Rayshon Higgins (photo by Paul Hokanson)
Members of UB’s track and field teams made themselves known during the 2006–2007 indoor and outdoor seasons by storming into the record books and staking claim to the top spots in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Senior shot-putter Sarah Vance made her way to the top of both university and conference standings during her final season as a Bull. With a record-breaking throw of 52-6 in the shot put during the indoor season, Vance tossed her way into the NCAA Indoor Championships, where she finished 15th in the nation.
“It was a great experience for her,” says Victoria Mitchell, women’s track and field head coach. “She was pretty anxious, pretty excited, but also a little nervous.”
Before heading to nationals, Vance claimed the number-one shot put spot in the MAC conference and also notched a first-place finish in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.
Additional conference champions were Rayshon Higgins in the triple jump, Reggie Rucker in the 60-meter hurdles and Patrice Coney in the pentathlon. Higgins earned another MAC title with a triple jump of 49-9, achieving his second indoor and third overall first-place finish in the conference championships. On the track, hurdler Rucker sped to a first-place win, finishing 7.98 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles. Coney also came up big for the Bulls, garnering a first-place finish and breaking her own school record during the pentathlon.
There’s no place like home to win a second conference championship.
Mark Budd made the UB faithful proud as he defended his 2006 MAC wrestling title at 133 pounds, nabbing a second title and bid to the nationals during his senior season. Budd defeated Danny Mitcheff of Kent State 3-2 in the MAC finals, held February 22–24 in Alumni Arena, thus earning an automatic bid to the NCAA National Wrestling Championships, March 15–17 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
At Auburn Hills, Budd went 1-2, earning a spot as the grappler with the third highest number of wins in UB wrestling history.
Miglena Nenova (photo by Paul Hokanson)
How does a champion walk? How does a champion talk? How do champions carry themselves?
These are all questions that women’s tennis head coach Kathleen Twist regularly poses to her student athletes, challenging them to approach their game from a different angle and to best channel their energies for success on the court. Indeed, the effects of this approach are evident in the team’s record and the individual successes of the members.
“The Mid-American Conference is an extremely strong conference with a couple of nationally ranked teams,” Twist says. “We are really enjoying this [process]. It puts you in a different frame of mind, thinking positively about what you can do.” UB began the season with the force of a champion, downing its first six opponents and defeating a nationally ranked team, Syracuse, for the first time in school history. Senior Miglena Nenova became a champion in UB history, compiling more than 60 wins in her UB career, thus becoming the all-time leader in singles victories.
UB Bulls football, which faced two top 25–ranked teams during the 2006 season, refuses to shy away from more tough competition in 2007. This fall, head coach Turner Gill will lead his Bulls into battle 12 times; most notably, the team’s schedule will include a trip to historic Beaver Stadium on September 15 to play the Penn State Nittany Lions. This will mark the first time the Bulls have played a Big 12 team and, of course, they will be facing a household name in the Nittany Lions, who are led by the legendary Joe Paterno, Penn State’s head football coach since 1966.
The Bulls begin their season with three games on the road, starting with the season opener at Rutgers on August 30. They then welcome the Temple Owls into the Mid-American Conference on September 8 at Temple. To round out the road tour, Gill and the Bulls will march into the 107,282-seat Beaver Stadium for a record-setting match-up. It will be UB’s biggest venue so far; it will also mark the first time UB football has visited Penn State.
“This will be a great opportunity for our players and coaches to go up against Joe Paterno—one of the greatest coaches of all time,” Gill says.
The Bulls will take to UB Stadium for their home opener on September 22 against the Baylor Bears.
|August 30||at Rutgers|
|September 8||at Temple|
|September 15||at Penn State|
|September 22||vs. Baylor|
|September 29||at Ball State|
|October 6||vs. Ohio|
|October 13||vs. Toledo|
|October 20||at Syracuse|
|October 27||vs. Akron|
|November 3||at Miami (Ohio)|
|November 10||bye week|
|November 17||vs. Bowling Green|
|November 24||at Kent State|
Visit www.alumni.buffalo.edu for the best travel information and updates on how to purchase tickets for much-anticipated road games at Rutgers, Penn State and Syracuse.
Compiled by Jennifer Gillan, BA ’07, former sports editor of the Spectrum, who plans to continue her passion for athletics in the sports information field.