MAC Announces Track and Field Athletes of the Week

Updated 4/23/2013

Women's Track Athlete of the Week 
Skyler Willis, Akron, Multis
Sophomore, Cincinnati, Ohio / Withrow University HS
Skyler Willis broke her own school record in the 400-meter hurdles twice in as many days last weekend at a pair of meets in California. Competing at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. Friday, Willis was the top collegiate finisher in the event with a record-setting time of 1:00.69. The sophomore then topped that mark as the top collegiate finisher the following day at the Beach Invitational in nearby Norwalk, Calif., with a time of 59.94, which ranks her second in the MAC this season. 

Men's Track Athlete of the Week 
Grzegorz Kalinowski, Eastern Michigan, Mid-Distance
Junior, Lysomice, Poland
In one of the most famous and competitive meets in the nation, Eastern Michigan University’s Grzegorz Kalinowski placed fourth in the 1,500-meter run at the Mt. SAC Relays, April 18, in Walnut, California. The Mid-American Conference Most Outstanding Performer turned in a time of 3:46.10, a time that currently stands as the best in the MAC. The junior from Poland also ran the 800-meter run in 1:51.51.

Women's Field Athlete of the Week 
Brittany Funk, Akron, Throws
Junior, Jeromesville, Ohio / Hillsdale HS
Brittany Funk continued her breakout season with an event win in the women's hammer throw at the Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus, Ohio Saturday. Funk's winning mark of 216-05 was the fifth-best throw in school history and one foot, seven inches better than the next closest competitor on the day. The junior is currently ranked No. 2 in the MAC and No. 6 nationally in the event. 

Men's Field Athlete of the Week 
Shawn Barber, Akron, Pole Vault
Freshman,  Kingwood, Texas / Kingwood Park HS
Shawn Barber, who is ranked No. 2 in the country in the men's pole vault, was the top collegiate finisher in the pole vault elite competition at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif. Saturday. Barber achieved a jump of 18-00.50 to place fourth among a field of professional athletes. It was the third-best clearance in school history. 


Other Nominees: 

Emma Siuciak, Buffalo, Multis
Sophomore,  Fenwick, Ontario / E.L. Crossley
Sophomore Emma Siuciak represented the Bulls at the California Invitational in Azusa, CA in the heptathlon competition. Siuciak established a new school record point total as she placed eighth overall among 24 finishers. Siuciak scored a total of 5,193 points in the two-day, seven-event competition, breaking Patrice Coney’s mark of 5,116 set in 2007 when Coney won the Mid-American Conference title. Siuciak turned in her highest finish in the final event of the competition, the 800-meter run, as she finished third in 2:17.55. She also placed ninth in the 100-meter hurdles in 14.50 seconds and tied for ninth in the 200-meters in 25.72 seconds, lowering her season best in the race by .17 seconds. Chari Hawkins of Utah State won the two-day competition with 5,441 points. Individuals from top programs including Nebraska, Notre Dame and UCLA were also in the field.

