Courtesy of Akron Sports Information Department
1) Akron 195
2) Kent State 183
3) Eastern Michigan 142.50
4) Miami (Ohio) 125
5) Buffalo 97.50
6) Central Michigan 67
AKRON, Ohio – The University of Akron men's track and field team claimed their third straight Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championship and fifth outdoor title in six seasons Saturday at Lee R. Jackson Track and Field Complex.
The Zips are the first men's program to win three consecutive MAC Outdoor Championships in the league since 1999. Not to be overlooked, the Akron women's team also enjoyed an outstanding weekend of competition and finished runner-up in the league after placing seventh in 2012.
A force throughout the course of the three-day meet, senior Nick Banke was named MAC Most Valuable Performer after tallying 26 points for the men's team. The native of Mishawaka, Ind. captured the second MAC title of his career Saturday, winning the discus with a mark of 182-09, and finished runner-up in the shot put and hammer Friday.
Freshman Shawn Barber, the league's indoor champion in the pole vault, made it a clean sweep Saturday by winning the event with a championship meet record jump of 17-08.50, which earned him the MAC's Most Outstanding Field Performance award.
In guiding the men's program to its fifth league crown, 18th-year head coach Dennis Mitchell was named MAC Men's Coach of the Year for the fifth time. In all, it is the 16th time Mitchell, who also serves as the head coach for the Zips women's team, has earned the league's top coaching honor.
Sophomore Martel Durant was Akron's third MAC Champion on the men's side Saturday, taking the high jump with a clearance of 6-11.00. It was a league sweep for Durant as well as the local standout from Copley High School also claimed the MAC title at the indoor meet last February.
After trailing by 10 points to Kent State after the first two events of the meet, the Zips scored 59 points over the next four to take control and never looked back. In the end, Akron won the team title by 12 points with a three-day tally of 195. Kent State, which won the women's team championship, came in second with 183 points, followed by MAC Indoor Champion Eastern Michigan (142.50), Miami (Ohio) (125), Buffalo (97.50) and Central Michigan (67).
Akron received a huge lift from its pole vault trio of Barber, Joe Wesley and Shawn Light, who finished 1-3-4 to secure 21 points. Wesley went 17-00.75 to establish a personal record while Light jumped 16-06.75 to hold off the rest of the pack.
The Zips also scored 14 points in the high jump and 100-meter dash. A pair of freshmen sprinters, Vince Turnage (10.71) and Julius Ruby (10.82) finished second and fifth, respectively,in their event while John Dahlstrand joined Durant on the winner's podium in the high jump with a fifth-place finish and clearance of 6-08.00. Dahlstrand also scored three points in the triple jump (46-06.75).
Other men's runner-ups included Sean Weems (51.96) in the 400-meter hurdles and the 4x100 relay team of Weems, Nick Owens, Ruby and Turnage, which posted a collective time of 3:11.35.
The women's team, which started the day in third place, enjoyed a strong showing Saturday that saw two MAC Champions crowned and a pair of school records go down.
Alexis Cooks got the Zips going with a successful defense of her discus title from a year ago. The Colorado native won the event with a mark of 175-00, which was more than two feet better than her next closest competitor. Then in the 400-meters, Shauniece Steele re-wrote the school record book with a winning time of 54.11 to claim the first MAC title of her career.
Skyler Willis then reset her school standard in the 400-meter hurdles for the fifth time this season with a time of 59.44 in a runner-up finish.
Other highlights for the women's program included a pair of second-place finishes by Rachel Christian in the 100-meters (11.74) and 200-meters (23.82), and a third-place designation by Gabriela Szkolnicka, who cleared 5-08.75 in the high jump.
Despite their success, the women's team couldn't catch the Golden Flashes, who took the title with 169 points. Buffalo finished third with 109.50 points, followed by Miami (105), Eastern Michigan (82.50).
The Zips will have a week off from competition before they head to the NCAA Preliminaries from May 23-24.
Individual Award Winners:
Men's MVP - Nicholas Banke, Akron
Most Outstanding Track Performance
Mike Heller, Kent State
Most Outstanding Field Performance:
Shawn Barber, Akron
Coach of the Year:
Dennis Mitchell, Akron
Men’s All-MAC 1st Team
Nicholas Banke, Akron (Discus)
Shawn Barber, Akron (Pole Vault)
Martel Durant, Akron (High Jump)
Alex McCune, Akron (Decathlon)
Ryan Billian, Buffalo (110m Hurdles)
Jonathan Jones, Buffalo (Shot Put)
Austin Price, Buffalo (Triple Jump)
Scott Parker, CMU (400m Hurdles)
Cameron Bolton, EMU (4x100)
Jairus Saunders, EMU (4x100)
Chris Scott, EMU (4x100)
Daryl Smith, EMU (Steeplechase)
Matthew Williams, EMU (4x100)
Brandon Bailey, KSU (400m and 4x400)
Laron Brown III, KSU (4x400)
Miles Dunlap, KSU (4x400)
Brian Florek, KSU (Javelin)
Wayne Gordon, KSU (100m, 200m)
Michael Heller, KSU (5,000 and 10,000)
Jacob Swords, KSU (800m and 4x400)
Matthias Tayala, KSU (Hammer)
Jarrod Eick, Miami (1500)
Sam Spallinger, Miami (Long Jump)
Men’s All-MAC 2nd Team
Gabriel Genovesi, Akron (4x400)
Jake Hiltner, Akron (4x400)
Bjorn Johansson, Akron (Decathlon)
Vince Turnage, Akron (100m)
Kyle Walker, Akron (4x400)
Sean Weems, Akron (400m Hurdles and 4x400)
Jacob Sunday, Buffalo (Javelin)
Ethan Lievense, CMU (Steeplechase)
Renaldo Powell, CMU (110m Hurdles)
Max Babits, EMU (Pole Vault)
Grzegorz Kalinowski, EMU (1500)
Terefe Ejigu, EMU (5,000 and 10,000)
William Barnes, KSU (4x100)
Cody Seifert, KSU (4x100)
Nathaniel Scales, KSU (4x100)
John Cantwell, Miami (Long Jump and Triple Jump)
Jahquil Hargrove, Miami (400m)
Jack Spilman, Miami (800m)
Peter Stefanski, Miami (High Jump)