Men's Track Takes First, Women Fifth at Southern Maine Invitational

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The Merrimack men's track and field team ran to its best performance of the young indoor season, as the Warriors came out on top of a nine-team field en route to clinching the program's first-ever team victory at the Southern Maine Invitational on Saturday.

Five individual performers won their respective events, while five others notched top-three finishes in other events, as the men's side cruised to the team championship with a final score of 135, nearly 30 points higher than the next-closest squad.

Meanwhile, over on the women's side, Merrimack wound up in fifth place in a field of 11 schools, rounding out the afternoon with 48 team points, just five points back of fourth-place Smith College.

"We performed well all across the board on both sides today," head coach Matt Pimentel noted afterward. "I feel we've gotten better and better with each passing week, and hopefully this well help us build our well-roundedness as the season progresses."

The men began the afternoon by dominating the 55 meter dash, as seven of the eight finalists were Warrior representatives. Freshman Denzel Livingston (Billerica, Mass.) led the pack, winning the race with a time of 6.68, just ahead of senior Artis Holt (Baltimore, Md.), who finished in second of 6.76.

In the 200 meter, graduate student Ian Weaver (Brooklyn, Conn.) claimed third with a time of 23.82, while Holt also placed seventh after running to a time of 24.41. Twin brother Ethan Weaver (Brooklyn, Conn.) picked up team points thanks to his runner-up finish in the 400 meter event.

Moving to the distance categories, rookie Conor Clark (Methuen, Mass.) ranked fifth in the 800 meter, while sophomore Luis Cruz (Lawrence, Mass.) won the 1000 meter with a time of 2:39.27. In the mile, freshman Adam Gidley (Salem, N.H.) led all Warriors with a fourth-place showing (4:36.70), while sophomore Sherif Ali (Cliffside Park, N.J.) won the 3000 meter with a time of 8:54.65, establishing a new school record in the process.

Ian Weaver helped claim more points by virtue of his victory in the high jump with a winning distance of 1.73 meters, while Livingston claimed victory in the long jump with a distance of 6.68 meters.

For the women, sophomore Mary Murphy (Boxborough, Mass.) posted a fourth-place finish in the 55 meter dash (7.73), while classmate Christine Manfra (Stoneham, Mass.) took fifth in the 400 with a time of 1:03.45.

The Merrimack 'A' 4x200 meter relay team continued its early-season dominance with another victory on Saturday, as the pack of Samantha Dee (Bedford, N.H.), Bethany Labossier (Derry, N.H.), Sarah May (Peabody, Mass.) and Manfra ran to a winning time of 1:54.53.

In the 1000 meter event, junior Briana Devereaux (Londonderry, N.H.) led the Warriors with a time of 3:09.70, good for a fourth-place finish. Meanwhile, sophomore Alyssa Otis (Torrington, Conn.) was the top finisher in the high jump (1.42 meters).

Sophomore Janelle Clark (Springfield, Mass.) narrowly missed a victory in the triple jump, finishing in second (10.23 meters). Finally, Dee picked up team points in the shot put after placing seventh (9.10 meters).

Making Saturday's performance more impressive was the fact that Merrimack was without two of its best performers on either side.

On Friday, sophomore Noelia Figuereo (Haverhill, Mass.) competed in the Terrier Invitational hosted by Boston University. There, the first-year runner placed 10th in the 200 meter, ranking third among all Division II runners while also establishing a new school record with a time of 24.92. Classmate Anthony Arcari (Tewksbury, Mass.) also competed at the Terrier Invitational on Saturday, posting a time of 22.81 in the 200 meter, the second-fastest time in school history.

Merrimack returns to action next Saturday. The Warriors open up February competing in the Tufts Stampede.

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