MAC Announces Track and Field Athletes of the Week

Updated 4/10/2013

Women's Track Athlete of the Week 
Layne Baggett, Miami, Sprints 
Senior, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Moon Senior HS)
Baggett performed well on her home track as she helped Miami easily win its own Miami Invitational Saturday, earning 20 points for the RedHawks. She was the runner-up in the 100m hurdles in a season-best 13.50 seconds, which is the eighth-best time in school history and the second fastest of her career. She was the top collegiate finisher as an unattached runner won the race, giving Baggett 10 points towards team scoring. Her time is the top 100m hurdles time in the MAC this year by 0.17 seconds and ranks 14th in the entire East Region, while it also qualified her for the MAC Championships. Baggett was over half a second ahead of the next collegiate finisher, who was third in 14.09. She was competing in a field of 25 with athletes from Eastern Illinois, Dayton, Wright State, Ball State and several Division II and NAIA schools. Baggett also ran the leadoff leg of Miami’s winning 4x100m relay team that clocked 46.13 to win by over a second in a field of nine. The RedHawks earned another 10 points for the relay win. The 4x100m relay time ranks sixth in school history and is Miami’s second-best time this season.

Men's Track Athlete of the Week 
Michael Heller, Kent State, Distance
Senior, Stow, Ohio (Stow)

Senior Michael Heller placed sixth in the 10,000-meter run against a competitive field at Princeton’s Sam Howell Invitational. Heller ran a conference-best 30:00.38, which ranks 41st in the East region, 68th in the nation, and fifth in Kent State history.

Women's Field Athlete of the Week 
Brooke Pleger, Bowling Green, Throws 
Sophomore, Saline, Mich. (Saline HS)

A week after setting a school record in the hammer throw, Brooke Pleger broke her own record by more than seven feet by throwing the implement 219-feet-9. With the toss, she climbed from third to second in the country in the event and met the USA Track and Field A standard for automatic qualification to the USA Track and Field Championships in June. Pleger continues to be ranked first in the East Region and is the only MAC athlete to be ranked in the top five in the country in any track and field event. 

Men's Field Athlete of the Week 
Matthias Tayala, Kent State, Throws
Sophomore, McDonald, Ohio (McDonald) 

Matthias Tayala recorded national top 35 marks in two throwing events at the Northeast Ohio Quad. Tayala placed second in the hammer throw on Friday, but his mark of 210’-09” leads the MAC, is 14th in the NCAA, and 6th in the East region. The following day, Tayala took runner-up honors in the discus with a toss of 181’-07”, which ranks 31st in the nation, 15th in the East region, and second in the conference.

Other Nominees: 
Field Athletes
Alexis Cooks, Akron, Throws
Sophomore, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Doherty HS)
Alexis Cooks played a large role in leading the University of Akron women's team to a dual-score sweep of Ashland, Bowling Green, Kent State and Youngstown State last weekend at the Northeast Ohio Quad. The sophomore won the discus with the league's top throw of the season, going 174-02, which is 18th-best in the country, then placed third in the shot put with a mark of 48-00.00.

