Wednesday, May 24, 2017

MAY 23, 2017
Contact: Alex Ryan (@al3xryan | 513.623.9992 c)
T&F: 12 Bearcats Set for NCAA East Meet in Lexington This Weekend
Road to Eugene, NCAA Finals winds through Kentucky for the Bearcats
Coming a highly-successful American Athletic Conference Championships in which the program collected one team title and 11 event crowns, the University of Cincinnati track and field program will now turns its sights to the national stage as post-season competition gets underway this week for 12 individuals and a pair of relays at the 2017 NCAA East Preliminary Round meet in Lexington, Ky. The meet, one of two preliminary meets this week (the west is Austin, Texas), will be used to determine who advances to the NCAA Finals that will take place June 7-10 in Eugene, Ore. Competition this week will run Thursday through Saturday and will be held at the Kentucky Track & Field Complex on the University of Kentucky campus.
Along with a full recap of each day’s action that will be posted on, the team’s social accounts also will provide periodic updates, including Twitter (@GoBearcatsTFXC), Instagram (GoBearcatsTFXC) and Facebook (Cincinnati Track & Field/Cross Country). will provide live results throughout the competition ( while also offering a live stream of all three days of action in Lexington (
This week’s competition will be different than the conference meet where team points and championships were the goal. When action gets underway in Lexington, the name of the game will be to advance to the next round. Depending upon the event, the Bearcats will look to become one of the 12 advancing athletes/relays to the next round, which is the NCAA Finals in Eugene. Here is how it will work for each event:
• 400m (first round and quarterfinals): the Top 3 from each of the 6 heats, along with the next 6 fastest times, advance to the quarterfinal in Kentucky where the Top 3 from each of the 3 heats, along with the next 3 fastest times, move on to Oregon
• 3,000m steeplechase/4x100m/4x400m (quarterfinals): the Top 3 in each of the 3 heats, plus the next 3 fastest times, move on to the national finals
• Shot Put/Discus/Hammer/Long Jump (first round): each athlete will have 3 attempts with the Top 12 marks advancing directly to Eugene
• High Jump/Pole Vault (first round): athletes will attempt to clear bars with the last 12 in the field advancing to the national finals (all ties are broken)
Last year, at the meet held in Jacksonville, Fla., the Bearcats sent 15 women and seven men to compete in the East meet with six of those individuals (five women and one man) advancing to Eugene. The 22 regional qualifiers marked the most in program history while the six advancements also bettered the previous record. Of those national qualifies, Loretta Blaut (high jump) and Annette Echikunwoke (hammer) for the women and Adrian Valles (pole vault) for the men each earned All-America accolades and are back in the East field this year looking for a return trip to Oregon.
2   Number of American Athletic Conference outdoor team titles UC’s women have won in a row (and overall)
2   Number of AAC records broken at the meet by Bearcats this year (Tudor, shot put; Bloom, decathlon long jump)
2   Number of AAC field performer of the meet awards earned by Bearcats (Echikunwoke & Tudor)
2   Number of events the women won for the first time in program history at the AAC meet (400m, 4x100m)
3   Number of event sweeps by the Bearcats (both women’s relays; both shot puts; both multis)
6   Number of events UC swept this year by winning the indoor and outdoor event in the same year
6   Number of pole vault titles (indoor and outdoor) Valles has won in AAC competitions
7   Number of events won by the UC women, surpassing their previous season record of 2
8   Number of school records reset at the AAC meet
11  Number of titles won by the Bearcats (men and women) at the AAC meet, the second-most in program history
25  Number of points Echikunwoke scored at the AAC, the most in UC women’s history for a single meet
31  UC’s margin of victory in the women’s team standings, the largest margin in the AAC’s four-year history
The USTFCCCA released its weekly computer rankings with the men slipping two spots to 47th and the women dropping one position to 70th. With their ranking, the men have now been in the national Top 50 for five-consecutive weeks, the longest streak in program history since the inception of the rankings in 2008. Prior to the current run, the men held Top 50 rankings four weeks in a row on two occasions: the final four weeks of the 2015 season and the opening four weeks of the 2016 season. The break came with the team placing 51st at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2015.
