Men’s Track ‘ Field: Role changes work for outdoor season

Men’s Track ‘ Field: Role changes work for outdoor season

By Adam Riglian

The Huskies hosted the first home track meet of the season, the non-scoring Snowflake Classic, on Saturday in Dedham.

The men’s team received wins from sophomore Jonathan Watkins in the 400-meter, senior Michael Couch in the pole vault and senior Derek Anderson in the discus. The meet included city rivals Boston College and Boston University. Other strong teams in the field included the University of Rhode Island and College of the Holy Cross.

Watkins moved away from his traditional races, the 100- and 200-meter, but won the 400-meter in convincing fashion as the only runner to break the 50-second barrier. Watkins’ time of 49.85 seconds was nearly a half second ahead of second place Stonehill College runner Derek Hebert. Couch put together another solid performance in the pole vault to go along with his victory last week, clearing 15 feet and winning the event by a foot. Anderson, who was named Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) field athlete of the week, won the discus by a wide margin, only receiving competition from freshman Nate Hunter. Anderson did not participate in the shot put, his top event, but did take third place in the hammer throw.

Watkins’ 400-meter victory may come as a surprise, as it is not his top event, but the versatility shown adds depth to the Huskies’ relay team, which now has another option in the 4×400.

“He’s really coming on; he will be a big piece of the pie for us,” coach Sherman Hart said.

Couch’s two consecutive victories combined with the return of junior indoor vaulter Aaron Hill make the pole vault one of the Huskies’ top events.

“I think it will come down between Mike and Aaron in the conference championships and I don’t know who will win,” Hart said.

Hart is also entertaining the idea of Anderson cutting back time practicing the shot put in an attempt to work on his hammer throw and javelin skills.

“He’s going to try and win all four throwing events at the CAA Championship,” Hart said.

Hart made unusual placements of athletes in this meet, like Watkins in the 400-meter and junior Christian Tirella in the 800-meter, but he believed his team needed rest and did not want to force his sprinters to run in such cold weather.

“I pulled back this meet to try and stay healthy for our first real test in George Mason,” Hart said.

For the first time this season, the distance team began to take form, with strong finishes from runners junior Tim Niles and sophomore John Meinelt.

“That crew is really young, and I think they are starting to get more confidence,” Hart said.

The Huskies compete next on April 1 in Fairfax, Va. for the George Mason Invitational. This will be the Huskies’ first major conference test in the outdoor season and the first scoring meet of the year.

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