NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – With postseason meets beginning in less than a week, the Merrimack College track & field teams geared up for the homestretch of the outdoor season with quality performances at the famous Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and at the Stonehill Invitational this past weekend.
Events: The Penn Relays | Stonehill Invitational
Top Finishers: Women: MacGregor (1st – TJ) | Men: Clarke (1st – HJ), Mudgett (1st – Discus), Spencer (1st – 110m hurdles)
Team Finishes (Stonehill): Women (5th/11) | Men (7th/10)
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Easton, Mass.
How It Happened (Penn Relays)
The Warriors would send some of their top sprinters down to Philadelphia for the weekend to represent Merrimack amongst the most elite collegiate track competition in the nation, and they would hold their own. The women’s All-American 4x400m relay team highlighted the performances, as freshman Mariessa Ricciardi (Holden, Mass.), and juniors Olivia Downey(Melrose, Mass.), Carly Muscaro (Ashland, Mass.) and Kiana Weary (Brockton, Mass.)finished 20th in a field of 81 teams (3:49.06) in the 4x400m heats, beating respected Division I programs like Boston College, Penn State, and Villanova.
The men would see their best performance in at the Penn Relays come from their 4x100m relay team, as freshmen Michael Cuesta (South Portland, Maine) and Jacob Robinson (Riverhead, N.Y.) and seniors Taylor Jean-Gilles (Woburn, Mass.) and Denzel Livingston (Billerica, Mass.) combined to post a 47th-place finish (43.29), beating out 30 other teams including some DI competition of their own. Robinson would also join sophomores Christian Gentile (Melrose, Mass.) and Connor Murphy (Paxton, Mass.) and junior John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) to finish 57th in the 4x400m relay (3:26.09)
The Warriors would also begin the sprint medley relay record board on the big stage, as Downey, Ricciardi and Williams would be joined by senior Bethany Labossier (Derry, N.H.) for the women to post a 21st-place finish and a time of 4:13.73. For the men, Jean-Gilles, Livingston, Murphy and Robinson would finish 17th with a time of 3:35.91.
How It Happened (Stonehill)
The Warriors put together a solid outing at their final regular season meet of the season among plenty of conference competition, highlighted by a top-five team finish for the women and three individual first-place finishes for the men.
Sophomore Kenny Clarke (Oakland, N.J.) continues to impress in the high jump, as he won his signature event at Stonehill with a 1.90m jump. The sophomore also displayed his versatility with a third-place finish in the 200m dash with a time of 22.88. Junior John Spencer (North Haven, Conn.) would post the lone first-place finish on the track for the Warriors, winning the 110m hurdles with a time of 16.17.
Rounding out the three event-winners for the men would be sophomore Matt Mudgett (Lancaster, Mass.) as he posted a first-place finish in the discus with a 38.76m throw. Senior captain Adam Ochab (Billerica, Mass.) would finish close behind in the event in third with a 37.21m throw.
The women’s lone event winner would come from sophomore Lauren MacGregor (Salem, N.H.)in the triple jump, dominating the event with an 11.04m jump. Despite only one first-place finish, the women still did well in the team standings as the Warriors were consistent throughout, including notching three second-place finishes.
Freshman Margaret Byrne (West Hartford, Conn.) finished second in the 800m event for the women with a personal-best time of 2:21.95, falling just a few seconds shy of first. SophomoreAbby Adams (Mattapoisett, Mass.) was the runner-up in the long jump with a 4.78m jump, and junior Emily Mauro (Northboro, Mass.) rounds out the second-place finishes for the women in the pole vault (2.95m).
The Warriors now head in to the postseason, beginning with the Northeast-10 Conference Championships at American International next weekend on May 6 and 7.