanahan made an impression with a third place finish in both the shot put and hammer throw.
Boulanger said that the walk-on Shanahan benefits from his natural strength as well as his natural sense of rhythm.
It doesn't hurt that he plays drums in the UNH marching band.
"Hammer's got rhythm," Boulanger said. "His ability to be an outstanding drummer, you know I asked him to go to a 3-beat, and he can make three turns, so I think it's all together with different things that he's done."
Jumpp is impressed with what he's seen from Shanahan. He's worked with the freshman this year in practice, and he sees great potential in him.
"He's probably the best freshman that we have ever had, he works really hard, he's a really big and strong guy, so throwing is perfect for him, but he just really enjoys throwing."
The Wildcats start their championship season this coming weekend at Burlington, Vt., in the America East conference championship.
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