The University of Cincinnati track and field program sent a small contingent to the Notre Dame Invitational Saturday in South Bend, Ind., with Bearcats athletes recording two school records, eight total marks that rank in the program’s all-time Top 10 and won five individual events at the meet held inside the Loftus Sports Center. Among the marks achieved was Adrian Valles’ pole vault clearance of 5.61m (18-04.75), a mark that eclipsed his own school record by 1cm, and sent him into the national lead.


For the second week in a row, Valles cleared a season-best mark and, this time, he added much more to it as his winning clearance of 5.61m (18-04.75) broke his own school record by 1cm. The mark also placed him in the national lead on the NCAA lists. Valles entered the competition with the bar at 5.18m with only one competitor remaining and cleared on his first attempt. He then needed two attempts to climb over 5.38m before clearing 5.52m on his first attempt. After bettering his season best (previously was 5.47m last week), Valles then cleared 5.61m on his third and final attempt. He took a crack at 5.72m, but was unable to clear on his three attempts.


Sam Meece also got into the record act Saturday as he posted another big series of throws in the men’s weight throw to better the UC freshman record that he took down last week. After throwing 18.08m last week in Kentucky to smash the rookie mark and moved into the program’s all-time Top 10, he bettered that mark Saturday with a best of 18.54m (60-10.00) to move up to #4 all-time in program history as only the fourth individual to record a toss of 60 meters or better. Meece, who placed second overall in the event, added a PR in the shot put as well as he hit a toss of 15.82m (5-11.00) to finish fourth in the competition.


Meece was not the only thrower that had an outstanding day as several other men and women hit improved standards. In the men’s weight throw, Meece was joined by two other Bearcats that recorded personal-best marks, including Chris Province, who was fifth overall in 16.26m (53-04.25), and Aaron Deaton, who placed 10th with a best of 15.03m (49-03.75). Deaton also had a PR in the PR as he finished seventh at 15.45m (58-05.25).

Staying in the shot put, Marcus Abraham won the men’s event as he sent the ball out to 16.78m (55-00.75) to not only improve upon his personal best, but also moved up from the #10 to #4 in the program’s all-time Top 10 as he recorded a 2’ 11” improvement. The women’s event also produced a big toss as Leah Heckaman finished as the event runner-up with a heave of 15.69m (51-05.75) to post a PR and move up to #3 all-time in program history.


Four individuals turned in speedy results on the track as well to earn placement in the all-time Top 10 with teammates recording their marks in the same races as both women’s marks came in the mile and both men’s marks in the final of the 60m. For the women, Hannah Markel lowered her PR by nearly 10 seconds and Sam Mikula dropped hers nearly six seconds to post Top 10 marks. Markel won her heat and finished ninth overall as she raced to a time of 5:03.34 to move to #5 on the all-time ledger while Mikula, the heat runner-up to Markel and 10th overall, moved to #7 with her time of 5:05.17. With those times, half of the Top 10 is populated by current Bearcats that hold the #2, #3, #5, #7 and #8 marks in program history.

On the men’s side, both Austin Edwards and Isaiah McCall turned in Top 10 marks as the rookies not only made the final, but finished highly in the race. Edwards, a redshirt freshman, finished fourth overall in 6.88 to equal his personal best and his #7 time in program history while McCall, a true freshman that ran 8.08 in the 60m hurdles last week to rank #5 all-time, raced to a time of 6.89 to finish fifth and move up to #8.


Three more Bearcats won their events on the day, including Irati Mitxelena in the women’s triple jump, Loretta Blaut in the women’s high jump and Jimmy Brooks in the men’s 400m. Mitxelena posted a season-best leap of 12.54m (41-04.75) while Blaut improved her best for the second week in a row as she cleared 1.82m (5-11.50). Brooks, who ran a season-best 6.87 in the prelims of the 60m, but did not run in the final, raced to a time of 47.30 to win the 400m, a time that just missed his PR by 0.02.


Several other Bearcats turned in impressive marks as well. On the men’s side, Aaron Bienenfeld, who ran the #7 time in the 3,000m run last week, took second in the mile run at 4:13.64, which has him just outside the all-time Top 10, while Matt Stump finished fifth in 4:!6.27, a six-second improvement from last week.

For the women, Kellsa Mbah made the final of the 60m and ran a pair season-best times, first running 7.60 in the prelims before finishing fourth overall in the final in 7.59. She also was third in the long jump with a season-best leap of 5.90m (19-04.25). In the same event, Naomi Urbano jumped 5.61m (18-05.00) to post a PR and move to within 8cm of the all-time Top 10.

