AKRON, OH – The University at Buffalo's men's and women's indoor track and field teams posted several season-best performances on Saturday as the Akron Invitational came to a conclusion. There was no team scoring at the meet which was divided into blue and gold divisions with UB competitors in both groups.
In the gold division, the UB women's 4x400-meter relay just missed a school record with their second-place finish behind Ohio State. The UB foursome of Jaimee McClary, Donna Jeanty, Jackie Burns and Asia Henry finished in 3:46.18, a season-best mark, taking two seconds off the previous best. The time was just .13 seconds off of the UB school record set in 2005. Meanwhile, the men's 4x400-meter relayers also set a season-best of 3:17.02 as Brian Smith, John Bauman, Will Cole and Stephon Beckford finished fourth overall.
Becky O'Brien was the top gold division individual finisher on Saturday as she placed third in the women's shot put. O'Brien, the UB school record holder in the event, finished with a best throw of 52-6 (16.00m) while Kristy Woods, an unattached entrant, was fourth at 51-9 (15.77m) and Rachel Roberts set a season-best with her throw of 49-11.75 (15.23m) to take sixth place.
UB's women sprinters had fifth-place finishes in the gold division finals. Brooklynn Ventura set a season-best time with her 8.92 clocking in the women's 60-meter hurdles while McClary set a season-best in the 200-meters in 24.60. Jeanty also established a season-best in the 400-meters in 56.95 as Henry was seventh in 58.06. Men's pole vaulter Adam Hume also had a fifth-place finish as he set a season-best height of 15-7 (4.75m), two inches shy of the school record.
The Bulls swept the blue division 3,000-meter races. In the men's race, the Bulls took the top two spots with John Inzina setting a season-best of 8:32.17, cutting nine seconds off his previous best. Steve Houghmaster finished second in 8:37.57. In the women's race, Sam Beim posted a season-best mark in winning the race in 10:15.42, slicing 13 seconds from her previous best.
Other blue division highlights included a second-place finish in the men's long jump by junior Jonathan Alexis with a season-best leap of 22-7 (6.88m). Ellen Muster placed third in the women's mile run in a season-best 5:07.13. Middle distance specialists Anna Holmes and Burns set season-best marks with their fourth-place finishes in their races. Holmes took four-tenths of a second off her previous best with her clocking of 58.13 in the 400-meters. Burns cut more than 10 seconds from her top 800-meter time with a 2:14.95 finish.
Men's distance runners Ryan Bloom and Dylan Conway finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 5,000-meters. Bloom finished in 14:44.31, more than 40 seconds better than his top indoor time set at last season's Akron meet. Conway finished in 14:44.62.
The Akron Invitational also featured an indoor discus throw, not usually held during the winter season. Both of UB's outdoor record holders in the event, O'Brien and Matt Gac had strong finishes. O'Brien finished second to Oklahoma's Brittany Borman with a throw of 171-7 (52.29m), more than five feet better than her outdoor record. O'Brien finished 16 inches behind Borman. Gac placed fourth in the men's discus with a throw of 171-8 (52.33m).
The squads travel to the Cornell Kane Invitational next Saturday.