Brickner, Denby, Arraiz, and Bozeman receive conference honors, Obuon repeats as 100-meter champion

LEXINGTON, Va. – The 2005 New Balance Big South Conference Men's and Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championships concluded earlier on Saturday at the H.M. "Son" Read '16 Memorial Track on the post of the Virginia Military Institute with the VMI men's team finishing in third place with 116 points and the women's team taking seventh place with 40 points. Both the men's and women's fields had eight teams participating during the three-day event which opened on Thursday, April 14. The men's team had their hands full with some very strong competition throughout the meet and managed to stay close in the team standings through the first two days before the gap between teams widened in the third and final day. In the end, Liberty won the men's team championship for the 12th straight year with 200 points while Coastal Carolina won the women's team title for the second straight year with 285.50 points.

However, the Keydets were not to be short changed on the third and final day as the men's team won two events and the women's team had one third-place finish, their highest on the day. Furthermore several Keydets were presented with conference honors in an awards ceremony administered by the Big South Conference at the conclusion of the meet. Senior Ty Denby (Scottsville, Va./Fluvanna Co.) and senior Gabriela Arraiz (Flint, Mich./Wayne State) were each named to the Big South All-Academic Team while Denby was also named the Big South Conference Men's Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year. It was the second Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year honor for Denby this school year as he also received the same award at the 2005 Big South Indoor Championships back in February. In addition, VMI coach Mike Bozeman, in his 20th year at the helm, was named Co-Men's Coach-of-the-Year along with Liberty head coach Brant Tolsma. Rounding out the awards for the Keydets was junior Garrett Brickner (Fairfax, Va./Lake Braddock) who was named the Big South's Outstanding Men's Field Performer-of-the-Meet.

In the final men's team standings, Liberty was followed by Coastal Carolina with 158 points. Charleston Southern followed VMI in fourth place with 111.50 points while Radford placed fifth with 74 points. Coming in sixth place was High Point while The University of North Carolina Asheville took seventh with 50 points. Winthrop finished eighth with 34.50 points. The final women's team standings were a little more spaced out. Liberty followed champion Coastal Carolina in second place with 230 points. From there, things dropped off with Charleston Southern taking third with 75.50 points and Radford placing fourth with 67 points. Winthrop placed fifth with 48 points while High Point finished sixth with 44 points. UNC Asheville followed VMI in the eighth and final spot with 23 points.

Sophomore Paulvince Obuon (Kisumo, Kenya.Chianda) won his second straight outdoor conference title in the 100-meter dash at 10.74, edging out Charleston Southern sophomore Nathan Breland (Walterboro, S.C./Walterboro HS) who took second for the second straight year. Junior Chris Brandriff (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) secured VMI's other first place finish on the day by winning the javelin throw with a mark of 199' 03".

VMI also got some points from sophomore Anthony Harris (Orlando, Fla./Cypress Creek) who took third in the 1,500-meter run at 4:01.33. The 4x100-meter relay team of junior Derek Behney (Bethel, Pa./Tulpehocken), junior Chris Gilliland (Naples, Fla./Lely), senior Kamau Hull (Athens Ga./Cedar Shoals), and senior Rory Page (Rockville, Md./Magruder) placed third at 43.44. Denby and senior J.B. Rosson (Keezletown, Va./Spotswood) tied for third place in the pole vault after clearing 14' 2-3/4". Senior Austin Wakefield (Wake Forest, N.C./Wake Forest) finished fourth in the discus at 151' 05". In the 800-meter run, sophomore Mark Bush (Bristol, Tenn./Tennessee) placed fourth at 1:55.64 while freshman Matt Bierlein (Orlean, Va./Fauquier) took sixth place at 1:56.47.

Cooper led the VMI women's team on the day recording their highest finish with a third-place effort in the discus at 141' 01". Junior Shelly Mackall (Baltimore, Md./Poly) took fourth place in the 100-meter dash at 12.59 seconds and also finished sixth in the 200-meter dash at 25.74. The women's 4x100-meter relay team of Arraiz, freshman Ashley West (Miami, Fla./Northwestern), Katrina Powell, and Mackall placed sixth at 50.86. Coming in seventh place in the 5,000-meter run was sophomore Hatley Clifford (Plano, Texas/Carollton Christian) with a mark of 18:40.02. Freshman Ania Najda (Olsztyn, Poland/Univ. of Warmia and Mazury) finished eighth in the 1,500-meter run at 4:52.79

Four Big South Conference Championship Meet records were also set on the final day, three of which were also conference records. In addition, one other Big South Conference record was set. (Details on what those records were and who set them can be found on the Big South Conference web site at www.bigsouthsports.com.

Both the VMI men's and women's teams have no meet scheduled for the weekend of April 22-24. The Keydets will next compete again at the Penn Relays which take place in Philadelphia, Pa. from Tuesday April 26 through Saturday April 30.


-On the 2005 Big South Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships

"We hosted the meet and I want to thank my staff – Darrin Webb, Paul Spangler, Zack Scott, and all the support General Peay and Donny White put behind it. From the top to the bottom, they did everything I think to make this probably one of the best conference meets we've held here. I think we put on a good meet for everybody and VMI can be proud of that. Our kids also put on a great meet. I felt that the best we could do (men) was third place. We had some threats to maybe take that away, but they responded and we just had great performances from people we expected."

