With the opportunities ahead of the conference meet dwindling, the University of Cincinnati track and field program will send a majority of its athletes to Louisville this weekend as the Bearcats will compete in the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invitational inside Cardinal Park. The meet will see all field events contested Friday with just the running events being contested Saturday. Two individual men also will be competing at the 124th Penn Relays Thursday night in long-distance races as the team prepares for championship season in two weeks.
// CLOSING IN ON HOSTING AAC CHAMPIONSHIPS
With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Bearcats are not only preparing for the American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships, but they also are preparing to host the event in Cincinnati when the championships come to town May 11-13. The three-day meet will be contested at Gettler Stadium on campus with the hammer and javelin portions of the meet being held at Coy Field. For more information on the meet, including a complete schedule of events, visit the AAC Championship page at TheAmerican.org (bit.ly/CinAACotf18).
// IN THE MEET – LOUISVILLE
Along with host Louisville, the Bearcats will see competitors from the following schools participating: Bellarmine, Bowling Green (W), Central Michigan, DePaul, Eastern Kentucky, Illinois State, Indiana, IUPUI (W), Loyola-Chicago, Middle Tennessee State, Milwaukee, Moorhead State (W), Northern Kentucky, St. Louis, Southern Illinois, Tennessee Tech and Western Kentucky.
// FOLLOW ALONG
Live results for the Louisville meet will be made available at GoCards.com (www.sidearmstats.com/
// BEING SOCIAL
GoBearcats.com is your one-stop destination for all things UC Athletics. Socially, the team can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with all using the handle GoBearcatsTFXC. As always, fans are encouraged to join in the conversation using the hashtag #Bearcats.
// QUICK STARTS
• 18 members of the program will earn their degrees Saturday at UC’s Spring Commencement
• 6 women’s marks and 1 men’s mark at Auburn last week earned placement on the program’s all-time Top 10 lists with six of those marks coming in mid-distance & distance events
• As of April 25, 8 women and 4 men hold marks that would qualify them to the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet in Tampa later this year
• Blaut (HJ) and Catherine (PV) currently lead the AAC with their marks in the vertical events
// BEARCATS GRADUATE
This weekend, 18 members of the track & field and cross country program will earn their degrees from the University of Cincinnati in commencement ceremonies being held inside Nippert Stadium Saturday. The list of graduates boasts 11 women, including Alexis Anton, Aliya Barnes, Loretta Blaut, Madison Dunlap, Annette Echikunwoke, Deanna Gesicki, Alexis Gray, Kellsa Mbah, Juliana Puopolo, Tessa Ward and Meg Westerheide, and seven men, including Jimmy Brooks, Spencer Clark, Seamus Collins, Ryan Greene, Jaashir Morris, Ben Wollenslegel and Mike Wood. Of all the graduates, Ward is graduating from UC for the second time in as many years as she will earn her Masters of Business this weekend.
// GOING THE DISTANCE
At the War Eagle Invitational, seven all-time Top 10 marks were turned in with six of those coming from the distance squad. Alexis Anton ran the #3 800m and #7 1,500m times while Sammy Hentz added the #4 800m time. Hannah Markel and Sam Mikula raced to the #7 and #9 times, respectively, in the women’s 5,000m run while Aaron Bienenfeld ran the #2 time in the men’s 5,000m.
// SPRINTING AHEAD
The distance runners were not the only Bearcats to post an all-time Top 10 mark in Auburn as Haisha Bisiolu lowered her PR in the 200m dash for the second week in a row, this time running 23.60 to record the #5 time in UC history. Bisiolu opened her 200m racing one week prior in Tennessee where she ran 23.77 to lower her PR by 0.03 seconds before racing last week to a PR of 0.17 seconds. She also ran the open 400m and turned in a season-best time of 54.66. Bisiolu was not the only Bearcat that had an impressive 200m time at Auburn as Austin Edwards turned in a solid mark in his even debut for the men. For the first time in his career, Edwards ran the 200m dash and turned in an impressive time as the team’s top long jumper added to his impressive numbers, running 21.39 in his half lap debut, a time that is just 0.12 seconds off the program’s all-time Top 10 list. Edwards, who ran 10.44 in the 100m dash one week prior at Tennessee for the #3 time in UC history, also took part in the long jump and was second overall on the day with a best of 7.37m (24-02.25).
// HOT HALF
The women’s 800m run saw a trio of Bearcats race the half-mile event with all three posting personal-best times, including Anton and Hentz, who ran 2:10.37 and 2:10.44, respectively, to earn placements on the program’s all-time Top 10, while Madison Dunlap lowered her best time by over five seconds (5.32 seconds), running 2:17.73. Anton, one day after running the #7 time in program history in the 1,500m run (4:38.06), came back and ran her second PR in as many days, this time lowering her best by 0.50 seconds to move up to #3. She was followed closely by Hentz, who recorded a PR for the second week in a row, this time shaving 0.90 seconds from her PR to move all the way up to #4. Collectively, the duo of Anton and Hentz ran the two fastest time at UC since 2012 (six years) when teammates Kathy Klump and Jenna Heaton posted the #1 and #2 times, respectively. Klump took the record in 2:03.35 while Heaton raced to a time of 2:09.34.
