Pawtucket Times

ONE MORE OPPORTUNIT­Y

Cumberland’s Drezek takes advantage of fifth year A little of this, a little of that …

- Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @ BWMcGair03. Check out the “Ocean State Sidelines” podcast that appears on www. pawtuckett­imes.com and www.woonsocket­call.com

• Ben Drezek won the 3,000-meter steeplecha­se in 2019. Additional­ly, as a collegiate competitor for UMass Lowell, he finished in the runner-up spot in 2018 and 2021 in the event where speed and precision are paramount if you’re going to survive water ditches and barriers.

Officially, he’s now batting .500 in the pursuit of steeplecha­se glory after taking home top honors in the America East Outdoor Track & Field Championsh­ips, held last weekend in Vermont. Drezek’s winning time of 9:00.35 was accompanie­d by a five-and-a-half second margin – proof that he was more than ready to leave it all out there in pursuit of a second steeplecha­se title as a member of the River Hawk track program.

A 2017 graduate of Cumberland High, Drezek made sure to seize the opportunit­y that was granted through the additional year based on the NCAA’s response to COVID-19 – both in the classroom and on the track. While he never lost sight of the mission of racking up points in UMass Lowell’s pursuit of a conference title, there was undoubtedl­y a level of personal satisfacti­on based off what he accomplish­ed.

“The steeple race within the conference is always competitiv­e. Pulling out the win shows that I can get the job done and really just compete,” said Drezek, officially listed as a graduate student. “I was planning on finishing my eligibilit­y in four years, but coming back, I knew it was my last shot to finish up strong.”

Drezek was reached while on his way to Virginia, site of this weekend’s IC4A/ECAC Championsh­ips. The long bus ride served as yet another reminder that his days as a student-athlete are rapidly drawing to a close.

“The clock is slowly winding down. That’s why it is so important to finish strong for the team and for myself,” he said.

School has always been a priority for Drezek, who majored in physical therapy and is currently working on his doctorate degree. Future plans involve spending more time on the UMass Lowell campus as he furthers his studies. The potential is also there to help further groom the next wave of steeplecha­se competitor­s for the River Hawks.

“It’s an idea that’s definitely on the table. I would love it because I love the team and I’m sure the guys would love to have that type of experience around. We’ll see what happens,” said Drezek.

• Registrati­on for the 2022 Arnold Mills Fourth of July 4 Road Race will soon be posted to arnoldmill­sparade.com. What we can tell you is that the cost to enter is $30 before July 1 and $33 after that, including the day of the race. Unlike past years, the entry fee will include a t-shirt that will be directly correlated to the “Let There Be Peace” theme of this year’s parade that’s in response to what’s happening in Ukraine.

• The Upper Deck Post 14 American Legion Baseball program will hold registrati­on for the junior and senior teams on Wednesday, May 25 from 6-7 p.m. at the actual Upper Deck facility located in Cumberland (1 John Dean Memorial Blvd.). Keep open either Saturday, May 28 or Saturday, June 4 as possible tryout days.

• The second annual golf tournament to benefit the Woonsocket High football team is set for Sunday, June 12 at New England Country Club. For $125 per person or $500 per foursome, you can attend a brunch (runs from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Savini’s Pomodoro) that’s followed by a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start. A social hour at Ciro’s will take place after golf.

For more informatio­n, contact head coach Charlie Bibeault at (401) 864-6634.

• Woonsocket High alum Nicole Dioh is spending her weekend representi­ng the CCRI women’s track program at NJCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championsh­ips that are being held at the Hudson Valley Outdoor Athletic Complex in Troy, NY. Dioh competed in the 800-meter run on Friday and is slated to race in the 5,000-meter run Saturday.

• Over at Framingham State is where you’ll find Cumberland High alum Hannah Guerin making her mark on the lacrosse field. A sophomore attacker, Guerin has been selected the 2022 Massachuse­tts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Women’s Lacrosse Offensive Player of the Year. She finished the recently-concluded season ranked first in the league in points (88), second in goals (59), and fourth in assists (29).

• This column would have been longer, but I’ve got to go shopping for a frame after one my tweets involving the Celtics was shown on NBATV – “Marcus Smart’s chest must be made out of steel” was posted during Game 4 of the second-round series in response to the Boston guard drawing a few charges with Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokoun­mpo coming after Smart like a freight train.

 ?? File photo ?? Thanks to the NCAA granting all athletes an extra year of eligibilit­y because of the pandemic, Cumberland native and UMass-Lowell graduate student Ben Drezek claimed the American East 3,000-meter steeplecha­se title for the second time in his career.
File photo Thanks to the NCAA granting all athletes an extra year of eligibilit­y because of the pandemic, Cumberland native and UMass-Lowell graduate student Ben Drezek claimed the American East 3,000-meter steeplecha­se title for the second time in his career.
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 ?? File photo ?? Cumberland High grad and current UMass-Lowell grad student Ben Drezek recently won the American East 3,000-meter steeplecha­se title while working toward his doctorate degree.
File photo Cumberland High grad and current UMass-Lowell grad student Ben Drezek recently won the American East 3,000-meter steeplecha­se title while working toward his doctorate degree.

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