MAC Track and Field Weekend Preview

Updated 4/25/2013

Courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments

AKRON, Ohio – After competing in four meets in two states last week, The University of Akron track and field team will continue its busy outdoor schedule with four more meets in four different states this week.
 
In all, the Zips will send athletes to the Penn Relays in Pennsylvania, the Triton Invitational in California, the Hillsdale College "Gina" Relays in Michigan and the Ashland Alumni Open in Ohio.
 
The action begins when Kyle Cochrun and Dylan Papp compete in the 5,000-meter run Thursday evening at the Penn Relays at the Penn Relays on the campus of the Univeristy of Pennsylvannia.
 
The Zips will then send nine throwers to the Triton Invitational, hosted by UC San Deigo in Calif., to compete over two days starting with the women's hammer throw Friday afternoon. At the same time, a pair of distance runners, Karlie Lieberth and Kayla Whitlow – will compete in two events in Hillsdale, Mich., at the Gina Relays.
 
Rounding out Akron's schedule, a number of athlete will attempt to better their marks regionally this weekend at the Ashland Alumni Open.
 
Led by the No. 2-ranked pole vaulter in the country, Shawn Barber (18-08.75), the Zips men's team is ranked fifth in the Great Lakes Region behind No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 3 Indiana and No. 4 Notre Dame.
 
The Akron women's team has earned similar respect with a No. 6 regional ranking. The Zips feature the No. 6 hammer thrower in the country in Brittany Funk (216-09) and the No. 20 discus thrower in Alexis Cooks (174-02). Furthermore, Ariane Beaumont-Courteau(13-05.25) is ranked No. 22 in the pole vault and Brittany Cheese (20-03.50) is 26th in the long jump. Notre Dame leads the Great Lakes Region on the women's side, followed by Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Kent State.
 
The BGSU track and field team will be competing in two separate meets for the second weekend in a row, sending most of the squad’s runners to Hillsdale’s Gina Relays beginning Thursday. The throwers will compete at Ashland’s Alumni Open beginning Friday.

Central Michigan 
MOUNT PLEASANT - The Central Michigan track and field team will be hosting the Lyle Bennett Open this weekend, April 26 and 27.
 
“Running on your own track, you should have a certain amount of confidence. It feels good to be able to stay at home for the weekend, get some good rest and get ready,” said Director of Track and Field Willie Randolph.
 
The Chippewas will host Alma, Oakland, Trine, Detroit Mercy, Aquinas, Michigan State, Saginaw Valley State and Lake Superior State. The meet will be held at Lyle Bennett Track.
 
Men’s and women’s javelin and men’s and women’s hammer throw will take place on Friday, starting at 3 p.m.
 
Saturday’s events will start with field events at 11 a.m., while running events set to begin at 12 p.m. Admission is free.
 
On Thursday, a few distance runners and throwers will be competing at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. The Penn Relays is a historic meet that started on April 21, 1895, showcasing some of the best track athletes in the nation.
 
Junior Ethan Lievense will be competing in his first 3000m steeplechase since he ran a personal-best time at the Florida Relays. He is currently ranked 13th in the East Regional and is looking to better that mark at the Penn Relays.
 
“It's an honor to have the opportunity to race at one of, if not the most prestigious track meet the college circuit has to offer. There is so much tradition at the Penn Relays, and so many greats have run at the coliseum, so it's very humbling,” Lievense said of his opportunity. “I could've never have dreamed being seeded this high my sophomore year let alone ever, and I am welcoming that pressure with open arms. These are the kind of venues that you can gain so much racing experience and tactics from, so I will be taking full advantage of my opportunity. I've been thinking about this race for a while now, so I'm ready to toe the line and mix it up.”
 
Eastern Michigan 
Women

YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University women's track and field team will once again split for a pair of meets this weekend as the Eagles travel to the Drake Relays and the Hillsdale-Gina Relays, April 25-27.
 
“We feel that everyone will have a great opportunity to compete at a high level at both Drake and Hillsdale this weekend,” noted EMU Head Coach Sue Parks.  “This is a crucial weekend two weeks before the MAC meet, and we hope to continue to show improvement.”
 
Some Eagles will test their athleteic ability against some of the nation's best athletes. The 104th edition of the Drake Relays features events with medalists from the 2012 London Olympics. The following Eagles are scheduled to compete at the Drake Relays: Ellie Braidic, Vanessa Clerveaux, Makeda DeBardelaben,  Lydia Gomez-Diaz, Tatijana Jacobson, Alysha Newman, Asia Rawls and Victoria Voronko. Three relay teams are also signed up to race on Jim Duncan Track inside Drake Stadium.
 
The Green and White will also have the following athletes participate at the 47th Annual Hillsdale-Gina Relays: Reagan Briggs, Morgan Churchwell, Amy Frauhammer, Shante Jackson, Marina Manjon-Rivadulla, Tiara Oates, Kayla Pfund, Rachel Quaintance, Brooke Sciullo, Cara Smock, Tericka Threatt, Adrienne Waisner and Kate Wolanin. The meet is set to begin, April 25, on Ken Herrick Track inside Frank “Muddy”  Waters Stadium.
 