Heading into the 2016 American Athletic Outdoor Championships, the UC women had never won a conference crown in track and field since the program began in 1996. That came to an end in Orlando as the women captured their first title with 111 points. One year later, UC was back on top for a second time, this time scoring 138 points to win by 31 points, the largest margin of victory in the four-year history of the meet. With the back-to-back victories, UC is still just one of two women’s teams to win the outdoor crown after SMU won the first two titles in the league’s history.
The women picked-up their second title on the strength of winning seven events, which is one-third of all events contested. Those seven titles, which more than tripled the program’s previous single-meet high of two titles won (2007, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016), came via the track with three sprint titles; one jumping event; two throws and the heptathlon. With those seven crowns, the women now have 23 conference titles in individual and relay events all-time. The victorious Bearcats included Bryana Robinson in the 400m dash; the team of Robinson, Kellsa Mbah, Haisha Bisiolu and Tiona Lattimore in the 4x100m relay; Robinson, Bisiolu, Lattimore and Deanna Gesicki in the 4x400m relay; Loretta Blaut in the high jump; Annette Echikunwoke in the shot put and hammer; and Naomi Urbano in the heptathlon.
When adding the four titles won by the men, the program as a whole captured 11 conference titles in Houston, which stands as the second-most gold medals won in a single outdoor meet by the Bearcats after the men won 14 in the 1994 Great Midwest Conference meet. This year’s 11 victories does stand as a school record for most combined titles, surpassing the six captured in 2015 (two by the women, four by the men). The men that captured titles included Macklin Tudor winning both the shot put and discus; Alex Bloom won the decathlon; and Adrian Valles won the pole vault for the third outdoor meet in a row and sixth time overall (including indoor).
Following the meet, in a vote of the conference coaches, the Bearcats received three more trophies to go along with the women’s team title and the 11 event championships. Annette Echikunwoke, who not only won the hammer for the second year in a row and added the shot put crown, but also placed fourth in the discus, was tabbed as the AAC Female Field Performer of the Meet, an honor she has now earned three times after also garnering the award at the 2016 and 2017 AAC indoor meets. Macklin Tudor won the men’s field honor after taking gold in the shot put with a conference-record mark and the discus with a meet-record mark. Finally, the women’s coaching staff was selected as the Coaching Staff of the Year.
Echikunwoke’s weekend saw her grab 10 points with her win in the hammer on Day 1, 10 more points on Day 2 with her shot put victory and then five more points on Day 3 after placing fourth in the discus. Those 25, which outscored two teams in the final standings, helped to a pair of records in UC women’s history. Just the third woman to score 20 or more points in the same outdoor conference meet, Echikunwoke’s 25 points are the most in a single meet, surpassing the 20 points Frida Akerstrom (2015) and Jo Young (2005) recorded in their throwing events. Echikunwoke also is also the first woman to win two individual titles in the same meet in women’s program history. For her career, she now has 75 points total, which is the second-highest total in women’s program history, just one-quarter of one point behind Jasmine Cotten, who tallied 75.25 points (2007, 2009, 2011-12).
With his wins in the shot put and discus - something that happened just once before in UC history (Scott Ference, 1992) - Tudor collected 20 points for the team. That total is tied for the 14th-most points scored in a single meet in UC men’s history and is just the third time in the 2000’s that a Bearcat man has scored 20 or more points in one meet, joining David Payne (23.50) in 2004 and Chris Wineberg (23.25) in 2002.
Five other women also added their names to the program’s single-meet scoring Top 30 chart after their performances at the AAC Championships. Naomi Urbano scored 16 points by winning the heptathlon and placing third in the high jump to tie for sixth all-time; Kellsa Mbah (2nd in long jump, 4th in triple jump and part of the winning 4x100m relay) scored 15.5 points for the #8 position; Bryana Robinson tied for ninth with 15 points (1st in the 400m and part of the winning 4x100m and 4x400m relays); freshman Tiona Lattimore tied for 13th with 13 points (6th in the 200m, 4th in the 400m and ran on both relays); and Loretta Blaut tied for 26th with 10 points after winning the high jump.
The Bearcats were part of a trio of sweeps at the conference meet. The women swept the field in the relays, winning both the 4x100m and 4x400m events to bookend the runnings events on the final day of competition. Individually, the multi-events and the shot put also belonged to the Bearcats with Alex Bloom and Naomi Urbano winning the decathlon and heptathlon, respectively, while Annette Echikunwoke and Macklin Tudor combined to sweep the shot put.
