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Buffalo Bulls Men's Track and Field 2016 Season Preview

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UB Athletics
They don't get the media hype compared to UB's other champions, but Track and Field last year contributed more school records and Capital One Cup points than anyone else. In (very narrow) advance of both the Men and Women opening their 2016 season Friday at Cornell's Southern Tier Invite, the first half a season (indoor and outdoor) preview:

Men

Who's gone?

The lists are especially long in Track and Field, but the men lose a number of big contributors to graduation, even beyond Jon Jones. For simplicity's sake, I'll just list 2015 MAC Championship results.

Zach Ahart / Distance / 3rd all-time at UB in 3,000 and 5,000, 6th at MACC in the 5,000m (indoor); 2nd all-time at UB in 10,000, 7th at MACC in the 5,000 (outdoor)
Seamus Degan / Distance /
Sean Harvey / Throws /
Adam Hume / Jumps / 3rd UB Pole Vault (indoor); 2nd UB Pole Vault, 4th MACC Pole Vault (outdoor)
Jon Jones / Throws / UB, MAC record holder, MAC Champion, All-American Shot Put (indoor); UB, MAC record holder, MAC Champion, National Champion Shot Put, 4th UB discus (outdoor)
Matt Killian / Sprints /
Jalen Law / Sprints / Part of UB record 4x100 team
Don McCann / Sprints, Jumps /
Cory McCarty / Distance /
Frank Pfeil / Distance /
Chris Reape / Jumps / UB record holder, 7th MACC High Jump (indoor); UB record holder, 4th MACC High Jump (outdoor)
Daquane Spikes / Sprints /
Jake Wray / Hurdles / 3rd MACC 60m Hurdles (indoor); 8th MACC 110m Hurdles (outdoor)

Who's New

I might speak more of these names within their disciplines, but here's the full list:

John Anderson / Throws
Korey Beasley / Sprint
Itai Bezherano / Distance
JerMichael Bunch / Jumps
Anthony Clark / Sprints
Everett Geiger / Distance
James Hanners / Throws
Jack Jibb / Distance
Jaelin Marong / Sprints
Joseph Mendola / Sprints
Dan Muldoon / Distance
Kyle Pierre / Multis
Hasani Rathan / Jumps
Dylan Servos / Distance
Alex Siracusa / Jumps

Who's the Next All-American?

For this year, at least, this one is simple. Before Texas' Ryan Crouser broke a finger, opening up the national shot put field, I thought heptathlete (indoor) and decathlete (outdoor) Mike Morgan was UB's best shot at a national champion since Wrestling's Mark Lewandowski. He's already a two-time All-American in the Heptathlon and hasn't yet put together a full Decathlon at the Championships. He'll get another (at least) this year.

Don't sleep on Ryan Billian, either, who was a Second Team All-American as a sophomore in the long jump before finishing 20th at Nationals in the 100 last year.
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Sprinters

In addition to Billian, who shares or holds six sprint school records (60m, 60H indoor; 100, 200m, 110H, 4x100 relay outdoor), UB returns a quartet in Brian Cummiskey, Mitch Fuller, Josh Gali, and Darien Johnson. Johnson excels at the 60m dash indoors, while Gali stands a good chance of breaking both of UB's 400m dash records this season as a junior. Treyvon Mask and Mitch Moore are listed primarily as hurdlers, but we'll see plenty of them, as well.

Billian did not compete at the MAC Indoor Championships, but was 2nd in the 100m, 5th in the 200, and anchored UB to second in the 4x100 relay. Fuller, Gali, and Johnson have varying levels of experience, but UB looks like it will rely heavily on freshman this season. Mike Morgan is an option in the 60 meter hurdles indoors.

Distance

You'll recognize all the names here from Cross Country season, as it's a deep group. Most notably, we get one final year of mid-distance battles between Brian Crimmins and Tyler Scheving, who have traded school records in the 800, 1000, and mile for a few years now. In the longer distances, only Cam Bruce has so far made a mark on the UB books (in the indoor 3,000), though three-quarters of the 2014 indoor and outdoor Distance Medley Relay that set a pair of school records are still around. Once outdoor season rolls around, expect Jack Jibb to make an immediate impact in the steeplechase, to say the least.

On the MAC level, indoors the Bulls return 2nd and 5th (Scheving and Tom Meehan) in the indoor 800, 3rd (Crimmins) in the mile, 7th (Bruce) in the 3000, and 9th (Barrett Kemp) in the 5000, along with the three longest legs of the MAC Champion Distance Medley Relay team in Bruce, Scheving, and Crimmins. Outdoors, Scheving and Crimmins went 3-4 behind Akron All-American Clayton Murphy in the 800, Crimmins took 3rd in the 1500, Derek Palafox and Austin Coneys 8th and 10th in the steeplechase, and Kemp 10th in the 10,000.

Jumps

Mike Morgan and Ryan Billian are both contenders here, in the high and long jumps, respectively, though Morgan is also excellent at the Pole Vault and very good at Long Jump, as well. Laurent Dure was not far from Chris Reape's numbers last season, so high jump depth is in good hands even before we consider incoming freshman Hasani Rathan, the reigning NYS champion who already boasts a personal best of 6'10''.

In the long jump, Austin Ashby and Austin Price both shined at times last season, and historically Price is at the very top of UB's all time books in the Triple Jump. Craig Howard is quietly very, very strong at Pole Vault, despite Hume and Morgan dominating headlines there last year.

UB returns (indoors) MAC high jump #3 in Dure, pole vault #8 in junior Daniel Normoyle, Long Jump #5 and Triple Jump #4 in Ashby, and (outdoors) high jump #4 (Morgan) and #7 (Dure), Long Jump #7 (Billian) and #8 (Ashby), and Triple Jump #3 (Price). This group won't be as dominant as throws was last year, but I expect it will be the strongest on the Men's Team.

Throws

Jones is gone, and it's Devon Patterson time. The sophomore finished 5th indoors and 2nd outdoors to Jones in the Shot Put at the MAC Championships, and looks to be the next in a line of UB power in the event. Ryan Cribbin (3rd outdoors, 9th indoors) also returns, so UB likely has a pair of top-five throwers in the MAC yet again. Both also placed in the discus at the Outdoor Championships last year. UB does add two new names in John Anderson and Buff State transfer James Hanners, but without Jones this group looks very thin and would do well to see some improvement in the Discus.

Since Evan Palmer's graduation in 2014, UB's also been without a reliable Weight and Hammer Throw guy, and as far as I can tell is only working with Arnis Mehmetaj (MAC outdoor 5th) in the javelin.

Multis

Morgan. All Morgan, though he won't compete in these events as often as we'd like to use exclamation points and all-caps. Craig Howard is no slouch, either, #2 all-time at UB in the Heptathlon. It will be interesting to see what freshman Kyle Pierre puts together, as both Morgan and Howard are seniors.

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Men's Track and Field is a lot like Women's Swimming and Diving lately, in that there's no shortage of very strong performances in any one year, but they don't seem to all come together in the same season to compete for a MAC team championship. In successive years the throwers have graduated school record holders just before strong crops of middle distance runners and jumpers hit their peaks and the sprinting depth rebounds. Even so, between Morgan and (likely) Billian, we'll likely have our eyes on the national meets again this season, which is pretty nice in its own right.