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By mrasor Published: May 13, 2006


The Akron women broke away from the rest of the field Saturday to win the MAC Outdoor Track Championship, completing their quest for conference titles in all three running sports.

The women won cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and today they won outdoor track, becoming the first women's team in MAC history to win the Triple Crown.

With 134.5 points, the men moved from up in the standings to third, finishing behind Central Michigan (176.5) and Eastern Michigan (159.5).

Although Kent State trailed the Zips by only a few points after Day Two, the Flashes finished in third. Akron scored 141 points. Second-place Eastern Michigan was 38 points behind, with 103.

The season-long accomplishments won coach Dennis Mitchell the MAC Outdoor Coach of the Year award. I will have some comments from him a little later.

Here are some highlights...

  • Beata Rudzinska and Emily Freudenrich finished one-two in the 800-meter. That brought Akron 18 points.

  • Deanna Caldwell-Edwards and Corine Gavin-Hall combined for 25 points in the 100- and 200-meter events.

  • Natalie Sako won the high jump conference title.

  • Liz Mangen took first in the discus.

  • John Russell won the pole vault by nearly six inches.

  • Tomasz Smialek won his sixth MAC high jump title.

  • By going one-two in the men's discus, Auston Papay and Randall Hafner brought the team 18 points.

The women's accomplishments this season are quite significant. Here is how I rank Akron teams' seasons -- in regards to success, not so much about success relative to the past or popularity of the sport.

  1. Men's soccer - Elite Eight, No. 1 national ranking

  2. Women's track/cross country - First ever Triple Crown in MAC

  3. Football - School's first Division I bowl game

  4. Men's basketball - School's first Divison I postseason win

  5. Golf -  School's first tournament win in nine years

  6. Softball - Beat several good teams, school's first berth in MAC Tournament in four years

  7. Rifle - Won Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference title

Feel free to post your variations on that list in my comments section.

Anyhow, back to track. Several Akron athletes have qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships. Those will be held in Knoxville, Tenn., in two weeks.

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