Ten MAC Women Compete at NCAA Outdoor Championships

Updated 6/12/2011

Story compiled from MAC Sports Information Departments

A total of ten women's track and field athletes from the MAC competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa from June 8-11. Here is a recap of their accomplishments:

Akron was represented by Valerie Wert in the discus and Katherine Lee in the pole vault.

Wert placed 19th in the discus with a toss of 163-03, placing her in 19th.

Lee achieved a height of 13-01.50 in the pole vault, good for a tie for 15th place.

Thrower Becky O'Brien competed in two events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

O'Brien finished in 18th place in the women's discus with a throw of 164-0 (49.99m), which she reached in her second attempt of the day. 

She then competed in her second event at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday. The sophomore finished 17th out of 24 competitors in the shot put with a top throw of 52-7.5 (16.04 m).

The Cumberland, ME native failed to advance to the finals, but it didn't diminish the fine season she had. O'Brien won the Mid-American Conference championship in both the shot put and discus. In addition, she was named the MAC Most Outstanding Female Field Performer.

Eastern Michigan
A record-setting season and a stellar collegiate career came to a close tonight, Friday, June 10, as senior pole vault specialist Jessica Hemingway fell short of capturing an NCAA Championship at Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.

The co-captain was the lone Eagle (the only man or woman) to participate in the 2011 Outdoor National Championships, placing 12th in the event after failing to clear a height of 13-05.25. Hemingway did, however, manage to clear her first two heights, 12-09.50 and 13-01.50, in her first attempt.

Hemingway represented the Eastern Michigan University women's track and field team well as she has done all season long. The 2011 season was Hemingway's best as a collegian, as she won Mid-American Conference gold for the first time in her career, and also racked up two MAC Athlete of the Week honors following her school-record performances.

The Wixom, Mich. native will leave Eastern Michigan with ownership of both the indoor and outdoor pole vault records, having broken each during this campaign. Also during the 2011 season, Hemingway scored huge points at the MAC Championship, helping the women garner its first conference title since 2000.

Her performance at the Mt. SAC Relays in the pole vault secured her a spot to compete at the USA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 23-26.

Kent State
Kent State women's track and field athletes Diana Dumitrescu (Campulung Arges, Romania) and Melissa Kurzdorfer  (Lancaster, N.Y.) capped their seasons with stellar performances at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, hosted by Drake University.  

Dumitrescu claimed her second first-team All-America honor of her outdoor career with her eighth-place finish in the heptathlon. Kurzdorfer, a freshman, earned second-team All-America accolades in her first appearance at the NCAA Championships with her 12th place finish in the hammer throw.

Dumitrescu, who was in 10th place to start Friday's action, turned in a trio of solid performances in the long jump, javelin and 800-meter run. The Kent State junior started the second day of the heptathlon with a seventh-place finish in the long jump. Her leap of 5.70m (18-8 ½) on her second effort moved her up from 10th place after her first jump. Her top 10 placement in the long jump advanced her to ninth place overall through five events.

Dumitrescu then got a huge boost with her final attempt in the javelin. A lightning delay that occurred between Dumitrescu's second and third throws kept competitors off the track at Drake Stadium for over an hour. The Kent State junior then re-focused with her best throw of the year in her final try, clearing 37.55m (123-2) to move from 19th to eighth place in the javelin and also move up to eighth place overall.

Dumitrescu concluded the heptathlon with a 19th place finish in the 800 meters with a time of 2:35.19; that result was enough to give Dumitrescu enough points to hold eighth place and garner first-team All-America accolades. She finished with 5,363 points, earning the eighth spot by 16 points and just missing her season-best of 5,399 points. 

Kurzdorfer, a true freshman, capped her inaugural campaign with a performance worthy of All-American accolades. Kurzdorfer captured second-team All-America honors with her 12th place finish in the hammer throw with one of her best throws of her young career.

Kurzdorfer was sixth in the first heat, tossing a 58.89m (193-2) with her final attempt after slipping on the wet surface and fouling on her first try. But her sixth place finish in her group was not enough to advance to the nine-person second round.

Miami University redshirt junior Rachel Patterson completed a stellar RedHawk career by running in her second national championship of the season Friday as she competed in the 5000m run final at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, held at Drake University's Drake Stadium.

Patterson (Rochester, Mich.), who placed 46th of 253 at the NCAA Cross Country Championship in November, finished 21st in the 24 woman final Friday in 16:23.04, the fourth-best time in school history. By qualifying for the 5K final, she earns Honorable Mention All-America accolades.

Patterson entered the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, held at Indiana University two weeks ago, ranked 31st nationally with her school-record 5K time of 16:14.45 from the Mt. SAC Relays (April 14). She placed seventh overall and fourth in the second heat (of two) at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds with a clocking of 16:16.95, which earned her a berth at the NCAA Championships.

Villanova's Sheila Reid, who won the NCAA Cross Country individual title in November, captured the 5K championship as well in 15:37.57 while Georgetown's Emily Infeld was second in 15:38.23. Patterson was the lone representative from the Mid-American Conference, as she was the 5K runner-up at the MAC Championships but won the 10K at the league meet.

Miami freshman Tori Paterra (Elizabeth, Pa.) also competed at the NCAA Championships, as she took 20th of 24 in the javelin on Thursday, garnering Honorable Mention All-America honors as well. With both 'Hawks having now competed at the NCAA Championships, the Miami women's track and field team's season is now finished.

Ohio's Annie Beecham finished in 11th place of the women's 10000 meter run at the 2011 NCAA Track and Field Championships this evening from Des Moines, Iowa. With the finish, she earned Second Team All-America status from the USTFCCCA.

The senior from Granville, Ohio finished with a time of 35:08.39 in the event with Katie Matthews of Boston University being the last competitor to place in the top eight with a run of 34:45.77. Placing in the top eight would have earned Beecham First Team All-America honors and she would have been the first female Bobcat to achieve that feat since Jackie Conrad. Conrad was also the last Bobcat to compete in the 10k at the NCAA Championships, placing eighth in 1997 and fifth in 1998 for the Green & White.

Duke sophomore Juliet Bottorff won the event with a time of 34:25.86, almost a full five seconds ahead of runner-up Kate Harrison of West Virginia. Harrison won the NCAA East Regional event with a time of 33:48.64.

Beecham qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 10k after placing third at the NCAA Regionals in Bloomington, Indiana. A First Team All-MAC and Academic All-District selection, Beecham also won the 5000 meter event at the MAC championships. Her time at NCAA Regionals broke the MACs all-time record in the 10k. She also owns Ohio school records in both the 10k and 5k. In 10 events during the spring season, she finished no lower than third in eight of them, winning four on four separate occasions.

Western Michigan
Western Michigan's Iris Campbell saw her tremendous season come to a close at the NCAA Championships as she missed out on qualifying for the finals in the 400m hurdles on Wednesday evening.

Campbell finished in eight place in the second heat with a time of 1:00.29. This was the first trip to the NCAA Championships for Campbell, a sophomore from Emmett, Mich.

Campbell ended her season with MAC titles in the long jump and 200m dash, as well as being named MVP at the MAC Championships. She was the first Bronco to compete at the Outdoor NCAA Championships since Danielle Brown in 2008.