EMU Women: Eagles Win 12th MAC Title in Program History, Complete Triple Crown
Provided by EMU
TOLEDO, Ohio (EMUEagles.com) – After a fantastic final day of competition that saw 15 Eagles place within the top-three, the Eastern Michigan University women's track and field team captured its conference-leading 12th Mid-American Conference title in program history Saturday, May 14. The Green and White finished with 152 points to secure the win, while second-place Akron totaled 130 points.
"This was a historic achievement for our program and I'm so proud of all of the athletes who helped us get to this point," explained Head Coach Sue Parks. "We had a successful year in 2014-2015 and that laid the foundation for what we hoped to accomplish this year. Once we won the MAC cross country title, we set the goal of trying to win the triple crown, but we knew how tough it was going to be to actually achieve that goal. The indoor title was a hard fought win and after an up and down outdoor season, we knew that we had our work cut out for us to win the outdoor title. But, the girls came ready to compete to the best of their ability and we had a nearly perfect final day to secure the win. I'm so happy and excited for the athletes, our coaching staff, and everyone at EMU who has helped us along the way. There are so many great coaches and athletes in the MAC and I am incredibly proud that we were able to achieve this amazing feat against great competition."
The Eagles had an extraordinary final day of competition, amassing a whopping total of 119 points to jump from fourth to first by a large margin. With the victory, Eastern becomes the first program since Akron in 2005-06 to win the cross country, indoor, and outdoor championships all within one season. Overall, the team had five event wins, with both the mid-distance and distance squads doing exceptionally well.
Eastern qualified both freshman Jessica Harris (Slidell, La. – Slidell) and senior Aaliyah McKinney (South Bend, Ind. – John Adams) into the 100m dash finals. The pair combined for two medals, as Harris took home the silver while McKinney nabbed the bronze. Both posted personal-best times, with Harris clocking in at 11.67 while McKinney crossed the finish line in 11.71. McKinney also boosted herself into the EMU record books, as she now claims the seventh-fastest mark in EMU history.
The Green and White had a pair of sprinters finish within the top-five of the 200m dash finals, as McKinney claimed the bronze after crossing the finish line in 24.26. Sophomore Jasmine Jones (Greensburg, Pa. – Hempfield Area) finished in fifth, posting a time of 24.38, while Harris clocked in at 24.79 to take eighth. Additionally, the Eagles walked away with a top-three finish in the 400m dash finals, as the lone EMU competitor in the event, Jones, finished in third with a time of 54.83. Jones' mark was also a personal-best by nearly two seconds, and was also the tenth-quickest time in the EMU record books.
The mid-distance group continued to flourish, as the team brought home two more medals in the 800m run finals. Sophomore Rebekah Branham (Circleville, Ohio – Circleville) nabbed the gold for the Eagles after crossing the finish line in 2:10.19, which was a career-best. Also claiming a medal was sophomore Natalie Cizmas (Clinton Twp., Mich. – Chippewa Valley), who finished in third with a time of 2:12.32.
With three competitors qualifying into the 1500m run finals, the Green and White swept the top-two spots in the event, taking home both the gold and the silver. Winning the event was Cizmas, who crossed the finish line in 4:28.38 to edge out junior teammate Alsu Bogdanova (Kazan, Russia – Lyceum #83), who clocked in at 4:29.44. Rounding out the trio was freshman Sydney Meyers (Zionsville, Ind. – Zionsville Community) in seventh with a time of 4:32.44.
EMU had an incredibly clutch performance in the 5000m, with the Green and White sweeping the top-three spots as the meet came down to the final events. Leading the trio, sophomore Jordann McDermitt (Davison, Mich. – Davison) walked away with the gold, crossing the finish line in 16:45.36. Just behind her, senior Sofie Gallein (Gits, Belgium – University of Leuven) finished in second with a time of 16:47.31. Finally, Bogdanova clinched the bronze, clocking in at 16:48.43. With the sweep, the Eagles picked up a huge 24 points.
