MAC Announces Track and Field Athletes of the Week

Updated 4/30/2013

Women's Field Athlete of the Week 
Brooke Pleger, Bowling Green, Throws
Sophomore, Saline, Mich. (Saline HS)
Brooke Pleger won the Ashland Alumni Open championship flight of the hammer throw with a toss of 215-feet-7, her second-longest throw of the year and one which only six other collegiate hammer throwers have exceeded this year. Pleger won the event in a field that also included the eighth-ranked hammer thrower in the country. Currently, Pleger ranks No. 5 in the country in the event and is the only MAC athlete ranked that high in an event this year.

Men's Field Athlete of the Week 
Matthias Tayala, Kent State, Hammer Throw
Sophomore, McDonald, Ohio (McDonald) 
Sophomore Matthias Tayala competed at the 119th Penn Relays on April 25-27 in Philadelphia, Pa. and won the hammer throw with a toss of 217 feet, 8 inches.  That mark is first in the MAC this season.  Additionally, Tayala is ranked third in the East Region, eighth in the nation and seventh in Kent State history.  Tayala also placed second in the discus throw at 175-08.  The Penn Relays are the world’s oldest and largest relay carnival and showcase the best high school, collegiate and international athletes in the world.

Women's Track Athlete of Week 
Victoria Voronko, Eastern Michigan, Distance
Sophomore, Stavropol, Russia (University of Moscow) 
Eastern Michigan University distance runner Victoria Voronko ended arguably the most impressive meet of the year, breaking her own school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as well as the 5,000-meter run at the Drake Relays, April 25-27. On Thursday, April 25, Voronko broke her second EMU record of the 2012-13 campaign, finishing the 5,000-meter run in 16:22.05, three seconds better than the old record held by Carrie Gould, set back in 1999.The sensational sophomore season continued for Voronko on the final day of the Drake Relays, April 27. She grabbed the bronze in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, crossing the finish line in 10:15.74 to break her own EMU record. The Stavropol, Russia native held the previous top mark of 10:23.23 which she ran just two weeks ago at the Sea Ray Relays, April 12. 

