Akron Men, EMU Women Claim Team Titles at Indoor Track & Field Championships

Updated 2/26/2011

Story courtesy of Matt Daley (BGSU Media Relations Department)

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio --  
Multiple Mid-American Conference championship records fell, and a first-time team champion was crowned on the final day of the 2011 MAC Indoor Track and Field Championships at Bowling Green State University.

The University of Akron men's track and field team earned their first indoor conference championship by totaling 161 points, their most ever in a MAC indoor meet.  The Zips have been knocking on the title door for the last few years, finishing second twice in the last three meets. 

The Zips were joined as conference champions by the Eastern Michigan University women's team.  The Eagles won their first women's championship since 2000 by earning 118 points, 29 more than second-place Western Michigan.  EMU had not finished as high as third in an indoor championship meet since 2005.

One large contributing factor to Akron's victory was their dominance in the field events.  The Zips' Mike McCall won gold in the high jump after he was the only one of three jumpers to clear 6-8.75 (2.05m) in fewer than three attempts.

In the pole vault, Akron swept the medals.  Mike Uhle and Joe Wesley shared first place with jumps of 16-8.75 (5.10m) on their third attempt.  Dan Garrett took bronze after a vault of 16-2.75 (4.95m).

The Zips won gold and silver in the long jump, and also took fourth place.  Tyshaun Peoples set the MAC championship-winning mark of 24-8.50 (7.53m) on his third of six scheduled attempts.  Collister Fahie's leap of 24-7.75 was good enough for the silver medal.  Fahie also took home silver in the triple jump (50-6.00).  Kent State's Rob Falchi (50-7.25) conquered Fahie for the gold.

In the throwing events, Rob Golabeck of Buffalo out-distanced his competition with a top throw of 61 feet (18.59m).  Central Michigan's Alex Rose followed Golabek with a 58-3.00 (17.75m) throw for silver.  The Chippewas did earn gold in the weight throw, as Kevin Mays produced a toss of 67-06.25 (20.58m).

In men's championship track events, Matt Moffett, Javon Walker, Destin Heasley and Brandon Bailey combined to win the 4x400 meter relay for Kent State.  Their mark of 3:17.80 was less than a second ahead of silver-medalist Akron.

The Golden Flashes also earned gold in the 3000 meter run.  Kiplangat Tisia completed the distance in just 8:30.59, over one second ahead of Buffalo's John Inzina.

Eastern Michigan's Teref Ejigu won bronze in the 3000 meters, but that was not the highlight of his meet.  After winning the 5000 meters on Friday, Ejigu won gold in the mile run, finishing the mile in 4:13.39.  The 26 point total in those three races earned Ejigu the men's 2011 Most Valuable Performer award.

Two Akron runners contributed to the Zips' title, as Phil Ferguson won the 200 meter dash and Willie Brown captured the gold in the 800 meter run.  Ferguson held off three Kent State runners to finish in 21.54 seconds, while Brown crossed the finish line after 1:51.77.

Meanwhile, Eastern Michigan won the two 60-meter events and the 400 meters.  In the dash, Clint Allen won a race that was decided by five one-thousandths (.005) of a second.  Allen's 6.753 seconds defeated the 6.758 seconds of Collister Fahie, who again took silver for Akron.  In the hurdles, Vanier Joseph finished in 7.75 seconds, just .03 shy of the MAC record.  Finally, Brycen Spratiling took gold in the 400 meters after posting a time of 48.09 seconds.

On the women's side of the meet, multiple records were broken on Saturday, starting with the MAC championship record in the shot put.  Becky O'Brien of Buffalo fouled on four of six attempts; however, when she got a successful toss, she made it count.  Her mark of 54-9.25 was nearly five feet better than her closest competition.  In terms of meters, her 16.69 meter throw bested the old record of 16.57, set by Kent State's Leslie Vidmar in 1998.

Eastern Michigan's Ashlee Abraham also set a MAC championship record; her mark took place in the 60 meter dash.  Dueling with Bowling Green's Jeanette Pettigrew, Abraham took gold with a sizzling 7.34 seconds, breaking the previous record of 7.35 which was set in 1999 by Ball State's LaTasha Jenkins.  Abraham won a second gold medal in her second sprint, posting a 24.15 mark in the 200 meter dash. 

Another record was broken on Friday, when Rachel Patterson (Miami) posted a time of 16:32.01 in the 5000 meters.

Western Michigan celebrated a gold-medal victory in the 400 meter dash and also took silver when Iris Campbell and Andrea Arnold swept the top two spots.  Campbell's winning time was 55.32 seconds.

In the mid-distance event, Eastern Michigan's championship dreams were bolstered by a top-two sweep in the 800 meters.  Lauren Quaintance and Beverly Elcock took gold and silver, respectively.  They each finished three seconds ahead of their nearest foes but also finished within five one-hundredths of a second of each other.  Quaintance's winning time of 2:09.92 barely beat Elcock's 2:09.97.

Rachel Patterson, who broke the MAC meet record in the 5000 meters as noted above, also won gold in the 3000 meters.  Patterson beat the favorite, Ari Fisher of Toledo, by running the 3K in 9:39.44.  Fischer's silver-medal time was 9:41.18.

