Kent State Women’s Indoor Track & Field Team Make History as MAC Champions

Junior JoAnne Pittman runs the 60 meter hurdle event during the Kent State Tune Up track and field meet on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. MATT HAFLEY

Richie Mulhall

It was a record-breaking weekend for the Kent State indoor Track and Field team. In an unprecedented weekend, the women’s team scored a record 175 points to take first place at the Mid-American Conference Championships in Ypsilanti, Mich.

For the first time in program history, the women’s indoor track team repeated as MAC champions. The women’s championship is also the program’s fourth MAC title in history.

Final Women’s Team Standings

1. Kent State – 175

2. Eastern Michigan – 94

3. Western Michigan – 73

4. Akron – 71

5. Toledo – 65

6. Buffalo – 51

7. Ohio – 38

8. Miami – 35.5

9. Central Michigan – 25.5

10. Northern Illinois – 16

11. Bowling Green – 12

12. Ball State – 7.

Final Men’s Team Standings

1. Eastern Michigan – 157.5

2. Akron – 142

3. Kent State – 113.5

4. Buffalo – 73

5. Central Michigan – 39

The women dominated the competition and outscored Eastern Michigan, the second place women’s team, by a whopping 81 points.

Flashes head coach Bill Lawson, who was named the MAC Women’s Coach of the Year for the second year in a row, was extremely proud of the way his team competed.

“In my 30-year career at the University of Northern Iowa, at the University of Oregon and then here at Kent State in my eighth season, I feel this is one of my most outstanding teams that I’ve ever had the privilege to coach,” Lawson said. “The kids equal my basic mandate and philosophy of how I run the program. They are students, athletes and citizens.”

Three women who especially shared in the groundbreaking performance were juniors Shanequa Williams, Katie Reiser and Ann Marie Duffus. The three women either broke or tied records in their respective events: the 200-meter dash, 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles.

For the second year in a row, Williams was named Women’s Most Outstanding Track Performer for the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and the 4×400 relay. Williams defended her MAC title in the 200-meter by sprinting a Kent State record 23.89 seconds. Winning the 400-meter dash, though, was Williams’ sweetest victory of the weekend.

“[Winning the 400-meter dash was] really something I wanted to do,” Williams said. “The 400 means everything to me, so winning the 400 was a blessing. The 200 was kinda like the icing on the cake.”

Williams also anchored the 4×400 meter relay team to a first place, 3:44.35 finish in dramatic fashion. Williams and freshman Taylor Farquhar, junior Erica Hutson and sophomore Lynnese Beyan won the event with the fourth-best time in school history.

“We never won the 4×4 since I’ve been here,” Williams said. “That was the best experience I ever experienced in my life because I ran with a great group of girls, and we did what we had to do to get the title.”

Reiser was the other sprinter to have a record-breaking day. She ran the 60-meter dash with a time of 7:46 to break her own school record.

Duffus tied her own school record Saturday in the 60-meter hurdles. She came in second with a time of 8:38.

One other sprinter who helped the team earn a large amount of points was sophomore Roseanne Erickson. Erickson scored 18 points for her team, which ties for the third-most points scored by one individual. Erickson took third place in the 200-meter dash, running a 24.56, and she claimed a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter dash, recording a time of 7.61. She was also runner-up in the long jump, leaping 19’-8.25”.

In the field events, one Flash who stood out was freshman Dior Delophont. She was named Women’s Most Valuable Performer after winning the jumping events. The conference-leader in both the high jump and triple jump ended her successful weekend by clearing 5’-11.25” to win the high jump, and then claimed the triple jump title by more than a foot with a leap of 42’-06.25”.

In the throwing field events, sophomore Jackie Leppelmeier seized the shot put title with a throw of 51’-9.75”, which ranks fifth in Kent State history. Junior Joh’vonnie Mosley and freshman Danniel Thomas placed second and third respectively behind Leppelmeier. Mosley’s toss was 51’-3.50” and Thomas’ throw was 50′-11.50″.

“I was excited that my teammates and I captured the sweep. We went one, two, three,” Leppelmeier said.

Women’s Awards

Team Champion – Kent State University

Most Outstanding Track Performance – Shanequa Williams

Most Valuable Performer – Dior Delophont

Coach of the Year – Bill Lawson

Two other women who scored for the Golden Flashes were seniors Diana Dumitrescu and Domenica Rossi. Dumitrescu finished fifth in the pentathlon and earned 3,593 points and Rossi also finished fifth in the pole vault. Rossi’s 13’-02.50” pole vault throw was the second-best vault in school history.

“It was one of the craziest competitions I’ve ever been in for MAC,” Rossi said. “These girls competed their hearts out. Normally what I finished would have won the meet, but I’m taking fifth place, so it was just very competitive.”

“I felt good,” Bailey said. “It was a little surprising because I just came back about three weeks ago, and we weren’t even sure if I was going to be able to compete this season.”

Other men who competed well this weekend were freshmen Michael King and Wayne Gordon, and senior Michael Heller. King placed third in the shot put with a toss of 57’-7.75” and Gordon ran a 21.70 in the 200-meter dash to claim second place.

Women’s All-MAC First Team

Katie Reiser (60m)

Shanequa Williams (200m, 400m, 4×400)

Taylor Farquhar

Lynnese Beyan

Erica Hutson

Dior Delophont

Jackie Leppelmeier

Women’s All-MAC Second Team

Ann Marie Duffus

Roseanne Erickson

Keri Dantley

Joh’vonnie Mosley

Heller ran his way to two runner-up finishes in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter races. He clocked an 8:25.36 time in the 3,000-meter run and a 14:35.46 in the 5,000-meter run.

“I would have actually liked to have gotten first in one of those, but the kid who won — he’s just a really experienced and talented runner, so I just kinda tip my hat to him,” Heller said. “I just ran the best race I could, so I’m really happy with the result.”

The indoor athletes who are on the brink of being eligible for the NCAA Championships on March 8-9 will compete this Friday in Blacksburg, Va., for the Virginia Tech Qualifier.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].