The University of Maine Men and Women’s Track and Field teams took part in the Wildcat Invitational hosted by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham, N.H. on Saturday. Joining the Black Bears and Wildcats were the Bates College Bobcats of Lewiston, Maine and the Lesley University Lynx of Cambridge, Mass.
In the women’s meet, UNH held off Maine to take first place for the second time in as many weeks. The final point totals were UNH with 209, Maine with 193, Bates with 168 and Lesley with 16.
The Black Bears were paced by eight first place finishes, two of which were school records set by fourth-year Robyn McFetters in the hammer throw and fourth-year Jaclyn Masters in the pole vault. McFetters, who now holds the top four distances in UMaine history, increased her personal best to 61.09 meters.“Breaking 60 meters and 200 feet have both been barriers for me, so I’m glad that I beat both of those with one throw today,” McFetters explained. That mark currently ranks her ninth in the East region and 17th in the nation. The top 48 performers from each event from both regions (East and West) move on to compete in the NCAA regionals, with the top 12 from each regional meet qualifying for nationals. While McFetters’ mark is a near lock to qualify for regionals, she’s far from satisfied. “I will definitely try to keep throwing further,” McFetters said. “By regionals, I would like to break 62 or 63 [meters].”
Masters eclipsed the 4.02-meter mark in the pole vault in her record setting performance. Masters previously held the school record at 3.76 meters, set in last year’s outdoor season. She currently ranks 29th in the East region.
Masters and McFetters weren’t the only ones who performed well on Saturday. Third-year Ashley Donohoe continued her dominance in the shot put taking first place with a heave of 12.42 meters.
Third-year Teal Jackson shined again in the 400-meter for the Black Bears, taking first place with a time of 56.94. Jackson and her 4×100-meter relay team also picked up the win with a time of 47.93. Jackson’s teammates in the relay include second-year Ariel Clachar, Masters and first-year Lauren Magnuson. The current school record in the women’s 4×100-meter relay is 46.65, set back in 2010 by Allyson Howatt, Cearha Miller, Jillian O’Brien and Jesse Labreck. The last time this year’s 4×100 team ran together was during Maine’s opening meet two weeks ago. In that meet they were clocked at 48.59. If they can continue to make that kind of progress, they have a significant shot at breaking the school record.
Second-year Kaitlin Saulter picked up another win in the 800-meter, completing the event in 2:15.25. Saulter was also the third leg of the 4×400-meter relay team that placed first with a time of 3:59.25. Saulter was joined by third-year Kelsey Maxim, and second-years Grace Macura and Alexis Dietrich.
The other UMaine individual victory was Clachar in the long jump (5.67 meters).
The Black Bears were well represented on the podium, picking up a handful of second and third place finishes as well. Maxim took second in the 800 meters (2:18.02), third-year Grace MacLean, who is currently on pace to qualify for regionals in the heptathlon, finished second in the 100-meter hurdles (14.59). First-year Abigail Weigang picked up a third place finish in the 100-meter hurdles (15.46) as well as a second place finish in the 400-meter hurdles (1:05.07). First-year Lucia Guarnieri placed third in the triple jump with a mark of 10.80 meters. The Black Bears received a hefty contribution from their contingent of throwers as second-year Rachel Bergeron took second in the discus (36.53 meters), third in the shot put (11.43 meters) and third in the hammer throw (47.92 meters). Fourth-year Emily Boardman rounded out the top three in the hammer throw, picking up second with a toss of 50.88 meters. Second-year Brianna DeGone secured third in the javelin throw with a mark of 34.20 meters.
Leithiser shines but Maine settles for disappointing third place
In the men’s meet, the Black Bears took third place with 168 points. UNH finished first overall, picking up 197 points on the day. A bit of a surprise was Bates, who finished second with 194 points, nearly edging out UNH. Lesley picked up 11 points to finish fourth.
The Black Bears picked up eight individual victories on the day.
Fourth-year Jake Leithiser continued his impressive spring season, picking up wins in the 200-meter (22.50), the 400-meter (48.41) and as member of the 4×400 relay team which includes first-year Tucker Corbett and fourth-years Michael Lucas and Tyler Martin. Martin, who anchors the relay team, crossed the line at 3:21.40 to secure the victory. Lucas added a victory in the 400-meter hurdles (55.82) as well.
Third-years Jesse Orach and Levi Frye continued their distance success. Orach took first in the 3,000-meter with a time of 8:37.82. Frye was victorious in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, crossing the finish line in 9:34.19.
In the field events, Martin and third-year Asaad Hicks tied for first place in the high jump with both men clearing 2.03 meters. Fourth-year Julian Hubbard took first in the long jump with a mark of 6.41 meters. Second-year Steven Longfellow finished second in the triple jump (12.77 meters). Third-year Jeremy Frantz grabbed third place in the shot put (14.79 meters), and fourth-year Shane Corbett picked up a second place finish in the discus (47.06 meters).
Other notable track finishes for the Black Bears include second place finishes by second-year Joshua Horne in the 3,000-meter (8:49.80), second-year Isaac Yeboah in the 400-meter hurdles (56.28) and first-year Simon Powhida in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (9:42.41). Third place finishes included first-year Aaron Willingham in the 1,500-meter (4:04.63), second-year Elijah Yeboah in the 400-meter hurdles (56.72), and Justin Tracy in the 3,000-meter (8:53.68).
It will be a busy week for both the men and women’s teams as they have the Holy Cross Multi scheduled for April 20-21 in Worcester, Mass. There will be a split meet on April 23 with the men and women’s teams sending select representatives to the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational in Baton Rouge, La., while the rest of the teams will compete at Holy Cross. This is an important week for the track and field team as it’s the last week before the Penn Relays, which are scheduled for April 28. The Penn Relays showcase some of the nation’s best talent and is often the site for many track and field athletes’ best performances of the season, and often, their career. It’s a date that’s circled on nearly every calendar in the track and field community.