Track and Field Has High Expectations for BIG EAST Championships
Mackenzie Fields looks to reach new heights and be the 2013 BIG EAST pole vault champion.

May 2, 2013

Piscataway, N.J. – The University of Cincinnati men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams are in Piscataway, N.J. this week for the 2013 BIG EAST Conference Championship, hosted by Rutgers University.

The meet begins Friday, May 3 at 11 a.m. at the Bauer Track & Field Complex with the decathlon and heptathlon. The men’s and women’s hammer throw will also take place Friday.

UC has over 70 qualifying marks on both the men’s and women’s teams for this year’s meet. While the marks are individual, the Bearcats have thrived off the team atmosphere this season.

“Our training this year has been excellent and our spirit has been as good as ever,” said men’s head coach Bill Schnier. “We look forward to the championship season with anticipation and enthusiasm.”

The excellent training and positive spirit have become apparent as the women’s team ranks first in three events while men’s team tops the league charts in a pair of events.

“The men’s track and field team has had a good year thus far with 37 BIG EAST qualifiers, five NCAA First Round qualifiers and a third-place team finish in the All-Ohio,” said Schnier. “Although we are not projected to score well at the BIG EAST Championships, we still have two athletes leading the Conference in their events:  Terrence Somerville (110-meter hurdles) and Josh Dangel (pole vault).  Typical of UC teams, we have another good all-around team with strong athletes in every event.”

Somerville’s top 110-meter hurdles time of 13.48 ranks No. 4 in the nation in 2013. The speedster ran the time at the Texas Relays, a mark that sits as the No. 11 best time in the world this year. Dangel has secured his place in the record books as well. The redshirt junior’s height of 17'6.25" in the pole vault at the 2013 Oliver Nikoloff Invitational set the Gettler Stadium record, breaking the previous record of 17'2.75" set by Kevin Shipper of Notre Dame in 2010.



The men also tout top performers in the field events. While Dangel holds the top mark in the pole vault, both Marquis Brookins and Tariq Sanders stand in the Top-10 in the long jump. Michael Nwankwo is No. 6 in the triple jump.

“We are excited that championship week is here,” said women’s head coach Susan Seaton. “We want to put our best foot forward and have our athletes reach their peak this week. We are looking for strong performances by everyone and want them to achieve their season or personal best, and if we do that we should finish in the top five as a team.”

Fields, who has been named the BIG EAST Women’s Field Athlete of the Week four times this season, holds the Jesse Owens Classic meet record, the Gettler Stadium facility record and UC’s school record for the outdoor pole vault. She recently won the pole vault at the Drake Relays with a height of 13' 9.25". Regarded as one of the top track and field events in the nation, the Drake Relays are hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. First held in 1910, the Relays have been graced by Olympians Bruce Jenner, Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens and Wilma Rudolph.

Along with Fields, sprinter Shanay Portis has had a strong season.

“Shanay and Mackenzie have both had a great season,” Seaton said. “I think they’re ready to go and they’re very excited to compete. This is their last BIG EAST Championship and it’s important for them to go out with a bang.

“We have other people who will be in the mix to have great performances this week,” continued Seaton. “Our hurdlers are ready to go, and senior DanHeisha Harding is ready to have a big meet. We are also looking for sophomore Je’Rica Sanders and freshman Javette Lee to step up in the hurdles as well.”

In the women’s throwing events, several Bearcats look to be in contention for titles. Frida Akerstrom (shot put), Mary Bridges (discus throw), Emelie Larsson (javelin throw) and Jessica Molyet (discus throw) are all ranked in the Top-5 in the BIG EAST.

High jumper Erica Hurd is No. 5 in the BIG EAST and, according to Seaton, “can jump with the best of them.

In the multi-events, both the men and women each have three top 10 competitors. Matt Bova, Nathan Deslandes and Kyle Kubera will compete in the decathlon, while Taylor Rosenhagen, Cameron Gardner and Liz Carr compete in the heptathlon.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have improved as the season progressed. For head coaches Schnier and Seaton, they want their teams to focus on the Three Cs of every competition: Competitiveness, Composure and Confidence.

“If we focus on the Three Cs, we will have a great week,” said Seaton. 

To see UC’s schedule of events for the meet click here. For more information on this year’s BIG EAST Track and Field Championships visit Championship Central.