T&F: Battle for State Bragging Rights Comes to UC this Weekend

April 12, 2017

Final Meet Schedule (pdf) | Bearcats Meet Notes (pdf) | Timing Site

The University of Cincinnati track and field team is set to welcome teams to Gettler Stadium this weekend as the Bearcats are set to play host to the 2017 All-Ohio Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday and Saturday. The meet, which will featured competitors from 14 different schools from around the state, will be a scored team meet that will crown individual and relay champions, along with team champions at the end of the meet.

Along with a full recap of each day's action that will be posted on GoBearcats.com, the team's social accounts also will provide periodic updates, including Twitter (@GoBearcatsTFXC), Instagram (GoBearcatsTFXC) and Facebook (Cincinnati Track & Field/Cross Country). Live.FinishTiming.com will have live result updates throughout the meet. Fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #AllOhioTF throughout the weekend as well.

Each night of the meet, a large event will be taking place inside Nippert Stadium starting at 7 p.m., which will mean an increase in traffic throughout the athletic campus. The football team will hold its annual Spring Football game on Friday night. Saturday night, FC Cincinnati will stage its home-opening match with over 20,000 fans expected. Fans heading to the track meet should know that parking will be $5 all day each day, but increases to $10 starting a 3 p.m. Saturday. While money will be accepted at the entrances of the parking garages much of the time, that will change at 3 p.m. Saturday when only pre-pain parking passes are accepted (via online purchase). Traffic patterns for fans departing the facility after the meet Saturday night will be changed as well with all cars parked in Calhoun Garage (surrounding the track) will be directed to exit upstairs and out onto Calhoun Avenue. Fans are asked to plan accordingly and allow for extra travel time once the meet is over.

• Tickets are not needed for Bearcats track and field home meets
• Concession stands will be open throughout the day Friday and Saturday and will once again offer 12 oz. beers for $5 all day on both days
• The hammer and javelin competitions are not held at Gettler Stadium, but, instead, are held at Coy Field, located just off campus at the end of Coy Street (very limited parking available)
• Results will be posted under the press box, which is even with the midfield stripe painted on the infield

The teams with at least one entrant in the meet this weekend include: Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Cedarville, Central State, Cleveland State, Dayton, Findlay, Miami, Ohio, Ohio State, Rio Grande, Shawnee State, Ursuline, Wright State and Xavier. All teams will compete toward team titles as well as individual and relay titles in the scored meet.

Since the first outdoor iteration of the meet in 1987, the Bearcats have taken part in the All-Ohio meet on various occasions while also serving as the meet's host, most recently in 2014, which also was the last time UC competed in the outdoor meet. Throughout its time competing, UC has captured four team titles as the men won crowns in 2004 and 2010 while the women went back-to-back as they won in both 2011 and 2012. Combined, the Bearcats have won 117 event titles, including 71 by the men and 46 from the women. All told, UC has been victorious 97 times in individual events (63 men/34 women) while adding 20 relay crowns (12 women/8 men).

UC has won a title in all but a small grouping of events at the All-Ohio outdoor meet. The lone men's event UC has not captured is the shot put while the women will be looking for their first titles in the following events this weekend: 1,500m run, 10,000m run, triple jump, shot put, discus and hammer.

  2 - Number of UC records Macklin Tudor broke over the weekend at the Tiger Track Classic
  4 - Times UC has won the All-Ohio team title: Men in 2004 & 2010 / Women in 2011 & 2012
  5 - Number of school records broken over the weekend, including two each from Tudor and Bloom
  7 - Number of marks that currently lead the American Athletic Conference (3 women/4 men)
  8 - Number of seniors that will be honored on Senior Day this Saturday at noon at Gettler Stadium
12 - Number of PRs (of 13 possible) that Alex Bloom recorded in the decathlon at the Bulldog Decathlon
15 - Number of marks held by Bearcats that rank in the Top 48 of the NCAA East Region (10 women, five men)
35 - Number of marks held by Bearcats that rank in the Top 8 of the American (17 women/18 men)
46 - All-Ohio titles (34 individual/12 relay) the UC women have won since the start of the meet in 1987
71 - All-Ohio titles (63 individual/8 relay) the UC men have captured since the start of the meet in 1987

This weekend, starting at noon, eight seniors will be honored when the program celebrates Senior Day. Two women and six men will be recognized on the track for their contributions to the program in the time they have been here. Those that will be honored include women's team members Nicole Breeden and Juliana Madzia; and men's team members Nathan Alexander, Anthony Car, Jordan Hardiman, Jarrod Hart, Tevin-Lloyd Thompson and Macklin Tudor.