Staying in the field, Brooke Catherine had another outstanding effort in the pole vault as she cleared 3.97m (13-00.25) to finish second and clear 13’ for the second week in a row. She nearly cleared a new PR at 4.07m, but missed on her three attempts. In the same event, Allie Plybon cleared 3.52m (11-06.50) to finish ninth and post a personal best.


The Bearcats return to the Hoosier State next week as they are set to compete in the Indiana Relays inside the Gladstein Fieldhouse in Bloomington, Ind. The meet, which will take place Friday and Saturday on the Indiana campus, will give several Bearcats their first opportunity to compete in the multi-events, including the women’s pentathlon and the men’s heptathlon, among other events.


2018 Notre Dame Invitational

January 20 • Loftus Sports Center • South Bend, Ind.

Women’s Results

60m Dash


5. Kellsa Mbah – 7.60 –  advance to final


4. Kellsa Mbah – 7.59


60m Hurdles


17. Naomi Urbano – 9.43


400m Dash

6. Deanna Gesicki – 57.22


800m Run

7. Meg Westerheide – 2:17.66


Mile Run

9. Hannah Markel – 5:03.34 – PR & UC #5

11. Sam Mikula – 5:05.17 – PR & UC #7

14. Meg Westerheide – 5:07.96


Long Jump

3. Kellsa Mbah – 5.90m (19-04.25)

7. Naomi Urbano – 5.61m (18-05.00) – PR


Triple Jump

1. Irati Mitxelena – 12.54m (41-01.75)


High Jump

1. Loretta Blaut – 1.82m (5-11.50)


Pole Vault

2. Brooke Catherine – 3.97m (13-00.25)

9. Allie Plybon – 3.52m (11-06.50) – PR


Shot Put

2. Leah Heckaman – 15.69m (51-05.75) – PR & UC #3

14. Alexis Gray – 12.66m (41-06.50)


Weight Throw

9. Alexis Gray – 15.95m (52-04.00)

11. Leah Heckaman – 15.68m (51-05.50)


Men’s Results

60m Dash


2. Jimmy Brooks – 6.87 – advance to final

3. Austin Edwards – 6.93 – advance to final

4. Isaiah McCall – 6.97 – PR – advance to final

10. Mykel Chambers – 7.05


4. Austin Edwards – 6.88 – =PR & UC #7

5. Isaiah McCall – 6.89 – PR & UC #8 (tie)


60m Hurdles


3. Isaiah McCall – 8.29 – advanced to final


3. Isaiah McCall – 8.34


200m Dash

9. Mykel Chambers – 22.34 – PR


400m Dash

1. Jimmy Brooks – 47.30

7. Halen Witcher – 48.92


800m Run

7. Jake Barnes – 1:58.64


Mile Run

2. Aaron Bienenfeld – 4:13.64 – PR

5. Matt Stump – 4:16.27 – PR


3,000m Run

13. Nick Grismer – 8:35.66


Long Jump

3. Austin Edwards – 7.39m (24-03.00)

5. Alex Bloom – 7.02m (23-00.50)


High Jump

5. Cannon Riddle – 1.94m (6-04.25) – PR


Pole Vault

1. Adrian Valles – 5.61m (18-04.75) – PR & UC RECORD


Shot Put

1. Marcus Abraham – 16.78m (55-00.75) – PR & UC #4

4. Sam Meece – 15.82m (51-11.00) – PR

7. Aaron Deaton – 15.45m (58-08.25) – PR


Weight Throw

2. Sam Meece – 18.54m (60-10.00) – PR & UC #4 & UC FRESHMAN #1

5. Chris Province – 16.26m (53-04.25) – PR

6. Marcus Abraham – 16.01m (52-06.50)

10. Aaron Deaton – 15.03m (49-03.75) – PR




Leah Heckaman – Shot Put – 15.69m (51-05.75) – UC #3

Hannah Markel – Mile Run – 5:03.34 – UC #5

Sam Mikula – Mile Run – 5:05.17 – UC #7



Adrian Valles – Pole Vault – 5.61m (18-04.75) – UC RECORD

Sam Meece – Weight Throw – 18.54m (60-10.00) – UC #4 & UC FROSH #1

Marcus Abraham – Shot Put – 16.78m (55-00.75) – UC #4

Austin Edwards – 60m – 6.88 – UC #7

Isaiah McCall – 60m – 6.89 – UC #8 (tie)