Track & Field: UConn kicks off indoor season with Husky Pentathlon and Joe Donahue Invitational

04/14/2019 Track and Field by Judah Shingleton The UConn mean’s and women’s track and field teams host the Northeast Challenge meet at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex on April 13, 2019. The women’s team won the title with a score of 198.33 points and the men’s team won 164 points.

After a long wait, the UConn men’s and women’s track and field teams got off to a great start to their indoor season. The women competed in the Husky Pentathlon at home on Thursday, December 8th while both teams traveled to Boston, Mass. for the Joe Donahue Invitational the following day.

“It’s been a long anticipation of suiting up the team for the first competition as the head coach here at UConn and they didn’t disappoint. We had a whole lot of personal bests and personal records and great competitive spirit across both teams. Just really proud to get it going,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Beth Alford-Sullivan.

This meet was the first for Sullivan as coach of the Huskies, as she was hired in July to succeed longtime skipper Greg Roy. She boasts an incredible track record from the University of Tennessee and Penn State, and was the first woman to lead a men’s program in any sport in SEC history back in 2014. These two events are only the start of what Sullivan hopes to build in Storrs.

The Husky Pentathlon held five events: the 60-meter hurdles, the high jump, the long jump, the shot put, and the 800 meters. Competing schools were host UConn, Northeastern and American International College, with the Huskies sending four participants to the event. Senior Husky Emily Lavarnway paved the way in the seven-participant field, notching a PR in the pentathlon with 4,053 total points. She placed first overall in the 60-meter hurdles, shot put and long jump.

In fact, each of the Connecticut representatives ended their day with a PR of some kind. Sophomore Alyssa Elliott set a PR of 2:17.76 in the 800 meters, topping the charts. Junior Emma Phelps set PRs in the high jump and shot put with 1.62 and 11.45 meters, respectively. Junior Katelyn Reid ended the day on the podium, placing third with PRs in the long jump with 5.45 meters and the 800 meters with 2:28.57.

At the Joe Donahue Invitational, both the men’s and women’s teams won the team competition with 172 and 160 points, respectively. A few schools such as Northeastern, Albany and New Hampshire were in attendance, as well as some collegiate club teams.

On the women’s side, seven Huskies would take first place in their events. Jailya Ash was chief among them, setting a PR in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.31, good for first place. Elise O’Leary placed top dog in the 800 meters, finishing in 2:13.64. Raquel Rosa also shined, setting a PR of 1:15.05 in the 500 meters, beating out Northeastern’s Anna Davis by one hundredth of a second. In the field, Kalli Knott took home gold with a 3.65 meter jump in the pole vault.

On the men’s side, Kevin Cawley seized the day, finishing the 5000 meter in 14:22.58, good for first place. Cawley was one of eight Huskies to earn first place in an event. Another was Terrel Williams, winning the 200 meters and the 60-meter hurdles in 22.00 and 7.91, respectively. Matthew Brady shined in the field, winning first place with 16.73 meters in the shot put.

Despite their seasons just getting underway, there’s a bit of a wait for both teams until their next competition, as the Huskies compete next in mid-January at the UMass Invite in Boston.

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