T&F Women Take Runner-Up Finish at American Indoor Meet
Feb. 25, 2017

CINCINNATI - The American Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships came to a close Saturday afternoon with the University of Cincinnati capturing three more titles to take second overall in the team standings by just two points while the men added their second individual crown to place fifth overall at the meet being held inside the CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala. Along with the four titles earned, six other individuals captured second-place finishes in their respective events to help both teams build upon their point totals.

The women’s competition came down to the wire with the Bearcats being edged by UCF, 122-120, in the overall standings. Despite scoring the most points in a single indoor conference competition in program history, the runner-up finish is the second in a row for the women at the American indoor meet after finishing second to UConn one year ago (110-98.5). The Top 5 was rounded out by Houston (99), UConn (92) and Tulane (52). On the men’s side of the competition, the Bearcats accumulated 69 points and placed fifth overall while Houston ran away with the team title, scoring 174 points. The remainder of the Top 5 in the men’s standings was rounded out by UConn (111.5), Tulsa (109) and Memphis (93).

One day after capturing four individual titles, the Bearcats combined to add three more individual crown and one relay victory to push their two-day total to eight, six of which came from the women. UC combined to sweep both 400m dash titles and added in a high jump and 4x400m relay crown to close out the competition.

The day opened with Loretta Blaut securing the women’s high jump title as she climbed over 1.73m (5-08.00) to not only equal her season-best mark, but also win her first conference title. The indoor runner-up one year ago, Blaut’s title keeps the women’s high jump title in Cincinnati where it has resided since the inception of the American after Erika Hurd won each of the previous three crowns.

On the track, UC took back-to-back titles as Bryana Robinson won the women’s 400m dash before Jimmy Brooks followed with the men’s title. Robinson race to a school-record time of 53.52, lowering the standard from the 53.70 she ran earlier this season, to capture not only her first conference title, but also the first 400m dash title in women’s program history. Brooks then took the track and blazed to a winning time of 47.28 to make it two in a row personally after he won the outdoor title last season. Brooks’ time of 47.28 ranks as the fourth-fastest in UC history and marks just the second time the event has been won by a UC male after Darnell Gilbert took gold in 2014.

Finally, in the last event of the meet, the women’s 4x400m relay went all out in an attempt to not only win the race, but also look for some help in taking home the team title. Although UC fell two team points short, the Bearcats did hold off its foes in the race as the team of Haisha Bisiolu, Tiona Lattimore, Deanna Gesicki and Robinson combined to run 3:40.13 and break the school record in the process.

At the conclusion of the meet, the coaches of all participating teams cast their respective ballots to select the men’s and women’s track and field Performers of the Meet with the Bearcats sweeping the field trophies. First, Annette Echikunwoke, who won the weight throw one day before taking second in the shot put - both with personal-best marks - was tabbed as the women’s honoree, earning the award for the second year in a row. On the men’s side, Adrian Valles’ victory in the pole vault, which was accompanied by a school, meet and facility record mark, earned him the men’s field accolade.

- Echikunwoke took second in the shot put with a toss of 15.99m (52-05.50), just missing out on hitting the 16 meter mark, but doing enough to improve her personal best that ranks second all-time in UC history. In the same event, Ashley Williams moved up to third all-time on the same list as she threw the ball 15.33m (50-03.50) to finish fifth in her first conference meet with the Bearcats.
- True freshman Irati Mitxelena had a very good day in the triple jump as the young Spaniard bounced her way to a runner-up finish with a top mark of 12.88m (42-03.25). That mark, which earned eight team points, moved her all the way up to No. 2 all-time and saw her post a personal-best marks in the event for the fourth time this year. Also in the triple jump, Kellsa Mbah, one day removed from her long jump title, finished eighth overall after posting a mark of 11.62m (38-01.50), which also ranks fourth all-time in UC history.
- Along with the relay points, two individuals also scored in the 400m dash as Bisiolu was fourth overall and Lattimore, a true freshman, was seventh. Bisiolu ran 55.10 to better her personal-best for the third time this year and also move up to fifth on the all-time Top 10 chart. For Lattimore, it was her fourth PR as her time of 55.77 now stands seventh all-time.
- Blaut was not the Bearcat to find success in the high jump as two others scored and one just missed. Maggie Loeffler and Katie Straus both cleared 1.61m (5-03.25) to tie for fourth place with each earning four team points. Naomi Urbano, the pentahtlon champion, placed ninth with the same clearance, but did not score based on misses at earlier heights. Brooke Catherine, who has competed in the pole vault for the Bearcats the past two years, took a run at the event and finished 12th as she cleared 1.56m (5-01.25).
- The 60m hurdles had a pair of finalists with both scoring multiple points in the race as Aliya Barnes placed fifth and Juliana Puopolo seventh. Barnes collected four team points after she ran 8.63 - a season-best - while Puopolo recorded another personal best, this time running 8.81 in the event.
- Three women raced in the 3,000m competition with two earning personal-best times. True freshman Marina Wrede led the way as she finished 28th in 10:07.61 to post a personal best and the ninth-fastest in UC history while Vanessa Robinson also ran a PR in 10:13.12.

