Women's Track Splits Squad Between BU And URI On Friday

Thu Feb 8, 2018
About the Meet
- The UMass women's track and field squad will split on Friday, Feb. 9, with 19 members of the team heading to the URI Coaches Tribute meet in Kingston, Rhode Island. The Minutewomen heading to Mackal Field House will have a preview of the Atlantic 10 Championships site as URI will host the A-10 meet next weekend. Competition will begin with field events at 3 p.m.
-  UMass will also send 13 runners to the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at Boston University on Friday. Events will get under way at 1 p.m. with 60m hurdles trials. Information on the David Hemery Valentine Invitational can be found here.
  
Last Time Out
- University of Massachusetts women's track and field saw two freshmen earn medals on day two of the New England Championships at the Reggie Lewis Track & Field Center. The Minutewomen finished sixth out of 30 teams in the standings with 48.5 points.
- Four of UMass' eight scorers on the day were rookies, highlighted by Ivana Nyemeck's gold medal in triple jump. Nyemeck leapt 39 feet, 8.75 inches to capture the title, while the mark was fifth all-time in program history.
- Freshman Danielle Notarfrancesco led a trio of Minutewomen point scorers in shot put, capturing a silver medal with a 47-foot, 5.75-inch toss.
 - On the track, sophomore Jada Harris raced to fourth in the 60 meter hurdles final at 8.74 seconds.
- Freshman Bryanna Rivers landed fifth in the 800m final with a time of 2 minutes, 13.92 seconds.
 - Though not reaching the finals in the 60m dash, a pair of Minutewomen set new program top-five marks. Sophomore Lindsay Witt posted a time of 7.88 seconds (10th), good for third all-time in program history. Freshman Abby Collins crossed the line at 7.96 seconds, matching the fifth-fastest time in the UMass record book.
- Senior Kayla Rorke set a personal record to claim eighth in pole vault, clearing a height of 11 feet, 11.75 inches. The mark was good for fourth all-time in program history, as well.
 
Minutewomen Earn A-10 Recognition
-Freshman Danielle Nortarfrancesco has already collected two weekly awards from the Atlantic 10 in her young UMass career.
- On Jan. 9, Notarfrancesco was selected as the A-10 Field Performer of the Week after winning shot put at the Dartmouth Relays with the second-best mark in UMass history.
- Notarfrancesco then broke the UMass shot put record at the Beantown Challenge and was tabbed the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week on Jan. 16 following that performance.
- Redshirt junior Bridget Deveau was tabbed as the Jan. 16 Atlantic 10 Field Perfomer of the Week after winning the pentathlon at the Harvard Multi Meet in record-setting fashion on Jan. 12. Deveau took first in the event with a score of 3,820 points. The mark, a PR for the Fall River, Nova Scotia native, broke a 19-year-old UMass record of 3,658 set by Andrea Comeau in 1999.
- Freshman Ivana Nyemeck collected Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors on Feb. 6 after winning the New England title in triple jump.
 
Happy Returns
- UMass returns seven individuals that scored at last year's indoor Atlantic 10 Championships.
- Among those is junior Emilie Cowan, who collected gold and silver medals at the 2017 A-10 indoor meet, her second straight 500m title and was the runner up in 200m. She holds the UMass records in both events (24.78 – 200m, 1:10.84 – 500m).
- Sophomore Samantha Thompson was an A-10 indoor champion in high jump as a freshman and claimed bronze in the event at the outdoor meet.
- Sophomore Jada Harris was the runner up in the 60m hurdles at the 2017 indoor meet and holds the UMass record in the event (8.72). She went on to collect Most Outstanding Rookie Performer of the meet honors outdoors at A-10's after winning high jump and 100m hurdles.
- Senior Collen Sands earned bronze in the 3,000m indoors at the A-10 meet in 2017 and took home silver in the 3,000m steeplechase outdoors, as well.
- Senior Julia Witt was a bronze medalist in pentathlon at last year's indoor A-10 Championships, while UMass other two returning scorers placed in the top-eight in pole vault: Kelsey Barnes (seventh) and Kayla Rorke
 
One More For MacLean
- After redshirting the 2017 indoor campaign, Heather MacLean enters her final track and field season, with both indoor and outdoor eligibility remaining.
- She is coming off her sixth individual Atlantic 10 title on the track, winning the 1,500 meter run at the Outdoor A-10 Championships in 2017.
- She is also a four-time A-10 gold medalist in the 800m (indoor: 2015, 2016; outdoor 2014, 2015) and won the mile indoors in 2016. MacLean has five New England 800m titles to her credit, as well.
- MacLean was named the Most Outstanding Performer at the indoor A-10 Championships in 2016 and as the Most Outstanding Rookie at the outdoor A-10 Championships in 2014.
- She holds six school records on UMass' all-time indoor and outdoor lists and holds a share of the program's indoor relay records for 4x400m, 4x800m and distance medley relays. 
- MacLean made history in March 2016 when she took ninth in the mile final at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to become the first indoor track and field All-American in the history of the UMass women's track and field program.
- In her final season of cross country this past fall, MacLean became the first cross country All-American in program history by finishing 26th at the NCAA Championships. She won the 2017 New England title and her second straight A-10 cross country championship this past fall, as well.
 
3,000m Record Falls
- Heather MacLean raced at the BU Season Opener on Dec. 2 and, in her first time running the 3,000m, demolished the previous school record by nearly 33 seconds with a time of 9 minutes, 3.03 seconds.
 - MacLean was second at the meet in the field of 31 runners, trailing only New Hampshire's Elinor Purrier's winning time of 8:55.68. The previous UMass record of 9:35.67 was set by UMass Hall of Famer Kelly Liljeblad 22 years ago in 1995.
- MacLean was tabbed the Atlantic Performer of the Week and Co-UMass Student-Athlete of the Week following that performance and her 3,000m time currently ranks second nationally.
 
Newcomers Abound
- This past summer, UMass women's track and field added 15 student-athletes for the 2017-18 seasons. The group is comprised of three throwers, two middle distance runners, two distance runners, two sprinters two jumpers, two multi-eventers and one each that will compete in sprints/jumps and jumps/multi events.
- Two freshmen, Kira Kopec and Ivana Nyemeck, competed in the 2017 Canada Summer games in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Kopec earned bronze in heptathlon at the meet, while Nyemeck was seventh in triple jump.
- Thrower Danielle Notarfrancesco out of Jackson, New Jersey, was an indoor All-American as a senior with a PR of 47'11" in shot put.
- Freshmen Caroline Clark and Colette O'Leary were consistent scorers for the Minutewomen during the cross country season and were both named to the 2017 Atlantic 10 Cross Country All-Rookie Team. Clark was also tabbed the A-10 Cross Country Rookie of the Year as the top freshman finisher in the field of 129 runners and took third for the Minutewomen in 38th overall with a time of 18 minutes 58.9 seconds.
 
LaFreniere at the Helm
- UMass head coach Julie LaFreniere is in her 31st year as head coach of the women's cross country and track and field programs in 2017-18.
- LaFreniere, a 1977 UMass graduate, has led the Minutewomen to 12 Atlantic 10 Championships (7 Cross Country, 3 Indoor Track, 2 Outdoor Track) during her tenure and is a 12-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.