AKRON, Ohio – Winning an impressive five event titles on the track Saturday on the third and final day of the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships, the Miami University women’s track and field team finished in fourth place at the University of Akron’s Lee R. Jackson Track & Field Complex.
The RedHawks totaled 105 points over the three days, including 78 Saturday, easily topping last year’s total of 82 points, despite finishing in the same place as last year. Kent State repeated as MAC champions, totaling 169 points, while the host Zips were second with 119 points. Buffalo took third, just 4.5 points ahead of Miami (109.5). Eastern Michigan (82.5) and Western Michigan (72) were well back of the ‘Hawks in fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 12-team field.
Senior Layne Baggett (Pittsburgh, Pa.) was named the Most Outstanding Track Performer at the meet, the first RedHawk to win the award for the outdoor meet since it was first given in 2006. She won her third straight 100m hurdles MAC title, crossing in a MAC meet record 13.32, which is the third-fastest time in school history, just a hundredth of a second behind her own school record. Baggett is the first person to three-peat in the event since Miami’s own Becca Williams, who shares the school record with Baggett, did so from 1995-97. In addition to the 10 points for the 100m hurdles win, Baggett turned around an hour later and placed fourth in the 100m dash final in 11.89 for another five points.
Redshirt senior Diona Graves (Fenton, Mo.) won the 100m dash title in 11.66, which is the third-fastest time in school history, all owned by Graves, who broke her own school record in Friday’s prelims (11.54). She totaled 20 points by herself at the meet, as she completed the double gold by capturing the 200m dash title as well in a school-record 23.75, again besting her own record from Friday’s prelims (23.99), when she qualified fifth. Graves becomes the first female MAC sprinter to win both the 100m and 200m at the same outdoor championships since Patrice Beasley of Eastern Michigan in 2006. Graves is also the first RedHawk to win the 100m dash since Lashonda Davis in 2005 and just the third Miamian ever, while she is only the second Miamian to claim the 200m title, joining Jackie Watkins in 1986.
Baggett and Graves did not stop at their individual events, however, as the duo also helped Miami sweep the relays for another 20 points. The RedHawks blistered their way to the 4x100m relay title as Baggett, Graves, freshman Kala Allen (East Amherst, N.Y.) and sophomore Charlotte Myers (Bexley, Ohio) took first in a school-record time of 45.29, winning the race by nearly half a second ahead of Buffalo. They topped the previous record of 45.87, set back in 2004, which was the only other year Miami won the 4x100m relay. Senior Katie Scannell (Cortland, Ohio), Graves, Myers and Allen then concluded the meet by teaming up for a win in the 4x400m relay in 3:39.51, another school record, breaking a mark set earlier this season (3:39.82). They cruised to victory by over a second, again ahead of Buffalo, also becoming just the second Miami team to win the relay, joining the 1996 team. The last program to sweep both relays at the MAC Outdoor Championships was Western Michigan in 2009.
Allen, Myers and Scannell did some individual damage of their own in the 400m dash final, combining for 12 points. Allen led the way, crossing third in a personal-best 54.73, which ranks her sixth in school history. Myers took fifth in 54.84, also a personal best, as she is now eighth in school history, while Scannell was seventh in the final in 55.54 as she already ranked ninth in school history after her prelims time Friday (55.16).
Sophomore Anna Lamb (Granville, Ohio), who won the 10,000m title on Thursday, picked up another eight points for her runner-up finish in the 5000m final. She crossed in a personal-best 16:37.27, topping her old mark by 14 seconds, while her time is the eighth-fastest in school history. She remained fourth on Miami’s all-time 5K list, however. Classmate Melissa Girgis (Worthington, Ohio) was 12th out of 20 in the 5K in 17:33.89.
In the 1500m final, freshman Laura Bess (Brownsburg, Ind.) placed seventh for two points, smashing her personal best with a time of 4:29.72, as she moves up to sixth in school history. Senior Monica Fischer (Cincinnati, Ohio) placed 11th in the final in 4:40.04 after qualifying 12th Friday.
In addition to Baggett winning the 100m hurdles, redshirt junior Ashley Zaper (Whitehouse, Ohio) placed eighth in the finals in 14.54 for an extra point. She also placed 13th in the high jump, clearing 1.60m/5-3, while junior Erica Mudd (Cincinnati, Ohio) was Miami’s top finisher in the high jump, claiming 11th with the same height but on her first attempt.
Redshirt senior Samantha Gable (Greenfield, Ind.) concluded her career by finishing 11th in the discus with a heave of 43.14m/141-6 to lead a pair of RedHawks in the event.
With their individual titles, Baggett was named First-Team All-MAC for the third straight year by winning the 100m hurdles while Graves also collected First-Team All-MAC honors for her double gold. She had earned Second-Team All-MAC in 2011 for a runner-up showing in the 100m dash. Lamb also picked up First-Team All-MAC honors for winning the 10K, while Allen, Myers and Scannell garnered First-Team All-MAC nods for their relay wins.
The MAC Championships conclude the team portion of Miami’s schedule, however multiple RedHawks have qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, held in Greensboro, N.C. May 23-25. The official field for the NCAA East Prelims will be announced Thursday, May 16. Check back with MURedHawks.com to see which RedHawks made the field.