MAC Announces Track and Field Athletes of the Week

Updated 2/12/2013

Women's Track Athlete of the Week 
Victoria Voronko, Eastern Michigan, Distance
Sophomore, Stavropol, Russia (University of Moscow)

Victoria Voronko shattered the school record in the 3,000-meter run, crossing the finish line in 9:23.33 at the SPIRE Invitational, Feb. 9. The sophomore shattered the previous mark of 9:32.61, by over nine seconds, set by Carrie Gould back in 1999.

Men's Track Athlete of the Week 
Grzegorz Kalinowski, Eastern Michigan, Mid-Distance
Junior, Lysomice, Poland 
Eastern Michigan University’s Grzegorz Kalinowski almost became the sixth runner in EMU history to run a sub-4 minute mile, finishing the one-mile race 4:00.29 at the SPIRE Invitational, Feb. 9. Kalinowski’s time was good enough for a runner-up finish in the race.

Women's Field Athlete of the Week 
Brittany Cheese, Akron, Multis
Senior, Hilliard, Ohio (Hilliard Davidson HS)

Brittany Cheese became just the second athlete in school history to surpass the 20-foot barrier in the women's long jump over the weekend at the SPIRE D1 Team Invitational in Geneva, Ohio. With a winning mark of 20-00.25, Cheese recorded the second-best jump in UA history and joined Christi Smith, who captured the NCAA Championship in the heptathlon in 2000, as the only Zips to achieve the feat. Furthermore, Cheese's mark is tops in the Mid-American Conference to date and ranked 29th among all Division I competitors. To top off her big weekend, Cheese then ran 8.61 in the 60-meter hurdles, which represented the third-fastest time in school history.

Men's Field Athlete of the Week 
Jonathan Jones, Buffalo, Throws
Junior, Portville, NY (Portville)

At the SPIRE Division I meet, Jonathan Jones scored a fourth-place finish in the men’s shot put. Jones had a top throw on Saturday of 60-5.25 (18.42m). Jones leads the MAC in the shot put at 61-5 (18.72m).

Other Nominees: 

Brooke Pleger, Bowling Green, Throws
Sophomore, Saline, Mich. (Saline)
Brooke Pleger set a new personal best in the weight throw at the GVSU Big Meet Saturday, tossing the apparatus 62-feet-1.25. Pleger's toss was three inches further than her previous best and ranks fifth in the Mid-American Conference this year, as well as placing her among the top 50 in the country.
 
Shante’ White, Buffalo, Throws
Senior, Syracuse, NY (Henninger)
At the SPIRE Division I meet, Shante’ White picked up a fifth-place showing in the women’s weight throw at 63-3.50 (19.29m). Her top throw this season of 63-6 (19.35m) is third in the league.
 
Tiara Oates, Eastern Michigan, Jumps
Junior, Rochester, Mich. (Stoney Creek)
Eastern Michigan University’s Tiara Oates took 11th in the long jump with a leap of 16-feet 9.25-inches at the Grand Valley State University Big Meet, Feb. 8-9.
 
Dior Delophont, Kent State, Jumps/Multi
Freshman, Nancy, France (Lycee Henri Poincare)
Freshman Dior Delophont won the triple jump at the SPIRE NCAA Division I Invitational with a conference-best mark of 42’-09.00”. That mark is sixth in the nation this season, ranks second in Kent State history, and is just 0.75” from tying the facility record at the SPIRE Institute. Delophont took runner-up in the high jump by clearing 5’-10.75”. She also has the top mark in the conference in the high jump with a 6’-00.75” at the Kent State-Akron Dual earlier in the season, which is tied for eighth in the nation.
 
Sidra Sherrill, Northern Illinois, Throws
Sophomore, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Northrop HS)
Sherrill continued her strong indoor season during the weekend at the GVSU Big Meet in Allendale, Mich. The sophomore from Fort Wayne, Ind., took eighth in Friday night's invitational shot put, tossing a 44-00.00 (13.41m) to place eighth. Sherrill's mark beat out Indiana State's Dawnielle Passmore and the Eastern Illinois duo of Condia Smith and Janie Howse.
 
Solomon Ijah, Eastern Michigan, Multis
Sophomore, Murrieta, Calif. (Murrieta Valley)
Solomon Ijah was the top Eagle in the heptathlon at the SPIRE Invitational, Feb. 8-9, finishing with a score of 4937, good enough for seventh in the Eastern Michigan record books as well as a runner-up finish in the meet. Ijah won four out of the seven events (60-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump) against his fellow competitors.
 
Jesse Oxley, Kent State, Pole Vault
Freshman, Sugar Grove, Ohio (Berne Union)
Freshman Jesse Oxley cleared 16’-06.75” in the pole vault to finish seventh at the SPIRE NCAA Division I Invitational. Oxley’s mark ranks fifth in the conference this season and fifth all-time at Kent State.
 
