Track and field team will host first outdoor meet

Written by: Parker Perry

The University of Akron track and field team will host their first outdoor meet this weekend for the Northeast Ohio Quads Friday and Saturday at Lee R. Jackson Field.

The Akron Zips are coming off a strong showing at the Tennessee Challenge, where the team had many members finish in the top three of their respective events.  Brad Hough was able to claim two victories after strong performances in both the 1500-meter and 3000-meter race. However, it was the throwers who claimed the MAC awards for the week.

Sophomore Eric Hubbard and freshman Alexis Cooks won the weekly honors as they both turned in impressive performances in the hammer throw. It was the second week in a row that a pair of Akron athletes won the awards.

Akron’s first meet on their campus, the Northeast Ohio Quads will feature teams from around the area, including Ashland, Youngstown State and rival Kent State. The teams have had many successes in the last few years, according to track and field Akron Head Coach Dennis Mitchell.

Kent State and Akron have taken their rivalry to the track. According to Mitchell, Kent will be the main focus of the meet.

After a couple of years competing against each other for the Mid-American Conference title, the two teams have pushed each other to new heights.

“We have a great rivalry, especially since both programs have battled it out for the top of the MAC the last few years,” Mitchell said.

Though Kent State will be the focus of the meet, Mitchell makes clear he has a lot of respect for each of the competitors.

“All the teams will bring great athletes,” he said. “Ashland is one if the best Division Two teams in the nation and can compete well against any Division One program.”

Ashland is currently ranked 12th in the nation of Division Two track and field men’s teams. The women are even better, ranked 10th in the nation. This past weekend, they finished second at a meet held at Miami University (Ohio).

Ashland is led by Head Coach Jud Logan. Logan oversaw a team that won three individual national championships in 2010-2011.

Youngstown State is led by Head Coach Brain Gorby. Gorby has been a part of the Youngstown State track team for the last 22 years. He competed in a Penguin uniform in college and started his coaching career there as well. His team will seek to compete against the best in Northeast Ohio.

Mitchell expects the meet to be very competitive, and knows that his team is going to have to bring its best if it wants to be the dominant force in its first home meet.

“Both of our teams match well in almost all the events,” Mitchell said. “Each event should be very competitive, from the first event of the hammer all the way to the 4 x 400 relay.”

Lee R. Jackson Field is located between Lee R. Jackson baseball field and Infocision Stadium.