Engineering is undoubtedly one of the most demanding majors at any university. Engineering students wouldn’t want it any other way. But that engineering degree of difficulty didn’t stop a passel of hard-pressed engineering students from standing out as intercollegiate competitors, sports stars, and Renaissance students this past year.
Any discussion of our outstanding scholar-athletes must begin with the UMass Men’s Swimming Team, in which four students from our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department torpedoed their way to glory throughout the season, and especially at the climactic Atlantic 10 Championships. Senior co-captains Alessandro Bomprezzi and Brian Stiles led the UMass Swimming Team to an Atlantic 10 Championship, aided and abetted by two other MIE teammates – senior Joe Woodman and junior Thomas Brennan.
The 2015-16 season was highlighted by the Minutemen bringing home their 16th Atlantic 10 title this past February. UMass saw seven different Minutemen win championship events, led by Bomprezzi and Stiles, who each won, or were a part of, three first-place finishes. For the second consecutive year, Bomprezzi earned the honor of being named the Team MVP. The senior won the 500 free and the 1,650 free at the A-10 Championships and was a member of the first-place 800 free relay team. Meanwhile Stiles was presented with the Minuteman Award after winning the 200 free and being a member of the A-10 champion 200 free and 800 free relay teams.
Bomprezzi finished first in the 1,650 free to match his A-10 title earlier in the week for the 500 free. His time of 15 minutes, 15.61 seconds was just shy of his previously set school record and was an NCAA ‘B’ qualification. In the 100 free finals, Stiles swam the second-fastest time in UMass program history en route to a second-place finish. He clocked 44.68 seconds in the finals, but was just a split second faster in the prelims at 44.65 seconds.
Woodman rounded out the top performances for the seniors with a fifth place finish in the 1,650 free and a consolation finals performance in the 500 free. The industrial engineering major finished his career ranked in the top 10 at UMass in the 500 free (7th), the 1,000 free (3rd), and the 1,650 free (5th).
Brennan earned Second Team All-Conference honors at the A-10 Championships as a member of the second place 200 medley relay team (1:29.61). He also placed seventh in the 200 fly (1:51.11) and 11th in the 100 fly (49.85). He swam season-best times of 53.18 seconds in the 100 back and 1:55.04 in the 200 IM at the Terrier Invitational.
On the UMass Football Team, senior Matthew Sparks of our Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was a four-year letter-winner and two-year starting member of the offensive line and named a 2015 member of the Rimington and Outland Trophy Watch Lists. The Rimington Trophy Watch List tracks the top centers in the nation, while the Outland Trophy Watch List tracks the top offensive or defensive interior linemen. See Game-By-Game Statistics and personal profile: http://www.umassathletics.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/matt_sparks_816112.html. Sparks was also honored as a Distinguished MAC Scholar-Athlete and made the MAC All-Academic Team and Capital One Academic All-District Team. At Commencement, Sparks was also honored as a 21st-Century Leader, and he graduated with a cumulative GPA of 3.8
On the UMass Women’s Track & Field Team, senior Carly Zinner of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department earned bronze in the mile-run, with a time of 4 minutes, 59.24 seconds, helping the UMass team to capture its third Atlantic 10 Indoor Track and Field Championship. She also ran a 4:57.53 mile at the Beantown Challenge to finish first and qualify for the ECAC and New England Indoor Championships. Zinner was part of the 4x800-meter relay team that placed sixth at the Indoor New England Championship. Outdoors, she placed fourth in the 1500-meter with a time of 4:43.17 at the Minuteman Invitational, third in the 800-meter at the UMass Tri-Meet with a time of 2:16.92, and fourth in the mile at the CCSU Invitational with a time of 5:10.32. Zinner's Career Performance List & PRs. (May 2016)