UMass Boston's track and field brings home second national championship this year
The UMass Boston women’s track and field team has brought a second national title back to Boston. Two months after winning the 2018 Indoor National Championship in Birmingham, Alabama, the Beacons are the co-winners of the 2018 Outdoor National Championship. Both UMass Boston and the George Fox University Bruins received 44 points.
The win in La Crosse, Wisconsin, marks the program’s second-ever outdoor national title and sixth overall. This is the first time since 1986 that the Beacons have won indoor and outdoor titles in the same season.
Sophomore Wadeline Jonathas of Gonaïves, Haiti, won the 200- and 400-meter dashes; senior Taylor Driggers of Lisbon, Connecticut, won her first individual national title in the triple jump; the 4x100-meter relay team came in third place; and the 4x400-meter relay team came in eighth place. The 4x400-meter relay team’s finish was crucial to picking up the one point needed to tie George Fox.
The relay teams were made up of Jonathas, Driggers, senior Lexy Bean of Danvers, and sophomore Olivia Burnes of Paxton.
"All I wanted to do was put my heart into my final race and leave it all on the track," said Driggers, an exercise and health sciences major who will be graduating in May 2019. "It was a bittersweet moment. I loved every second with my team, and I would do it all again if I had the opportunity to."
With a jump of 12.56m, Driggers became the first Beacon to win the triple jump at outdoor nationals and only the second Beacon to ever win the event.
"Closing out my last season as a Beacon in the triple jump, I just wanted to do the best that I could," Driggers said. "I knew that I could get a new personal best, but jumping 41 feet was not something that I thought I could ever obtain. I thank my coaches for always having faith in me and pushing me to be the best that I could."
Jonathas became the first athlete in program history to earn five All-American honors in a single weekend. She now sits third all-time in program and school history with 13. With nine overall individual national titles, she is tied for first place among all track and field athletes to ever compete in Division III.
Men’s 4x400 Meter Relay Makes History
The men’s 4x400 meter relay team made history in Wisconsin. The team’s seventh place finish earned All-American honors for senior Dom Nda of Pittsfield; senior Garth Miriyoga of Johannesburg, South Africa; junior Bless Amedoadzi of Boston; and sophomore Stefan Powell of Hyde Park. And with a finish time of 40.98 seconds, they also set a program record.
“What was great about this group, both men and women, was that this exact same group qualified and competed last outdoor championships and fell short of their goals,” Head Coach Consandria Walker said. “They returned this year with the intent on making it to the podium for each of their events--individual and team. They did just that and more. Striving to win with a dedicated and hard-working group like these young men and women made it more memorable and I am proud that I was able to share it with them.”