The Eagles went on to win yet another gold, claiming the 4x100m relay title. The group of freshman Harris, McKinney, senior Morgan Yeadon (Indianapolis, Ind. – Pike), and Jones clocked in at 45.72 to edge out the second-place team from Buffalo. In the 4x400m relay, the group of junior Khadesha James (Irvington, N.J. – Irvington), McKinney, senior Iesha Hardiman (Santa Clara, Calif. – Adrian Wilcox), and Jones finished in sixth, crossing the finish line in 3:48.47.
Moving to the 100m hurdles finals, freshman Ayanna O'Neal (Cincinnati, Ohio – Withrow) was the top Eagle finisher, coming in fifth after clocking in at 14.08. Just behind her, senior Maya Carter (Racine, Wis – Case) finished seventh with a time of 14.31. In the 400m hurdles finals, junior Dayna Hurd (Carson, Calif. – Carson) finished sixth, crossing the finish line in 1:02.57.
In the triple jump, sophomore Dace Dreimane (Ventspils, Latvia - Ventspils Gymnasium No. 1) snatched another medal for Eastern. Dreimane's jump of 12.71 meters/ 41 feet 8.5-inches was good enough to bring home the bronze. Also taking part in the event was junior Kristina Coyne (Pittsburgh, Pa. – Chartiers Valley), who finished with a mark of 11.28 meters/ 37 feet 0.25-inches to place 15th.
The discus throw saw a pair of Eagles finish within the top-15. Freshman Jada Taylor (Neptune, N.J. – Neptune), who has been impressive all year long, was the top EMU finisher, coming in 13th after launching a throw of 41.51 meters/ 136 feet 2.5-inches. Just behind her, junior Megan Pendleton (Lindsey, Ohio – Woodmoore) placed 15th with a mark of 40.34 meters/ 132 feet 4.5-inches.
At the conclusion of the meet, Harris was named Women's Track Freshman of the Year for her outstanding accomplishments throughout the outdoor season. Additionally, Parks was named the Women's Coach of the Year.
The Eagles will be free from action next weekend. The following week however, select individuals will gear up for the NCAA East Regional, taking place May 26-28, in Jacksonville, Fla.
1. Eastern Michigan 152
2. Akron 130
3. Northern Illinois 110.5
4. Kent State 104.5
5. Central Michigan 67
6. Bowling Green 52
7. Toledo 46
8. Miami 45
9. Western Michigan 38
10. Ohio 32
11. Buffalo 27
12. Ball State 14
Most Valuable Performer: Jackie Siefring, Akron
Most Outstanding Track Performer: Kedisha Dallas, NIU
Most Outstanding Field Performer: Arianda Ramos Gandia, Akron
Track Freshman of the Year: Jessica Harris, EMU
Field Freshman of the Year: Abigale Wilson, Akron
Coach of the Year: Sue Parks, EMU
EMU Individual Results (* denotes a personal best)
100m Dash Finals
2. Jessica Harris 11.67*
3. Aaliyah McKinney 11.71*
200m Dash Finals
3. Aaliyah McKinney 24.26
5. Jasmine Jones 24.38
8. Jessica Harris 24.79
400m Dash Finals
3. Jasmine Jones 54.83*
800m Run Finals
1. Rebekah Branham 2:10.19*
3. Natalie Cizmas 2:12.32
1500m Run Finals
1. Natalie Cizmas 4:28.38
2. Alsu Bogdanova 4:29.44
7. Sydney Meyers 4:32.44
1. Jordann McDermitt 16:45.36
2. Sofie Gallein 16:47.31
3. Alsu Bogdanova 16:48.43
1. Harris, McKinney 45.72
6. James, McKinney 3:48.47
100m Hurdles Finals
5. Ayanna O'Neal 14.08
7. Maya Carter 14.31
400m Hurdles Finals
6. Dayna Hurd 1:02.57
Kristina Coyne NH
3. Dace Dreimane 12.71m/ 41-08.50
15. Kristina Coyne 11.28m/ 37-00.25
13. Jada Taylor 41.51m/ 136-02.50
15. Megan Pendleton 40.34m/ 132-04.50