Men's Track Athlete of the Week 
Parker Scott, Central Michigan, Hurdles
Junior , Fenton, Mich  (Lake Fenton HS)
Junior Parker Scott won the 400m hurdles at the Lyle Bennett Open with a qualifying time of 52.71, a personal best.  This time gives Scott the second fastest time in the MAC, and 38th in the East Regional. Scott also ran the opening leg of the mens 4x400 relay for the Chippewas, which placed second with a time of 3:15.85. 
Other Nominees: 
Shante’ White, Buffalo, Throws
Senior, Syracuse, NY (Henninger)
Shante’ White won a pair of events at the Cornell Big Red Invitational on Sunday. White claimed the women's hammer throw at 181-10 (55.43m) as the Bulls posted the top three finishers in the event. She also won the women's discus at 161-4 (49.17m), taking the competition by 20 feet. 
Devene Brown, Central Michigan, Throws 
Freshman, Kingston, Jamaica (St. Hugh's HS)
Freshman Devene Brown threw for a school record-breaking mark of 177-0 in the College Women's Discus Throw Championship at the Penn Relays on Friday, earning her first place. Brown’s throw topped her previous school record mark of 168-4. Brown now holds the best women’s discus mark in the Mid-American Conference and moved her within the top 20 best throws in the entire nation.
Alysha Newman, Eastern Michigan, Pole Vault/Hurdles
Freshman, Delaware, Ontario, Canada (Mother Teresa)
Eastern Michigan University freshman Alysha Newman leaped 13-feet 03.50-inches (4.05 meters) to finish runner-up in the pole vault against national competition at the famous Drake Relays, April 26. 
Roseanne Erickson. Kent State, Long Jump
Sophomore, Alexandria, Minn. (Jefferson)
Sophomore Roseanne Erickson competed at the 119th Penn Relays on April 25-27 in Philadelphia, Pa. and won the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 4.25 inches.  That mark is second all-time in Kent State history.  The leap also has Erickson ranked first in the MAC, 14th in the East Region and 28th in the nation.  The Penn Relays are the world’s oldest and largest relay carnival and showcase the best high school, collegiate and international athletes in the world.
Ashley Zaper, Miami, Jumps 
RS Junior, Whitehouse, Ohio (Anthony Wayne HS)
Zaper competed in four events for Miami at the RedHawk Invitational Saturday on her home track, as she finished in the top five in all four while totaling 31 points in the events to help Miami win the team title. Her best showing came in the long jump, which she won with a personal-best leap of 5.77m/18-11.25. Her jump ranks seventh in the MAC this year and moved her up to eighth in school history, as she improved her previous best by nearly three inches. Zaper won the 14-woman event by three inches, as well. In the high jump, she was the runner-up with a clearance of 1.68m/5-6, which is an outdoor personal best. She was the top collegiate finisher in the 13-woman event as an unattached athlete won the high jump. The height ties her for sixth in the MAC and qualifies her for the MAC Championships in the event. In the javelin, which Zaper was simply competing in to prepare for the heptathlon, she earned third out of 14 with a season-best heave of 35.81m/117-6, which is the second-best throw of her career. Zaper also ran one track event, the 100m hurdles, and placed fifth in 14.80, though she was fourth among collegiate competitors in a field of 18.
Sidra Sherrill, Northern Illinois, Shot Put 
Sophomore, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Northrop HS)
Sherrill notched a new PR in the shot put for the second consecutive week, blasting her previous mark at the Penn Relays. Competing in the college division, the sophomore tossed 47-11.75 (14.62m) to place seventh and clinch an automatic berth to the MAC Championships. The sophomore topped her previous PR of 46-08.00 by over a foot, while defeating Western Carolina's Alisha Bradshaw, Maryland-Baltimore County's Amanda Deller and Central Michigan's Devene Brown. On Friday, she tossed 142-02 (43.36m) in the discus at the West Chester Last Chance Qualifier.
Chanda Cuckler, Ohio University, Jumps/Hurdles 
Sophomore, Athens, Ohio (Federal Hocking)
Cuckler earned an automatic bid into the long jump at the MAC Outdoors after launching a season-best 1.67m in the event Saturday at the Miami RedHawk Invitational. Cuckler placed fourth and earned six points for the Bobcats. It was the sixth-best mark in the MAC this season.
Chris Reape, Buffalo, High jump
Sophomore, Rochester, NY (Brighton)
At the Cornell Big Red Invitational on Sunday, Chris Reape extended his school record in the men's high jump as he finished second with a height of 7-0.25. The new height added 1.25 inches to Reape's previous best, set two weeks ago at the Upstate Challenge.
Solomon Ijah, Eastern Michigan, Multis
Sophomore, Murietta, Calif. (Murietta) 
Eastern Michigan University’s Solomon Ijah won four of the first five sections of the Hillsdale-Gina Relays decathlon, April 26, claiming first place in the 100-meter dash, long jump, high jump and 400-meter dash. Coincidentally, the only event the sophomore did not finish in the top position was the shot put where he tossed a personal-best 44-feet 0.50-inches (13.42 meters). The Eagle track and field star grabbed two more event wins on the second day of the, April 27, to finish the competition in first place. Ijah tallied 6,967 points for the fourth-highest decathlon score in EMU history. The Murrieta, Calif. native claimed the 110-meter hurdles as well as the discus throw on day two en route to his event victory.
Peter Stefanski, Miami, High Jump
Freshman, Aurora, Ill. (Marmion Academy) 
Stefanski continued to perform well in the high jump, winning the event Saturday at the RedHawk Invitational in front of the home crowd. He tied his personal best with a clearance of 2.10m/6-10.75, the third straight meet in which he topped that mark, while winning the event by six inches. The height ranks him second in the MAC this year and ties him for 33rd in the East Region. He was victorious in the high jump for the fourth time in six outdoors meets this season, placing second the other two meets. Stefanski earned 10 points with the event win to help Miami claim the team title.
Kayla Whitlow, Akron,  Distance
