Bearcats Open First BIG EAST Championships

May 2, 2006

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        The University of Cincinnati track and field teams will open their first-ever BIG EAST Championships on Friday, May 5, at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, Conn.  The three-day event, hosted by the University of Connecticut, will wrap up on Sunday, May 7, crowning the 2006 BIG EAST men's and women's champions.



• UC is in its first season of competition in the BIG EAST Conference in 2006.  The conference features 16 men's and women's track & field teams, constituting the largest league in the nation. 

  The men's team boasts 51 BIG EAST qualifiers, while the women's squad has 22 qualifiers for the BIG EAST Championships.  Chandler Groves (long jump), Bob Kandell (long jump), Brittany Klima (pole vault), Tara Meier (pole vault) and Renee Hein (high jump) have each met NCAA regional qualifying marks in their respective events, while the men's 4x100 relay squad also has posted a regional qualifying mark.

• Seniors Kenny Wade (200 meters), Ashley Wilhelm (long jump, heptathlon), and Shintara Carpenter (triple jump), juniors Renee Hein (javelin) and Tara Meier (pole vault) and sophomore Brittany Klima (pole vault) are current school record holders.

• Head men's coach Bill Schnier is in his 26th season at Cincinnati in such a capacity.  Head women's coach Jim Schnur is in his 22nd year at Cincinnati and his sixth as head coach.



        UC saw two more Bearcats qualify for the BIG EAST Championships on April 29 at the Stan Lyons Invitational in Indianapolis, Ind.  Brandon Wright will head to Storrs, Conn., for the championships after qualifying in the 400 hurdles, finishing in 55.29.  Freshman Caleb Gaus also qualified, posting a 21' 10" long jump.



        Senior Chandler Groves, a regional qualifier in the long jump in 2005, has again met the regional qualifying mark this season.  He won the event in the season-opening Early Bird Relays with a leap of 24' 1" and topped that with a 24' 6-1/4" jump in finishing second at the Raleigh Relays.  Groves bested that mark by leaping 24' 7" to win the All-Ohio Championship on April 8.  He is seven inches shy of his personal best of 25' 2-3/4", set at last season's Conference USA Championships.



        Junior Bob Kandell had a fantastic meet at the All-Ohio Championships on April 7-8.  He qualified for the NCAA Mid-East Regional Championships with a 24' 1-1/2" long jump, finishing second behind teammate Chandler Groves.  He won the 400 meters, eclipsing teammate Antione Drakeford at the finish line, and finished fourth in the 200 meters.  Kandell also ran a leg in the champion 4x100 relay squad and accounted for 26.5 of UC's 169 team points.



        Junior Tara Meier and sophomore Brittany Klima are battling one another for the UC pole vault record.  Klima broke Meier's indoor record this season and Meier returned the favor, topping Klima's outdoor record by 1/4" at the Early Bird Relays.  She has since improved the mark, clearing 12' 5-1/2" to qualify for regional competition.  Klima matched the mark at the Sea Ray Relays.  Together, they hold nine of the top 10 marks in school history in the indoor vault and each of the top 10 marks outdoors.



        Senior Taylor Garvin has been running well of late, capturing the 3,000 meter steeplechase title at the Sea Ray Relays one week after winning the event at the All-Ohio Championships.  Garvin ranks 12th in UC history in the steeple and is currently seventh in the BIG EAST in the event. 



        Six Bearcats have met qualifying marks for the NCAA Mid-East Regional Championships.  Chandler Groves and Bob Kandell each qualified in the long jump, posting leaps of 24' 7" and 24' 1-1/2", respectively.  John Bowie sped to a 10.48 in the 100 meters at the Sea Ray Relays to qualify.  On the women's side, Renee Hein has cleared 5' 10-3/4" in the high jump, while Tara Meier and Brittany Klima have each qualified with a school-record 12' 5-1/2" in the pole vault.  The men's 4x100 relay squad also has posted a regional qualifying mark, running a 40.62 at the Sea Ray Relays.



        The Bearcats will travel to Louisville, Ky., for the Louisville Open on Sat., May 13.  The meet will give UC one last shot to qualify athletes for the NCAA Mid-East Regionals, which will take place on May 26-27.