Alex Ryan, University of Cincinnati Athletics Communications

The 2016 American Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships came to a close Monday afternoon inside the CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala., with the University of Cincinnati women’s program placing second overall and the men fourth. The women’s placement ties a program best after earning runner-up honors at the Big EAST meet in 2012 while the men picked-up a fourth-place showing for the second year in a row. Houston (men) and UConn (women) claimed the team titles.

The women added two more champions to their two-day haul with Rebecka Abrahamsson completing a sweep of the horizontal jumps by taking the triple jump crown while Erika Hurd captured the indoor high jump for the third year in a row and for the third American meet in a row. Both women won their titles with meet-record performances.


Several Top 3 performances were recorded over the two days, equating to nine different women and 10 men collecting All-Conference accolades for their respective performances. In individual events, five women earned six total honors while six men earned six honors, too. Also, each gender had one relay team earn all-conference accolades, including the women’s 4x400m and the men’s distance medley relay. On top of that, Annette Echikunwoke, the 2016 weight throw champion, was selected by a vote of the conference coaches as the 2016 American Athletic Conference Indoor Women’s Field Performer of the Championships.


– The 2017 indoor meet will be the first that someone other than current senior Hurd wins the high jump crown as the Bearcats record-holder cleared 1.84m (6-00.50) to not only set a meet record, but also win the title for the third year in a row. The defending outdoor champion, Hurd was joined by Loretta Blaut (1.81m/5-11.25) to give the Bearcats a 1-2 sweep in the event and 18 valuable team points.

– For the second day in a row, Abrahamsson entered a horizontal jumping event and, for the second day in a row, found her way to the top step of the podium as she captured the triple jump with a meet record leap 13.05m (42-09.75). The Bearcats’ lone double champion this weekend, Abrahamsson accounted for 20 teams points while adding two all-conference honors to her ledger, too.
– Kenya Woodall went out with a bang in her senior indoor meet as she was a part of two school records and helped the team to 16.5 points in three events. Individually, she tied for fifth in the 200m dash in a school-record 23.76, becoming the first UC woman to run a sub-24 in the event, and also took fourth in the 400m dahs with a time of 53.90. In the last event of the day, she anchored the 4x400m relay team (Javette Lee, Bryana Robinson and Jada Grant) to a time of 3:41.33 to break the school record by nearly two seconds while the team finished second overall.

– A pair of women made the finals of the 60m hurdles and grabbed nine total team points as Aliya Barnes and Lee finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Barnes clocked in at 8.51 to score five team points while Lee posted a time of 8.53 to score four points.

– Leah Heckaman had a great day in the shot put as she hit a personal-best mark of 15.18m (49-09.75) on her sixth and final throw to move up to fourth overall to add five points to the team’s total. Heckaman, who’s mark is now the No. 3 all-time at UC, was joined in the scoring by Echikunwoke, who placed eighth overall in the event.

– Two women raced in a pair of distance events with Alexis Anton running in the final of the mile run and Vanessa Robinson in the 3,000m run. Anton, the 12th qualifier to the final, placed 10th overall in 5:04.39, while Robinson clocked in at 10:28.62 to place 34th.


– One of the best stories of the meet for the Bearcats was the performance of Ben Wollenslegel, who earned all-conference honors after finishing third overall in the heptathlon with a score of 4,857 points, the sixth-best all-time in UC history. Oh, and this all came in his first multi-event competition ever. Wollenslegel posted five total PR’s on the day, all of which rank among the Top 10 all-time in UC heptathlon history, including the No. 3 60m hurdles time (8.90), No. 5 Day 2 total (2,101 points), No. 7 pole vault clearance (4.05m) and the No. 8 1,000m time (2:56.23). Also in the heptathlon, Alex Bloom placed eighth overall, scoring 4,197 points despite no points in the pole vault.

– Macklin Tudor posted a big throw in the shot put as his heave of 18.19m (59-08.25) placed him second overall in the event. His PR, which also betters his own school record, earned eight points for the team.

– Staying in the field, Sergio Acera Villanueva, the 2016 long jump champion, posted a mark of 14.33m (47-00.25) in his first triple jump competition to place seventh overall and record the No. 9 mark in school history. Tariq Sanders also scored in the event, placing eighth with a leap of 14.07m (46-02.00) to add one team point to UC’s total.

– Bloom lead the way in the high jump for the Bearcats as he took fifth overall with a clearance of 2.03m (6-08.00) while Mike Wood cleared 1.98m (6-06.00) to place in a tie for sixth. Jordan Hardiman also cleared the same height as Wood, but finished 10th based on misses.

– Back on the track, Nathan Alexander continued his solid competition as he scored in a pair of sprint events one day after taking third in the pole vault one day prior. First up, Alexander competed in the finals of the 400m dash, clocking a time of 48.79 to finish eighth overall and tally one team point. Then, at the end of the meet, he anchored the 4x400m relay team to a season-best time of 3:16.73 to finish in fifth place. He joined Jaashir Morris, Ryan Greene and Jarrod Hart to turn in a time that ranks among the Top 20 all-time in program history.

