Zips Eye Team Titles at MAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Zips Eye Team Titles at MAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships

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AKRON, Ohio - The University of Akron men's and women's track and field team will join the rest of its Mid-American Conference members this Thursday through Saturday, May 11-13, to compete at the league's Outdoor Championships, hosted by the Western Michigan University.

UP NEXT: In all, the championship meet will feature men's teams from Akron, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State and Miami University, while all 12 league members will be gunning for the title on the women's side. 

The Zips' men squad will be looking to repeat as league champion and capture its seventh outdoor league championship, having won six of the last nine league titles overall.

On the women's side, the Zips are seeking their seventh overall outdoor championship after capturing the crown in 2015. 

Akron under the leadership of 22nd-year head coach Dennis Mitchell figures to be in the running for team titles on both the men's and women's sides again this year.

Junior Jackie Siefring (Covington, Ohio) leads five returning champions for the Akron women’s squad after capturing the heptathlon and 400-meter hurdle titles in 2016. The Zips also received first-place performances a year ago from seniors Daniella Johnson (Gahanna, Ohio) and Ariadna Ramos Gandia (Barcelona, Spain) and sophomores Dara Perry (Akron, Ohio) and Abigale Wilson (Carrollton, Ohio) in the long jump, triple jump, 100-meter hurdles and discus. 

The Zips also garnered a women's runner-up finish from redshirt junior Rebecca Pietsch (Dusseldorf, Germany) in the pole vault.

In the men's field, senior Matt Rowland (Bellevue, Ohio) along with sophomore Cody Stine (Shelby, Ohio) seek to defend their individual titles after winning the pole vault and high jump in 2016, while senior Miles Baldwin (Cincinnati, Ohio) is the lone returner from the championship 4x400 relay, which included Sean Weems, Brent Gray and Clayton Murphy. 

Looking to improve upon her second-place finishes in the long jump and triple jump will be junior Terrell McClain (Youngstown, Ohio) and senior Mike Ohiembor (Dayton, Ohio), while senior Hakeem Lawrence (Miami, Fla.), redshirt junior Taron Slone (Columbus, Ohio), senior Anthony Young (Medina, Ohio) and junior Kwadarrius Smith (Orlando, Fla.) are back to defend Akron’s 4x400 relay title.

MAC MEET SCHEDULE: The MAC Championships begins at 10 a.m. at Kanley Track and Field Complex in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Thursday, May 11, with the start of the men's hammer, followed by the commencement of the men’s decathlon and women's heptathlon at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., respectively. The running events will begin at 6:50 p.m. with the men's 10,000 meters followed by the women's race at 7:30 p.m. 

The second day opens with the conclusion of the multi-events with the 110-meter hurdles in the men's decathlon and the long jump as part of the women's heptathlon at 11 a.m., respectively. Field events begins with the men's shot put at 12:30 p.m., while the preliminary round of the men's 1,500 meters opens running events at 12:30 p.m. The women's 3,000-meter steeplechase closes out the day's action at 5:05 p.m.

The final day of the championship kicks off with the men's discus at 10 a.m. The first running event is slated to begin at 1 p.m. with the men's 4x100 relay. For a complete schedule of events, log on to MAC-Sports.com. Live results will be available throughout the meet and posted here

Scoring in the meet will be on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis for individual events and relays for the women. Men's scoring will be 10-8-6-4-2-1 for individual events and 10-8-6-4-2 for relays.

QUOTING AKRON HEAD COACH DENNIS MITCHELL: "I am very confident about the team we have brought to Kalamazoo. We know that we have a target on our back and we are going to have to be exceptional. The MAC is a tough conference. It is probably one of the most balanced team-oriented conferences out there. You have to be strong in almost every event to win."

HONORING OUR SENIORS: Following the conclusion of the Campbell/Wright Invitational last Saturday, May 6, the Zips honored seniors Zach Alexander (Tiffin, Ohio), Miles Baldwin (Cincinnati, Ohio), Samia Bell (Cincinnati, Ohio), Alexandra Blair (Akron, Ohio), Weronika Gaudyn (Kracow, Poland), Demetris Hazly-Ward (Akron, Ohio), Daniella Johnson, Hakeem Lawrence, Ana Martin-Sacristan (Valencia, Spain), Joe Oduho (Erie, Pa.), Mike Ohiembor, Sean Poholski (Barberton, Ohio), Matt Rowland, Becky Szabo (North Olmsted, Ohio), Jailyn Twitty (Amherst, N.Y.), Keith Yohman (Brunswick, Ohio), Anthony Young, Martin Zegarelli (Erie, Pa.), Natalie Zidd (Hinckley, Ohio) and Dan Zupan

NATIONAL RANKINGS: The Akron men's track and field team moved up one spot to No. 31 in the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division I Outdoor Track and Field National Team Rankings released on Monday, May 8. 

