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Mya Hodge competes in the 100m hurdles at Ohio Track and Field's Cherry Blossom Invitational on April 7. (FILE)

Track & Field: Ohio scores 29 points at the MAC Championships, finishes in last

Ohio concluded three days of Mid-American Conference Championship action in Buffalo on Saturday with 29 team points. Seven athletes scored points for Ohio. 

Although Ohio had its best MAC Championship showing in two years and more than doubled its point total from last year’s outdoor championships, it still finished at the bottom of the team standings in 12th. Akron won the women’s title with 136.5 total points. 

Field Events

The Ohio throwers accounted for 20 of their team’s 29 total points over the course of three days of competition. To put the Ohio throwers’ performance into perspective, if there were a team race based off of point totals from only the four throwing events contested over the weekend, Ohio would’ve finished tied for fourth. 

Ohio came out with momentum on Thursday, accompanied by back-to-back third-place finishes in events from throwing aces Gaza Odunaiya and Emma Ryan.

Odunaiya placed third in the hammer throw with her throw of 55.23 meters (181.3 feet). Abby Moore made her MAC Championship debut, finishing in 16th with her toss of 46.47 meters (152.5 feet). Senior Cassidy Cleland completed her career by finishing in 14th with her 47.24-meter (154.9 foot) toss.

The Bobcat javelin throwers didn’t have their best day, however, but they still managed to rack up seven points in their event.

A week after throwing 48.04 meters (157.7 feet) at the Ohio Open, Ryan could only muster together a throw of 43.66 meters (143.3 feet) on Thursday. Tajah Haley and Sophie Yantko, the other two Bobcats in the javelin, couldn’t best their top marks from the Ohio Open, either. Ryan and Haley did, however, finish strong, placing in third and eighth. Haley recorded a toss of 40.31 meters (132.3 feet). Kent State’s Vanessa Vodan won the event with her launch of 48.84 meters (160.3 feet). 

Due in large part to its high finishes in the throws, Ohio was in a three-way tie for second after the first day of the meet with 16 points. 

On Friday, Jordan Porter earned a spot on the podium with a fifth-place finish in the shot put. Her best throw went for 15.02 meters (49.3 feet). Moore barely missed the podium, finishing in ninth. She jotted a new personal-record throw of 13.95 meters (45.8 feet). 

Ryan returned to the field on Saturday with a sixth-place performance in the discus. With her toss of 47.18 meters (154.8 feet), the senior NCAA qualifier became Ohio’s high scorer of the meet with nine points. Odunaiya struggled and only threw 41.18 meters (135.1 feet). She finished back in 14th. 

Track Events

Melissa Koziol and Josie Woosley began the weekend on the track for Ohio in the 1,500 meters. Koziol ran a 4:50.94 to finish in 18th while Woosley ran a 4:54.01 to finish in 20th.

Veteran distance runners Alyssa Atkinson and Ellen Isaac closed out Thursday’s running action for Ohiwith two podium finishes. Atkinson ran a time of 35:32.74 to place seventh while Isaac clocked in a career-best time of 35:44.28 to place eighth. Tiffany Hill, the third Bobcat competing in the event, also ran a personal record to finish in 20th. 

Mya Hodge’s track career as a Bobcat came to an end in the preliminary rounds on Friday after the 100-meter hurdles. She finished in 14th with a time of 14.62 seconds. 

Ohio’s Marissa Handel ran a PR of 56.44 seconds in the 400-meter preliminaries. The sophomore’s personal best, however, wasn’t good enough for a finals qualification. She finished in 12th overall. 

In the 800-meter preliminaries, Ohio’s Emily Deering qualified for the final with a 2:11.73. Freshman Melissa Barrett finished a couple spots out of qualifying in 11th despite running a PR of 2:14.32. 

In the 800-meter final on Saturday, Deering ran the second-best time of her career. She finished in an impressive 2:10.86 to place in fifth and secure four points for the Bobcats. The winning time was 2:07.21. 

Atkinson and Isaac finished right alongside one another at 12th and 13th in the 5,000-meter race. 

Ohio didn’t have the relay performance at the MAC Championships it had hoped for. 

The Ohio foursome of Hodge, Thelma Agyekum, Anna Michael, and Abby Summers finished in ninth in the 4x100-meter relay. Despite running a season-best time by over two seconds, the Ohio 4x400-meter relay quartet of Handel, Barrett, Deering and Kaitlyn Logan finished in last with their time of 3:53.07 to cap the meet. The next best team had a time of 3:48.24. 

Combined Events

Haley, a sophomore, represented Ohio in the heptathlon over the weekend. She scored a total of 4,333 points to place in seventh overall. Her first-place finish and score of 711 earned points in the javelin portion of the seven-event competition propelled her to yet another podium finish. 

Next Up

Ohio hopes it can send a couple athletes to the NCAA East Region preliminaries in Florida on May 24-26. Ohio’s two certain qualifiers as of right now are Porter and Ryan. Porter is currently ranked 38th on the qualifying list in the shot put while Ryan is ranked 21st in the javelin. 


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