– Rookie Michael Vitucci, although not in the placement he would have liked, finished the mile in 4:32.61 to take 12th overall, despite a “flat tire”. In the opening two steps of the race, Vitucci’s heel was inadvertently stepped on by an opponent, forcing his shoe off his foot and cutting spiking his heel.

– Mykel Chambers was the final point scorer for the men as he placed eighth in the 60m dash. Chambers, in his freshman campaign, finished the short sprint in 6.92 to grab one more team point.

– The final distance event of the day was the 3,000m run where four men placed in the Top 20 of the event, including Seamus Collins (13th), Ian Silver (14th), Dan Huben (15th) and Greg Sanders (18th).

Those Bearcats that qualify for the NCAA Championships will return to the CrossPlex for the national meet on March 11-12. The remainder of the team will begin gearing up for the start of the outdoor season, which begins March 25-26 with a pair of meets on the ledger, including the Miami (Fla.) Twilight and the Raleigh (N.C.) Relays.


Women’s Results – at American Championships (2/29/16) – Day 2

60m Hurdles – FINAL

  1. Aliya Barnes – 8.51 – 5 points
  2. Javette Lee – 8.53 – 4 points

200m Dash – FINAL

t5.    Kenya Woodall – 23.76 – PR & UC Record3.5 points

400m Dash – FINAL

  1. Kenya Woodall – 53.90 – 5 points
  2. Bryana Robinson – 55.83 – 1 point

Mile Run – FINAL

  1. Alexis Anton – 5:04.39

3,000m Run – FINAL

  1. Vanessa Robinson – 10:28.62

4x400m Relay – FINAL

  1. Cincinnati – 3:41.33 – UC Record8 points

Lee (56.5), B. Robinson (55.8), Grant (55.5), Woodall (53.3)

Triple Jump – FINAL

  1. Rebecka Abrahamsson – 13.05m (42-09.75) – ChampionMeet Record10 points

High Vault – FINAL

  1. Erika Hurd – 1.84m (6-00.50) – ChampionMeet Record10 points
  2. Loretta Blaut – 1.81m (5-11.25) – 8 points
  3. Ashleigh Pickens – 1.61m (5-03.25)

t13.    Maggie Loeffler – 1.61m (5-03.25)

Shot Put – FINAL

  1. Leah Heckaman – 15.18m (49-09.75) – PR & UC #35 points
  2. Annette Echikunwoke – 14.87m (48-09.50) – 1 point


Men’s Results – at American Championships (2/29/16) – Day 2

60m Dash – FINAL

  1. Mykel Chambers – 6.92 – 1 point

400m Dash – Prelims

  1. Nathan Alexander – 48.79 – 1 point

Mile Run – Prelims

  1. Michael Vitucci – 4:32.61

3,000m Run – FINAL

  1. Seamus Collins – 8:39.43
  2. Ian Silver – 8:41.79
  3. Dan Huben – 8:42.74
  4. Greg Sanders – 8:45.49

4x400m Relay – FINAL

  1. Cincinnati – 3:16.73 – 4 points

Morris (49.9), R. Greene (49.7), Hart (49.2), Alexander (47.7)

High Jump – FINAL

  1. Alex Bloom – 2.03m (6-08.00) – 4 points

t6.    Mike Wood – 1.98m (6-06.00) – 2 points

  1. Jordan Hardiman – 1.98m (6-06.00)
  2. Ben Wollenslegel – 1.93m (6-04.00)

Triple Jump – FINAL

  1. Sergi Acera Villanueva – 14.33m (47-00.25) – PR & UC #9 – 2 points
  2. Tariq Sanders – 14.07m (46-02.00) – 1 point
  3. Chris Greene – 13.71m (44-11.75)

Shot Put – FINAL

  1. 2.    Macklin Tudor – 18.19m (59-08.25) – PR & UC Record8 points
  2. John Zedella – 14.99m (49-02.25)


  1. Ben Wollenslegel – 4,857 points – PR & UC #66 team points

          Day 1 (7.42 / 6.38m / 11.12m / 1.99m // 2,756p)

Day 2 Total – 2,101 points – PR & UC Hep #5

          Event 5: 60m Hurdles – 8.90 (768 points) – PR & UC Hep #3

          Event 6: Pole Vault – 4.05m (13-03.50)(631 points) – PR & UC Hep #7

          Event 7: 1,000m Run – 2:56.23 (702 points) – PR & UC Hep #8

  1. Alex Bloom – 4,197 points – 1 team point

          Day 1 (7.37 / 6.76m / 11.66m / 2.05m // 2,948p)

Day 2 Total – 1,249 points

          Event 5: 60m Hurdles – 9.06 (733 points)

          Event 6: Pole Vault – no height (0 points)

          Event 7: 1,000m Run – 3:15.97 (516 points)


Team Standings

Women’s Team Standings – FINAL

  1. UConn – 110
  2. Cincinnati – 98.5
  3. UCF – 91.5
  4. SMU – 69
  5. East Carolina – 57
  6. Memphis – 55
  7. Tulane – 54
  8. Temple – 44
  9. Houston – 35
  10. Tulsa – 32
  11. South Florida – 17

Men’s Team Standings – FINAL

  1. Houston – 152
  2. Tulsa – 147
  3. UConn – 94
  4. Cincinnati – 77
  5. Memphis – 71
  6. USF – 62
  7. ECU – 58