// GERMAN PRECISION
In his first 5,000m race on the outdoor track for the Bearcats, German transfer Aaron Bienenfeld made a huge statement as he raced to a time of 14:12.84 to win the invitational section at Auburn. Not only did he win the race, he posted the #2 time in UC history with only All-American Eric Finan running faster with a time of 13:44.91 in 2011. In fact, Bienenfeld and Finan are the only two Bearcats that have bettered the previous school record of All-American Ron Stapleton who ran 14:23.28 in 1972. With his time, Bienenfeld currently holds the fastest time in the American Athletic Conference (based on marks listed ahead of tonight’s races), bettering the time of 14:20.65 run by Tulsa’s Adam Roderique in March.
// FAST FIVES FOR M&M
Hannah Markel and Sam Mikula raced together in the invitational section of the 5,000m run at Auburn and both collected fast times with Markel running 17:23.15 and Mikula 17:27.12 as the duo placed fifth and seventh overall, respectively. Markel ran 17:40.44 earlier at the Tennessee Relays before lowering her PR by 17.29 seconds at Auburn and move onto the program’s all-time Top 10 at #7 while Mikula completed her first collegiate 5,000m race to post the #9 time in program history. Combined, the duo added just the second and third marks to the event’s Top 10 list since 2011 with Juliana Madzia running 17:15.93 last year for the #6 time in Bearcats history.
// TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADERS
With the AAC meet just two weeks away, the Bearcats will look to improve their marks as they prepare for the conference meet. As it stands now, the women own 21 marks and the men 18 that rank in the Top 8 of the conference, which are the scoring positions in the meet. Of those marks, both Loretta Blaut (high jump) and Brooke Catherine (pole vault) continue to lead their respective events as championship season draws near.
// BUSY SCHEDULES?
As it stands now, two women’s sprinters have put up impressive marks this year with Tiona Lattimore and Haisha Bisiolu posting big marks in 2018. Lattimore is currently ranked #2 in the 400m (53.93), #3 in the 200m (23.54) and #6 in the 100m (11.52) while Bisiolu stands #5 in the 200m (23.60) and #6 in the 400m (54.66). The duo also is part of both relays that are ranked in the Top 6, including the #3 4x400m and the #6 4x100m.
// IF IT ENDED TODAY
If the season had ended and teams were preparing to compete at the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet, eight women and four men would be on their way to Tampa for the meet, including Tiona Lattimore, who would have qualified for the 100m, 200m and 400m events. To reach the meet, individuals have to finish the season with a mark that ranks them in the Top 48 of their respective region (east or west) with the Top 12 at the preliminary round meet advancing to the NCAA Finals in Eugene, Ore. As it stands, those Bearcats that would qualify include Blaut (#3 high jump), Catherine (#9 pole vault), Irati Mitxelena (#22 triple jump), Ashley Williams (#31 shot put), Kellsa Mbah (#41 long jump), Leah Heckaman (#41 shot put), Alexis Gray (#45 discus) and Lattimore (#42 400, #44 200m and #47 100m) for the women. On the men’s side, the four qualifiers would include Austin Edwards (#25 long jump), Adrian Valles (#27 pole vault), Marcus Abraham (#38 shot put) and Alex Bloom (#42 high jump).
// ONE TEAM HONORS
The office of Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) handed out several ONE Team honors this week at the mid-week baseball game between the Bearcats and visiting rival Xavier (UC won, 10-7), with two men earning awards. Alex Bloom was named the recipient of the Jimmy Nippert Award as the ‘male student-athlete who has demonstrated academic achievement and outstanding contributions in their sport and community’. Also earning recognition was Adrian Valles, the male recipient of the Nancy Hamant Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Vanessa Gilles of women’s soccer was the female recipient). The Hamant honor goes to ‘one graduating male and one female student-athlete who has excelled in the classroom and has the highest cumulative GPA among all graduating student-athletes’.
The Cincinnati USA Women’s Sports Association announced its annual award winners with two members of the program being honored this year as Loretta Blaut was selected as the College Sportswoman of the Year for Track & Field and Head Coach Susan Seaton was named the College Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Blaut is now eligible for the 2018 College Sportswoman of the Year award (all sport winners are eligible for the overall award), which will be announced Monday, April 16, at the annual banquet. Blaut’s honor marks the third year in a row a Bearcats track & field athlete has been honored with Annette Echikunwoke winning last year and Erika Hurd winning in 2016.
// UC HOSTING AAC OUTDOORS IN 2018
This season, the 2018 American Athletic Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be hosted by the Bearcats at Gettler Stadium and Coy Field. The three-day meet will take place May 11-13 on the UC campus and will mark the first AAC track & field meet the Bearcats have played host and the second AAC meet UC has hosted after holding the 2016 AAC Cross Country Championships at Voice of America MetroPark in West Chester. The last time the Bearcats played host to a conference meet came in 2010 when the BIG EAST meet was held at Gettler Stadium.
// UP NEXT
The final regular season meet of the 2018 outdoor season awaits the Bearcats next weekend in Lexington, Ky., as the team will take part in the Kentucky Relays on Saturday, May 5.