Five Blue Demons Win Conference Championships in Manhattan
Sarah Moss accepts her first place medal after winning the shot put competition at the BIG EAST Championships

Feb. 22, 2014

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NEW YORK -- Five DePaul athletes took home individual conference championships to highlight the final day of the BIG EAST Indoor Championships at the Armory in New York City on Saturday afternoon.

The Blue Demon men took third at the Championships (128 points), while the women took fifth (90 points). DePaul's third place finish on the men's side is the best finish at the BIG EAST Championships in school history.

Twelve Blue Demons took to the podiums on Saturday, not including two relay teams that placed in the top-three in the 4x400 meter relay.

"We had a great meet," said head coach Dave Dopek. "The guys, in particular, stepped up big time. Third is the highest any of our track teams have been able to place in all of my time at DePaul. The men had an outstanding performance today."

Xavier Jones continued his stellar performance at the Championships by winning the 60-meter dash in 6.91 seconds. Jones bested second place finisher Devante Washington of Georgetown (6.97) by just .06 seconds in a thrilling race. Jones played a big role in the Blue Demons' success in the men's 200-meter final as well, where DePaul finished with a clean 1-2-3 sweep of the race.

Tonderai Tomu, whose efforts at the Championships landed him the Male Track Athlete of the Meet award, won the 200 with a time of 21.43 seconds, Jones followed in second (21.60) and Mac Melto took home the third place medal after logging a time of 21.90 seconds.

In addition, Melto and Tomu went 1-2 in the 400, while freshman Chaz Bottoms took fourth. Melto won the conference championship in 48.08 seconds; Tomu finished .13 seconds behind his teammate (48.21). 

One of the two DePaul relay teams that placed reached the podium in the 4x4 on Saturday was the quartet of Tomu, Jones, Melto and Brandon Threats. The four Blue Demons won the event in 3:14.23, nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Georgetown.

In the shot put, Matt Babicz, the reigning BIG EAST Field Athlete of the Week, won his first career BIG EAST Indoor Championship thanks to a toss of 18.80 meters. His brother, Anthony Babicz, placed second in the event (16.12 meters). For Matt Babicz, it was his fifth shot put victory of the season.

"We really showed up when it mattered in sprints, throws and relays," Dopek said. "Having meet champions in the 60, 200, 400, 4x4 and shot put was big for us. Every single male student-athlete that traveled to this conference championship scored and contributed to our placing. Tonderai led us the whole way and the team stepped up and supported each other in a very positive way."

But the Babicz brothers weren't the only Blue Demons to shine in a shot put competition on Saturday.

Sarah Moss captured the women's shot put conference championship, registering a throw a 13.97 meters, a personal record.

Moss' performance in the shot put rounded out the individual conference championships, but three more individuals and another 4x4 relay team reached the podium for the Blue Demons to round out the awards for the Championships.

Tayler Whittler re-wrote the record books in the 60-meter dash for the fourth time this season as she placed third in the event with a time of 7.55 seconds. Then, in the 200, Whittler captured another third place finish, logging a time of 24.35 seconds.  

Then, Whittler helped her 4x400-meter relay team, which also included Ayesha Ewing, Julie Dambra and Erin McCoy, finish third, posting a time of 3:44.67.

Finally, McCoy grabbed third place in the 60-meter hurdles (9.09 seconds).

"The women also had a good meet," Dopek added. "Scoring 90 points in the conference is no easy task. The women really were motivated to move up the rankings all weekend. They brought tremendous energy to the meet. You could feel it even when nobody was running. Sarah led the way win her win in the shot put, Tayler's new school record was impressive and our third place finish in the 4x4 was huge too. Our women were very well-represented on the podium.

"There is more work to be done, but this meet was a great step in the right direction. I am very proud of my Blue Demons today. DePaul University was well-represented in New York on Blue Demon Day. We made sure of it."



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