May 27, 2017
LEXINGTON, KY - Just two days removed from weather issues and rough results on the opening day of competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet, the University of Cincinnati track and field team held fast to its motto of ‘fight to the finish’ and did just that as they added three more berths into the NCAA Finals Saturday in Lexington, Ky., to build upon a record-breaking weekend. With those additional entries earned, the Bearcats will be sending two individual men, two individual women and one women’s relay team to Eugene, Ore., the most entries UC has ever had for an outdoor championship meet (five), among other records.
On Saturday, Macklin Tudor earned a berth in the discus as he won the East competition while Annette Echikunwoke earned a spot in the shot put final in Oregon for the first time. Also, the women’s 4x400m relay of Haisha Bisiolu, Tiona Lattimore, Deanna Gesicki and Bryana Robinson combined to finish 12th and earn the final qualifying spot to Oregon, marking the first time UC has ever qualified a relay to nationals. That includes both indoor and outdoor and both the men and women.
// RECORD WEEKEND
Here is a look at where this year’s performance ranks in program history:
• The eight Bearcats headed to Eugene is the most in UC history, surpassing the six that qualified in 2016
• The six women heading west is a program record, bettering the five that made the trip last year
• The two men in the meet marks the first time since 2005 that UC has had more than one man in the competition
• The 2017 meet will mark the first time UC has qualified a relay to any national meet, including the men and women in indoors and out
• Tudor’s qualification is the first time UC has qualified someone in the discus at the national meet
// TUDOR TAKES TOP SPOT
After being tantalizingly close to earning a berth in the shot put one day earlier (14th place), Tudor left no doubt about his inclusion in the discus field at the national final as he posted the top mark in the East with a third-round toss of 61.93m (203-02) to punch his ticket to Eugene. Tudor, who ranks third nationally in the NCAA, will head to his first national outdoor final as one of the top contenders for the national crown when the competition gets underway on June 9.
// ECHIKUNWOKE MAKING A RETURN
Echikunwoke will make her return to the national final in Eugene for the second year in a row, but this time, it will be in the shot put one year after she placed eighth in the nation in the hammer to earn USTFCCCA All-America First Team honors. Despite to tough day in the ring on Thursday where she was unable to advance to Oregon in the hammer, the 2017 NCAA indoor weight throw champion rebounded nicely and made sure she returned to Eugene as she placed 10th overall in the shot put with a best of 16.36m (53-08.25). The junior entered the East meet ranked 12th and was able to improve her standing by two spots to punch her ticket to Eugene for the first time in the shot put.
// REALLY RELAY IMPRESSIVE
On Saturday, the 4x100m relay led off the day with the Bearcats seeing a bit of heartbreak as they ran 44.54 to finish 13th overall with only the Top 12 advancing to nationals. That team of Kellsa Mbah, Bisiolu, Robinson and Lattimore turned in the third-fastest time in UC history, but it was 0.03 off the final qualifying spot. Despite the result, Bisiolu, Robinson and Lattimore joined with Gesicki in the final race of the meet for the women and ran 3:36.59 to break their own school record and do so for the second meet in a row after the won the conference title two weeks ago by running 3:36.87, then just the first time any UC women’s relay had run under 3:37. Lattimore led the charge as the rookie split a team-best 53.0 on the second leg to keep the Bearcats in the race for a spot to Eugene.
// BLOOM CLOSE
Alex Bloom took part in the high jump competition and finished in the same spot he entered, tied for 19th in the East. Bloom cleared the first bar of the day, 2.00m, on his first attempt before needing third-attempt clearances at both 2.05m and 2.10m (6-10.75). He then took three attempts at 2.15m (7-00.50), which would have been an outdoor personal best, but was unsuccessful. Despite not making the national meet, it was a banner year for Bloom as he peppered his name all over the UC record book, including the indoor high jump school record and numerous Top 10 marks in the individual heptathlon (indoor) and decathlon (outdoor) events.
// ALSO COMPETING TODAY
Ashley Williams also competed in the shot put event and finished 29th overall. The junior, who entered the meet ranked 32nd in the East, improved three positions as she finished 29th overall with a best of 15.38m (50-05.50).
// MOVING ON
The full list of those Bearcats competing includes Adrian Valles (pole vault) and Tudor (discus) for the men along with women’s entrants Echikunwoke (shot put), Loretta Blaut (high jump) and the 4x400m relay.
// IN THE BLOCKS
The NCAA Finals will be held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., June 7-10. Valles will lead off the competition for the Bearcats with his final at 5pm (8pm ET) on June 7 before Echikunwoke (6:40pm/9:40pm ET) and the 4x400m relay (7:48pm/10:48pm ET) compete June 8. June 9 will see Tudor as the lone competitor in a 5:05pm start with Blaut jumping at 3pm (6pm ET) on June 10. Should the 4x400m advance out of the semifinal round, they would run in the final on June 10 at 5:51pm (8:51pm ET).
2017 NCAA East Preliminary Rounds - Day 3 (5/27/17)
4x100m Relay - Quarterfinal
13. Cincinnati - 44.54 - UC #3
Mbah, Bisiolu, B. Robinson, Lattimore
4x400m Relay - Quarterfinal
12. Cincinnati - 3:36.59 - UC RECORD - advances to Eugene
Bisiolu (54.8), Lattimore (53.0), Gesicki (55.1), Robinson (53.5)
Shot Put - Quarterfinal
10. Annette Echikunwoke - 16.36m (53-08.25) - advances to Eugene
29. Ashley Williams - 15.38m (50-05.50)
High Jump - Quarterfinal
t19. Alex Bloom - 2.10m (6-10.75)
Discus - Quarterfinal
1. Macklin Tudor - 61.93m (203-02) - advances to Eugene
NCAA Finals Schedule of Events for UC
Wednesday, June 7
5:00pm • M Pole Vault FINAL • Adrian Valles
Thursday, June 8
6:40pm • W Shot Put FINAL • Annette Echikunwoke
7:48pm • W 4x400m Relay Semifinal
Friday, June 9
5:05pm • M Discus FINAL • Macklin Tudor
Saturday, June 10
3:00pm • W High Jump FINAL • Loretta Blaut
5:51pm • W 4x400m Relay FINAL (need to advance from Thursday)
** all times local to site (Pacific Time Zone)