Last year at the Hillsdale-Gina Relays, Churchwell completed the 800-meter run in 2:18.78 for a sixth place finish, and Voronko took second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase after finishing the race in 10:33.50.
 
Team captain Rawls joins Eagle All-Access for Women's Track and Field Weekly. On this week's edition, Rawls talks about being honored as a senior at the EMU Twilight. She also looks toward the pair of meets this weekend as well as the rest of the season.
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – With just a little over two weeks left until the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Eastern Michigan University men's track and field team has its sights on three different meets where Eagles will be in competition, April 25-27.
 
“We are having our athletes compete at three different competitions this weekend as we strive to meet our competitive needs while properly working in concert with their final exam schedules,” explained EMU Head Coach John Goodridge.
 
MAC Indoor Championships MVP Terefe Ejigu returns to a meet where he has found success, the 119th Penn Relays, the largest international sporting event in the United States. The EMU senior will race in the 10,000-meter run at 10:55 p.m. Thursday, April 25. Two years ago as a sophomore, Ejigu outshined a field of 36 elite athletes to take first place in the 5,000-meter championship run at the Penn Relays, April 28, 2011. The Wellington, New Zealand native posted a time of exactly 14:00.00, barely edging out Eastern Kentucky's Soufiane Bouchikhi who ran a 14:00.52.
 
Eight Eagles will participate in the 47th annual Hillsdale-Gina Relays, April 25-27. Solomon Ijah, Levi Selvig, and David Papenhagen are competing in the decathlon, beginning at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, April 25. Last year, Papenhagen placed fifth in the decathlon for EMU scoring 5,939 points, a personal best.
 
Nick Petro, Cody Chabola, Warren Witchell, Daryl Smith and Cameron Trinh are also making the trip to Hillsdale for a few distance events. Petro is coming off of a victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the EMU Twilight, April 19. The redshirt junior raced around Olds/Marshall Track on a chilly and windy evening in a time of 9:20.29. Coincidentally, the Monroe, Mich. native's personal-record in the event came at last year's Hillsdale-Gina Relays as Petro finished the race in 9:07.32.
 
The rest of the team will head up to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to compete in the Lyle Bennett Open, April 27, hosted by Central Michigan University.
 
EMU Assistant Coach Sterling Roberts joins Eagle All-Access for Men's Track and Field Weekly. On this week's edition, Coach Roberts returns from California to discuss the Eagles' results at the Mt. SAC Relays as well as the EMU Twilight. The former athlete-turned-coach also mentions the busy upcoming weekend for EMU men's track and field.

Kent State
KENT, Ohio – The Kent State women's and men's outdoor track and field teams will compete beginning this Thursday (April 25) through Saturday (April 27) at the 119th Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa.  The world's oldest and largest relay carnival will showcase the best high school, collegiate and international athletes in the world.
 
Last year, the Penn Relays posted a three-day attendance total of 112,416, marking the ninth straight year and the 12th time in the past 13 years that the event has attracted 100,000 spectators. 
 
Action gets underway at 10 a.m. Thursday (April 25) with the collegiate women's 400-meter hurdle championships.  The collegiate women's high jump, pole vault and hammer throw championship are the leadoff field events at 10 a.m. Thursday.  Click on the above schedule link for a full rundown of event times.
 
The Kent State women's and men's outdoor track and field teams are coming off an impressive showing at the 2013 Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Track in Columbus, Ohio.  Athletes from all levels, including individuals from more than 35 colleges, competed in the two-day, unscored event April 19-20.
 
In the women's competition, the Golden Flashes established themselves with three first-place finishes in the field events and a gold medal on the track.
 
Freshman Danniel Thomas (Shrewsbery, Jamaica) won the discus throw with a toss of 171 feet, 1 inch; freshman Dior Delophont (Nancy, France) won the high jump at 5-10.50; and senior Keri Dantley (Imperial, Pa.) finished first in the triple jump at 40-02.75. 
 
Junior Shanequa Williams (Akron, Ohio) sprinted to the 400-meter title in 55.13 seconds.  Williams was the 200 runner-up in 24.14.
 
The Flashes also dominated the shot put as junior Joh'vonnie Mosley (Youngstown, Ohio) placed second at 51-04.25; Thomas placed third at 49-08.25; and sophomore Jackie Leppelmeier (McComb, Ohio) finished fifth at 47-02.50.  Leppelmeier also placed third in the hammer throw at 199-05, while Mosley took fourth in the discus at 157-06.
 
Leppelmeier's hammer throw of 199-05 set a new Kent State record, besting the previous mark of 199-04 set by Melissa Kurzdorfer in 2011.
 
On the men's side, senior Brian Florek (Matawan, N.J.) was second in the javelin with a toss of 211-02.
 
