In season-opener, seven individuals qualify for post-season
At left: Hultzman, Hewett
BOSTON - On the first weekend of the season, seven individuals from the Eastern Connecticut State University men's and women's indoor track and field team have secured spots in post-season competition.
At the first University of Massachusetts Boston Invitational at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center Saturday, five women and two men met qualifying standards for the New England Division III Championships in mid-February or the ECAC Division III Championships in early March.
In the 14-team non-scoring invitational, individuals qualified in the sprints, hurdles, middle distance, jumps and throws.
Junior Frederick Hewett (New London) qualified for the New England Division III Championships at 60 and 400 meters for the second time in as many years at Eastern, with Andre Reynolds (Hartford) qualifying in the 60 hurdles in a program-record time, senior Cora Gingras (East Hampton) and junior Lauren Hultzman (Putnam) in the high jump, junior Akaya McElveen (New Haven) in the 500, sophomore Nikki Chambers (East Hampton) in the 800, and freshman Shanique Bunsie (Bridgeport) in the shot in her first collegiate meet.
All seven individuals qualified for the New England Division III Championships, with Hultzman additionally meeting the ECAC Championships standard.
Hewett outran a field of 25 competitors to claim the 400 in a time of 51.07, edging Little East Conference rival Gerald Arneaud by .11 at the finish in the first heat. He was also fifth in a field of 65 in the 60 in a time of 7.20.
After falling .01 shy of the program record in the preliminaries, Reynolds broke the six-year-old program record of 8.92 in placing fifth in the 60 hurdles in a time of 8.87.
Gingras, who shares the program high jump record of 5-3 with Hultzman, qualified for post-season competition in the high jump for the fourth straight season indoors. Hultzman, fourth in the New England meet last year, qualified for the third time in as many seasons. In a field of 23 at UMB, Hultzman (5-2 1/4) was second and Gingras (5-0 ¼) sixth.
In her collegiate debut in the shot, Bunsie unloaded the sixth-longest throw in program history, placing fifth among 26 with a mark of 36-9 ½.
Chambers (2:24.82) ran to second place in the 800, her time four seconds better than the New England Championship standard. After running the 500 only once last year, McElveen steamed to a time of 1:22.47, which was just .12 off the ten-year-old program record. She was third overall Saturday.
Other top performances Saturday were submitted by junior Tacia Bryant (Guilford), sophomores Dylan Kruppa (Torrington) and Lee Cattanach (New London) and freshman Kylie McCartney (Manchester).
Bryant (15-2) was ninth in a field of 24 in the long jump, Kruppa (53.55) ninth among 25 in the 400, Cattanach (15:42.20) - an all-conference performer in cross country -- seventh among 25 in a record time which broke the nine-year-old record in the 5000 by ten seconds and McCartney (5:40.16) sixth among 28 in the mile.
Eastern competes at the Yale University Invitational Saturday at 9 a.m.