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Mitchell: We didn't want a letdown

By mrasor Published: May 14, 2006


As you can see in the above image, coach Dennis Mitchell stressed winning the MAC Triple Crown -- a feat no women's team had ever accomplished.

His leadership won him the conference coach of the year award.

In the weeks leading up to the MAC Championship, however, he had to be a little worried. Last year, his team was in the same position and the women came in second to Kent State.

"Our girls did not want to repeat what happened last year when we were supposed to dominate but slipped and lost," Mitchell said. "It was a big motivation to us to not let our guard down in any way and not take anything for granted."

Despite all of the preparation, the women did slip in some events. Senior Amy Lavalley fouled out in the hammer event. But Stevi Large and Jenna Strouse picked up their teammate by finishing one-two in that event.

A simliar event happened in another case, Mitchell said. The important thing was that the team focused on every event to prevent a repeat of last year.

Although it has gone under the radar so far, the men finished higher than they ever have in the MAC Outdoor Championships. They didn't get all the points Mitchell expected to win on Saturday, but still the coach was happy with the results.

"Our guys competed tough," Mitchell said. "It was great beating Kent and earning our highest team finish ever."

Mitchell said he was especially impressed by four of his seniors...

  • Beata Rudzinska won the 800-meter run, which completed a four-year undefeated streak in that events, both indoor and outdoor. She has an INCREDIBLE 13 total MAC titles. Wow.

  • Ashley Kaufman broke the javelin meet record, which was formerly held by the current American record holder. She was MAC Female Field Athlete of the Meet.

  • John Russell broke the meet record in the pole vault, despite the rain. He was MAC Male Field Athlete of the Meet.

  • Tomasz Smialek won his sixth MAC high jump title, four coming indoors and two outdoors. It was raining and weather had just delayed the event for an hour. Smialek needed to clear his final bar in order to win, and he did.

Akron will take 21 athletes to Knoxville, Tenn., for the NCAA Regional Meet in two weeks.


Akron built a 9-4 lead against Kent State before God stopped play.

After two big offensive innings for the Zips, the rain came in the top of the third. Umpires eventually called the game.

In the end, it probably won't matter. The Zips are too far back to be in contention to make the MAC Tournament. But I think this series gives the team something to build on. Akron nearly won two of three against the rival Flashes, who have been a superior team for quite some time.

Expect a better team in coach Pat Bangston's second year.

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