Akron's Cassie Schenck used a speedy 4:50.20 to win gold in the mile run, while Central Michigan's Shanay Carr won the MAC championship in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.57 seconds.

Erica Mudd of Miami held off 2011 Most Valuable Performer Diana Dumitrescu (Kent State) to win the high jump event.  Mudd and Dumitrescu's duel reached a height of 5-8.50 (1.74m); Mudd was able to complete that jump on the third attempt, while Dumitrescu was not.  Even with the silver, Dumitrescu's victory in the pentathlon helped assure her of MVP honors for most individual points scored.

Toledo found gold in the form of the triple jump when Alexandra Afloari leapt 41-4.25 (12.60m) to defeat Eastern Michigan's Shnell Wishart, who posted a jump of 41-0.50.

In the final event of the day, Eastern Michigan capped off their 2011 team championship with a gold medal in the 4x400 meter relay.  Celebrating the win in 3:42.37 were teammates Dejaa Shearer, Asia Rawls, Naomi Andre and Shantavia Williams.

After the meet, several players were recognized for outstanding performance.  Vanier Joseph (Eastern Michigan) and Kevin Mays (Central Michigan) earned honors for men's Most Outstanding Performance, while Rachel Patterson (Miami) and Becky O'Brien (Buffalo) earned women's Most Outstanding Performance for their record-breaking events.

Sue Parks (Eastern Michigan) and Dennis Mitchell (Akron) were named 2011 Coaches of the Year after guiding their respective women's and men's teams to MAC championships.

FINAL STANDINGS
MEN
1st - Akron (161)
2nd - Kent State (144)
3rd - Eastern Michigan (92)
4th - Buffalo (63)
5th - Central Michigan (61)

WOMEN
1st - Eastern Michigan (118)
2nd - Western Michigan (89)
3rd - Miami (81)
4th - Kent State (76)
5th - Toledo (66.5)
6th - Akron (51)
7th - Central Michigan (50.50)
8th - Bowling Green (45)
9th - Buffalo (33)
10th - Ohio (32)
11th - Ball State (13)
12th - Northern Illinois (8)

Women's Awards
Team Champion - Eastern Michigan
Most Outstanding Track Performance - Rachel Patterson, Miami
Most Outstanding Field Performance - Becky O'Brien, Buffalo
Most Valuable Performer - Diana Dumitrescu, Kent State
Coach of the Year - Sue Parks, Eastern Michigan

All-MAC First Team
Ashlee Abraham, EMU - 60 Dash and 200 Dash
Shanaye Carr, CMU - 60 Hurdles
Iris Campbell, WMU - 400 Dash
Lauren Quaintance, EMU - 800
Cassandra Schenck, Akron - Mile
Rachel Patterson, Miami - 3000 and 5000
Erica Mudd, Miami - High Jump
Ariane Beaumont-Courteau - Pole Vault
Ashley Hunault, WMU - Long Jump
Alexandra Afloari, Toledo - Triple Jump
Becky O'Brien, Buffalo - Shot Put
Jessica Rowland, BGSU - Weight Throw
Diana Dumitrescu, KSU - Pentathlon

All-MAC Second Team
Jeanette Pettigrew, BGSU - 60 Dash
Amanda Kaverman, Toledo - 200 Dash
Andrea Arnold, WMU - 400 Dash
Beverly Elcock, EMU - 800
Rachel Whitley, WMU - Mile  
Ari Fisher, Toledo - 3000
Annie Beecham, Ohio - 5000
Layne Baggett, Miami - 60 Hurdles
Jessica Hemingway, EMU - Pole Vault
Brittani McNeal, BGSU, Long Jump
Shnell Wishart, EMU - Triple Jump
Alexandra Roberts, Miami - Shot Put
Melissa Kurzdorfer, KSU - Weight Throw
Thekla Lorenz, BSU - Pentathlon

Men's Awards
Team Champion - Akron
Most Outstanding Track Performance - Vanier Joseph, Eastern Michigan
Most Outstanding Field Performance - Kevin Mays, Central Michigan
Most Valuable Performer - Terefe Ejigu, Eastern Michigan
Coach of the Year - Dennis Mitchell, Akron

All-MAC First Team
Clint Allen, EMU - 60 Dash
Vanier Joseph, EMU - 60 Hurdles
Phil Ferguson, Akron - 200 Dash
Brycen Spratling, EMU - 400 Dash
Willie Brown, Akron - 800
Terefe Ejigu, EMU - Mile and 5000
Kiplangat Tisia, KSU - 3000
Michael McCall, Akron - High Jump
Michael Uhle, Akron - Pole Vault
Joe Wesley, Akron - Pole Vault
Tyshaun Peoples, Akron - Long Jump
Rob Falchi, KSU - Triple Jump
Robert Golabek, Buffalo - Shot Put
Kevin Mays, CMU - Weight Throw
Russell Cameron, Buffalo - Heptathlon

All-MAC Second Team
Collister Fahie, Akron - 60 Dash, Long Jump and Triple Jump
Princeton Bryson, KSU - 200 Dash
Destin Heasley, KSU - 800
Max Hiltner, Akron - Mile
John Inzina, Buffalo - 3000
Dean Wood, KSU - High Jump
Alex Rose, CMU - Shot Put
Matt Pfleger, KSU - Weight Throw
Dexter Shreve, KSU - Heptathlon