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Track and Field: 'Cats focus on strengths for MAC Tournament

Now that the big meet has arrived on the schedule, Ohio is able to put all of its focus on its strengths.

Ohio will compete in the Mid-American Conference championships, which takes place today through Saturday at the Northern Illinois Soccer and Track & Field Complex in Dekalb, Ill.

The Bobcats have not won the conference championship since 1994. Recently, Akron has held a firm grasp on the title, winning four of the past five years.

In the past decade Ohio has finished no higher than fifth place.

Ohio typically ends the first day of competition high in the standings. The day is laden with distance and throwing events, and the next days of competition are filled with the finals of sprints.

Coach Clay Calkins explained why the team scores the bulk of their point total in the first day.

“We’ve keyed in on distance and throws through scholarships and that has made us a more distance and throws oriented team,” Calkins said. “We can’t focus on sprints as much because of a lack of facilities (to train) for sprints, and if you don’t have people in the finals (for sprints) you can’t score.”          

Calkins said that his goal for the meet is to finish in the top half of the conference and that on paper the team would finish somewhere around seventh place, adding that the competition is stiff at the top.

“It’s a three-way race at the top with Eastern Michigan, Miami and Western Michigan,” Calkins said. “Kent (State) is strong as well.”

Calkins added that finishing ahead of Akron would be great because of how they have been in the past, but said that it would be a tall order.

Ohio has released the list of athletes that are going to be competing in the scheduled events.

Brittany Tyree is competing in the high jump and heptathlon, which gives her seven totals events.

Katie Eastman, Hope McCarty and Shareyna Spears are competing in four events for the Bobcats.


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