ATHENS, Ohio — Capping off one of the finest distance careers in the history of the Mid-American Conference, senior Juli Accurso was named Most Outstanding Track Performer while leading the Bobcats on the final day of the MAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Goldsberry Track in Athens.
Accurso wrapped up her final MAC meet by capturing the 5000m title Saturday in a time of 16:27.56. It marked Accurso’s ninth MAC title (individual and relay) of her Ohio career. The Casstown, Ohio, native earned the MOP Award after also capturing the 10,000m run Thursday night in a MAC Outdoor Championships-record time of 34:32.59. The performance also garnered Accurso First Team All-MAC honors.
Accurso is the first MAC Most Outstanding Track Performer to represent Ohio University since Kari Summers earned the honor in 2009.
Accurso posted 20 of Ohio’s 41 points on the weekend and helped the Green & White earn a 10th place finish in the first MAC Outdoor meet held in Athens since 2005. Kent State won the women’s title with 132 points, while Eastern Michigan won the men’s title with 198.5 points.
In addition to Accurso’s impressive performance, a number of other Ohio distance runners performed well on Saturday.
Senior Melissa Thompson (Westerville, Ohio) earned a spot on the podium for the second-straight season in the 1500m, placing seventh (4:30.10) to garner two points for the Bobcats. It marked the final race of Thompson’s Ohio career.
While Accurso led the way in the 5000m, a pair of other Bobcats also ran well in the event. Sophomore Kayla Scott – after garnering a fourth-place finish and a PR in the 3000m steeplechase Friday – placed 12th in the 5000 in a time of 17:37.39. Fellow sophomore Krista Roehlig (Uniontown, Ohio) finished 15th in 18:09.32.
In jumps action, Taylor Smith (Canal Winchester, Ohio) put the finishing touches on an outstanding freshman campaign with a seventh-place finish in the high jump. Her mark of 1.61m earned her two points for the Bobcats. Junior Chanda Cuckler (Athens, Ohio) also hit 1.61m and just missed the podium with a ninth-place showing.
From the throws pit, senior Alexa Macri (St. Clairsville, Ohio) wrapped up her Ohio career with a personal-best 15th-place finish in the discus. Her mark of 43.45m was .07m better than her previous PR, set during the 2013 campaign.
The Bobcats will now send a group of student-athletes to compete in the 2014 NCAA East Regional May 29-31. Accurso has already qualified for both the 5,000m and 10,000m runs in the event, while junior Donyelle Brown (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) will represent Ohio in the hammer throw.
Sophomore Ashlee Bilhimer (Gardner, Kan.) is a bubble candidate in the javelin throw, while Scott will await her NCAA fate in the 3000m steeplechase.