By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
Two UMass Dartmouth athletes traveled all the way to Birmingham, AL on Saturday the 10th to compete in the Division III Indoor National Championships in track & field.
Senior Jared Louf-Woods brought his skills to the weight throw, coming in as one of the best throwers at his level in the country. His performance didn’t disappoint; he tossed the weight 19.16 meters, barely short of his career best (and school record) of 19.23 meters he set a month prior at the LEC championship.
The mark was enough to earn him the 4th place spot overall, etching him in the history books and earning him the coveted title of All-American athlete.
Sophomore George Papoulis was certainly not overshadowed, as he put up impressive numbers in his own category, the 800 meter. He finished 2nd in the preliminary heat on the first day, with an outstanding time of 1:52.54.
In the main event, he kept up with the pack and found an extra burst of speed on the home stretch, finishing in 4th with a nearly identical 1:52.79 and becoming an All-American track runner.
This might not be the last time the Division III championships see Papoulis, as the sophomore has two years left to improve his craft and achieve even better times.
“George put himself in position to win his 800 over the final lap and had a fantastic performance in only his sophomore year. They both were rewarded for all the hard work over the entire school year to reach this point. Both young men are great representatives of UMass Dartmouth. Special thanks to both our volunteer weight coach Ed Arcaro and our throws coach Shay Austin-Leary,” said head coach Steve Gardiner.
The pair were the 31st and 32nd UMass Dartmouth track athletes to reach the status of “All-American,” and the very first ones in their categories of weight throw and 800 meter.
While both of these athletes went seeking a National Championship, the fact that each of them were the first in their respected events to be named All-American is historic and hopefully will pave the way for other corsair’s success.
It is also worth noting that, Louf-Woods, who is a native of the Bay State, did not begin throwing weight until he was a colligate athlete due to the fact that the MIAA, the state’s high school athletic association, does not have weight throwing as an event.
Papoulis is also far from done competing as he has two more seasons in the blue and gold, which of course means two more opportunities to secure All-American status and hopefully bring back a national championship.
The season isn’t over for the Corsairs track & field team. The men and the women will be competing at the Bryant University Invitational on March 31 in Smithfield, R.I. Come on out and support the team!