VMI Garners Big South Conference Awards, Men Take Second in Championship Meet

Obuon, Brickner, Denby, Arraiz Receive Conference Honors

BLACKSBURG, Va. – A total of four individual Big South Conference accolades, seven first-place finishes, and five women's school records were recorded by the VMI men's and women's indoor track and field teams at the 2005 conference championships held in Blacksburg, Va. on Saturday. The men's team took second place out of seven teams with 137 points, following champion Liberty which had 190.50. The women's team placed seventh out of eight teams with 30 points.

The Keydets also set two postseason qualifying times and senior Austin Wakefield (Wake Forest, N.C./Wake Forest) tied his own BSC Indoor Championship meet record in the shot put with a first-place finish at 52' 8". Furthermore, VMI set 37 lifetime or seasonal best performances on the day.

Sophomore sprinter Paulvince Obuon (Kisumo, Kenya/Chianda) was named the Men's Track Performer-of-the-Year and junior Garrett Brickner (Fairfax, Va./Lake Braddock) was selected as the Men's Field Performer-of-the-Year, each being honored as such for the second straight year. Furthermore, senior pole vaulter Ty Denby (Scottsville, Va./Fluvanna Co.) was named the conference's Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year for the second straight year, and was also named to the Men's All-Academic Team.

In addition to the five school records, the women's team was highlighted by junior sprinter Gabriella Arraiz (Flint, Mich./Wayne State), who was named to the women's BSC All-Academic Team.

"I'm extremely proud of how they performed and what they accomplished," said VMI head coach Mike Bozeman, reflecting on the many accolades and events won by the Keydets on the day.

Obuon won three events and junior sprinter Shelly Mackall (Baltimore, Md./Poly) set two school records. Obuon's first-place performances came in the 60-meter dash at 6.75 seconds, the 200-meters at 21.60, and the 400-meters at 48.32. Mackall's school records came in the 60 and 200 meters with respective times of 7.74 and 25.77. Mackall's performance in the 60 meters was also an ECAC qualifying mark.

Freshman Ania Najda (Olsztyn, Poland/Univ. of Warmia and Mazury) set a school record in the 800-meter run with a fifth-place finish at 2:18.10 while freshman Ashley West (Miami, Fla./Northwestern) placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles with a school record mark of 8.88 seconds. Senior Mildred Cooper (Gretna, Va./Gretna) also set a school record in the 20-pound weight throw with a mark of 56' 7-1/2".

Senior J.B. Rosson (Keezletown, Va./Spotswood) qualified for the IC4A's in the pole vault with a first-place mark of 15' 11-1/4". Denby placed second in the pole vault at 15' 5-1/2" while Brickner won both the high jump and long jump with respective marks of 6' 9-3/4" and 23' 6-1/4". Brickner also placed fourth in the triple jump at 45' 6-1/2".

Freshman Donnie Mikels (Rustburg, Va./Rustburg) placed third in the one-mile run at 4:17.10 while sophomore Mark Bush (Bristol, Tenn./Tennessee) finished third in the 800-meter run at 1:55.31.

Senior Chris White (Roanoke, Va./James River) and Wakefield each placed fifth in the shot put and the 35-pound weight throw with respective marks of 44' 6" and 50' 8".

VMI will now prepare for the IC4A/ECAC Championships to be held in two weeks on March 5-6 in Boston, Mass.