DURHAM, N.H. – UNH Men’s Track and Field Head Coach Jim Boulanger has it all; a three-time America East Champion Cross Country Team, numerous Coach of the Year awards, and a record-breaking indoor track and field team. Throughout the current winter season, five thriving men shattered decades old records.
Senior thrower Jeff Kaste (Atkinson, N.H.) broke Alex Miller’s 1980 weight record. Kaste threw 63 feet, 8¼ inches while at the Harvard Select Meet on Jan. 31. He is the 2007 America East weight champion, but redshirted the 2008 season due to injury and could not compete for the 2008 title. Kaste, now injury free, is back in action.
“I’m pretty happy about breaking the record considering Coach B[oulanger] always told me I’d do it,” noted Kaste. The burly thrower hopes to win New Englands and place at ICAAAA’s this winter.
With the help of his teammates, Kaste has high hopes for the remainder of the season. “This is one of the best track teams we’ve had in a long time,” said Kaste. “We have a solid chance of winning America East this weekend.”
Fellow thrower Brice Paey (Milton, N.H.) erased a 22-year-old school record in the shot put with an IC4A Championship-qualifying throw of 57-11¾ Feb. 14 at Boston University’s Valentine Invite, beating Ed McCabe’s mark of 56-10. The sophomore notched the 2008 America East outdoor shot put title, while earning fourth place at IC4A’s and 15th at the NCAA regional qualifier in the spring.
As for the 2009 America East indoor championships, Paey hopes to set a new conference record and erase the current mark of 56-1¾. “I think it’s great everyone in stepping up their game at big meets,” said Paey.
In the spring, he would like to set an America East outdoor shot put record and “throw in the mid to low 60s.” Qualifying for nationals in both the indoor and outdoor seasons are also on the exceptional sophomore’s to-do list.
The lone distance runner in the pack is senior Robert Edgerton (Cornish, N.H.). Edgerton broke Randy Hall’s 1990 record at Boston University’s Terrier Classic on Jan. 24, running two minutes, 23.82 seconds to break the old record of 2:24.74. Edgerton has yet to place worse than fourth in a championship meet. He is the 2007 800 meter New England indoor champion, the 2008 America East indoor champion in the mile and 100 meters, the 2008 New England indoor champion in the mile, and the America East outdoor champion in the 1,500 meters.
The non-New Hampshire resident of the bunch is high jumper Patrick Casey (So. Yarmouth, Mass.). The senior broke his own 2008 record this winter at the Husky Winter Carnival on Dec. 6, jumping 6-9 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. “Four years of hard work is finally starting to pay off,” said the senior.
His goal for this weekend is to win the high jump. “I’ve come in second place twice,” Casey said. “It’s time to win.”
As for the spring, the jumper plans to continue to improve and earn a better height at every meet. “The ultimate goal is to qualify for NCAA’s,” Casey said. “You have to win your conference or jump seven feet. I’m going for winning the conference.”
Long jumper Spencer Shaw (Hampton, N.H.) broke A. Richard “Boo” Morcom’s 67-year-old record while at the Valentine Invite. The senior captain jumped 23-10¼ to beat out more than 50 other men. While at UNH, Shaw has produced three top-three finishes at the America East Championships (indoor twice, outdoor once). This weekend, Shaw looks to jump 24-6. This mark would qualify him for nationals as well as earn him the new America East indoor long jump record. Also this weekend, the jumper will high jump in hopes of grabbing a few extra points for the team.
The Wildcats return to action Friday, Feb. 20 at Boston University for the America East Indoor Championship. Events begin at 3 p.m. and conclude Saturday evening.