Eastern Michigan University’s men’s track and field team took third place in the 2014 Mid-American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Feb. 28-Mar. 1 in Kent, Ohio.
EMU fell short of the title with 110 points to finish behind the University of Akron (140) and Kent State University (132). The Eagles were the defending champions going into the event at Kent State Field House. The Green and White entered the MAC Championship with 20 athletes that rank in the top-10 MAC performances for the 2013-14 season and return 19 athletes that placed in the top-eight at the 2013 MAC Championships.
EMU finished its first day of the 2014 MAC Championships with 37 points in five scored events. This put the Eagles in second place behind the University of Akron (53).
Two athletes from the Green and White competed in four of the grueling seven events that make up the heptathlon. Current EMU record holder, junior Solomon Ijah ended the first day 115 points behind Buffalo’s Mike Morgan with 3,104 points, while junior Levi Selvig amassed 2,725 points. Both Eagles set personal-bests in the 60m dash as Ijah won the event in 7.04 seconds and Selvig took sixth with a 7.29 second finish. Ijah also won the shot put with a throw of 14.49 meters/47 feet 6.50 inches. Ijah and Selvig also competed in the long jump and high jump.
Senior Teron Turner was the first Eagle to put EMU on the map. In his final indoor meet for the Green and White, Turner set a personal-best in the weight throw with a 19.17 meter/62 foor 10.75 inch hurl. This performance is the fourth-farthest throw in EMU history. Turner took third behind Buffalo’s Evan Palmer and Kent State’s Matthias Tayala, who both rank in the top-20 nationally.
Two more events were scored on the field at the MAC Championship event. In the pole vault, senior Max Babits cleared a height of 5.45 meters/17 feet 10.50 inches to clinch the runner up spot behind defending MAC champion Shawn Barber of Kent State. In the long jump, freshman Tyler Brown was the only member of the Green and White to score, leaping for a distance of 6.97 meters/22 feet 10.50 inches.
On the track, the Eagles had success as redshirt junior Warren Witchell and freshman Lahsene Bouchikhi finished second and third, respectively in the 5000m run. Witchell finished in 14:28.64 while Bouchikhi finished with a personal-best 14:29.67 finish. Though EMU did not come away with a MAC champion in the event, the Eagles scored highest in the event with 14 points, followed by Akron (10), Central Michigan (6), and Kent State (1).
The Eagles dropped to the University of Buffalo in the final scored event of the day, the distance medley relay. The team of redshirt junior Daryl Smith, and sophomores Mason Waynes, Scott Bradley and Willy Fink finished in 9:52.53, a mere .16 seconds behind the Bulls.
To start off the second day of the MAC Championships on Mar. 1, Ijah broke his own school record in the heptathlon with 5,377 points for a third-place finish. Selvig also set a personal-best with 5,093 points, which ranks as the fifth-best performance in EMU history.
The duo both saw improvement in the final portion of the event, the 1000m run, as they shaved a combined 10 seconds off their previous marks.
Senior Donald Scott won the triple jump by three feet with a 15.85 meter/52 foot leap to not only beat his own EMU record but also to add his name into the MAC record books. Freshman Javion Lee took eighth in his first MAC meet appearance.
The Eagles saw one more individual victory, as freshman Tyler Brown finished off his impressive first indoor track season with a first-place finish in the 400m dash. Brown ran a personal-best 47.07, cutting over a second off his preliminary time the day before.
His performance was the eighth fastest 400m time in EMU history. Finishing behind Brown were junior Cameron Bolton and sophomore Jason Ervin with 47.96 and 48.15, respectively. Bolton went on to take third in the 200m, with a personal-best of 21.35.
Senior Chris Scott toot sixth in the event, finishing in 21.83.
Bradley was the only Eagle to compete in the 800m, taking sixth with a 1:52.39 mark. The Eagles saw strong performances in the distance events, as Smith and Fink went 3-4 in the mile run, finishing just .21 seconds apart. Bouchikhi took third in the 3000m run with Fink just behind him in fourth. Witchell took seventh in the event.
On the field, three Eagles, senior Aaron Benton and sophomores James O’Shea and Zach Waldron cleared a height of 2 meters/6 feet 6.75 inches in the high jump. In the shot put, both sophomore Travis Harris and freshman Quinn Levering set career-high marks.
Harris saw an improvement of over two feet in his performance, as he threw for a distance of 17.27 meters/56 feet 8.00 inches for a fifth place finish. This throw ranks sixth in EMU all-time throws.
Levering exceeded his previous throws by over a foot when he threw for 16.50 meters/54 feet 1.75 inches.
Going into the 4×400m relay, the Eagles were holding onto a one-point advantage over the University at Buffalo for the third-place finish. Needing to score well, the relay team of Bolton, Brown, sophomore Jeff Elam, and sophomore Mason Waynes won the event in 3:10.69. The time ranks as the seventh-fastest relay time in EMU history, and is the fastest mark since the team of Dean Haqq, Jailu Mayo, Fabian Rollins, and Clement Chukwu with a time of 3:10.08 in 1999.
With several career-best and record-breaking performances from multiple Eagles, and a third place overall MAC Championship finish, the Eastern men’s track and field team has completed its indoor season. The Eagles will be back in action when they begin their outdoor at the Toledo Invite on Mar. 29 in Toledo, Ohio.