For the second week in a row, Macklin Tudor was selected as this week's American Athletic Conference Male Field Athlete of the Week following another impressive weekend of competition, this time at the Tiger Track Classic in Auburn, Ala. Tudor's weekend saw him compete in a pair of events with him winning the discus and taking second in the shot put, both with marks that broke his own school records and placed him the Top 15 nationally in both. In the discus, Tudor sent the platter out to 61.74m (202-07), which pushed his school record up by 1' 1" and also increased his lead over the rest of the conference to 12'. Tudor is now ranked second nationally in the discus with that toss. In the shot put, Tudor moved up to second in the American and 15th nationally as he hit 18.77m (61-07.00), an improvement of 2' 2.5" over his previous record.

// #decathALEX
In what has seemingly become a habit of his, Alex Bloom went off at the Bulldog Decathlon event in Athens, Ga., April 8-9, as the junior posted personal-best marks in 9-of-10 decathlon events and added three more PRs in the scoring breakdowns for all-time bests in 12-of-13 possibilities, including a final total of 7,329 points, the third-most in UC history. Among the record book entries, Bloom also broke the school's decathlon 100m dash time (11.11) and broke the first day scoring total (3,979 points) while recording six other Top 10 marks, most notably his high jump clearance (more below) of 2.14m (7-00.25), the school's decathlon record and tied for the fourth-best clearance in UC history overall. On the first day, Bloom recorded PRs in all five events with this marks in the 100m dash, long jump, shot put and high jump, ranking among the all-time Top 10 in the decathlon at UC. Day Two saw four more PRs and two more marks added to the decathlon Top 10, including the 110m hurdles and pole vault. All told, Bloom's overall score currently leads the American Athletic Conference and ranks him 12th nationally, placing him in a solid position to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time in his career (decathlon does not compete at the regional meet, rather the Top 24 in the nation advance automatically to the outdoor finals in Eugene, Ore.).

Do you want know how well Alex Bloom has done this year in the high jump? Think of your standard door frame... from the floor to the top of the frame, the height is 6' 8". Think of Nysier Brooks, a member of the UC basketball, who stands 6' 11". So far this year, both indoors and out, Bloom has posted high jump clearances over both. This past weekend in Georgia, Bloom cleared 2.14m, which measures to 7' 0.25". That is 4.25" over a standard door frame and 1.25" over Brooks. When looking at the record books, Bloom is now just the seventh man in UC history to clear 7' indoors and outdoors and joins Brandon Fitch as the only Bearcats to clear 2.14m in competition both indoors and outdoors in a career. The indoor record holder at 2.16m (7-01.00), Bloom is now tied for fourth on the outdoor chart as well as the school record holder in the high jump portion of both the indoor heptathlon and the outdoor decathlon.

Over the weekend, a trio of Bearcats combined to break five school records. On the women's side, Annette Echikunwoke broke the hammer mark for the sixth time in her career and for the first time this season as she launched the ball to 62.23m (204-02), bettering her mark of 62.01m that she threw at the NCAA Championships last season. Her record toss this year also marks the second time she broke the school standard at the Tiger Track Classic after her throw 60.37m (198-01) was recorded last year in Auburn. Echikunwoke joined Macklin Tudor (discus, shot put) and Alex Bloom (decathlon day one score, decathlon high jump) as school record breakers from this past weekend.

Over the weekend, the Bearcats men recorded five marks that stood as some of the best in the nation as each ranked among the Top 10 recorded marks for events contested April 3-9. Adrian Valles cleared 5.50m (18-00.25), which ranked as a tie for the fourth-best nationally while Bloom's 7,320 points recorded in the decathlon was the sixth-highest total of the weekend and the 12th-best in the nation this year. See the next note of the remaining three marks.

When looking at the list of the Top 10 marks from the past weekend, Macklin Tudor has his name on the list three times as he put together one of the top series of throws in Auburn. Not only did Tudor throw 61.74m (202-04) to break the school record and win the discus, that mark stood as the best nationally last week. Tudor's series also included a throw of 60.73m (199-03), which ranked third-best nationally, and 58.75m (192-09), the 10th-best in the nation.

While there were improvements in many events, three marks stood out for the women. On the track, Juliana Madzia ran 17:15.93 in the 5,000m run to shave 25.81 seconds off her previous best and placed her fifth on the school's all-time Top 10. In the throws, Ashley Williams threw 15.16m (49-09.00) to move up to fifth all-time in UC history as she improved by 1' 0.75". The biggest improvement came from Nicole Breeden in the hammer as she sent the ball out to 52.92m (173-07) to give herself the seventh-best toss in school history and an improvement of 4' 6" in the event.

