|Injuries kept Emil Igwenagu out of three UMass games last season. (Thom Kendall)|
UMass has confidence in a healthy Igwenagu
UMass has confidence in a healthy Igwenagu The 2010 season looked promising for Emil Igwenagu.
Elected a cocaptain by his teammates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the junior tight end from Boylston was a preseason Colonial Athletic Association first-team selection.
A standout at Holy Name in Worcester, he had found his niche at UMass as a starting tight end who could also be called upon in the backfield.
But the 6-foot, 245-pound Igwenagu missed three games last season because of injuries to his ankle and toe. His production was limited to 12 catches for 142 yards in eight games, six as a starter.
Once again a cocaptain this fall, Igwenagu is healthy and hoping for better times ahead as the Minutemen prepare for their season opener Sept. 1 at Holy Cross.
“I was hurt in the fourth quarter of our first game against William & Mary with an ankle sprain, then suffered turf toe’’ against the University of New Hampshire in a game played at Gillette Stadium, said Igwenagu, who has 36 catches in 31 career games for 441 yards. “It was rough, being on the sidelines a lot. I just tried to be a leader as best I could, helping the other tight ends.’’
He said his ankle was healing at the time that he injured his toe, leaving him hobbled for the entire season.
“Emil played hurt all last year and fought through it but he really couldn’t go full speed,’’ said UMass head coach Kevin Morris.
“He did his best to help us out, practicing every day and taking as many reps as he could. It was disappointing for us and heartbreaking for him. But he’s looked great in preseason camp,’’ added Morris.
He considers Igwenagu a valuable weapon. “Emil is one of the better players in our league and he can do a lot of things for us and create a lot of mismatches for the opposing defense,’’ Morris said. “We’ll also use him in short-yardage situations because he was such a great tailback in high school.’’
Igwenagu said he’s feeling positive about the upcoming season.
“The seniors were asked if they wanted new captains and they said they liked things the way they were,’’ with Igwenagu and linebacker Tyler Holmes leading the team. “That was reassuring and a great honor,’’ he said.
“It’s my final season and I want to enjoy every moment of every day of it.’’
At Holy Name, Igwenagu gained 1,918 yards on 138 carries and scored 23 touchdowns his senior year. He transferred to the school after playing as a sophomore at West Boylston High.
His career stats at both schools totaled 470 carries for 5,037 yards, 54 touchdowns and 372 points.
Lang stayed cool in bid for golf title Lexington teen Jack Lang won the Pre-Junior Division title at the recent Massachusetts Junior Amateur Championship, held at the Renaissance Golf Club in Haverhill.
Lang, who plays out of Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord and is entering his freshman year at Lexington High, carded birdies on three of the final five holes to post an even-par 72 on the third and final day of the tournament.
His 9-over total edged Shrewsbury High’s David Thompson, a member at Cyprian Keyes in Boylston, by one stroke.
Lang saved his best for last: After sending his tee shot into the woods on the 18th, he punched out of trouble, then hit his approach within 10 feet to set up his final birdie of the day and for his first Massachusetts Golf Association title.
“I started finishing well this year and that gave me confidence in the last rounds,’’ said Lang, who had a 2-under score of 34 on the back nine.
“Before this season, I hadn’t played many multiround events, so doing well early on in the summer has helped me a lot.’’
Lang was referring to a win at a Future Collegians World Tour event in Florida that featured a final-round 69.
He followed that up with a victory at the Francis Ouimet Junior Stroke Play Championship (14-15 division) at Stow Acres Country Club and Maplegate Country Club in Bellingham, thanks to a final day score of 74.
Junior standouts win lacrosse trophy A Laxachusetts Minutemen squad won the recent club lacrosse national championship at the Tri-State Summer Lacrosse Festival in New Jersey.
Made up of a number of the state’s top incoming juniors, the Minutemen were victorious in the AA division, the top bracket in their age group.
The class of 2013 team roster included Sam Chen, Daniel DeLaney, and A.J. Lucchese of Sudbury; Patrick Healy of Southborough; Dalton MacAfee, Nico Panepinto and Robbie Pisano of Needham; and Matt Ruzzo of Medfield.
Chen and DeLaney attend Lincoln-Sudbury Regional, Lucchese goes to the Middlesex School in Concord, MacAfee and Healy play at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, Panepinto and Pisano are teammates at Needham High, and Ruzzo attends Medfield High.
“They took on the toughest competition the country had to offer, the top 25 club teams in America,’’ said Sean Morris, one of the program’s head coaches.
The directors of the Laxachusetts program include Brian Vona of Sudbury.
Last year’s Laxachusetts team of rising juniors - now seniors looking at colleges - also won the national AA title.
Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.