WMU - Gaines and McDaniel Win MAC Titles, Broncos Take Sixth
Provided by WMU
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Western Michigan track and field team wrapped up the 2015 Outdoor Mid-American Conference Championships at Ball State by finishing sixth overall and claiming two individual MAC titles on the final day of competition.
The Broncos finished with 53 points, with Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan and MAC Champions Akron in front of them.
Freshmen Ayiana Gaines and Maria McDaniel each claimed their first career outdoor MAC titles. Gaines backed up her indoor title in the 400-meter dash by smoking the competition and winning the outdoor race. Gaines ran a Ball State track record time of 53.41 seconds, beating second-place finisher Tyler Williams of Kent State by 1.17 seconds. The time also goes down as the fourth-fastest in WMU history.
McDaniel's win in the 5,000-meter run was her first career MAC title overall, after finishing runner up in the 3,000-meter run at the Indoor MAC Championships. McDaniel led the race from the start. A small pack tried to keep up with her, including defending 5k champion Victoria Voronko from Eastern Michigan. The pack held up as much as it could until the final three laps when McDaniel pulled away and finished with a new track-record time of 16:23.93.
"We had the freshman really dialed in this weekend," said head coach Kelly Lycan on the performance of Gaines, McDaniel and javelin runner up Jade Madison. "Ayiana is still just scratching the surface and learning the ins and outs of the 400 and how good she can be."
Gaines, along with Lindsey Hufnagel, Sarita Dotson and Kathryn Pickett went on to finish second in the 4x400-meter relay with a season-best time of 3:40.52.
Pickett and Hufnagel both went on to score in the 100-meter hurdles. Pickett finished with a time of 13.97 seconds to take sixth overall, while Hufnagel finished in eighth with a time of 14.45. Hufnagel and sophomore Keyera Lige scored in the 400-meter hurdles. Lige took seventh with a time of 1:01.24 and Hufnagel right behind her with a time of 1:01.67.
Dotson scored in the 200-meter dash, finishing in eighth with a time of 24.90 seconds. She was also a part of the 4x100-meter relay team with Gaines, Naiomi Dulaney and Artia Gunn that took seventh overall with time of 46.12 seconds to score two points.
Senior Stephanie Negrete capped off her final MAC Championship scoring in the discus throw. She took seventh overall with a distance of 48.26m (158-04), scoring for the third time at an outdoor MAC Championship in her career.
"Sixth place," concluded Lycan. "Our conference is one tough conference and finishing in the top half is a good accomplishment. We had a lot to overcome this year with youth and injuries and I feel like that's a pretty good finish for us."
The season is not over for Western Michigan. Several Broncos will compete at the NCAA East Regional Championships in Jacksonville, Fla., in two weeks. The official list will be released on Tuesday.