The men also had several big improvements over previous career-best marks with Dan Huben and Alex Bloom joining Tudor on the list. For Huben, the distance standout ran 14:59.08 in the 5,000m run to break the 15 minute barrier and lower his all-time outdoor best by 47.22 seconds. Bloom, along with exploits in the high jump, posted three more big improvements. His decathlon score of 7,329 points is up 706 points from last year's PR, a mark he had already broke before the start of the 10th and final event of the meet. Bloom also improved in the shot put by 3'. But, perhaps the biggest improvement came in the javelin as Bloom launched the spear to 49.74m (163-02), which stands as an improvement of nearly 27' (26' 11").

Loretta Blaut remained undefeated in the high jump over the weekend as she cleared 1.80m (5-10.75) to win the Tiger Track Classic title, her third win in as many meets this season. Blaut's clearance is a season-best mark and was just outside the Top 10 clearances of the week from around the nation (1.81m was 10th-best mark).

Several individuals also added strong PRs once again. For the women, Grace Winckowski continues to take time off her runs as she posted personal-best times in both the 100m hurdles and 400m hurdles. Her time of 1:04.22 lowers her 400m hurdles time by another full one second and has her on the cusp of the program's Top 10 as the #10 time is currently 1:03.82. She also ran 15.23 in the shorter race, bettering her previous best of 16.00 that she ran last week. On the men's side, Austin Edwards finished second in the long jump as he posted a collegiate personal-best mark of 7.28m (23-10.75). Fellow rookie Chris Province bettered his discus mark once again, this time throwing the platter out to 38.64m (126-09).

Following last weekend's action, seven different Bearcats now sit atop the American Athletic Conference with the top mark in their respective events so far this year. Four men and three women lead the way for the Bearcats. On the men's side, UC's top mark holders include Spencer Clark in the 10,000m run; Adrian Valles in the pole vault; Macklin Tudor in the discus; and Alex Bloom in the decathlon. On the women's side, the conference leaders include Bryana Robinson in the 400m dash; Loretta Blaut in the high jump; and Annette Echikunwoke in the hammer.

Four men, seven individual women and two women's relays find their marks to be among the Top 47 in the NCAA East Region. If the regular season ended today, those Bearcats would have earned a place in the regional meet, which serves as the opening rounds of competition for the NCAA Championships. The men's list includes Macklin Tudor (2nd in discus & 8th in shot put); Adrian Valles (4th in pole vault); Alex Bloom (11th in high jump); and freshman Austin Edwards (48th in long jump). On the women's side, along with both relays in the qualification zone, the individual list includes: Loretta Blaut (10th in high jump); Annette Echikunwoke (10th in hammer & 25th in shot put);

For the second year in a row, a member of the program has been named the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Women's Sports Association Collegiate Track & Field Athlete of the Year with Annette Echikunwoke being named this year's recipient after Erika Hurd was named last year. Echikunwoke, who is now up for the overall collegiate athlete of the year, is joined by Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Susan Seaton as award winners this year as Seaton was named the Collegiate Coach of the Year.

Much like she did throughout the entire indoor season, Annette Echikunwoke not only put together a consistent competition, but also was able to find her way to the top step of the podium as she won the 2017 NCAA title in the women's weight throw on March 11, capping a season in which she won all but one meet she competed. The two-time American Athletic Conference indoor champion in the same event, Echikunwoke opened the meet with a toss of 21.87m (71-09.00), which essentially won her the national title as no one was able to surpass that mark. After two fouls to close out the preliminary round, Echikunwoke was still in the lead and hit a toss of 21.81m (71-06.75), which also would have won the meet as the sixth and final round of throws saw the second and third-place finishers each pop marks of 21.74m (71-04.00), the closest anyone would get to the Bearcat junior. With the title in hand, Echikunwoke entered the ring for her final throw and upped her lead to 22.42m (73-06.75), her seventh throw of 22 meters or better this year, to put an exclamation point on her victory. She will make her outdoor season debut this weekend at home, competing in the shot put, discus and hammer (her signature event) at the Oliver Nikoloff Open.