Shante’ White, Buffalo, Throws
Senior, Syracuse, NY (Henninger)
At the Florida Relays, White scored a second-place finish in the women’s invitational hammer throw. Facing some of the country’s best competition, White had a season-best performance of 190-10 (59.38m) as she tacked an additional foot to her top mark. White was also named as one of four collegiate women’s finalists for the annual Giant Steps Award by the National Consortium for Athletics and Sports.
Makeda DeBardelaben, Eastern Michigan, Jumps
Freshman, Saginaw, Mich. (Arthur Hill)
Eastern Michigan University’s Makeda DeBardelaben notched a victory for the Eagles at the Spartan Invitational, April 5-6, in East Lansing, Mich. The EMU freshman leaped a personal-best 12.01 meters (39-feet 5-inches) to stand on top of the podium in the triple jump. DeBardelaben also recorded a 10th place mark of 5.30 meters (17-feet 4.75-inches) in the long jump
Danniel Thomas, Kent State, Throws
Freshman, Shrewsbery, Jamaica (Edwin Allen)
Freshman Danniel Thomas took top honors in the shot put with a toss of 49’-11.75” at the Northeast Ohio Quad on Saturday. Thomas threw 172’-00” in the discus for a runner-up finish. She ranks second in the conference in both events. Thomas was three inches short of her personal-best in the discus, which ranks 5th in the East region and 25th nationally. Saturday’s mark would hold the same rankings.
Tori Paterra, Miami, Throws
Junior, Elizabeth, Pa. (Elizabeth Forward HS)
Paterra had a strong home meet Saturday at the Miami Invitational, earning 13 points to help the RedHawks runaway with the team title. She won the javelin for the second time this season with a season-best throw of 47.41m/155-6, which is the top javelin throw in the MAC so far this year and ranks ninth in the East Region and 21st nationally. Her throw is also the ninth-best in school history, all of which she owns, and it qualified her for the MAC Championships. She won in a field of 20 by over five feet despite throwing into strong head winds. She was competing against athletes from Dayton, IPFW, Eastern Illinois, Xavier, Ball State, Wright State and more. In addition to her 10 points in the javelin, Paterra earned three more points by placing sixth out of 32 in the shot put with a season-best throw of 13.17m/43-2.5.
Natalie Tarter, Northern Illinois, Multis 
Junior, Batavia, Ill. (Batavia HS/Wisconsin)
Tarter broke the school record in the heptathlon over the weekend at the Chicagoland Championships en route to her first career event title as a Huskie. The junior from Batavia, Ill., scored 4,206 points in the event, besting the previous school best by 204 points. After sitting in second midway through the event, Tarter moved ahead with a win in the long jump. However, she would need a win in the 800 meters to hold off North Central's Jocelyn Redlinski in the final standings, as Tarter edged Redlinski by a mere 13 points.
Janiece Rose, Ohio University, Throws
Sophomore, Franklinville, N.J. (Delsea Regional)
Rose finished first in the shot put at the Ohio Team Challenge Saturday in Athens, Ohio. Her winning throw of 13.81m was a career best and is currently the 15th-best mark in the MAC this season. It marked Rose’s third victory in the shot put during the 2013 outdoor season.
Evan Palmer, Buffalo, Throws
Junior, Clifton Park, NY (Shenendehowa)
At the Florida Relays, Evan Palmer won the men’s hammer throw at 197-2 (60.10m) on his first attempt of the competition. He was only thrower to toss better than 60 meters and added more than five feet to his top mark. Palmer also turned in a seventh-place finish in the men’s discus at 165-3 (50.37m).
Solomon Ijah, Eastern Michigan, Multis
Sophomore, Murrieta Calif. (Murrieta)
Eastern Michigan University’s Solomon Ijah had a busy weekend at the Spartan Invitational, April 5-6, competing in five events for the Green and White. Ijah took top honors in the javelin throw with a toss of 53.02 meters (173-feet 11-inches). The EMU sophomore also led the Eagles in the high jump with an eighth-place leap of 1.91 meters (6-feet 3.25-inches) while placing 23rd in the shot put to round out the field events in which he participated.
Peter Stefanski, Miami, High Jump 
Jump Freshman, Aurora, Ill. (Marmion Academy)
Stefanski won the high jump for the fourth straight meet Saturday at the Miami Invitational, the RedHawks’ first home meet of the year. He cleared 2.05m/6-8.75 to win by four inches in a field of 10, including athletes from Xavier, Eastern Illinois, Morehead State, Cedarville and Malone. He already ties for first in the MAC so far this year with his jump of 2.09m/6-10.25 at his season-opening meet.
