EMU Men's Track and Field Wins 2014 MAC Outdoor Championships

EMU Men's Track and Field Wins 2014 MAC Outdoor Championships

Provided by EMU

ATHENS, Ohio (EMUEagles.com)—Eastern Michigan University's men's track and field team started off the final day of the 2014 Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in third place, but ended the day in celebration its 22nd MAC Championship title in program history. The Eagles won the meet with 198.5 points over the University of Akron (180.5), Kent State University (157), the University at Buffalo (138), Central Michigan University (70), and Miami University (69).

Throughout the course of the day the Green and White won a total of five events, beginning with Donald Scott (Apopka, Fla.-Apopka)'s victory in the triple jump. The redshirt-junior won by almost a foot with a jump of 15.52 meters/50 feet 11-inches to claim his second gold medal of the meet after taking the long jump yesterday. Joining Scott in the event was Javion Lee (Clinton, Miss.-Clinton), who capped off his rookie season at 13.42 meters/44 feet 0.50-inches for 11th place.

The Eagles notched yet another victory when events began on the track with a near-record time in the 4x100m relay. The team of Cameron Bolton (Missouri City, Texas-Hightower), Jeff Elam (Latrobe, Pa.-Greater Latrobe Senior), Chris Scott (Holt, Mich.-Holt), and Tyler Brown (Findlay, Ohio-Findlay) won in 40.01 seconds, just .03 seconds off the EMU record that the quartet notched earlier in the season at the Drake Relays. The team won by a comfortable margin, finishing .29 seconds over Kent State's lineup.

It seemed that the team would have its third consecutive MAC champion of the meet in the 1500m run, as Grzegorz Kalinowski (Torun, Poland-Nicolaus Copernicus University) led the pack on the final turn of the race, in which the senior had the top seed. In a last-second burst, Akron's Clayton Murphy was able to pull ahead and take the title less than half a second ahead of Kalinowski, who finished runner-up in 4:02.80. Daryl Smith (Windsor, Ontario-Vincent Massey SS) also landed on the podium, taking fifth in 4:04.86.

Action continued on the track with the 110m hurdles, in which Bryce Lindsey (New Middletown, Ohio-Fairfield Senior) finished third with a season-best time of 14.13 seconds. Lindsey just missed out on an all-time top-10 performance, trailing Tino Ngoy by one-hundredth of a second.

The Eagles got back on the top of the podium after Brown ran his second out of four events for the day, winning the 400m in 46.30 seconds. The freshman was hotly pursued throughout the lap by Miles Dunlap of Kent and Brent Gray of Akron, but was able to push through the finish line to claim the second 400m MAC title of his young career after taking home the championship in the indoor season.

Bolton and Scott returned to the track next for the 100m dash, in which Bolton matched his personal record of 10.61 seconds to finish runner-up. Scott earned the fourth spot in the race, coming in at 10.80. After the sprinters earned their medals, Kalinowski made his way to the starting line for the 800m run. The Polish native had set a personal record in yesterday's preliminary heat, but bested himself yet again when he won in 1:48.44, the eighth-best time in program laurels. However, the most exciting finish of the race goes to Scott Bradley (Battle Creek, Mich.-Lakeview), who had a performance eerily similar to yesterday's 800m preliminary round. The sophomore trailed the leaders throughout the first 600 meters of the race, then started moving his way up the ranks until he exultantly crossed the finish line in a PR time of 1:50.10 for second, edging out Miami's Wade Coffin by .23 seconds.

Podium finishes and personal records kept rolling in for the Eagles in the 400m hurdles, in which Elam notched a career-best mark of 52.30 seconds for fourth place. Following the 400H, the trio of Brown, Bolton, and Scott geared up for the 200m dash. Bolton finished runner-up in a career-best 20.81 seconds, just .01 seconds behind defending MAC champion Wayne Gordon of Kent State. Bolton's mark stands as the seventh-fastest in EMU history and paced the third-place performance from Scott, who finished in a personal-best 21.14 seconds. Brown crossed the line at 21.76 for seventh.

