The Maine men's and women's track and field teams head down the homestretch of the indoor season as the men and women's squads take part in the America East championships in New York City this weekend. The two-day event starts on Sunday Feb. 23 with events beginning at 4:30 p.m. and will conclude on Monday Feb. 24, starting at 10:30 a.m.
The Black Bears attempt to better their 2013 indoor finish where the squad finished eighth overall and will continue the search for the program's first conference title. The Black Bears' best finish came in 2006 as the team placed third overall. While the indoor championship has eluded Maine's track and field teams, the women's squad has had considerable individual success through the championship's history.
The Black Bears have had two field athletes garner Outstanding Performer accolades as Viktoriya Rybalko was a two-time award recipient in 2002 and 2003 and Jesse Labreck did the same several years later earning the award in 2010 and 2011. Labreck also earned the Coaches Award in 2011.
Like the women's team the men's squad is also searching for its first title in the history of the program after the squad came in sixth last season. Throughout the championships history the Black Bears highest finish came in 1997 when the team was just 21 points away from capturing its first title. The Black Bears came in second with 106 team points, while rival New Hampshire bested the Maine with 127 points. Maine also had a close call in 2001 when the team came in third overall with 94 team points.
While the men haven't put any of its athletes in the Outstanding Performer or Coaches award list, the Men do boast a former athlete that won Most Outstanding Rookie, as Riley Masters did so in 2009.
MEN RANKED 13TH IN NORTHEAST
In the latest edition of the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Regional Team index the Maine men's track and field team was ranked 13th out of 31 teams in the Northeast region. The Black Bears the second-highest ranked America East team, with Albany slotted just ahead of the Black Bears in eighth.
Maine has five events that the squad is regionally ranked in as James Reed's 60-meter hurdle time of 7.99 is ranked fifth while he also teams in with Jake Leithiser, Joseph Viola and Daniel Roukey in the 4x400 meter relay, as the team is ranked eighth in the region with a mark of 3:16.18. In the field events Nathaniel Meade is ranked fourth regionally in the triple jump (15.07m), while Justin Gagne is ranked third in the shot put (18.41m) and Wilson Adams is ranked sixth in the weight throw (19.08m).
MCFETTERS AND BOARDMAN LEAD THE WAY
The women's squads' throw team has been the highlight so far through the indoor season as both Robyn McFetters and Emily Boardman have produced quality throws in 2013-14. The junior and sophomore are ranked first and second respectively in the weight throw in America East. McFetters' throw against UNH in early December remains the best weight throw toss with a final distance of 16.05 meters while Boardman just cracked into the rankings with a throw at the Valentine invite hosted by Boston University recording a distance of 15.59 meters.