Junior, Euclid, Ohio (Euclid HS)
Kayla Whitlow established a pair of personal records in as many days last weekend at the Hillsdale College "Gina" Relays. Competing in the 1,500-meters Friday, the junior ran a time of 4:32.05, which is seventh-best in the MAC this season. Then in the 800-meters Saturday, Whitlow achieved another career mark and runner-up finish with a time of 2:10.48, which is fifth-best in the league this year. 
Jasmine Redman, Bowling Green, Distance 
Freshman, New Carlisle, Ohio (Tecumseh)
Jasmine Redman improved her time in the 5000 by 18 seconds and met the MAC automatic qualifying mark in the event with a time of 17:12.70 at the Gina Relays, hosted by Hillsdale College. Her time was the best 5000 time by a BGSU student-athlete this year.
Crystal Graham, Buffalo, Sprints
Sophomore, Rochester, NY (Edison Tech)
At the Cornell Big Red Invitational, Crystal Graham won the women's 400-meters with a season-best time of 55.74 seconds and also was part of both winning relays for the UB women. She anchored the 4x100-meter relay to a 45.94 finish as she was preceeded by Jamiee McClary, Malayah White and Brooklynn Ventura. Graham was first with the baton for the victorioius 4x400-meter relay team as the she was followed by Donna Jeanty, Camaria Long and McClary to a 3:57.18 finish.
Lynnese Beyan, Kent State, Long Sprints 
Sophmore, Upper Darby, Pa. (Upper Darby)
Sophomore Lynnese Beyan competed at the Ashland Alumni Open on April 26-27 at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio and earned two first-place finishes.  Beyan won the 400-meter run in in 56.64 seconds, good for 14th in the MAC this season.  Beyan also was part of the winning 4x400 relay that ran a Kent State season-best 3:45.14.  That time is third in the MAC and 91st in the East Region.
Anna Lamb, Miami Distance
Sophomore Granville, Ohio (Granville HS)
Running the 10,000m run for just the second time in her career, Lamb won the 10K at the famed Drake Relays Thursday night in a school-record time of 34:35.39. She ran away from the field, winning the 36-woman race by 21 seconds ahead of Oakland’s Brittni Hutton, who was the runner-up. Mississippi’s Kayleigh Skinner was third in 34:59.20 while the field included runners from across the country, including several Big Ten runners. Lamb shattered Miami’s previous school record of 34:48.24 by 13 seconds, which was set by Michelle Slykhuis at the 1985 Mid-American Conference Championships. Lamb’s time ranks second in the MAC this year and 25th in the East Region. She improved her time 30 seconds from the first time she ran the 10K a few weeks ago.
Janay Mitchell, Northern Illinois, Sprints 
Senior, Teaneck, N.J. (Teaneck HS)
 Mitchell clinched her spot in the 100 meters at the MAC Championships with a season-best performance at the historic Penn Relays Friday. Running against some of the nation's best collegiate sprinters, the Huskie ran 11.91 to place 19th in the field. Mitchell placed fourth while running in the first heat, topping Boston University’s Gemma Acheampong, Kent State’s Katie Reiser and Dartmouth’s Mollie Gribbin. Mitchell also ran the anchor leg of NIU's 4x100 relay that ran 47.20 and placed 32nd overall in a field of 77 at Penn.
Danielle Winningham, Ohio University, Sprints
Senior, Barboursville, W. Va., (Cabell Midland)
 Winningham led the way for the Bobcats in the 800m at the Miami RedHawk Invitational, where the senior placed first in a personal-best time of 2:10.84. The mark was the seventh-fastest in the Mid-American Conference this season and qualified Winningham for the 800m run in next month's MAC Outdoor Championships. Winningham also earned points for Ohio in the 200m dash, as the Barboursville, W. Va., native placed seventh in the event (26.76).
Lindsey Hufnageld, Western Michigan 
Sophomore, Fowler, Mich. (Fowler HS)
Hufnagel helped the shuttle hurdle relay team to a second-place finish at the Penn Relays. With her help the squad posted the fourth-best time in program history at 56.58 seconds. She also helped the 4x400-meter relay squad to a sixth-place finish and the MAC's fastest time at 3:39.52. Hufnagel also broke her own program record in the heptathlon with 4,996 points and took second overall at the Penn Relays.
Ryan Billian, Buffalo, Sprints
Freshman, Levittown, NY (Division Avenue)
At the Cornell Big Red Invitational, Ryan Billian won the men's 200-meters in 21.70 and took third in the men's 110-meter hurdles in 14.17. He was also part of the winning 4x100-meter relay with Darien Johnson, Micah Oliver and Miles Lewis as the team lowered its season best to 40.83. 
Jay Saunders,  Eastern Michigan, Sprints
Senior, Rochester Hills, Mich. (Rochester) 
Eastern Michigan senior Jay Saunders tallied three victories at the Lyle Bennett Open on Saturday afternoon, April 27, at Central Michigan University. The Rochester Hills, Mich. native won the 100-meter and 200-meter dash in 10.66 and 21.48, respectively. Saunders' time in the 100 was a personal-best and the third-best time in the Mid-American Conference this season. The EMU captain also teamed with three other Eagles to take the 4x100-meter relay in a combined time of 41.07.
Michael Heller, Kent State, Middle Distance
R-Senior, Stow, Ohio (Stow) 
Senior Michael Heller competed at the 119th Penn Relays on April 25-27 in Philadelphia, Pa. and placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run in 14 minutes, 23.22 seconds.  That mark is second all-time in Kent State history, third in the MAC and 92nd in the East Region this season.  Heller’s time in the event was faster than any MAC competitor this week.  The Penn Relays are the world’s oldest and largest relay carnival and showcase the best high school, collegiate and international athletes in the world.
Jack Spilman, Miami, Mid-Distance
Senior, Chagrin Falls, Ohio (Chagrin Falls HS)
Spilman had a very strong 800m race at the RedHawk Invitational Saturday in front of his home fans. The senior won the race in a field of 12, clocking 1:51.78, which is his second-best time of the season in six attempts, while he already ranks fourth in the MAC this year. He earned 10 points to help lead Miami to the team title in runaway fashion, while edging his teammate, Jarrod Eick, for the win at the line.