AKRON, Ohio – A pair of RedHawks captured the top two spots in the long jump Friday to lead the Miami University men’s track and field team on a big second day of the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships, as the ‘Hawks moved up to third with one day to go. The three-day league meet is hosted by the University of Akron at Lee R. Jackson Track & Field Complex. Halfway through the track prelims Friday, a thunderstorm halted competition for a little over an hour, while the remainder of the meet was run in a light rain.
Miami, which sat in fourth place after day one, now has 48 points, after collecting 36 on Friday, half of which came from the 1-2 finish in the long jump. Host Akron vaulted into first place with 73 points, while Kent State is just two points ahead of the RedHawks with 50 points. Eastern Michigan is fourth with 39 points, followed by Buffalo (32) and Central Michigan (31).
Junior Sam Spallinger (Pandora, Ohio) shattered his personal best to win the long jump, leaping 7.43m/24-4.5, which he recorded in the finals on his fifth attempt. He improved on his previous best by five and a half inches while he now ties for fourth in school history. Spallinger is the first RedHawk to win the MAC long jump since 2001 (Nick Somerville, the school record holder), as Akron had won it each of the last six years. He is also only the second Miamian to win the event in the last 30 years. His mark should qualify him for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds in two weeks, as well. Senior John Cantwell (Holland, Pa.) was runner-up with his jump of 7.40m/24-3.5, which is the second-best of his career. He recorded it on his second attempt of the day.
The RedHawks picked up seven points in the 3000m steeplechase final, led by redshirt senior Brett Wagner (Toledo, Ohio), who placed fourth in a personal-best 9:20.96 for five points. Sophomore Ryan Moncrieff (Hawthorn Woods, Ill.) claimed seventh in 9:31.50, another personal best, for an extra two points.
Another seven points was tallied in the shot put, as junior Rob Stein (Villa Park, Ill.) captured fourth with a heave of 16.20m/53-1.75. After barely making the finals, Stein unleashed his fourth-place throw on his fifth attempt of the day. Freshman Paul Golen (Elmhurst, Ill.) improved throughout the competition, recording a heave of 15.40m/50-6.25 on his last attempt to earn seventh and grab two of the seven points.
Sophomore Sam Chester (Medina, Ohio) finished fifth in the decathlon with a personal-best score of 6,725, which moves him up to ninth in school history as he improved by 62 points despite competing in his first decathlon of the year. He made a charge on day two after sitting in eighth through the first five events on day one. Chester won the 110m hurdles portion of the decathlon in a then personal-best 14.45 to earn 917 points, his most in any of the 10 events, though he improved his time later in prelims for the 110m hurdles. He also had a personal-best throw of 35.69m/117-1 in the discus, and a PR of 3.95m/12-11.5 in the pole vault portion of the decathlon. Chester just missed his personal best in the final event of the decathlon, the 1500m run, clocking 4:50.77 for 614 points.
In the track prelims, Miami had all three ‘Hawks qualify for the 800m final, led by senior Jack Spilman (Chagrin Falls, Ohio), who came from behind to win his heat in 1:52.75 and automatically qualify second. Juniors Kevin Brown (Lewis Center, Ohio) and Wade Coffin (Willoughby, Ohio) ran in the faster first heat, clocking a season-best 1:51.76 and 1:52.25, respectively, to place fifth and seventh in the prelims, despite faster times than Spilman.
Both RedHawks entered qualified for the 110m hurdles final as, in addition to the decathlon, Chester placed fifth in the prelims in a personal-best 14.28, which ranks him sixth in school history. Classmate JaShawn Combs (Dayton, Ohio), the defending champion in the event, was seventh in the prelims in 14.35, also a personal best, as he is 10th all-time at Miami.
Junior Jahquil Hargrove (Norristown, Pa.) earned a spot in two finals Saturday. He won his heat and was second overall in the prelims of the 400m dash, which he won last year, in 47.73. Hargrove also qualified for the 200m dash final, clocking a season-best 21.59 to take seventh in the prelims. Classmate Robert Balzano (Poland, Ohio) also made it to the 400m final, grabbing the eighth and final qualifying spot, clocking 48.33 in prelims. Freshman Adam Bodrick (Columbus, Ohio) posted a personal-best 48.92 in the 400m prelims, but placed 11th.
In the 400m hurdles, sophomore Skyler Coburn (La Porte, Ind.) just missed the final, clocking 54.15 for 10th in the prelims.
The MAC Championships conclude Saturday, beginning at noon with the high jump, while three other field events (pole vault, discus, triple jump) are also contested on the final day. The first track final is the 4x100m relay at 2 p.m. with the rest of the finals taking place throughout the day and wrapping up with the 4x400m relay at 5:30 p.m. The awards ceremony then follows at 6 p.m. Live results and a live stream of the MAC Championships are available on MURedHawks.com and MAC-Sports.com.