By Dan Guttenplan
---- — Rachelle Bourque went into her senior season on the UMass outdoor track team with two goals.
The Triton alumna wanted to win an Atlantic-10 championship in the javelin for the second year in a row, and she wanted to break her own school record. Bourque accomplished both of those feats Friday at the conference championship meet in Charlotte, N.C.
Bourque became the first UMass woman to win back-to-back outdoor championships since Christina DeRosa won the 10,000 meters in 2007 and 2008. With a throw of 143 feet, 1 inch, Bourque also broke a school record she set as a sophomore of 141-11.
“I really wanted to repeat,” Bourque said. “No wants wants to lose after winning the previous season. I also had a goal to break my own record, because everybody wants to go out with their best performance.”
Bourque has two meets left in her outdoor track career — one this weekend at the New England Championships at Stonehill College, and one in June at the NCAA Northeast Regionals. It would not be unprecedented for Bourque to improve upon her record this weekend. She originally set the school record at New England Championships as a sophomore.
“I finally started to throw better these past couple of weekends when the weather was nicer,” Bourque said. “I wish I could say the weather is the only factor, but it was 50 degrees and cloudy in Charlotte all weekend. It was surprisingly nicer in Amherst, so I can’t really give too much credit to the weather in Charlotte.”
Bourque credits her recent improvement to her work with first-year UMass throwing coach Cameron Carter, a graduate assistant who implemented a new training program this year. Under Cameron, Bourque continued her strength training, but focused more on technique and speed.
“He worked me hard,” Bourque said. “We did a lot of work on technique and speed. He wanted my steps to get quicker, so I could convert speed into extra power.”
Bourque plans to return to UMass for a fifth year in the fall to finish off her degree. She plans to become a physician’s assistant after college, but first, she will see if she can serve as a volunteer track coach at UMass next season.
“I’ll see if I can help out with the team and coach a little bit,” Bourque said. “Right now, I’m looking at two more meets in my college career, but maybe I’ll do some competing as an individual after college. Or I could change up sports completely and play some soccer to fill the time and stay in shape.”
Bourque is a former Cape Ann League champion thrower at Triton. She graduated in 2009 after leading the Vikings to a state championship.