- Along with the title won by Brooks, nine others added points to the men’s total, including runner-up finishes from Macklin Tudor in the shot put and Michael Vitucci in the 800m run. Tudor hit a mark of 18.25m (59-10.50) to break his own school record and finish as the runner-up in the event for the second year in a row. Vitucci, who entered the meet outside of the Top 10 and was seventh through the preliminary race yesterday, pushed through and took second as he ran to a season-best 1:52.35 to join Tudor as men adding eight team points each.
- Brooks’ 400m victory was not the only action the sprint star saw as he also ran the second leg of the fourth-place 4x400m relay to close the meet. Brooks joined with Halen Witcher, Kevin Konkoly and Jaashir Morris to run 3:14.47, which was just off their season-best time and a spot in the Top 5 all-time in program history. Morris also ran in the 400m dash and placed seventh overall in 49.24 to add two team points.
- Ben Wollenslegel and Alex Bloom both scored in the heptathlon as the duo placed seventh and eighth, respectively. Wollenselgel put together a steady competition and finished with a personal-best 4,938 points, which ranks fifth all-time in UC history. Bloom, who was the event leader through five events, was unable to clear a height in the pole vault, but did tough it out in the 1,000m run to make sure he scored for the team (4,870).
- Bloom wasn’t done scoring there, however, as he and teammate Jordan Hardiman both cleared 2.05m (6-08.75) to tie for second place in the high jump. Both men earned seven team points each with their finish while Hardiman did so with a PR.
- Kelvin Williams also got in on the scoring as he ran 8.44 in the finals of the 60m hurdles to take fifth place and chip in four team points.

With the conference meet in the books, the Bearcats will have one week off before sending those that qualify to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in College Station, Texas, March 10-11. Those that don’t qualify will have off from competition until March 24-25 when the team travels to Raleigh, N.C., for the Raleigh Relays.

2017 The American Championships - Day 2 (2/25/17)
Women’s Results
60m Hurdles - FINAL
5. Aliya Barnes - 8.63 - 4 points
7. Juliana Puopolo - 8.81 - PR - 2 points

400m Dash - FINAL
1. Bryana Robinson - 53.52 - PR & UC Record - 10 points
4. Haisha Bisiolu - 55.10 - PR & UC #5 - 5 points
7. Tiona Lattimore - 55.77 - PR & UC #7 - 2 points

3,000m Run - FINAL
28. Marina Wrede - 10:07.61 - PR & UC #9
33. Vanessa Robinson - 10:13.12 - PR
42. Juliana Madzia - 10:29.07

4x400m Relay - FINAL
1. Cincinnati - 3:40.13 - UC Record - 10 points
     Bisiolu (56.6), Lattimore (54.0), Gesicki (55.5), B. Robinson (53.8)

Triple Jump - FINAL
2. Irati Mitxelena - 12.88m (42-03.25) - PR & UC #2 - 8 points
8. Kellsa Mbah - 11.62m (38-01.50) - PR & UC #4 - 1 point

High Jump - FINAL
1. Loretta Blaut - 1.73m (5-08.00) - CHAMPION - 10 points
t4. Maggie Loeffler - 1.61m (5-03.25) - 4 points
t4. Katie Straus - 1.61m (5-03.25) - 4 points
t9. Naomi Urbano - 1.61m (5-03.25)
12. Brooke Catherine - 1.56m (5-01.25) - PR

Shot Put - FINAL
2. Annette Echikunwoke - 15.99m (52-05.50) - PR & UC #2 - 8 points
5. Ashley Williams - 15.33m (50-03.50) - PR & UC #3 - 4 points
12. Alexis Gray - 14.00m (45-11.25)

FINAL Team Standings
1. UCF - 122
3. Houston - 99
4. UConn - 92
5. Tulane - 52
6. SMU - 44
7. Memphis - 43
8. East Carolina - 38
9. Tulsa - 20
10. Temple - 17
11. South Florida - 15

Men’s Results
60m Hurdles - FINAL
5. Kelvin Williams - 8.44 - 4 points

400m Dash - FINAL
1. Jimmy Brooks - 47.28 - CHAMPION - PR & UC #4 - 10 points
7. Jaashir Morris - 49.24 - 2 points

800m Run - FINAL
2. Michael Vitucci - 1:52.35 - 8 points

3,000m Run - FINAL
11. Dan Huben - 8:35.17
27. Nick Grismer - 8:50.24

4x400m Relay - FINAL
4. Cincinnati - 3:14.47 - 5 points
     Witcher (48.8), Brooks (48.1), Konkoly (48.8), Morris (48.5)

Triple Jump - FINAL
12. Sergio Acera - 13.68m (44-10.75)

High Jump - FINAL
t2. Alex Bloom - 2.05m (6-08.75) - 7 points
t2. Jordan Hardiman - 2.05m (6-08.75) - PR - 7 points
9. Mike Wood - 1.92m (6-03.50)

Shot Put - FINAL
2. Macklin Tudor - 18.25m (59-10.50) - PR & UC Record - 8 points
10. John Zedella - 15.37m (50-05.25)

Heptathlon - FINAL Scoring
7. Ben Wollenslegel - 4,938 points - PR & UC #5 - 2 points
8. Alex Bloom - 4,870 points - 1 point

Heptathlon Event #5 - 60m Hurdles
5. Alex Bloom - 8.58 [841] - PR & UC Hep #2
10. Ben Wollenslegel - 9.02 [741]

Heptathlon Event #6 - Pole Vault
t8. Ben Wollenslegel - 3.95m (12-11.50)[603]
     Alex Bloom - no height [0]

Heptathlon Event #7 - 1,000m Run
3. Ben Wollenslegel - 2:52.61 [738] - PR & UC Hep #7
5. Alex Bloom - 2:53.41 [730]

Heptathlon Day Two Event Scoring (Final 3 events only)
Ben Wollenslegel - 2,082 points
Alex Bloom - 1,571 points

FINAL Team Standings
1. Houston - 174.0
2. UConn - 111.5
3. Tulsa - 109.0
4. Memphis - 93.0
5. CINCINNATI - 69.0
6. East Carolina - 57.0
7. South Florida - 45.5