Akron is the highest-rated team in the Mid-American Conference and is the No. 3 squad in the latest Great Lakes Regional poll. Additionally, the Zips' women's squad is ranked fourth in the most recent regional tally.

Additionally, the Zips' women's and men's teams are ranked 14th and 20th, respectively, in the final men's and women's collegiate dual meet rankings of the 2017 outdoor campaign, as compiled by Jesse Squire for Track and Field News. 

EVENT SQUAD RANKINGS: Akron continued its success in the latest USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Event Squad rankings released on Monday, May 8, as the Zips are ranked among the top five nationally in four events and amongst the top 10 in five different events. Akron is rated third, third, fourth, fifth and eighth, respectively, in the men's high jump, men's long jump, men's pole vault, women's 400-meter hurdles and women's high jump.




No. 3

Men’s High Jump

Stine – 7-1.50/2.17m)/No. 17

Richardson – 7-1 (2.16m)/No. 23

Ross – 6-11 (2.11m)/No. 60

Olewiler – 6-8.75 (2.05m)/No. 132

No. 3

Men’s Long Jump

McClain – 25-6.25 (7.78m)/No. 18

Oduho – 25-1.25 (7.65m)/No. 39

Latimer – 24-11.25 (7.60m)/No. 50

Coleman – 23-8.25 (7.22m)/No. 210

No. 4

Men’s Pole Vault

Ludwig – 18-8.25 (5.70m)/No. 2

Rowland – 17-7 (5.36m)/No. 21

Fraker – 16-4.75 (5.00m)/No. 111

Alexander – 15-11 (4.85m)/No. 167

No. 5

Women’s 400M Hurdles

Siefring – 59.52/No. 68

Gnafaki – 59.65/No. 76

Batiste – 60.93/No. 142

Gordon – 61.03/No. 150

No. 8

Women’s High Jump

Manson – 5-11.25 (1.81m)/No. 21

Mills – 5-9.25 (1.76m)/No. 51

Ortega – 5-5.75 (1.67m)/No. 209

Siefring – 5-5 (1.65m)/NA

No. 11

Women’s Triple Jump

Gaudyn – 42-2.75 (12.87m)/No. 44

Ramos Gandia – 41-10 (12.75m)/No. 55

Cousins – 38-0 (11.58)/NA

Martin-Sacristan – 35-0.25 (10.67m)/NA

No. 12

Men’s Triple Jump

Ohiembor – 51-11 (15.82m)/No. 28

Twitty – 49-10.50 (15.20m)/No. 88

Hazly-Ward – 47-1.50 (14.36m)/No. 238

Gibbs – 46-4.25 (14.13m)/NA


ZIPS AMONG NATION’S BEST IN LATEST TFRRS RANKINGS: Akron currently has seven student-athletes ranked in the top-25 nationally by the Track and Field Results Reporting System (TFRRS), including sophomore Matt Ludwig (Chardon, Ohio), who owns the No. 2 mark nationally in the men's pole vault (18-8.25/5.70m). 

Also rated among the top-25 is senior Phil Jagers (Solon, Ohio) (fourth in the men's discus – 203-6/62.04m), Jackie Siefring (fifth in the women's heptathlon – 5,750), Cody Stine (17th in the men's high jump – 7-1.50/2.17m), Terrell McClain (18th in men's long jump – 25-6.25/7.78m), Matt Rowland (21st in the men's pole vault – 17-7/5.36m) and sophomore Curtis Richardson (Blacklick, Ohio) (23rd in men's high jump – 7-1/2.16m).

MAC LEADERS: The following Zips own conference-leading marks entering the MAC Outdoor Championships this weekend; Kwadarrius Smith (men's 100 meters – 10.42), senior Daziah Green (Canton, Ohio) (women's 100 meters – 11.54 and women's 200 meters – 23.67), Miles Baldwin (men's 400 meters – 46.72), Dara Perry (women's 100-meter hurdles – 13.56), Cody Stine (men's high jump – 7-1.50/2.17m), Matt Ludwig (men's pole vault – 18-8.25/5.70m), Becky Szabo (women's pole vault – 13-7.75/4.16m), Terrell McClain (men's long jump – 25-6.25/7.78m), Mike Ohiembor (men's triple jump – 51-11/15.82m), Weronika Gaudyn (women's triple jump – 42-2.75/12.87m), Phil Jagers (men's discus – 203-6/62.04m) and Jackie Siefring (women's heptathlon – 5,750). 

