Track & Field |
Feb. 28, 2013
It will be the biggest meet of the season for a pair of men's indoor track & field teams. It will also be the last time in a storied coaching career.
The current-day version of the University of Cincinnati vs. Miami University dual will be renewed for the 25th time on Friday. It will also mark the final men's indoor meet for UC head coach Bill Schnier, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Neither UC or MU formally field a men's indoor team but NCAA rules permits the men's outdoor teamsto compete in three meets during the indoor season. The Bearcats first meet was at the University of Kentucky's Rod McCravy Invitational in late January, then competed at Indiana University's Hoosier Hills Invitational three weeks ago. Schnier noted after the second meet that his team had shown marked improvements and looked toward a strong finish in the dual meet, especially with the added weight of it being a long-held rivalry.
"I hope that all Bearcats are peaking now since this is our final indoor meet and the gateway to the outdoor season," said Schnier. "To a great extent this is the conference championships for both UC and Miami so how can you not get excited about that?
"This meet has a long and storied history, much like in many other meetings between UC and MU, as in the football rivalry. When I came to UC in 1980 I knew we needed a rival and saw one in Miami. They were vastly superior to UC at that time in addition to the history preceding 1980. (Miami held a 39-6 advantage in head-to-head meetings at that point).
"Obviously we had work to do. I called up (then MU head coach) Chuck Zody but talked with his assistant, Dan Stimson, instead, inviting them to a dual meet at UC the following year. They accepted but I asked them not to drop us when we got good. They did not drop us nor did we drop them."
The dual meet turned into an intense rivalry between the two and the record heading into Friday stands even with 12 victories for each program.
"Many of those great dual meets came down to the final event, the 4x400-meters relay," recalled Schnier. "Emotions always ran high, bringing out the best in both teams. When I think of great meets at UC, I think first of the UC-Miami dual meets in the Armory Fieldhouse."
With Schnier's retirement upcoming, it seemed fitting that his last edition of the dual would take place at his alma mater, Capital University in Bexley.
"If this meet can't be held in the historic Armory-Fieldhouse, I am glad it will be on my collegiate campus," said Schnier.
For the meet itself, Schnier holds high hopes for his team.
"This appears to be a very good meet in the making," Schnier said. "We have some similarities inasmuch as neither school offers men's indoor track so we are limited to three meets. In looking over the meet entries, Miami has an edge on paper. Our goal is to make the projections meaningless and the reality important.
"We continue to be strongest in the pole vault, long jump, triple jump, 60-meters hurdles, mile and 3000 meters. Miami is traditionally strong in all distance runs and the throwing events.
"We have more of a problem with who is injured and will not be in the meet. We currently have 58 on our roster and only 44 will compete on Friday, so in that respect we are throwing points away. Naturally we hope to get all of them back for the outdoor season. One key missing person will be Terrence Somerville who is ranked in the world but only has outdoor eligibility."
Following the dual meet, the men's team will next open its outdoor season with the Early Bird Relays at UC's Gettler Stadium on March 16.
The UC women's team will send a very limited representation to a last chance meet this weekend ahead of next week's NCAA indoor national championships in Little Rock, Ark. Currently, pole vaulter Mackenzie Fields is eighth in the nation (13' 11.25", Kaitlyn Good is 34th in the pentathlon (3,907 points) and Erika Hurd is 37th in the high jump (5' 10").