Shauniece Steele, Akron, Sprints
Junior, Cincinnati, Ohio (Walnut Hills HS)
Shauniece Steele finished runner-up in the women's 400-meter run at the SPIRE D1 Team Invitational in Geneva, Ohio, with a personal-record time of 55.33. Her mark was fifth-fastest in school history and second-best among all Mid-American Conference competitors in 2013. The junior also ran on the Zips' 4x400 relay team that established a season-low time of 3:48.49.
 
Meghan Manley, Buffalo, Mid-Distance
Sophomore, Orchard Park, NY (Orchard Park)
At the SPIRE Division I meet, Meghan Manley set the school record and a personal best of 2:06.97 in the women's 800-meter run. Manley broke Asia Henry's 2012 record as she won the unseeded heat, leading from the start. Her time ranks second in the MAC this season.
 
Melinda Sawnor. Kent State, Middle Distance
Senior, Rochester, N.Y. (Greece Athena)
Senior Melinda Sawnor ran the country’s 13th-best time in the 800-meter run with a 2:06.50 to finish second at the SPIRE NCAA Division I Invitational on Saturday. Sawnor’s conference-leading time is the second-best in Kent State history.
 
Layne Baggett, Miami, Sprints/Hurdles
Senior, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Moon Senior)
Baggett had a stellar meet Friday at the GVSU Big Meet as she broke the school record in the 60m hurdles, clocking a time of 8.45 seconds in the 60m hurdles final, which bested Erin Connolly's mark of 8.46 set in 2003. Baggett finished second in the finals after qualifying first in a field of 32 in the prelims with a time of 8.51, which still ties for the sixth-fastest time in school history, five of which Baggett owns. She was edged out in the 60m hurdles final by GVSU's Kalena Franklin, who was second in prelims. Baggett’s school-record time ranks third in the MAC this year and ties for 48th nationally. She was running against hurdlers from several MAC schools as well as Michigan State and Indiana State, both of which are nationally ranked, and several nationally ranked D-II schools, including No. 1 GVSU. Baggett also finished 10th in the 60m dash in 7.72 seconds, one one-hundredth of a second shy of her personal best.
 
Janay Mitchell, Northern Illinois, Sprints
Senior, Teaneck, N.J. (Teaneck HS)
Mitchell made her 2012-13 indoor debut a memorable one this weekend at the GVSU Big Meet, posting a pair of top finishes and a MAC automatic qualifying mark. On Friday night, she raced to a seventh place finish in the invitational 60 meters, clocking in at 7.63 for an auto berth into the conference indoor meet. The next day, Mitchell earned a sixth place finish in the open 200 meters with a time of 25.48.
 
Melissa Thompson, Ohio University, Distance
Junior, Westerville, Ohio (St. Francis DeSales)
Thompson competed at the Hoosier Hills event Saturday and earned a fourth-place finish (9:44.36) in the competitive event. Thompson, who posted the fifth-best 3,000m time in the MAC this season, qualified for the MAC Indoor Championships with her performance.
 
Mackenzie Chojnacky, Toledo, Distance
Sophomore, Jerome, Idaho (Jerome)
Toledo sophomore Mackenzie Chojnacky broke the 5,000-meter meet record at the Grand Valley State Big Meet on Friday, Feb. 8. She finished second among 113 runners and was one of the three to break the record of 16:28.71, finishing with a final mark of 16.25.38. Chojnacky's time is the fourth-best in UT history and ranks her above former All-Americans Brianna Shook and Emma Kertesz. She now sits on top of the MAC indoor performance list in the 5,000-meter run, while appearing second on the 3,000-meter chart. She is also sixth on the mile list.
 
Aisha Hodge, Western Michigan, Distance
Junior, Bangor, Mich. (Bangor HS)
Hodge ran a personal-best time of 2:08.84 to land her in third all-time on WMU's Performance List for the indoor 800 meter run. Hodge took 17th overall in an elite field at the SPIRE Invitational on Saturday. Her time is also currently third fastest in the MAC.
 
Miles Lewis, Buffalo, Sprints
Junior, Coram, NY (Newfield)
At the SPIRE Division I meet, sprinter Miles Lewis led the Bulls with a second-place finish in the men’s 60-meters. Lewis turned in a 6.82 clocking in the final to better his preliminary time of 6.86 which placed him sixth of ten qualifiers. Lewis also finished seventh in the men’s 200-meters in 21.81.
 
Michael Helle, Kent State, Middle Distance
Senior, Stow, Ohio (Stow)
Senior Michael Heller clocked a conference-best 8:08.81 in the 3,000-meter run at the SPIRE NCAA Division I Invitational. His time ranks second in Kent State history.