"Garrett Brickner was really tough and to set a meet record in the decathlon, high jump, and score in the vault as tired as he was was great. Other kids stepped up in that regard. Chris Brandriff did what he was supposed to do and win the javelin. Although I'm sure he's not as happy, Austin Wakefield threw well and scored in three events for us in the throws. The vaulters did a pretty good job, Ty (Denby) and J.B. (Rosson) came back and helped us there."

"Our half-milers stepped up, our steeple chasers, our 10,000 meters which we haven't scored in since the days of Joe Smith. That helped us. One of the most astounding things to see in my 20 years here was the performance of our 4x100 relay team being all-conference, literally. I don't mean that in a disparaging way, but we just looked around in desperation to put four guys on the track. And they went out there and ran the race of their life."

"In the mile relay, about the same thing. Our best kids are hurt. We just had guys step up and do what they needed to do. Paulvince has been hurt, but he showed a lot of courage and won the 100 meters and won that and that qualified him now for the regional and he can rest and we can try to get him healthy."

"I'm really pleased with what they did. They showed the same grit that we seem to get conference meet after conference meet. I'd love to win a trophy, but, if you don't have the bodies, you can't do it. All you can do is look for the best and they always seem to give me more than their best. I think we will springboard off of this and have a good IC4A and regional meet. The women had a great meet and did some super things. To date we've probably had the best recruiting year we've had on the women's side so they should be really improved next year."

"Mildred Cooper had a great meet and set school records in the shot and hammer. Ania (Najda) had a great, great steeplechase and she's the first female to be named all-conference in a running event for our women's team. She looked really good today and she had been hurt for two weeks, so I thought that was a great effort. Gabriel Arraiz and Shelly Mackall have been kind of banged up and they did that they best they could do.

Ashley West did all she could do in the long jump – we had to pull her out of the triple jump, she's just beat to pieces, but they're all tough. We're going to bring in some people and we're going to make a huge jump in our women's program next year."

VMI Results From the Big South Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Top eight finishers from the whole meet

Name, Place, Event, Mark
Paulvince Obuon, 1st, 100-meters, 10.74 seconds
Mark Bush, 4th, 800-meters, 1:55.64
Matt Beirlein, 6th, 800-meters, 1:56.47
Anthony Harris, 3rd, 1,500-meter run, 4:01.33
Derek Behney, Kamau Hull, Chris Gilliland, Rory Page, 3rd, 4x100-meter relay, 43.44
Ty Denby, T-3rd, Pole Vault, 14' 2-3/4"
J.B. Rosson, T-3rd, Pole Vault, 14' 2-3/4"
Kurt Able, 5th, 10,000-meters, 32:48.63
Steven Bryan, 6th, 400-meter hurdles, 58.66
Donnie Mikels , 4th, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 9:23.56
Edwin Lugo, 7th, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 9:37.84
Garrett Brickner, 1st, High Jump, 6' 9"
Jeff Bennett, 5th, High Jump, 6' 3.25"
Austin Wakefield, 3rd, Shot Put, 52' 4.75"
Austin Wakefield, 5th, Hammer Throw, 162' 4"
Austin Wakefield, 4th, Discus, 151' 05"
Chris Brandriff, 1st, Javelin, 199' 03"
Phil Hahn, 8th, Javelin, 157' 11"
Adam Rouse, 6th, Hammer Throw, 148' 9"
Garrett Brickner, 1st, Decathlon, 6,510 pts.

Name, Place, Event, Mark
Shelly Mackall, 4th, 100-meters, 12.59
Shelly Mackall, 6th, 200-meters, 25.74
Hatley Clifford, 8th, 10,000-meters, 39:48.66
Hatley Clifford, 7th, 5,000-meter run, 18:40.02
Ania Najda, 2nd, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 11:33.83
Ania Najda, 8th, 1,500-meter run, 4:52.79
Gabriela Arraiz, Ashley West, Katrina Powell, Shelly Mackall, 4x100-meter relay, 6th, 50.86
Mildred Cooper, 2nd, Shot Put, 47' 9.75"
Mildred Cooper, 6th, Hammer Throw, 160' 01"
Mildred Cooper, 3rd, Discus, 141' 01"

2005 Big South Conference All-Academic Teams

Men's All-Academic Team
1. Allan Batiste, So., Charleston Southern University
2. Terah Kipchiris, Sr., Coastal Carolina
3. Mattias Ewender, So., High Point
4. Evan Falat, So., Liberty
5. Brian Richotte, So., Radford
6. Nick Christian, Sr., UNC Asheville,
7. Ty Denby, Sr., Virginia Military Institute

Women's All-Academic Team
1. LaCoya Jones, So., Charleston Southern
2. Chasity Johnson, So., Coastal Carolina
3. Jemissa Hess, So., High Point
4. Danielle McNaney, Sr., Liberty
5. Lauren Diggs, So., Radford
6. LaTonya Harris, Jr., UNC Asheville
7. Gabriela Arraiz, Sr. Virginia Military Institute
8. Sarah Wengryniuk, Sr., Winthrop

*Bold indicates Big South Scholar Athlete-of-the-Year