During the string of success on the track, two events wrapped up action on the field. In the high jump, James O'Shea (Toledo, Ohio-St. Johns Jesuit) and Aaron Benton (Dryden, Mich.-Almont) earned their spots on the podium. O'Shea took fifth with a jump of 2.05 meters/6 feet 8.75-inches, while Benton jumped 2.00 meters/6 feet 6.75 inches to tie for seventh. Anthony Jones (Sandusky, Ohio-Sandusky) paced the Eagles in the discus throw, going 45.67 meters/149 feet 10-inches for 11th, while Quinn Levering (Caledonia, Ohio-River Valley) had a personal-best throw of 43.45 meters/142 feet 7-inches for 13th and Travis Harris (Walled Lake, Mich.-Walled Lake Central) took 14th at 42.49 meters/139 feet 5-inches.

Going into the last two events, the Eagles had built up a 10-point lead over Akron. When the gun went off for the 5000m, Lahsene Bouchikhi (Antwerp, Belgium), Harry Dixon (Nelson, New Zealand-Nayland College), and Willy Fink (Maumee, Ohio-Maumee) established their spots at the front of the pack early on. The three harriers kept pace with each other throughout the entire race, trailing just Akron's Kyle Cochrun as they crossed the finish line. Fink finished runner-up in 14:34.43, followed by a personal-best 14:35.39 by Bouchikhi and a mark of 14:35.96 for a fourth-place showing from Dixon. With the points scored, the group gave the Green and White a 16-point advantage going into the final event.

Though the Eagles did not need to win their final event in order to claim their championship title, the team of Bolton, Brown, Elam, and Mason Waynes (Kenosha, Wis.-Bradford) sought to finish atop the podium one last time for the 4x400m relay. A tremendous effort by Waynes in the second half of his 400m leg pushed the team into the lead and put Brown in prime position to cap off the race at anchor. Brown was neck-and-neck with Akron's Gray, who competed against the freshman in the 400m dash, and pulled ahead to take the victory for the Eagles in 3:09.79, just .11 seconds ahead of Akron.

Shortly after the rest of the squad rushed in to greet its victorious relay team with cheers and congratulations, the Eagles were crowned the 2014 MAC Champions. In addition to the team victory, Brown was honored as the co-MVP along with Kent State's Matthias Tayala and Head Coach John Goodridge was named the Coach of the Year. Scott took a moment to personally congratulate his team, saying "I just want to let everyone on the Eastern Michigan Eagle team know that I am so very proud of them. Every single one of these guys that came out here today fought their hearts out, and we deserve it."

The Eagles have not seen the end of their competition for the year, as the regional qualifiers will head to Jacksonville, Fla. for the NCAA East Regional, May 29-31.

Individual Honors

Most Valuable Performers: Tyler Brown, EMU; Matthias Tayala, Kent State

Most Outstanding Track Performer: Wayne Gordon, Kent State

Most Outstanding Field Performer: Mike Morgan, Buffalo

Coach of the Year: John Goodridge, EMU

EMU Individual Results (* denotes personal best)

100m Dash

2. Bolton, Cameron 10.61

4. Scott, Chris 10.80

110m Hurdles

3. Lindsey, Bryce 14.13*

200m Dash

2. Bolton, Cameron 20.82*

3. Scott, Chris 21.14*

7. Brown, Tyler 21.76

400m Dash

1. Brown, Tyler 46.30

400m Hurdles

4. Elam, Jeff 52.30*

800m Run

1. Kalinowski, Grzegorz 1:48.44*

2. Bradley, Scott 1:50.10*

1500m Run

2. Kalinowski, Grzegorz 4:02.80

5. Smith, Daryl 4:04.86

5000m Run

2. Fink, Willy 14:34.43

3. Bouchikhi, Lahsene 14:35.39*

4. Dixon, Harry 14:35.96

4x100m Relay

1. Bolton, Elam, Scott, Brown 40.01

4x400m Relay

1. Elam, Bolton,, Waynes, Brown 3:09.79

High Jump

5. O'Shea, James J2.05m/6-08.75

t-7. Benton, Aaron 2.00m/6-06.75

12. Waldron, Zach 1.90m/6-02.75

Triple Jump

1. Scott, Donald 15.52m/50-11.00

11. Lee, Javion 13.42m/44-00.50

Discus Throw

11. Jones, Anthony 45.67m/149-10

13. Levering, Quinn 43.45m/142-07*

14. Harris, Travis 42.49m/139-05