Updated Sun, Feb 26, 2012 1:30 pm
The Ohio women’s track & field team survived a slow start in Akron to set a new school and meet record in the last event of the first day at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships. The team has 14 points and sits in eighth place with one day of competition remaining, but finished with a flurry on Friday.
The distance medley relay team of Melissa Thompson, Kiley Mathews, Hope McCarty, and Juli Accurso ended the day in style by repeating as MAC champions. Their time of 11:33.39 broke the MAC meet and Ohio record.
“To win last year was such a great experience for me," Accurso said. “To do it again with the same group of girls is something that I am so thankful to be a part of.”
“We were hoping to win it going in, but we needed everybody to do their part,” head coach Clay Calkins said. “Everybody just stepped up and did a great job.”
The only other meet the Bobcats scored points in was the 5,000-meter run with Emily Pifer and Morgan Reichert placing sixth and eighth. Allison Stillwell narrowly missed the top eight with a 10th-place finish.
“MACs is all about team points, so every position matters,” Pifer said. Her time of 17:20.66 was fast enough to grab the first points of the meet for Ohio.
The Bobcats also had athletes come close to scoring in Friday’s field events.
Alexis Geiger qualified for the long jump finals but her jump of 18-3.75/5.58m was less than two inches short of making the top eight.
“Getting beat out by two inches is so frustrating and upsetting,” the junior said. “I know I can perform better than that.”
Ohio’s throwers had a strong showing in the weight throw, with Kristen Mason, Donyelle Brown, and Lauren McCullough sweeping the top three spots in their flight, but it wasn’t enough to make the finals.
“It’s really frustrating; I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to today,” Mason said. The junior’s top throw measured 53-1.75/16.20m. “I didn’t throw as well as I would’ve liked to.”
“We fell short in a lot of events today,” Calkins said. “Just missed place by (three) centimeters in the long jump and that was just a heartbreaker for us.”
Ohio returns to action Saturday with athletes competing in five events, including the mile and 3,000-meter events.
“We’ll just try to do the best job we can as team,” Calkins said about the Saturday events. “Hopefully they can feed off the excitement that happened tonight.”
Action begins for the women with the high jump at 1:00 p.m.