MAC Athletes Begin Competition at NCAA Outdoor Championships

Updated 6/10/2009

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. ? University of Akron All-American Stevi Large advanced to Friday’s women’s hammer final of the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held at the University of Arkansas.


Large, who will compete Friday at 11 am (CT), was the top qualifier in Wednesday’s preliminary round of the hammer with a throw of 215-9 (65.77). The top 12 from today’s prelim advanced to the final. However, today’s throws will not count toward the final.


Large, who fouled on her first attempt, posted her mark on the second throw and the senior passed on her third. The next closest competitor was Fresno State’s Sharon Ayala at 206-2 and Arizona State’s Sarah Stevens at 205-10. Southern Cal’s Eva Orban, the nation’s leader in the hammer heading into the championships with the nation’s best throw of 226-10, qualified fifth with a throw of 203-1. Large, who entered nationals ranked second with a throw of 221-1, was the only athlete to pass her third attempt, needing just the one legal throw to set the standard for the field. The throw was also her second-best effort of the season. Last year, Large just made the cut to the final, qualifying 11th, and finished eighth for her second All-American honor. As a sophomore, she placed 14th in the hammer in the NCAA Outdoors.


Teammate Valerie Wert, making her first trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, placed 19th with a throw of 182-6 (55.62). The sophomore and two-time MAC hammer runner-up behind Large had a season-best throw of 198-2 to earn an at-large berth to the championships. Wert also competed in the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships, placing 17th in the weight throw.


Also competing Wednesday was UA junior Daniel Kinsey in the first five events of the two-day decathlon. The East Liverpool native stands in 19th place with 3,768 points. Most of the first day events are not typically Kinsey’s strong suit. He placed 15th in the long jump, 23rd in the 100m and 22nd in the 400m. However, he did place second in the shot put and tied for 11th in the high jump. Kinsey typically performs well and pads his point total in three of tomorrow’s final five events, including the pole vault, discus and javelin. Kinsey, the 2009 MAC decathlon champion with a UA-record 7,445 points, stood at 3,685 points after the first day of this year’s MAC Championships. In comparing his day one at this year’s MAC to this year’s NCAA, he scored 54 more points in the 100m today, 51 more points in the long jump today, 15 less points in the shot put, the same amount of points in the high jump and seven less points in the 400m. 


Following a lengthy delay due to inclement weather late Wednesday, University of Akron junior Carrie Kayes joined teammate Stevi Large in Friday’s finals at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Mike McCall just missed qualifying for Friday’s men’s high jump final.

Kayes, one of 10 to qualify first with a vault of 13-5.25 (4.10), will compete Friday at 7 pm (CT). Large, who will compete Friday at 11 am (CT), was the top qualifier in Wednesday’s preliminary round of the hammer with a throw of 215-9 (65.77). The top 12 and ties from today’s prelim advanced to the final and the top eight Friday will be named All-American. Today’s results will not count toward the final.

Kayes cleared 12-3.50 on her first attempt, while she needed to attempts to clear the second height, 12-9.50. The Green product then cleared 13-1.50, the same height she cleared to win the 2009 Mid-American Conference Outdoor title, on her first attempt and advanced to Friday’s final by clearing 13-5.25 on her third and final attempt. Kayes earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Outdoors thanks to a season-best vault of 13-9.25 this season.

McCall, battling an injury, finishes 15th (tied) at his first NCAA Outdoor Championship. (He also participated in the NCAA Indoors for the first time this past March.) The Richfield native needed all three attempts to clear the opening height of 6-8.75 (2.05). The top 14 advanced to the Friday’s final, each clearing 6-10.75. McCall, the MAC Champion earned an at-large berth to nationals with a season-best clearance of 7-1.75.


Kent State junior Matthew Pfleger wrapped up his season today in the qualifying round of the men’s hammer throw at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Pfleger’s toss of 55.66 meters in the first flight of qualifying placed him 24th overall. The top 12 finishers advanced to Friday’s final round.

The trip to the NCAA Championships concluded an outstanding season for the native of Garrettsville, Ohio.

Pfleger was forced to wait three days to see if his hammer toss at the NCAA Mid-East Regionals in Louisville, Ky. was far enough to earn a trip to the championships. Pfleger learned from the NCAA that his toss of 60.70 meters, good enough for ninth place at the regional meet, was also good enough for him to compete for a national title.

Pfleger passed up the regional mark seven times and won the hammer three times during the season, including a toss of 62.03 meters that landed him a Mid-American Conference title. His season-best throw at the Campbell-Wright Open went for 64.54 meters and ranked as the 17th-best hammer toss in the nation.

