Shorthanded men’s track and field team keeps rolling with win at UMass

Second-year Jarrett Young won the 200 meter on Saturday, finishing with a time of 21.54 seconds. PHOTO CREDIT:

A depleted URI men’s track and field team traveled to Amherst, Massachusetts over the weekend, taking home the first-place crown at the UMass Spring Invitational with 105.5 team points on Saturday.

The weekend featured several top finishes for Rhode Island. Second-year Ryan Tona’s 2.03 meter mark claimed first in the high jump, while second-year Mason Brubaker won the pole vault with a 4.8 meter heave. Third-year Derek Chalmers took first in the long jump with a 7.2 meter leap, and fourth-year Orien Joyner’s 14.52 meter mark was enough to win the triple jump.

Despite the wins, the primary focus of the meet was development rather than scored results, according to URI head coach Trent Baltzell.

“The win itself doesn’t actually mean a whole lot…a lot of these invitationals are non scoring so I just assume all of them are non-scoring,” Baltzell said. “We held out a number of our athletes, and a lot of the guys that did compete did not compete in their primary event. So really, we’re not aiming to win these meets, it’s more about just executing in the events we ask them to execute in.”

In what was essentially a tune-up meet, the Rams also recorded a pair of wins on the track. The 4×400 meter relay team of Chalmers, second-year CJ Kiviat, first-year Kyle Paterson and third-year Abraham Tambah finished first with a time of 3:22.46 minutes, while second-year Jarrett Young won the 200 meter in 21.54 seconds.

“There’s definitely work to do, but we’re definitely in the right spot and we’re definitely where we need to be at this point in the season,” Young said. “I think our coaches are pretty happy with how the team performed this weekend…There’s a really good feeling around the fieldhouse this time of the year.”

Kiviat’s 1:54.89 time in the 800 meter time was also enough for a fifth-place finish, while Paterson would finish fourth in the 400 meter with a time of 50.18 seconds. Other notable finishes for Rhode Island would come in the shot put, where fourth-year Nick Morse’s 15.79 throw would see him finish fifth, and in the 110 meter hurdles, where third-year Kai Schmidt-Bilowith would finish fourth in 14.69 seconds.

According to Baltzell, the meet served exactly the purpose he had hoped for as the team prepares for one of the biggest meets of the season in Connecticut next weekend.

“I actually think we had a great meet,” Baltzell said. “From throws, to jumps, to middle distance, distance, hurdles, I think we did exactly what we were hoping to do at a meet like this. I think it places us in a really good position for this upcoming weekend where we’re going to UConn. This [UConn Northeast Challenge meet] is gonna be the best invitational in the Northeast this season outside of championships.”

The team will travel to Storrs, Connecticut next weekend to compete at the UConn Northeast Challenge, a meet that Baltzell says was a season-defining weekend last season.

“I have a lot of confidence that we are going to compete well at UConn,” Baltzell said. “Part of that is based off of the last couple weekends, but some of that also dates all the way back to last year, when we really hit this meet in stride. I felt like this is the kind of weekend that really set us up to win the championship [last year].” 

The Rams will look to replicate last year’s success starting on Friday, with only four meets remaining until the Atlantic 10 Championships in the beginning of May. The two-day competition slated to begin at 10 a.m.