DEKALB, IL – With a total of six, by far the most titles ever won in a single day at the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the University at Buffalo men's and women's track and field teams enjoyed a successful day as the league meet at Northern Illinois came to a conclusion.
Because of poor weather conditions, no preliminary races were held on Friday causing Saturday's raced to be held timed finals with all athletes racing for times with the lowest time declared the champion.
Early Saturday morning, UB junior Becky O'Brien won the first of her two titles on the day on her way to being named the MAC's Most Outstanding Female Field Performer. O'Brien broke the MAC, MAC meet and UB records in winning the women's shot put with a winning heave of 56-6 (17.22m). Like Rob Golabek's men's shot put victory for the Bulls on Friday, O'Brien's title seemed like a walk in the park as her top throw was nearly seven feet better than the second-place throw. Her shortest throw of the day cleared 51-8 (15.75m) and was still farther than any other throw in the field. With the win, O'Brien broke the UB record of 55-0.25 (16.77m) set by Kristy Woods in 2010.
Later O'Brien captured the MAC women's discus title with another record breaking performance. O'Brien took the competition with a throw of 193-8 (59.04m), breaking the MAC record by seven feet and extending an amazing 20 feet onto her own UB record. O'Brien won the title by 18 feet over Akron's Valerie Wert, the 2010 MAC champion.
The Bulls also claimed the title in the men's discus with a one-two finish. Sophomore Evan Palmer took his first league title with the victory scoring a winning toss of 177-2 (54.00m), improving his season-best performance by nearly 10 feet. Senior Matt Gac finished second at 176-8 (53.84m). With the win, UB throwers claimed MAC titles in both shot puts, discuses and the women's hammer throw during the three-day meet.
On the track, Ryan Bloom took the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase in dramatic fashion. Bloom held off Akron's Joe McCoy by just two seconds as Bloom crossed the finish line in 9:14.65 with McCoy second in 9:14.67. Freshman Steve Houghmaster finished sixth in 9:25.94.
Senior sprinter Brian Smith had a successful day in his final MAC championship meet of his career. Smith won the 200-meter dash in 21.12 seconds, one-hundredth of a second off his season-best and three-hundredths shy of his school record. Smith defeated Kent State's Princeton Bryson by three-hundredths of a second (21.15) with defending champion Clint Allen of Eastern Michigan finishing third. Smith also scored in the men's 100-meters as he finished seventh in 10.64, setting a season-best time.
Sophomore Will Cole won his first MAC title on Saturday with his victory in the men's 400-meter hurdles. Cole cut a full second off his season best to win the title in 51.74. Cole held off second-place finisher and 2009 MAC champion K.C. Lacross of Akron by a tenth of a second. UB freshman Doug Hannon finished sixth in 55.70, lowering his season best.
The UB women also added a second- and two third-place finishes on Saturday. Freshman Asia Henry finished second in the women's 800-meters in a season-best 2:10.80. Senior Ajla Glavasevic scored a season-best performance with her third-place finish in the women's high jump at 5-5 (1.65m). UB's 4x400-meter women's relay team of Jamiee McClary, Henry, Anna Holmes and Crystal Graham also finished third in 3:45.70. McClary also broke her own school record in the women's 100-meter dash as she finished 10th in 11.89 seconds. She also finished sixth in the women's 200-meter dash in 23.88, one-hundredth of a second off her school record.
Scoring a third-place finish for the UB men was Andrew Omoregie in the 110-meter hurdles. Omoregie turned in a 14.39 clocking with Austin Archibald finishing fourth in a season-best 14.55.
Both teams finished in the same spots as last season's MAC meet at UB Stadium. The UB men tied for fourth with Eastern Michigan as both squads scored 112 points in the six-team meet. The UB women finished fifth among the 12 MAC schools with 78 points. Akron took the men's title with Kent State winning the women's crown.
Golabek, Palmer, Bloom, Smith and Cole earned First Team All-MAC honors based on their championship performances. Gac was named to the second-team. For the UB women, White and O'Brien were named to the First Team All-MAC squad with Henry earning second-team honors.
"With the weather delays and schedule changes, our team stepped up and used the adverse conditions to our advantage," said UB women's coach Vicki Mitchell. "This is our best team performance, men and women, and I'm extremely proud of their efforts."
The Bulls continue the postseason during the Memorial Day weekend as several athletes will compete at the NCAA First Round in Bloomington, IN.
Men's final scores: Akron 198.50, Kent State 165.60, Central Michigan 119, Buffalo 112, Eastern Michigan 112, Miami (OH) 105.
Women's final scores: Kent State 117.50, Eastern Michigan 116.50, Miami (OH) 107, Western Michigan 92, Buffalo 78, Toledo 55, Akron 55, Northern Illinois 47, Ohio 46, Central Michigan 38, Bowling Green 36, Ball State 25.