Written by: Parker Perry
The University of Akron track and field team is coming off an average showing at the University of Texas Relays, hoping to get back on track when they face Tennessee at the Tennessee Challenge this coming weekend.
Akron had competitors who beat their own personal records during the Texas Relays; however, they had others who did not perform to their full potential.
“We had some good event performances and definitely some rough performances,” said Head Coach Dennis Mitchell. “It was a great early season test for our athletes having to go against the best.”
An example of an athlete who showed her worth was pole vaulter Ariane Beamont-Courteau, who beat her own personal record during the event and finished strongly in the field. Another successful competitor was Tyshaun Peoples, who nearly beat his record in the long jump on his final run. Because of their efforts, they both were named MAC Track and Field athletes of the week in their respective categories.
“Nick Banke also competed well in the discus,” Mitchell said.
Banke not only threw the discus well, but he also finished third in the shot put. Banke, a junior in the outdoor season, hopes to only get better as he prepares to compete for a MAC Championship in both competitions when May rolls around.
That being said, there is room for improvement.
Michael Uhle failed to get over any bars and recorded a no height, something that is very rare for him. Mitchell is not worried, however, and said he looks forward to the Tennessee Challenge as a way to push his team to new levels against the nation’s best.
“Tennessee is another great challenge for us,” Mitchell said. “The program has a great history of wining national championships.”
The University of Tennessee has won four national titles in its history, three of which have come from the outdoor season, the most recent in 2001. They are a known powerhouse in the Southeastern Conference, and have won a conference title as recently as 2007.
“Just like Texas Relays and LSU, this is another opportunity to push our athletes against the best,” Mitchell said.