Additionally, the men's 4x100 relay squad of Baldwin, Hakeem Lawrence, Anthony Young and Taron Slone own the conference's best mark of 40.47.

CRACKING THE ALL-TIME TOP-FIVE PERFORMANCES: The Zips posted a trio of performances at the Campbell/Wright Invitational last Saturday, May 6, which cracked the top-five in the program’s outdoor record book. 

Matt Ludwig led the charge posting the No. 2 jump in program history in the men’s pole vault surpassing 18-8.25 (5.70m) to win the event. His effort represented the second-best mark in the country in 2017 and the No. 5 outdoor clearance in the world in 2017.

Freshman Iman Batiste (Dublin, Ohio) and redshirt junior Michalla Gordon (Wadsworth, Ohio) each registered career-best times of 60.93 and 61.03 in the 400-meter hurdles to record the fourth- and fifth-fastest times in outdoor program history.

A YEAR AGO: The University of Akron men's track and field team captured the 2016 Mid-American Conference Championships with a strong final-day performance on May 14, 2016. The Zips' women's squad came up short in their bid to repeat as league champions earning a runner-up finish.

The outcome of the men's race came down to the men's triple jump as Eastern Michigan held a one-point lead over the Zips after Akron won the 4x400 relay. The quartet of Sean Weems, Miles Baldwin, Brent Gray and Clayton Murphy crossed the line in 3:09.16. 

The Eagles had two student-athletes in the triple jump, while representing Akron was Mike Ohiembor. In the end, Ohiembor leaped 50-2.50 (15.30m) to finish second and earn eight points for the Zips, while Eastern Michigan posted a sixth-place showing to net one point, enabling Akron to take home the title by six points.

Akron head track and field coach Dennis Mitchell was named as the MAC Men's Coach of the Year for the Zips' winning effort. 

Garnering accolades as the Most Valuable Performer in the women's meet after winning the women's heptathlon and 400-meter hurdles was Jackie Siefring.

Ariadna Ramos Gandia was tabbed as the Most Outstanding Field Performer in the women's championship, while Abigale Wilson was named as Women's Field Freshman of the Year. 

Murphy was again dominant for Akron registering victories in the 1,500 meters (3:45.83) and 800 meters (1:55.39), while anchoring the winning 4x400 relay squad (3:09.16), to record 11th, 12th and 13th career MAC titles.

Claudia Garcia Jou opened the day for the Zips successfully defending her 2015 outdoor high jump title with a leap of 5-9.25 (1.76m) to capture her fourth overall league title. 

Matt Rowland added to the title haul in the men's pole vault winning the 18th consecutive title (indoor and outdoor) in the event for the Zips eclipsing 17-4.50 (5.30m).

Taking home the championship in the women's discus with the then fifth-best throw 162-8 (49.58m) in program history was Wilson. 

A lean at the finish line provided Dara Perry the title in the 100-meter hurdles in a school-record time of 13.53.

Equaling her own school record en route winning the women's triple jump with a mark of 42-7.50 (12.99m) was Ramos Gandia 

Garnering another victory in the 400-meter hurdles was Siefring, who crossed the line first in 58.66.

After finishing second in the men's high jump at the MAC Indoor Championships, Cody Stine collected his first league title taking home the championship surpassing 6-11 (2.11m). 

Joe Oduho displayed the tenacity that has defined the University of Akron track and field as champions winning the men's long jump on his final attempt.

Oduho was one of three Zips to earn conference titles on the penultimate day of the MAC Championships on May 13, 2016, registering a career-best mark of 25-8 (7.82m). 

Siefring continued her league domination in the multi-events capturing the heptathlon with a seven-event cumulative score of 5,412 to become the first Zip since Mary Varga in 2003 to win the heptathlon.

Daniella Johnson garnered her first-ever outdoor MAC title winning the women's long jump with a career-best outdoor jump of 20-4.50 (6.21m). The effort marked the Zips' first title in the event since Christi Smith won the event in 1997. 

Dan Zupan turned in a school-record performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase finishing second in 8:56.41.

Caroline Hasse successfully defended her 2015 MAC women’s pole vault title eclipsing 13-10.50 (4.23m). 

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