MT. PLEASANT, MI – Three University at Buffalo athletes earned Mid-American Conference titles on Saturday as the league championship meet at Lyle Bennett Track came to a close.
Junior Anna Holmes won her first MAC title in the women's 400-meter hurdles by setting her second school record in as many days. Holmes, who set the UB record of 59.65 in Friday's prelims, needed another record effort to win on Saturday. Holmes took 1.27 seconds off the day-old record for a 58.38 clocking and held off Eastern Michigan's Asia Rawls by a hundredth of a second.
Junior Miles Lewis won the men's 200-meters as he and senior Andre Britton finished first and second, respectively, like they did in Friday's prelims. Lewis breezed to the win in 21.33 seconds while Britton held off Miami's Jahquil Hargrove and Akron's Dominique Watson by a hundredth of second with his runner-up finish in 21.46. Lewis and Britton also competed in the 100-meters. Lewis finished second in 10.57 while Britton was fourth in 10.71.
Freshman John Strickland broke Steve Esler's UB high jump record in taking his first league title. Strickland cleared 6-9.50 (2.07m) to win the competition. After passing on the opening height of 6-0 (1.83m), Strickland cleared each successive height in his first attempt to be declared the winner as three other jumpers, including UB freshman Chris Reape also cleared 6-9.50 (2.07m) as they needed more than one attempt to clear the height. Tomarris Bell also posted a season-best of 6-8 (2.03m) to finish sixth.
The UB men also posted three additional second-place finishes on Saturday.
Corey Knox posted a season-best throw to finish as the runner-up in the men's discus. Knox added 2.5 feet to his top mark with a throw of 176-7 (53.82m). Will Cole, the 2011 league champion in the men's 400-hurdles, finished second in a season-best 52.29 as he shaved three-quarters of a second from his top mark. The Bulls' 4x100-meter men's relay team of Bell, Britton, Lewis and Ed Young posted a season best with their 41.16 clocking for second place.
UB's women also had a quartet of third-place finishes.
Freshman Emma Siuciak set a season-best mark with her third-place finish in the women's high jump. Siuciak cleared 5-7.75 (1.72m), adding three-quarters of an inch. Junior Asia Henry finished third in the women's 800-meter finals in 2:07.55 with freshman Meghan Manley taking fifth in a season-best 2:08.81. The 4x400-meter foursome of Jamiee McClary, Brooklynn Ventura, Henry and Crystal Graham turned in a 3:41.91 clocking, also placing third. McClary, Holmes, Ventura and Graham combined to break to the school record in the 4x100-meter relay with a 45.65 finish, lowering the previous mark, set four weeks ago, by three-tenths of a second.
Ventura and McClary also had fourth-place finishes in their championship races as McClary lowered her school record for the second day in a row. Ventura finished fourth in the women's 100-meter hurdles in 13.80 while McClary, who shaved four-hundredths of a second from her 100-meter dash time on Friday, lowered her record an additional hundredth to finish in 11.84 for fourth place.
Holmes was UB's lone All-MAC women's honoree as she earned first-team honors. Rob Golabek, winner of Friday's men's shot put and Lewis and Strickland earned men's first-team recognition. Named to the All-MAC Second Team for the men were Bell, Britton, Cole, Knox and Ed Young.
"Today and the last three day the women came together with a common goal of competing at their best. They accomplished that and more," stated women's head coach Vicki Mitchell. "Even with setbacks, they bounced back and stepped up higher. There is satisfaction of knowing each gave their best. But we continue to look ahead for more. For our senior athletes, this was a great way to cap off their experience."
Speaking for the men's squad, Mitchell said, "Miles Lewis and Andre Britton gave an incredible performance in the 100, 200 and both relays. And in the field events, the men's high jump highlighted the day with the school record and win for John Strickland. All of the events scored strong and showed the level of improvement that the men have made. We look forward to the preliminary round of the NCAA and having the shortest advance to the finals."
The UB women finished sixth among the 12 league members as the Bulls scored 72 points. The UB men moved up to a fifth-place finish in the six-team event with 118 total points. The Kent State women (134.33) and the Akron men (171) claimed the team titles.
The first round of the NCAA Track and Field Championships take place Memorial Day weekend as the Bulls will travel to Jacksonville, FL for the East Regional preliminaries.
Men's final scores: Akron 171, Kent State 148, Central Michigan 136, Eastern Michigan 128, Buffalo 118, Miami (OH) 110.
Women's final scores: Kent State 134.33, Toledo 132, Western Michigan 108, Miami (OH) 82, Eastern Michigan 78.33, Buffalo 72, Akron 68.50, Northern Illinois 55.33, Central Michigan 48, Ball State 22, Ohio 17.50, Bowling Green 1.