T&F: Echikunwoke’s School Record Paces Bearcats at Auburn
April 7, 2017

CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati track and field team sent a small group of competitors to the track and into the field Friday at the Tiger Track Classic in Auburn, Ala., but that did not stop the Bearcats from posting big marks, including a school-record hammer mark from Annette Echikunwoke that highlighted the day. All told, 10 Bearcats competed on the day with the six women and four men combining to post five total personal-best marks and three that rank among the Top 10 in the program’s all-time rankings in their respective events. The personal bests were not limited to field events as both entrants in the 5,000m run recorded career outdoor best times as well.

After opening her outdoor season last weekend at home, Echikunwoke got back into the record breaking business as she upped her own school record to 62.23m (204-02) as her throw, which came in the fifth round of the competition, eventually placed her second overall in the meet. With the mark, Echikunwoke, since the start of the 2016 outdoor season, has seen her personal-best total rise by 40’ 9” and, since she first broke the school record, has climbed 17’ 7” in total.

Echikunwoke was not the only hammer thrower that posted strong marks for the women as UC’s remaining two entrants - Nicole Breeden and Alexis Gray - both recorded personal-best throws on the day. Breeden posted a best of 52.92m (173-07) to move up from #10 to #7 on the program’s all-time Top 10 ledger as she improved on her previous best by over one foot (1’ 2”). Gray’s PR mark came in at 47.78m (156-09), which marked the third meet in a row in which she has bettered her career best.

Juliana Madzia continued a recent trend for the Bearcats distance corps as she recorded a big personal-best, this time in the 5,000m run. Madzia placed third overall on the day as she clocked in at 17:15.93, which lowered her career-best time by nearly 26 seconds (25.81) after she ran 17:41.74 one year ago. Her time this year marks just the second time added to the program’s all-time Top 10 list since 2006 and places her fifth on the chart as just the sixth UC woman to run 17:24 or faster in program history.

Seemingly not to be outdone, Dan Huben took to the track for the men’s 5,000m run and blasted his previous outdoor personal-best time as he ran 14:59.08 to finish fourth overall on the night. Huben, who previously ran a best of 15:46.30 in last year’s outdoor campaign, posted an improvement by nearly 47 seconds as his outdoor PR came down 46.82 seconds.

Two women also competed in the triple jump and three men in the hammer throw on the day. For the women, both finished in the Top 15 of the standings as Irati Mitxelena led the way as she finished 10th overall with a best of 11.74m (38-06.25) while Kellsa Mbah was 13th in the standings with a best of 11.58m (38-00.00). In the men’s hammer, John Zedella led the way in his outdoor season debut with a best of 48.94m (160-07) that placed him 11th in the standings. Chris Province led the two freshmen that also competed as he was 16th at 46.66m (153-01) while Aaron Deaton was 20th overall with a mark of 41.08m (134-09).

The second day of action at the Tiger Track Classic will run all day Saturday. Also set to compete Saturday will be Alex Bloom, who will open his two-day competition schedule at the Bulldog Decathlon-Heptathlon in Athens, Ga., with the first five events of the 10-event decathlon.

2017 Tiger Track Classic (Auburn, Ala.) - Day 1 (4/7/17)
Women’s Results
5,000m Run
3. Juliana Madzia - 17:15.93 - PR & UC #5

Triple Jump
10. Irati Mitxelena - 11.74m (38-06.25)(+0.9)
13. Kellsa Mbah - 11.58m (38-00.00)(+0.0)

1. Annette Echikunwoke - 62.23m (204-02) - PR & UC RECORD
8. Nicole Breeden - 52.92m (173-07) - PR & UC #7
18. Alexis Gray - 47.78m (156-09) - PR

Men’s Results
5,000m Run
4. Dan Huben - 14:59.08 - PR

11. John Zedella - 48.94m (160-07)
16. Chris Province - 46.66m (153-01)
20. Aaron Deaton - 41.08m (134-09)