Track Athletes 
Skyler Willis, Akron, Multis
Sophomore, Cincinnati, Ohio (Withrow University HS)
Skyler Willis smashed the school record in the 400-meter hurdles with a winning time of 1:00.85 at the Northeast Ohio Quad last weekend. The sophomore's mark easily surpassed the program's previous all-time record of 1:01.40, established by Siobahn Counts in 2004, and stands as the third-best mark in the MAC this season. It was a busy weekend overall for Willis who also placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.03 and ran the second leg of the 4x400-meter relay team that finished runner-up with a collective time of 3:53.11.
Jeanette Pettigrew, Bowling Green, Sprints
Junior, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy)
Jeanette Pettigrew met the Mid-American Conference automatic qualifying marks in both the 100 and the 200 at the Northeast Ohio Invitational Saturday, hosted by Akron. Pettigrew ran the 100 in a season-best 11.93 seconds and posted a career-best in the 200 with a time of 24.37 seconds. With those times, Pettigrew ranks sixth in the MAC in the 100 and fourth in the 200.
Kara Patrick, Buffalo, Distance
Junior, East Greenbush, NY (Columbia)
At the Princeton Sam Howell Invitational, Kara Patrick broke Jenny Koeppel’s 2005 mark in the 10,000-meters as she finished second overall in 35:04.57 shaving nearly 30 seconds off the old mark in her first ever 10,000-meter. She ranks second in the MAC in the event.
Vanessa Clerveaux, Eastern Michigan, Hurdles/Sprints
Freshman, Brockton, Mass. (Brockton)
Eastern Michigan University’s Vanessa Clerveaux crossed the finish line first in the 100-meter hurdles in 13.67, the sixth fastest time in EMU history, at the Spartan Invitational, April 5-6, in East Lansing, Mich. The EMU freshman was also leadoff runner in the 4x100-meter relay team that was victory at the meet, turning in a time of 46.11. Clerveaux rounded out her weekend with a seventh-place finish in the 200-meter dash.
Shanequa Williams, Kent State, Sprints
Junior, Akron, Ohio (Kenmore)
Junior Shanequa Williams won two events Northeast Ohio Quad. Williams clocked a 23.99 to win the 200-meter dash and was a member of the 4x400 relay team that won in 3:49.28. Williams is one of just two MAC sprinters to run a sub-24 200m this year.
Megan Gregory, Northern Illinois, Hurdles
RS Senior, Chicago, Ill. (Plainfield North HS)
Gregory captured her first event title of the 2013 outdoor season in convincing fashion at the Chicagoland Championships. After posting a time of 14.18 in the 100 hurdle prelims, the senior blasted the field with a season-best time of 13.92 in the finals to top North Central's Jocelyn Redlinski by nearly eight-tenths of a second. Gregory now sits sixth in the conference's performance list in the 100 hurdles after this weekend's performance. Additionally, she ran the anchor leg of NIU's 4x100 relay that took second place at 48.43.
Danielle Winningham, Ohio University, Sprints
Senior, Barboursville, W. Va. (Cabell Midland)
Winningham won the 800m run Saturday at the Ohio Team Challenge in Athens, Ohio. The Barboursville, W. Va., native crossed the finish line in 2:13.24, which was the eighth-fastest time in the MAC this season. Her finish was less than a half second off of her personal best time in the event.
Jacob Wray, Buffalo, Hurdles
Sophomore, Lockport, NY (Starpoint)
At the Rochester Invitational, Jacob Wray took the men’s 110-meter hurdles in 14.62 seconds setting a new season-best time.
Chris Scott, Eastern Michigan, Sprints
Junior, Holt, Mich. (Holt)
Eastern Michigan University’s Chris Scott had a phenomenal weekend at the Spartan Invitational, April 5-6. The junior sprinter was a member of both the victorious 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams that swept the relay events at meet hosted by Michigan State University. Scott also performed well individually, turning in a pair of fourth-place finishes as he ran the 200-meter dash in 21.83 before finishing as the top Eagle in the 400-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 50.18.
Jarrod Eick, Miami, Distance
Senior, Hartville, Ohio (Marlington HS)
Eick was victorious for the second straight meet, winning the 1500m run at the Miami Invitational Saturday, the RedHawks first home meet of the year. He clocked a time of 3:53.61, which is the second-best time in the MAC this year behind only himself (3:51.01), which he set two weeks ago. He came from behind to edge Butler’s Luke Zygmunt (3:53.82) at the finish line to earn the win, running in a field of 32. His 10 points helped lead Miami to the team title on Saturday, as well.