By Justin McKinney, Sports Editor
After a successful junior campaign that saw him capture an LEC title in the weight throw event, senior thrower Jared Louf-Woods was poised to do big things in the event this winter. However, what Louf-Woods has managed to do so far this season has been unprecedented.
According the Track and Field Results Reporting System, Louf-Woods currently has the longest weight throw in the country and is favored to be named a national champion in the event in the coming weeks. At the very least Louf-Woods is expected to come back from nationals on March 5 as an All-American.
While UMass Dartmouth certainly has a talented track and field program, Louf-Woods’ level of success is a rarity as he would be the first UMassD thrower, including javelin, to be an All-American in over ten years. To add to this he would be UMassD’s first track and field National Champion since 2008 and its first thrower to win the coveted award.
When asked about how he was able to keep such a keen focus on his goals given the unique distractions a division three athlete can face Louf-Woods responded with a sense a humility: “I have great coaches, I am in a great program, and I have great teammates. Each week our goal as a unit and individually is to improve.”
Louf-Woods was also quick to mention how he has been enjoying his success thus far this season despite the added pressure of being the no.1 ranked weight thrower in division three.
“When I am in the spotlight I like to compete as long as I have chance to win, it’s fun for me and I love seeing the fruits of my laborer pay off as they have so far this season.”
While hard work and strong drive for success have been a driving force behind Louf-Wood’s success, they certainly aren’t the only thing hurtling him towards his goal of being a National Champion.
Sadly, this past May, UMass Dartmouth Track and Field lost a beloved member of their family as assistant track coach Darren DeAndrade, or Coach Dee as he was known to his athletes, passed away.
DeAndrade had been a coach as UMassD since 2009 and had a profound impact on all the athletes he worked with, including Louf-Woods. When questioned about the subject Louf-Woods explained “Losing Coach Dee gave me a lot of motivation to come back stronger this season and overcoming the challenge of competing without him has made me a better person as well as put a lot things into perspective for over this past few months.”
While the loss of DeAndrade is certainly tragic, one cannot deny that even after his passing DeAndrade still has a huge impact on his athletes as Louf-Woods continues his war-path to a national title.
This upcoming Saturday Louf-Woods and the rest of the members of UMassD Track and Field will be competing for an LEC title as many of our athletes are still looking to earn their spot at national as well as regional championships.