MAC Championships Final Upate

OXFORD, Ohio (May 15) - For one team it marked an end of an era, for another a new chapter.

The conclusion of the Mid-American Conference Track & Field Championships Saturday brought to a close 90 years of outdoor team competition for the WMU men. For the record, the Brown & Gold finished fifth out of nine teams ? and took one last victory lap around the George L. Rider Track upon the invitation of team champion Kent State, and Ball State, which is also dropping its program this year.

"To me, this is the greatest MAC Championship of all the sports," said coach Mike Turk. "What you saw out there were our guys battling to the very end. I think it shows the character of this team and what they're made of. All I know is they will be successful in whatever they chose to do down the road."

Kent State compiled 156 points to win the team title, finishing 11 points ahead of runner-up Eastern Michigan. Central Michigan finished third (118), followed by Miami (102), Western Michigan (91), Buffalo (66), Ball State (66), Akron (62) and Ohio (11).

WMU recorded major points Saturday behind second-place efforts from Jason Evelyn in the triple jump (50'-6.75"/15.41m), Clark Wilson in the discus (165'-10"/50.54m) and Dustin Anderson in the pole vault (16'-4.75"/5.00m). Junior Darius Johnson turned in a strong day as well, placing third in the 100 meter dash (10.72) and the 200 meter dash (21.74). Kris Seats also took third in the 800 meter run (1:49.91).

A promising Bronco women's squad finished seventh out of 13 teams, as Central Michigan won its first-ever outdoor title. The Chippewas amassed 112 points to edge out host Miami (107.5). Akron took third (99.50), ahead of Eastern Michigan (97.5), Kent State (94), Ball State (89.5), Western Michigan (58), Buffalo (46), Bowling Green (40), Toledo (32), Ohio (17.5), Northern Illinois (17.5) and Marshall (6).

Kelly Lycan squad finished on a strong note, winning the last track event ? the 4x400 meter relay ? in a time of 3:40.52. It was the only MAC event captured by either the women or men over the weekend. The winning quartet consisted of Shayna Sangster, Janaule Bennett, Sheriese Lucas and Krisy Mahome.

Other highlights for the women Saturday included Kristi Ford's third place finish in the high jump (5'-4.25"/1.63 meters) and Victoria Bassett's regional-qualifying time of 2:09.95 in the 800 meter run, where she placed sixth. Bennett claimed third in the 400 (55.02), while Mahome saw her year-long hold of the quarter title (having won outdoors last season and indoors this year) end with a fifth-place showing (55.17).

"We're a young team with a future that looks great," said Lycan, who had four freshmen score at the meet. "It was nice to see the 4x400 accomplish what it was capable of doing."

While the MAC Championships traditionally closes the track and field season, several Broncos have advanced to the NCAA Regional, to be held May 28-29 at Louisiana State.

NOTES: Regional qualifiers for the men include: Kris Seats (800), Chris Stine (steeplechase), Jason Evelyn (triple jump), Dustin Anderson (pole vault) and Clark Wilson (shot put/discus) ... women qualifiers are: Krisy Mahome (400), Victoria Bassett (800), Janaule Bennett (800), Chelsea Humphrey (100m hurdles), Kristi Ford (hammer) and the 4x400 relay.

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