The 400 relay placed second in 41.54, while sophomore Elliott Tedquist (Silver Lake, Ohio) tied for second in the pole vault at 15-09.75.
 
Sophomore Matthias Tayala (McDonald, Ohio) finished third in the hammer throw at 211-06.  Senior Brandon Bailey (Pittsburgh, Pa.) had a strong fourth-place finish in the 400 in 48.32.
 
Kent State will also be sending athletes to compete Friday (April 26) and Saturday (April 27) at the Ashland Alumni Open at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.
 
Northern Illinois 
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois track & field team closes out their outdoor regular season this weekend with a busy schedule that includes the 119th Penn Relays.
 
NIU’s slate starts Thursday afternoon in Philadelphia and runs through Saturday, as they will also compete at meets hosted by West Chester University and UW-Whitewater.
 
“This weekend the team is splitting up,” said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. “A small group will travel to Penn Relays, one of the most prestigious competitions held in track and field. The athletes will have the opportunity to compete against the best once again and our performances need to be sharp. Those student-athletes competing are thankful and honored to be chosen.”
 
The Huskies will have four individuals and their 4x100 relay compete inside Franklin Field. Their stay in the City of Brotherly Love begins Thursday with the 4x100 prelims, while Sidra Sherrill competes in the shot put. On Friday, Janay Mitchell and Chanel Kellyman will run in the 100 meters, along with Megan Gregory in the 100 hurdles. Finals for all individual sprint events will take place on Saturday.
 
Not too far away in the Philly suburbs, another pack of Huskies will run in the WCU Last Chance Qualifier Friday. Along with Sherrill throwing the discus, Brittany Smith (100 meters), Alicia Osley (400 meters), Jenelle McCalla (400 hurdles) and Julianne Cronin (800 meters) will look to punch their respective tickets to the MAC Championships.
 
Rounding out the weekend’s action will be Saturday’s UW-Whitewater Alternative Meet. A dozen NIU athletes will compete as they look to either better their marks heading into the conference meet or climb their way into the MAC’s top 20.
 
“All of the athletes competing this weekend must compete with urgency, focus and determination, regardless of the location,” Teaberry said. “This is our last weekend to obtain qualifiers for the MAC Championships. We have some athletes on the bubble and other teams have the opportunity to compete next weekend. There is no time for doubts, uncertainty or second-guessing. Therefore, the phrase ‘leave it all on the track’ has to be what every lady competing does and great performances will emerge.”
 
Fans can follow along with the action from the Penn Relays at ThePennRelays.com.
 
HILLSDALE, Mich. - The Toledo women's track and field team is set to compete in the 47th edition of the Hillsdale College Gina Relays on Thursday-Saturday, April 25 - April 27. The weekend action at the Ken Herrick Track gets underway for the Rockets Thursday evening with the women's 5,000-meter run.
 
UT will compete all day Friday and Saturday, with the 4x400-meter relay championship slated at 4:55 p.m. to wrap up the meet Saturday afternoon.
 
Click on the attached link for a complete schedule of events and look below for the list of UT athletes registered to compete this weekend.
 
The Midnight Blue & Gold will return home to host the Toledo Invitational next Thursday, May 2 and Friday, May 3 in the final regular season outdoor meet of the spring.
 
Western Michigan 
PHILADELPHIA -- The 2013 Penn Relay Carnival is underway and two Broncos sit in the top five in the heptathlon after the first day of competition.
 
Lindsey Hufnagel and Kathryn Pickett are currently the only members of the Western Michigan track and field team competing but will be joined by others from the team when competition ramps up on Thursday. Hufnagel currently sits in second place and Pickett in fourth place heading into Wednesday's finale. They once again had to battle high winds and low temperatures throughout their day of competition.
 
"After the first event it was pretty clear we weren't really going to have any qualifying performances," said head coach Kelly Lycan. "After that you just try to go out and beat some people. They are both really second-day people when it comes to the heptathlon. They are both good long jumpers and 800-meter runners."
 
The heptathlon should wrap up by 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.
 
Most of the action takes place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Individually Iris Campbell will compete in the 400-meter hurdles on Thursday morning and Chiara Allen will take part in the triple jump on Friday morning. 
 
The relays begin on Thursday at 1 p.m. for the Broncos. Hufnagel, Campbell, Andrea Arnold and Rebecca Hall will compete in the 4x100-meter relay at 1 p.m. Later in the evening Aisha Hodge, Ariel Arnold, Cara Cremeans and Rachel Whitley run in the distance medley relay. Pickett, Andrea Arnold, Campbell and Hufnagel will also run in the first heats of the 4x400-meter relay later in the evening as well.
 
On Friday Western Michigan is scheduled to compete in the 4x200-meter relay, the shuttle hurdle relay and the sprint medley. Saturday WMU competes in the 4x800-meter relay and once again in the 4x400 if they qualify on Thursday.