With their victories outdoors, five individuals and one relay swept the season (indoor and outdoor) in their comparable events. For the women, Loretta Blaut (high jump) and Bryana Robinson (400m) won the same events indoor and outdoor while Annette Echikunwoke first won the indoor weight throw before taking the outdoor hammer for her second sweep in as many years. Naomi Urbano also won both multi-event competitions, taking the indoor pentathlon before winning the outdoor heptathlon. The women’s 4x400m relay team of Robinson, Haisha Bisiolu, Tiona Lattimore and Deanna Gesicki also swept both titles this year. For the men, Adrian Valles won the pole vault in both meets, doing so for the third year in a row to remain undefeated in AAC competitions.
Two of the titles won by the women also held a historical significance as each win was the first in program history. Bryana Robinson won the 400m dash, giving UC its first outdoor 400m women’s champion, a title that came after she accomplished the same feat indoors earlier this year in the same event. The 4x100m relay (Robinson, Bisiolu, Lattimore, Mbah) also was victorious for the first time in a conference meet, joining the indoor 4x400m relay as first-time winners.
The 31-point margin of victory for the women was not the only conference marks broken by the Bearcats as two men’s marks are now the best the league has ever recorded. Macklin Tudor not only won the shot put, but his toss of 18.90m (62-00.25) broke the league record of 18.88m that was recorded in March by Cameron Cornelius of Houston. In the decathlon, Alex Bloom posted a mark of 7.33m (24-00.75) in the long jump portion of the event and broke the meet and conference decathlon record that was previously set by Luis Hanssler of Memphis at 7.26m in 2015.
Tiona Lattimore has not only had an impressive year, she a very impressive conference meet, too. The rookie had a hand in two relay wins - including bring UC from second to first on the anchor leg of the 4x100m relay - while also scoring in two individual events and breaking two UC freshman records. She finished fourth in the 400m dash in 54.26 after running the UC freshman record and #5 all-time mark of 54.08 in the preliminaries one day earlier. She followed that up with a sixth-place showing in the 200m dash, running 23.74 in the final to move up to #4 all-time at UC and take down the rookie record. With both relays breaking the school record, Lattimore’s combined indoor and outdoor season has seen her add her name to the UC Top 10 list in every event she has entered, including the indoor 60m (t-#9), 200m (#4), 400m (#7) and 4x400m relay (#1) and the outdoor 100m (#8), 200m (#4), 400m (#5), 4x100m (#1) and 4x400m (#1).
• Meg Westerheide placed fourth in the women’s 1,500m run, posting a time of 4:31.71, which is the #2 mark in UC history by 0.54 seconds. Her finish also is the best for a UC woman in a running event from 800m to 10,000m in the four years UC has been in the American and marked just the second time that group has scored after Hannah Christ was 8th in the 3,000m steeplechase in 2015.
• Staying with the distances, Juliana Madzia was 9th in the 10,000m run, finishing in 37:09.13, which is the eighth-best time in UC history. She entered the meet with a PR of 37:39.13, meaning she ran a 29.99 second PR.
• Naomi Urbano launched the javelin to 38.55m (126-06) in the heptathlon to record the third-best javelin mark in a heptathlon competition in UC history while also posting the #8 mark all-time at UC. She also broke the stadium heptathlon record at the same time.
• Staying in the heptathlon, Angelica Lightfoot hit a mark of 12.23m (40-01.50), which just missed the UC heptathlon record by 0.01m. Her mark was the best of the day and broke the stadium heptathlon record.
• In the men’s 100m dash, Joshuwa Holloman, a member of the UC football team the past two years, ran 10.57 to advance to the final of the short sprint and tie for 10th on the program’s all-time list. That time came in just his second collegiate race after he had not run on the track since graduating as a four-time state champion in Michigan two years prior.
• Michael Vitucci, for the second time this year, took runner-up honors in the 800m run. Outdoors, he ran a personal-best 1:50.38 to finish second overall and land at #8 on the program’s all-time Top 10.
• Freshman Austin Edwards had a big day on the runway, leaping to 7.59m (24-11.00) to not only finish third in the long jump and earn all-conference honors, but also punch his ticket to the NCAA East meet.
Alex Ryan
Director, University of Cincinnati Athletics Communications
Contact for: Women’s Soccer, Cross Country, Track & Field | @al3xmryan | 513.623.9992 c

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