The UConn men’s track and field team opened the 2015 outdoor season at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays with a number of impressive performances. This was the Huskies’ first trip to the famed Texas Relays, a yearly event that features over 7,000 entrants, 34 states and eight countries across high school, collegiate and invitational levels.
The Huskies, who entered five relay teams and four individual competitors, competed over a three-day stretch in Austin. While the track in Storrs is covered in ice and snow, Texas’ facilities are the polar opposite. For the Huskies, who have not been able to practice outdoors at full force yet, the meet could not have come at a better time.
UConn’s first day of competition featured three individual athletes and one relay team. Senior Brian Eilers took 7th in the Javelin Throw Section B with a toss of 60.62 meters (198’ 11”). Senior Cory Duggan finished in a five-way tie for 15th place in the Pole Vault Section B, posting a mark of 5.05 meters (16’ 6.75”). Junior Chris Ackell got his season started Thursday with a 17th place finish in the Hammer Throw, finishing with a throw of 55.99 meters (183’ 8”).
The team also ran its first relay of the season on Thursday, as the men’s 4×800 meter relay team finished in 7th place. Junior A.J. Chavez, sophomore Mike O’Donnell, junior Nick Bertoline and senior Dave Cotton combined to record a time of 7:45.28.
The Huskies’ encouraging start to the season continued on Friday with several more relay performances. UConn’s A 4×400-meter relay team composed of freshman Trentan Beram, sophomore Chinedu Amonu, junior Robert Hovanec and senior James Lowe finished 22nd overall, crossing the line in 3:13.42.
On Friday afternoon, the Distance Medley Relay team (O’Donnell, Lowe, Bertoline, Cotton) captured UConn’s best performance of the day, finishing 11th in a time of 9:58.69. The Sprint Medley Relay squad of Chavez, Hovanec, senior Darnell Cummings and sophomore P.J. Hayes wrapped up Friday’s events for the Huskies, finishing 12th with a time of 3:23.66, just barely missing the school record by .08 seconds.
The meet ended on Saturday with two more strong performances by the Huskies. The 4×200-meter relay team (Cummings, Hayes, Beram, Amonu) took 9th place with a 1:25.46 finish, narrowly missing out on a school record for the second time in as many days.
Sophomore Craig Hunter was the Huskies’ top finisher at the meet, taking second place overall in the men’s Pole Vault Section A. Hunter, who was impressive all throughout the indoor season, posted an outdoor personal best with a jump of 5.35 meters (17’ 6.5”).
The Huskies return to action next weekend with two meets. Part of the team will travel to Gainsville, Florida next weekend for the Florida Relays from April 2-4, while part will head down to New Haven for the Yale Invitational on April 4.