The meet gets underway Thursday at 10 a.m. with the hammer throw while the pole vault and javelin will also be contested on day one. The first four events in the heptathlon take place on Thursday, as well, beginning at 1 p.m., while the lone track event of the day is the 10,000m final at 7:45 p.m. Women’s action resumes Friday at 12:15 p.m. with the final three events in the heptathlon, while the first field event is the shot put at 1 p.m. The long jump is also held on day two while the first event on the track is the 1500m prelims at 2 p.m. Friday concludes with the 3000m steeplechase final at 6:40 p.m. Saturday begins at 12:05 p.m. with the discus, while the triple jump and high jump start soon after. The first event on the track is the 4x100m relay at 2:10 p.m. with race finals throughout the final day, while the MAC Championships conclude at 5:40 p.m. with the 4x400m relay, followed by the awards ceremony at 6 p.m.
All 12 MAC teams will be in attendance at the meet, including defending outdoor champion Kent State, which narrowly edged Toledo for last year’s title, 134.33 to 132. Western Michigan (108) was third at the 2012 MAC Outdoor Championships while Miami earned fourth with 82 points. At this year’s MAC Indoor Championships held in Ypsilanti, Mich., the Golden Flashes were again victorious, easily running away with the title, while host Eastern Michigan was second and Western Michigan was third. The RedHawks are looking to capture just the program’s second MAC Championship this weekend, with the only title coming in 1986.
Entering the meet, Miami remained at No. 11 in the latest USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Poll, while Kent State is the highest-ranked MAC team at No. 6. The host Zips are eighth in the poll while Eastern Michigan is No. 13 and Western Michigan is 14th in the region. Buffalo is the only other MAC team ranked regionally, coming in at No. 5 in the Northeast Region Poll.
Tickets to the MAC Championships are $25 for a three-day pass for adults while youth (ages 3-14) are $10 for the weekend. Single-day tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth while students of all MAC schools get in free with a school ID. Parking for the meet is free and spectators are encouraged to park in Lot 9, on the corner of Spicer and East Exchange near Akron’s football stadium.
At last year’s MAC Outdoor Championships, two RedHawks won individual events, led by current senior Layne Baggett (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who is a two-time First-Team All-MAC honoree after winning the 100m hurdles each of the last two years at the meet. Kelley Miller, who graduated, was Miami’s other winner in the 1500m run. The RedHawks also had two Second-Team All-MAC performers last year in redshirt junior Ashley Zaper (Whitehouse, Ohio), who was runner-up in the heptathlon, and redshirt senior Alexandra Roberts (Hilliard, Ohio), who is a four-time runner-up in the shot put between indoors and outdoors. Roberts will not compete at the MAC Outdoor Championships, however, as her outdoor eligibility was exhausted last year. Other All-MAC performers on Miami’s roster include junior Tori Paterra (Elizabeth, Pa.), who was a First-Team All-American last year and won the javelin as a freshman at the MAC Championships, and redshirt senior Diona Graves (Fenton, Mo.), who garnered Second-Team All-MAC in 2011 when she was second in the 100m dash.
Last weekend, the majority of the team rested for the MAC Championships, however, select RedHawks tuned-up for the meet at the Billy Hayes Invitational, hosted by Indiana University on Friday. Baggett earned runner-up in the 100m dash, running it for the first time all season, while matching her personal best with a time of 11.70, which ranks her second in school history and ties for the fourth-fastest time ever at Miami. Redshirt senior Samantha Gable (Greenfield, Ind.) was the lone field athlete to compete, as she took second in the hammer throw with a season-best heave.
Entering the MAC Championships, several RedHawks rank at the top of the league or near the top in their respective event(s). Below is a list of which RedHawks are competing in which events, along with their seed time/mark and where they rank in the MAC (in parentheses).
Diona Graves – 24.03 (4th)
Kathie Wollney – 1:03.30 (t-16th)
Tori Paterra – 50.51m/165-8 (1st)
Ashley Zaper - 4,819 (4th)
In addition to the MAC rankings, several RedHawks are also ranked regionally and even nationally, with the top 48 in the East Region in each event qualifying for the NCAA East Prelims May 23-25. Paterra is the highest-ranked RedHawk in the East Region at No. 7 in the javelin, as she is also 13th nationally in the event. Baggett sits 12th in the East Region in the 100m hurdles and is tied for 22nd nationally. Lamb ranks 30th in the 10K in the region and 53rd nationally, while Graves is 41st in the East Region in the 100m dash. Miami’s 4x400m relay team also ranks 41st in the East Region. Zaper is 30th in the heptathlon regionally while Strickler sits 44th in the shot put.
Live results for the MAC Championships will be available on MURedHawks.com while MAC-sports.com will have live streaming of the league meet. The MAC Championships is the final meet of the year for the whole team, however those RedHawks that qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds will head to Greensboro, N.C. in two weeks.