Coming up big in the clutch isn’t anything new to Kent State senior women’s javelin thrower Kimberley Hamilton.

Hamilton spent the past four years producing timely hits and making key defensive plays for the school’s softball team.

On a stormy Wednesday in Fayetteville, Ark., Hamilton made what was perhaps the biggest throw of her career.

Sitting in 17th place in the qualifying round of the women’s javelin throw at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Hamilton heaved her final attempt 49.33 meters to earn a berth in Friday’s final (5:30 p.m.) with 11 of the nation’s other top javelin throwers. Hamilton will have the opportunity to become an All-American in the event.

Hamilton, who hails from Cave Junction, Ore., continued her Cinderella season as a javelin thrower at the NCAA Mid-East Regional meet in Louisville, Ky. with a 50.19-meter toss that nailed down third place in the event. Her throw at regionals was just short of a career-best heave of 50.27 meters at the Duke Invitational.

Perhaps Kent State’s most pleasant surprise of the season, Hamilton decided to use her remaining year of NCAA eligibility to try her hand at the javelin, and all she has done is develop into one of the best throwers in the nation. She became a conference champion and beat the regional mark five times. Hamilton won the MAC with a 48.74-meter throw.

The Western Michigan track and field season has come to an end as both Danielle Brown and Jennifer Sabra were unable to move on and qualify for the semifinals in the 400 meter hurdles at the NCAA National Championships on Wednesday evening.

Sabra finished in fourth in her heat with a time of 58.59 but finished 19th overall, with the top 18 moving on to the semifinals. Brown ran a time of 1:00.98.

Sabra ends her career with Western Michigan as a part of both the WMU and Mid-American Conference record holding indoor and outdoor 4x400 meter relay teams. She holds the third fastest time in school history and is an eight time MAC Champion as a part of the 4x400 and 4x100 meter relay teams.

Brown ends her career as one of the top hurdlers in Western Michigan history and Bronco track and field’s eighth All-American. The Kalamazoo native holds school records in the 400 meter hurdles and as a part of the indoor and outdoor 4x400 meter relay teams. She holds the second fastest time in school history in the 60 meter hurdles and the 100 meter hurdles. Brown also has the fifth best performance in the heptathlon in Bronco history. She was a seven time MAC Champion in the 400 meter hurdles and as a part of the 4x400 meter relay team and also had the highest finish at a NCAA Regional Championship, finishing in seventh at the 2008 Mideast Regional.

Although her Bronco career ends, Brown will head to the United States Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., to compete in the 400 meter hurdles on June 23.


The first day of the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships went well into the late evening as thunderstorms and rain in the Fayetteville, AK area forced the event to be delayed for nearly three hours. Competing for Buffalo in the NCAA Championships was pole vaulter Tiffany Maskulinski (Elma, NY/Iroquois) who qualified for the championships with her second-place finish at the NCAA East Regionals.

Unfortunately for Maskulinski, a knee injury in warm ups forced her to scratch from the competition. During her final warm up attempt of the evening, Maskulinski believes her pole missed the box and she slipped, banging her knee on her pole.

³We are all very upset that Tiffany was unable to compete, but this does not take anything away from the outstanding season that she had this past year,² said head coach Vicki Mitchell. ³She¹s obviously disappointed, but being the unbelievably tough person she is, she¹s handling it very well.²

Maskulinski has overcome injuries through out her career, and has succeeded as she was an All-East Region selection for the second time this past year at the NCAA East Regionals. She still has one year of eligibility left and will return next year with the goal of returning to the NCAA Championships.


The Eastern Michigan University men's track and field team sent two representatives to the 2009 NCAA Track and Field Championships, June 10-13, at the University of Arkansas' John McDonnell Track. Senior Josh Karanja (Ottawa, Ont.-Nepean) and junior Gerald Gersham (Southfield, Mich.-Southfield) both qualified for the championship after placing in the top-five at the 2009 Mideast Regional, May 29-30.

After a three hour delay due to poor weather conditions, Karanja qualified for the finals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final after finishing fifth in his heat, running 8:45.08. This will be Karanja's first appearance in an NCAA track and field championship final. He had previously qualified in the steeplechase at the 2007 championship but did not make it past the semifinals.

After a career performance at the NCAA Mideast Regional, Gersham followed it up with yet another personal-best throw. The Southfield, Mich. tossed 56-05.25 on his first attempt in the preliminary round before following out on his second throw. In his final attempt in the qualifying round, he threw a lifetime-best 59-11.00, a few inches farther than his previous best to finish 14th overall, just two slots shy of making the final round. The junior earned back a year of eligibility and will return to the Eagles next season as a fifth year senior.

Karanja will run in the final of the steeplechase Friday, June 12