BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's track and field team sent two athletes to the Div. III Indoor National Championship meet at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala., and both will return to Massachusetts as All-Americans with Jared Louf-Woods (Salem, Mass.) and George Papoulis (Haverhill, Mass.) each finishing fourth in the country while competing in the weight throw and 800-meter respectively.
The Corsair competitors shined on day one of the two-day event, starting Friday with them both seeing action. Louf-Woods got it going early in the day, wasting no time in capturing the first national honor for the team when he posted a fourth-place performance in the weight throw, unleashing a mark of 19.16m (62-10.5 ft.). That distance was just shy of his career-best and school record of 19.23 (63-1.25 ft.) which he set at the Little East/New England Alliance Championships to win both meets on Feb. 10th. The Salem-native capped off his indoor career on day two of his first-ever indoor National Championship appearance, throwing in the shot put final where he fouled out of the competition.
"For Jared to come back this year after having to endure the tragedy that we faced at last year's outdoor National Championships makes today even sweeter," said head coach Steve Gardiner following the final event for the 2017-18 indoor track and field season. "Darren DeAndrade was with us all weekend as he has been with us all year."
Papoulis was also in action on day one, racing to a second-place finish during his heat when he tripped the timer at 1:52.54 in the 800-meter preliminaries. With that time, he solidified his spot in Saturday's final, along with All-American status as long as he could finish his final race of the year. On Saturday, Papoulis did just that but was not satisfied with simply finishing. The sophomore was on the heels of some of the best in Div. III throughout the entire race, busting around the track in the final lap to move into fourth-place where he was in contention with the top-three finishers with a time of 1:52.79.
"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," stated Gardiner.
The duo etched themselves into the UMass Dartmouth history books, becoming the 31st and 32nd All-Americans for men's indoor/outdoor track & field, and the 109th and 110th in school athletic history. But Jared and George were able to do what has not been done before, wrapping their indoor seasons as the first All-American's in the weight throw and 800-meter.
The two Corsairs will continue their track and field season with the rest of the men and women's teams during the outdoor season with competition beginning March 31st at the Bryant University Invitational in Smithfield, R.I.