UB Invitational builds Bulls confidence

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The Spectrum

Despite both rainy and windy conditions, the men and women's track team were faced with the task of defending their home turf against competitive opponents.

The Bulls hosted the UB invitational at UB stadium this past Saturday. Canisius, Edinboro, and Trinity were the major colleges that participated in the event.

Buffalo ended up winning 23 out of the 35 completed events, with four Bulls winning two events, each in the uninviting weather.

Freshman Jamiee McClary dominated the sprints. She won the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.07. She then took the 100-meter dash in 12.25.

Sophomore Becky O'Brien was also one of four athletes who won two events. O'Brien posted her season best in the weight throw, with a 51-10 (15.80m) toss. She also went on to take the discus with a throw of 152-8 (46.54m).

Junior Matt Gac won his throwing events over his Buffalo counterparts. Gac threw the shot put 174-6 (53.20m) and earned a 184-6 (56.25m) mark in the hammer throw.

Another top performer was senior Daniel Schichtel who won the 100-meter dash with a season-best time of 10.73. He edged out his teammate, senior Ezekiel Porter, by three-hundredths of a second.

O'Brien, McClary, Gac, and Schichtel enjoyed the competition within the team and believes it will help down the stretch.

"They see each other in practice all the time," said men's coach Perry Jenkins. "I looked at it as a scrimmage meet but with Edinboro here it just made [the meet] more meaningful."

Junior Eugene Kennedy won two events in the jumps. His 47-10.50 (14.59m) leap in the long jump marked Buffalo's season best. He also tied his season best at the high jump with a lunge of 6-6.75 (2.00m).

The familiar setting and the small amount of competing teams gave some first-year competitors a chance to shine. Freshman Michael Pressler won his 1,500-meter dash with his season best time of 4:06.00.

Freshman Brian Archie posted a second-place finish with a long jump of 21-07.50 (6.59m). Freshman Aimee Hopkins won the women's 800-meter run with a time of 2:20.17 and freshman Andrew Omoregie won the men's 110-meter hurdles in 14.85 seconds.

"I think [the freshmen] are very happy," said women's coach Vicki Mitchell. "Our team is very young… So for them to win or have an opportunity to place in the top two is always a good thing."

Freshman Brooklyn Ventura won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.61, however, she fell during the home stretch of the 400 IH and suffered an apparent leg injury.

"She doesn't feel great at the moment," Mitchell said. "So we're keeping our fingers crossed."

The meet was described as a low-key tune-up for next weekend's Penn Relays and Big Red Invitational. Jenkins considers those meets crucial to deciding who is going to go to the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State, which will be a deciding factor of who is competing in the MAC Championships.

Additionally, the 2010 MAC Championships are going to be held at UB Stadium. The meet gave Buffalo a chance to practice running at home against competition.

"It was a good feeling for us to get used to running on our track," Jenkins said. "We're going to be here again in less than a month."

Ventura is just one of the few people that needed to be competitive in those national meets.

However, the injury did not change the perception of the meet. The coaches thought it was a good meet overall.

"[Despite] the weather, I think [the team] performed really well," Jenkins said. "The athletes knew they had other [competing] teams out here and I think it takes a lot of pride to defend their turf, which is what they did."

The Bulls will travel to the University of Pennsylvania for the Penn Relays Carnival on April 22-24. Then, on Sunday, the team will be up at Cornell for the Big Red Invitational meet.

E-mail: sports@ubspectrum.com