CINCINNATI – Battling windy and rainy conditions for most of the day, the University of Cincinnati men’s and women’s track & field teams used several personal-bests and two school-record performances to put both teams in contention heading into the final day of competition on Sunday. The men’s team sits in fifth place with 24 points, while the women’s team is in 11th place with 10 points after two days of action.
UC sophomore Brian Zimmerman continued his dominance in the javelin and scored a valuable 10 points by breaking his own school record throw of 226’ by nearly two feet with a first-place toss of 227’ 10”. Zimmerman became UC’s first individual champion at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships since Antione Drakeford won the 400m in 2008 and his toss of 227’ 10” moved him from 19th up to 16th nationally.
Senior Brandon Fitch also scored a chunk of points for the men’s squad in the high jump with a clearance of 6’ 11-3/4”. Fitch’s mark was a season-best by a foot giving him third-place honors and making him the third UC men’s athlete to earn all-conference accolades.
One of UC’s top events on the women’s side entering the weekend was the pole vault and UC took advantage with eight points. Senior Kayla Dunn placed fourth and Michelle Eby finished sixth with clearances of 12’ 01-1/2” and 11’ 9-3/4”.
Senior Boudine Bouma closed the gap on the field in the final three events of the heptathlon jumping from 10th place after Day 1 into seventh place when all was said and done. Bouma tied for second in the long jump with a seasonal-best leap of 18’ 2-1/4”, before using a throw of 85’ 11” in the javelin and a fourth-place time of 2:22.60 in the 800m to finish in seventh place overall with 4,699 points.
In the preliminaries, several Bearcats put themselves into position to help UC make a run on Sunday. In the women’s 800, sophomores Kathy Klump and Jenna Heaton both penciled their names into Sunday’s final as Klump broke her own school record with a time of 2:09.32, and Heaton placed second in her heat with a PR of 2:10.23. Both Klump and Heaton will compete for the 800m title at 12:25 p.m. on Sunday.
Junior Natasha Burse also advanced to the finals of the women’s 200m with a PR time of 24.00 and she will run in the finals at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Senior Antione Drakeford clocked in at 47.20 to win the preliminaries of the 400m and he will be joined by junior Chase VanCura, who qualified for the 400m finals with the eighth-best time of 48.25, matching a season-best. Drakeford followed his 400m performance by besting his heat and clocking the third-fastest time in the 200m to advance into the 200m final.
Sophomore Terrence Somerville moved on to the 110m hurdles final after completing the straightaway in a fourth-place time of 14.07, one hundredth of a second off of his PR (14.07).
In his final home meet, senior Dayo Igeleke ran his best 100m of the season and moved on to the 100m final after his season-best time of 10.76. Igeleke not only won his heat, but posted the fourth-fastest time of the day.
Sophomore Michael Rutherford cemented himself in the 800m finals on Sunday with a seasonal-best time of 1:50.35, just one-hundredths of a second off his personal best. Rutherford was one of the two automatic qualifiers from the third and final heat and posted the third-best time in the event.
Senior Chase Petzinger ran a seasonal-best time and a PR of 53.22 in the 400 hurdles, but just missed out on the finals, while fellow senior Rick King recorded a PR in 3,000 steeplechase by nine seconds, but missed out on placing by less than a second after clocking in at 9:03.45. Senior Brandon Smith was the other male athlete to PR with a 10th-place score of 6,171 in the decathlon.