As the school year is coming to a close, the University of Massachusetts Boston Track and Field athletes are only just reaching the most critical part of their seasons. May 1 marked the start of a chaotic string of important track meets. Those include the Regional, NEICAAA, New England, and National meets. As these events approach, Beacon Track and Field athletes are working hard in hopes of gaining some hardware for the UMass Boston trophy case.
Luckily, the team appears to be running in stride as they approach this crucial month.
During the month of April, the men’s and women’s teams had two dominant performances. The squads both saw success on April 4, at the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs Invitational, and on April 18, at the Eric Loeschner Meet. The women finished 8th and 4th place in the events, while the men finished 3rd and 5th place (both events had roughly 20 teams).
“Both teams did a great job at the Eric Loeschner Meet. It was probably our best overall performance all season,” said junior sprinter Mohamed Fdal. “During the event several people broke their [personal records], which is a pretty big accomplishment. We had some PR’s in the 100 meter dash and the 4x100 relay.”
Not only did the team members hit personal bests during those events, they even set school records. Dom Nda, a freshman sprinter, set the school record for the 100 meter dash, posting a lightning quick 10.88 seconds. The 4x100 team also set a school record of 42.87 seconds. The relay team was composed of Nda, sophomore Kelly Desane, freshman Leo Joubert, and freshman Garth Miriyoga.
“It was a great feeling to be part of history,” said Desane. “It’s great when your hard work and effort pays off. The guys on the team are all hard working and we really performed well when the event occurred. Hopefully we can carry some momentum into the upcoming big events”
Two notable records set by the program occurred at the same event. On March 20 at the Shamrock Invitational, both the men’s and women’s teams set the school records in their 4x100 races. The men’s team ran a pacey 1:30.48, while the women’s team dashed in at 1:47.35. The men’s squad was composed of Nda, Fritz Gustave, Nobert Simon, and Miriyoga, while the women’s team was made up of Anisha Trappier, Emily Andrews, Hulerie McGuffie, and Vanessa Ojekwe.
McGuffie in particular has performed well this year. McGuffie set the Indoor Track and Field school records for the 60 meter dash and the 100 meter sprint. McGuffie is also the first women's track and field athlete to become an All American since the '80s. She has definitely made her mark at UMass Boston and is hoping to only further her legacy at the National Meet.
“There is definitely a lot of anxiety as we approach the most important part of the year. You have to be able to fine tune the little things while staying relaxed,” said McGuffie. “In order to place at Nationals I need to qualify as the top 17. Once you get there, there is another qualifying race where racers need to finish in the top 8 of 17. After that it’s a straight out race for whoever finishes first.”
McGuffie is looking to place at Nationals and her teammates seem to think she will succeed. ”I can see about eight to nine of our men and women athletes qualifying for the National Meet,” said Fdal. “I expect at least three of our runners to place in the top 12 at the Nationals Meet. McGuffie has a good shot to do well.”