With the title, Echikunwoke became the first member of the program to capture an NCAA title and just the fifth UC student-athlete to do so in any individual competition in Bearcats history. Echikunwoke's title is the first for UC since Josh Schneider won the men's 50 freestyle title at the 2012 NCAA Swimming Championships and the just the second crown won by a woman after Becky Ruehl captured the platform event at the 1996 NCAA Diving Championships. Echikunwoke's finish also surpasses the previous best placements in program history that were held by Al Lanier, who was the highest national finisher for UC track and field with runner-up showings in the long jump at the 1972 and 1973 indoor and outdoor meets (four-time runner-up nationally). She also surpassed Kathy Klump, who's fourth-place showing in the 800m run at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships was previously the best national finish for a UC woman in program history.

One meet into the outdoor season and we already have two broken records, both of which came in women's relay events at the adidas Raleigh Relays. On Friday, March 24, the team of Madison Dunlap, Grace O'Donnell, Vanessa Robinson and Meg Westerheide combined to run 19:12.58 in the 4x1,500m relay to break the school record by 3.44 seconds, a mark that was set last year in the same meet. One day later, the team of Haisha Bisiolu, Tiona Lattimore, Juliana Puopolo and Aliya Barnes ran 1:38.15 to break the mark in the 4x200m relay that had stood since 2000. It marks just the third time in UC history that a team has run under 1:39 in the event. With those two records, the Bearcats have combined to break a school record 20 times this track and field season after breaking 18 indoors.

Alexis Gray had a very solid opening weekend as she competed in three throwing events and recorded personal bests in all three. She opened the day with a mark of 12.82m (42-00.75) in the shot put before she posted a pair of bests in the discus. After fouling in her first two attempts, she hit a mark of 47.85m, which pushed her up to No. 5 all-time after entering the meet at No. 6. She followed that up in the finals with an improved mark of 48.67m (159-08) to take over the No. 4 position and currently sit second in the conference. One day later, she improved her all-time best in the hammer, throwing the ball out to 44.12m (144-09), a nearly four-foot improvement.

For the second year in a row, Adrian Valles closed out his indoor season with a fifth-place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships, giving him a Top 6 placement for the third year in a row as well. The Spaniard cleared 5.45m (17-10.50) for his fourth overall Top 6 showing after placing fifth outdoors at the end of the 2015 season. Valles posted first-attempt clearances at 5.25m and 5.45m before missing his first attempt at 5.55m. With a pair of individuals already over that bar and a finish of no lower than fifth place guaranteed, Valles passed his final two attempts and took at 5.60m. Valles was close to clearing that height, but the bar did not stay up, relegating the junior to fifth place overall.

With their finishes at the NCAA Indoor Championships, both Annette Echikunwoke and Adrian Valles were tabbed as USTFCCCA All-America First Team selections. For Valles, the honor is the fourth of his career and the third in a row during the indoor season while Echikunwoke earned her second-consecutive indoor honor and third overall after placing eighth in the outdoor hammer last season after finish eighth in the indoor weight throw.

// IN THE TOP 25
Thanks to the 10 team points earned with her national title finish, Echikunwoke helped the program to its best finish ever as the women's team tied for 21st overall at the NCAA Indoor Championships. With a previous best of 34th place in 2012, the women also earned just their second Top 35 finish and their first Top 25 finish ever. The women's placement ranks as the second-best all-time when including the men's indoor and outdoor placements behind only the tie for 16th place the men achieved at the 1973 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

During the indoor season, Adrian Valles was named the 2016-17 American Athletic Conference Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the 2016-17 academic year, earning the top academic honor in the league among male student-athletes. Valles was Cincinnati's nominee and received a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship before adding $2,000 to that total after being chosen by the American Athletic Conference Academic Affairs Committee as the scholar-athlete of the year among each of the 11 institution's honorees. Also, Valles, an industrial management major, was recently selected as the Student-Athlete of the Month for March by UC Student-Athlete Support Services (S.A.S.S.).

Earlier this season, distance runner Juliana Madzia was tabbed by the league as the female recipient of the Commissioner's Postgraduate Leadership Award. Given annually to one male and one female student-athlete from an American Athletic Conference-sponsored sport, each recipient was selected base on demonstrating leadership through excellence in academic credentials, athletic performance and depth of commitment to service within the institution/community while also having been admitted into a degree-granting or professional program for the next academic year. Madzia currently maintains a 4.00 GPA and holds several academic honors, including being named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist, induction into Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honors societies and working as a student researcher at UC, all while earning all-conference honors in cross country. For her efforts and selection for the award, Madzia, who plans to pursue a postgraduate track in medicine, will receive $5,000 in scholarships to help pursue her postgraduate goals.

The Bearcats return to the road next weekend as they head north to Columbus for the 2017 Jesse Owens Track Classic on Friday and Saturday, April 21-22. The meet will be held at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium with several field events and distance races being contested Friday and all other events being held Saturday.