Jan. 6, 2012
Columbus, Ohio - Ohio Track and Field opened the 2012 indoor season on Friday evening in Columbus at the Buckeye Classic. Bobcat distance runners Juli Accurso and Emily Pifer each earned first-place finishes against a field that included the reigning Big Ten champion Buckeyes.
"This was a solid opener for us going against the athletes in this particular field," Head Coach Clay Calkins said. "We know we need to improve in a bunch of areas, but it is only the first meet of the season and for that, I think this was a good starting point."
Showing no rust from the winter break, Accurso picked up from where she left off during the cross country season. The sophomore won the mile for Ohio with a time of 5:00.28. In total, five Bobcats placed in the top 10 with Melissa Thompson (3rd), Ashley Waddington (6th), Hope McCarty (7th) and Emily Skidmore (8th) finishing below the 5:20 mark.
Pifer paced four Ohio runners in the 3000m with a time of 10:16.35. The sophomore led a quartet that featured freshman Morgan Reichert (3rd), and seniors Abbie Selhorst (5th) and Hannah Charbel (7th).
"We expected good things from Juli and Emily and they have done the work during the winter break," Calkins said. "They came back in stellar shape and have helped elevate the entire group of runners. It shows what hard work can do."
In field events, two freshmen shined in their first collegiate action. Chanda Cuckler placed second in the high jump and Donyelle Brown placed second in the shot put. Cuckler nudged out Brittany Tyree, who finished fourth in the high jump while Brown was joined by Kristen Mason (4th) and newcomer Janiece Rose (8th) in the shot.
Cuckler and Tyree finished 11th and 12th respectively for Ohio in the 60m hurdles and the freshman was one of four Bobcats to finish in the top 20 of the 200m. She was joined by Olivia Vitou, Kaylah Howard and Katie Eastman.
"It was exciting to see Chonda and Donyelle do well and burst on the scene with nice results in their first collegiate meet," Calkins added. "Coach Pero and I feel they will be impact performers for us in the years to come. Another highlight was how well Kristen threw the weight tonight."
Erin Gale earned Ohio a third-place finish in the 800m with freshman Delaney Bolger right behind her in fourth. Kara Jackson finished fourth in the 400m, with Kiley Mathews and Maria Brafford making it three Ohio runners among the top seven.
Mason led four 'Cats in the weight throw with a toss of 16.04m. Brianna Allen, Brown and Lauren McCullough finished sixth through eighth respectively. Alexis Geiger and Tyree placed among the top-10 in the long jump and Eastman was seventh in the triple jump.
Courtney Weiss and Danielle Winningham earned top-10 finishes in the 600m and Kandace Jemison was a top-20 finisher in the 60m. Ohio's relay units also ran with the "A" squad placing sixth (Mathews, Bolger, Jackson and Winningham) and the "B" squad placing ninth (Brafford, McCarty, Vitou, Weiss).
Ohio competes in the Doug Raymond Track Invitational next weekend at Kent State.