Track and field falls short at New Englands

Edward RudmanContributor

The track and field team recently competed at the New England Championships at the Reggie Lewis center in Boston, Mass on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1., where they finished fifth overall.

Out of 22 teams competing, the men’s team placed the highest in the meet for a Division II team. Even with a good finish, there is disappointment from the team and coaches, as they expected to perform at a much higher level.

“Fifth was disappointing to say the least, but it is a reflection of where we’re at,” said head coach John Wallin. “It was good for us to see that and know that we’re not as sharp of a weapon as we thought, so we need to sharpen up and get ready for the rest of the season.”

Triple jumper Oghenefejiro Onakpoma, a senior who has been with the team for all four years, finished in third in the triple jump with a distance of 14.60 meters, posting the longest jump by a Division II athlete — falling behind two Division I athletes from UConn. Even with a top three finish, Onakpoma said he still has a lot to improve on before the NE10 conference meet.

“I feel like I did not do my best, but there is always another meet,” said Onakpoma. “You are going to have your bad days and you are going to have some good ones, and New England’s just was not one of those good days for me. But I learned a lot from it and now I know what I have to improve on for conferences.”

Onakpoma typically has been a lightning rod of success for the team over his four years, becoming an All-American in the indoor triple-jump in just his sophomore year. At conference meets, Onakpoma will be looking to end his collegiate career on a high note and set a new personal record, which currently stands at 15.47 meters.

On the women’s side of track and field, they competed against strong competition, such as UConn, Dartmouth and UMass Amherst, and finished 20th out of 24 teams.

Even though the team did not place as well as they would have liked, the meet was a success, as the athletes performed well and set multiple new personal records.

“It was a great meet for the group that we had. We had 18 athletes compete at New England’s and 99% of the athletes either got a personal best, or a season’s best, or won a heat,” head coach Melissa Stoll said.

The women’s team is young as of right now and coach Stoll said she is happy with the output she is seeing and the experience the team is garnering.

Some notable performances from the meet were from the 4×800 relay team consisting of senior Emily Maffeo, junior Ashley Cummings, sophomore Madison Alexis, and sophomore Emma Cayward, which broke the school record with a time of 9:31.24, and sophomore Nasharie Davis, who set a personal best in the 60-meter hurdles in the semi-finals when she posted a time of 8.92, the first time she has finished under nine seconds.

“The team performed very well and a lot of girls were able to set new personal records,” said Davis. “We were all able to fix what we needed to fix, as in our individual issues that we always get reminded of, and we brought a good, competing attitude.”

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