NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass.—For the first time in school history, UMass Boston Women's Track and Field claimed several major Little East Conference Awards, the Little East Conference announced Tuesday afternoon.
Sophomore sprinter Hulerie McGuffie (Lynn, Mass.) was named the Little East Conference 2013-14 Female Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and the conference's 2014 Female Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year. McGuffie, who was a three-time American during the 2013-14 academic year, becomes the first Beacon to have won Track Athlete of the Year in either season, since the Little East began handing out postseason awards in 2008. She also was named the Little East Rookie Field Athlete of the Year as a freshman for both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Senior teammate Renee O'Brien (Stoneham, Mass.) also took home some hardware, as the program-record setting high jumper was voted the 2014 Little East Conference Outdoor Female Field Athlete of the Year. O'Brien is the first UMass Boston female to have a Field Athlete of the Year award, joining 2013 male winner Carl Joseph (Brockton, Mass.).
McGuffie enjoyed the best year for a Beacon on the track in over thirty years, as she won a combined seven gold medals at the Indoor and Outdoor Track Field Little East Conference/New England Alliance Meets, in addition to earning All-American status in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
During the indoor season, McGuffie set UMass Boston program records in the 60-meter dash (7.89 seconds) and the 200-meter dash (25.18). Throughout the season, McGuffie competed in a variety of sprinting events and relays and took home a conference-best six Little East Conference Track Athlete of the Week awards, in addition to a pair of ECAC Division III New England Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors.
At the Little East Conference/New England Alliance Meet in February, she won gold in the 55-meter and 200-meter dashes and set a new meet record in the 200 with a time of 25.81 seconds. The Lynn, Mass. native also took home hardware with a pair of second-place finishes in the 4x200 meter relay and the long jump and a third place finish in the 4x400 meter relay.
After a strong postseason, McGuffie qualified for the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championship Meet in the 200 and 400-meter dashes. The sophomore sprinter took home the silver medal in the 400-meter as she ran a personal-best 55.28 to become a two-time All-American in the 400.
McGuffie built off of her successful indoor campaign to deliver an even more impressive and dominant outdoor season. She took home four more Little East Conference Track and Field Athlete of the Week awards and added an ECAC New England Division III Co-Track and Field Athlete of the Week during the short season.
Just two months removed from earning five medals at the LEC Indoor Championship Meet, McGuffie set a new Little East Conference record with five gold medals on April 27 at the 2014 Little East Conference/New England Alliance Outdoor Championship Meet. She set new meet records in the 100 meter (12.26) and 200 meter (25.21) dashes and added an individual gold in the long jump. She also earned a pair of gold medals in the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays.
McGuffie built off her strong spring to set a new personal-best by qualifying for nationals in three separate events (200 meter, 400 meter and 4x100 meter relay).
Once again she saved her best for last, as she became the first athlete in over thirty years to earn multiple All-American awards on the same day. She ran her best time in the 400 by almost a full second in the finals, as she took home third place with a time of 54.24 seconds. McGuffie also teamed up with O'Brien, Krista Ledin (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Anisha Trappier (Taunton, Mass.) to earn seventh place in the 4x100 meter relay finals.
O'Brien saved her best for last as well, as the senior worked all spring towards successfully qualifying for the 2014 Outdoor Track and Field Championship Meet.
After reaching heights of up to five feet, five inches in the indoor season, she rewrote the UMass Boston program records books with a leap of five feet, six inches in early May to qualify for nationals.
En route to Delaware, Ohio and the National Meet, O'Brien was honored as the Little East Conference Female Field Athlete of the Week on May 5 and earned a gold medal at the LEC Championship Meet by tying the then program record of five feet, five inches.
O'Brien set the new UMass Boston program mark on May 3 as she finished second in the high jump at the 2014 NCAA Division III New England Regional Championship Meet with her leap of five feet, six inches. That jump enabled her to become the first field athlete to compete at the national meet for UMass Boston since the 1980's.
While she didn't earn All-American status in the high jump, O'Brien did earn her first All-American honors the next day, when she was a part of the seventh-place 4x100 meter relay team.