Makeda DeBardelaben, Eastern Michigan, Jumps
Freshman, Saginaw, Mich. / Arthur Hill
After length jumps in the preliminary rounds Eastern Michigan University freshman Makeda DeBardelaben turned in a pair of top-three finishes in jump finals at this weekend’s EMU Twilight, April 19-20. Debardelaben leaped 10.98 meters to place runner-up in the triple jump while finishing third in the long jump with a 5.12-meter leap.
Jackie Leppelmeier, Kent State, Throws
Sophomore, McComb, Ohio / McComb
Sophomore Jackie Leppelmeier placed third in the hammer throw at the Jesse Owens Track Classic with a Kent State record toss of 199 feet, 5 inches.  That mark broke the previous school standard by a full inch and is third in the MAC, 10th in the East Region and 22nd in the NCAA this season.  Leppelmeier also finished fifth in the shot put at the Jesse Owens Track Classic at 47-02.50.
Sidra Sherrill, Northern Illinois, Shot Put 
Sophomore, Fort Wayne, Ind. / Northrop HS
Sherrill set a new personal record in the shot put and earned her third event title of the season Saturday at the Huskie Open in DeKalb, Ill. The sophomore took top honors in the shot put with a toss of 46-08.00 (14.22m), beating her old record by just over an inch and topping second place Jazmyne Durrah of DePaul by over two feet. The mark gives Sherrill the 11th best distance in the MAC. Additionally, she took third place in the discus with a throw of 143-11 (43.86m).
Austin Price, Buffalo, Jumps
Sophomore Lockport, NY/St. Joseph’s 
At the Upstate Challenge against Binghamton and Cornell, the UB men broke one of the oldest remaining records on the UB books. Sophomore Austin Price claimed the men’s triple jump with a winning leap of 51-0.25 (15.55m). The distance was an inch and a quarter better than the previous mark of 50-11 (15.51m) set by Kamau Halim in 2000. Price added nearly two feet to his previous best leap this season.
Travis Harris, Eastern Michigan, Throws
Freshman, Walled Lake, Mich. / Walled Lake Central
Eastern Michigan University’s Travis Harris led the Eagles in both the discus throw and the shot put at this weekend’s EMU Twilight, April 19-20. The freshman placed sixth in the discus with a 45.46-meter throw while finishing third in the shot put with a toss of 15.48 meters.
Matthias Tayala, Kent State, Throws
Sophomore, McDonald, Ohio/McDonald
Sophomore Matthias Tayala placed third in the hammer throw at 211 feet, 6 inches and eighth in the discus throw at 172-07 at the Jesse Owens Track Classic.  Tayala’s hammer throw of 211-06 is first in the MAC, sixth in the East Region and 15th in the NCAA this season.
Rob Stein, Miami, Throws
Junior, Villa Park, Ill./Timothy Christian HS
Despite facing cold and windy conditions, Stein had a strong meet at the Jesse Owens Track Classic, hosted by Ohio State over the weekend. He placed fifth in the discus with a personal-best throw of 55.79m/183-0, which ranks him third in the MAC this year, qualifying him for the MAC Championships, and 18th in the East Region. His throw ranks him third in school history and is the best throw by a Miamian in the discus since 1994, as he improved his previous best by a whopping 12 feet, 5 inches. Stein was fourth among collegiate competitors and finished ahead of several Kent State and Ohio State throwers in a field of 31. He achieved the mark on his first attempt Friday, but had three throws over 53 meters (173-10), all which would have been PRs. On Saturday, Stein finished 18th in the shot put with a throw of 15.79m/51-9.75, though he was 13th among collegiate competitors, in a field
MaryKate Mellen, Ball State, Distance 
Senior, Michigan City, Ind. / Michigan City
Turned in the Mid-American Conference’s best time of the season in the 1,500m run with a career-fast clocking of 4:28.71 … Her effort, which was a MAC Outdoor Championship Qualifying Mark, helped her place second among the field which included runners from Indiana, Notre Dame and Butler.
Crystal Graham, Buffalo, Sprints
Junior, Rochester, NY/Edison Tech
At the Upstate Challenge against Cornell and Binghamton, sprinter Crystal Graham swept the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Graham set a season-best of 12.12 seconds to win the 100-meter race, posting the fastest time by a UB woman this season in the event. Graham also won the 200-meters in 24.84 seconds. Graham also anchored UB’s victorious 4x100-meter relay to a 45.96 finish. 
Danielle Clark, Eastern Michigan, Sprints
Sophomore, Paramaribo, Suriname / Ewald P. Meyer Lyceum School
On a day where seniors on the Eastern Michigan University women's track and field team were recognized for their careers as Eagles, it was sophomore Danielle Clark who stole the show. The sprinter notched three victories on day two of the EMU Twilight, April 20. The Paramaribo, Suriname native started her day with a win in the 100-meter dash as she finished in 12.33. Clark then claimed top honors in the 200-meter dash with a personal-record 24.40 that automatically qualifies her for the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships. Clark grabbed her third victory in the 4x100-meter relay as the team finished in a combined time of 46.84. The sophomore sensation ended her day as a member of the third-place 4x400-meter relay team.

Shanequa Williams Kent State, Sprints
Junior, Akron, Ohio/Kenmore
Junior Shanequa Williams won the 400-meter run at the Jesse Owens Track Classic in 55.13 seconds and finished runner-up in the 200 at 24.14.  Williams’ 400 time is first in the MAC and 68th in the East Region.
Meghan Heuer, Northern Illinois, Sprints
RS Sophomore, St. Charles, Ill. /St. Charles North HS
 Heuer earned a MAC automatic berth in her second event of the outdoor season Saturday at the Beach Invitational in Norwalk, Calif. The Huskie sophomore ran a time of 2:09.82 in the 800 meters, placing 11th in the 170-runner field. Heuer, who also clinched a MAC Championships spot in the 1500 meters, currently ranks third in the conference's performance list in the 800 meters and is less than one second behind the top time.
Melissa Thompson, Ohio University, Distance 
Junior, Westerville, Ohio / St. Francis DeSales
Thompson finished second in the 1,500m amongst a competitive field Friday at the Jesse Owens Classic on the campus of Ohio State. Thompson crossed the finish line in a personal-best time of 4:30.72, which marked the best finish by a MAC competitor this season. The time earns Thompson an automatic bid into next month’s MAC Outdoor Championships.
Iris Campbell, Western Michigan, Hurdles-Sprints 
Senior, Emmett, Mich./Yale HS
Campbell battled high winds and cold temperatures to win three events at the EMU Twilight meet over the weekend. She won both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdles, as well as the 400-meter dash. In the 100 hurdles she ran a time of 14.36 seconds and a time of 1:01.53 in the 400 hurdles. It was the first time she had competed in the hurdle events since the Victor Lopez Invitational on March 23. In the 400-meter dash she took the title with a time of 56.38.
Brandon Bailey, Kent State, Sprints
Senior, Pittsburgh, Pa./Penn Hills
Senior Brandon Bailey placed fourth in the 400-meter run in 48.32 seconds at the Jesse Owens Track Classic.  The time is fifth fastest in the MAC this season.  Bailey’s time of 47.21 at the All-Ohio Championships on April 12-13 is tops in the conference.
Jarrod Eick, Miami, Distance
Senior, Hartville, Ohio/Marlington HS
Eick placed fifth in the 1500m run Friday night at the Jesse Owens Track Classic, hosted by Ohio State, clocking 3:50.93, despite facing cold and windy conditions. He was the third collegiate finisher in the race in a field of 51, while crossing just three ticks behind the winner from Michigan State. His time is his second-best this season, as he already ranks second in the MAC in the event. Eick was the top MAC finisher in the race, which featured athletes from Central Michigan, Kent State and Ohio, while runners from Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati, Eastern Kentucky and other schools also competed in the race.