Running of the Bulls
Track and field breaks three school records, crowns a trio of MAC champions
The men's and women's track and field teams had some very lofty expectations coming into the weekend's Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships.
The Bulls traveled to Ypsilanti, Mich., for the two-day competition and found an abundance of individual successes.
Three Bulls were crowned MAC champions over the weekend and six others secured finishes inside top three in their respective events.
Junior thrower Jonathan Jones and senior thrower Shante' White were named the men's and women's athletes, respectively, of the meet in recognition of their championship winning performances.
Jones brought home a familiar title for the Bulls on Friday, as he broke former Buffalo thrower Rob Golabek's school record in the shot-put event.
His mark of 64 feet 3.25 inches was nearly seven feet longer than his closest competitor at the meet and almost three feet better than his best throw coming into the championships. The first-place mark also found its way into the MAC championship record books.
"Jonathan's a very strong and quick young man," said men's head coach Perry Jenkins. "I think he's going to surprise a lot of people at the NCAA's indoor and outdoor [events]."
White earned a first-place finish in the women's weight throw - an event the team has swept three times this indoor season. Her throw of 69 feet 7 inches proved to be a new school record as she shattered the old mark by nearly four feet. White's longest throw on Saturday also broke the facility's record.
"That's what you call big-time game-day performance," said women's head coach Vickie Mitchell. "In the finals, Shante' [White] came through with three of her best throws of the season. For her to earn MAC field performer of the meet is something that's really special."
Friday's victory in the shot-put marked the fourth time in the past five seasons the Bulls have topped the MAC in that event.
Also sharing the spotlight was junior sprinter Miles Lewis, who improved upon his third-place finish in the 2012 MAC Championship and became this year's champion in the 60-meter dash. Lewis outran Akron's second-place finisher, Malachi Freeman, by one-hundredth of a second.
"It was a close one," Jenkins said. "I can't say enough about the experience that Miles showed to lean in the last five meters [when he was] running in a close race."
The Bulls also earned notable finishes in the triple jump event. Sophomore Austin Price and senior Tomarris Bell placed second and third, respectively.
Throughout this indoor season, the Bulls have had their athletes place inside of the top three in triple jump of every meet but one.
Sophomore Chris Reape earned a second-place finish in the high jump. Reape cleared the bar at 6 feet 11.5 inches, a mark that was good enough for him to tie his own school record.
Also reeling in notable performances were sophomore mid-distance runner Meghan Manley and senior hurdles/sprinter Brooklynn Ventura.
Manley earned a second-place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:14.43, while Ventura finished third in 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.44.
Ventura bested a record of 8.46 seconds that she had set earlier in the season.
"Brooklynn is an incredibly consistent performer," Mitchell said. "It's always great to see athletes that work as hard as she does be rewarded."
The team will compete next on Friday. The Bulls will travel to the Alex Wilson Invitational at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
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