VICKI MITCHELL |
DIRECTOR OF MEN'S AND WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD AND CROSS COUNTRY
Vicki Mitchell enters her 21st year with the UB program in 2019-20 and serves as the director and head coach of the men's and women's cross country and track & field programs, a position she's held since 2002-03. Mitchell directs and supervises all components of the cross country and track & field programs.
Mitchell manages the men's & women's budgets including OTPS and GIA, meet schedule, home event management for cross country and track & field meets and serves as the academic liaison. She continues to directly coach women's cross country, middle distance and distance events, while overseeing all other events.
The Greater Buffalo Hall of Famer saw her men's team race to a third place finish in 2016 while the women took home sixth place at the MAC Championships. The men had five top-30 runners led by Barrett Kemp who took home seventh place while the women notched a pair of top-30 finishers led by Stephanie Ward who took home 13th. Ward also earned MAC Freshman of the Year honors, first UB runner to earn that recognition.
During the fall season, she has produced 14 men's and 10 women's All-MAC cross country performers since 2002, including one of each in 2016 with Barrett Kemp earning First Team honors and Stephanie Ward capturing Second Team honors.
As the director, Mitchell oversaw the coaching of Zachary Ahart to an individual men's MAC championship in 2013. In 2011, the men's squad clocked a program-best third-place finish in the MAC and a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships. The team has placed in the top five at the conference championships five out of the last six years. Under Mitchell, Jenny Koeppel claimed a 2004 individual women's MAC championship and two seasons later Mary Veith raced to a runner-up finish. Koeppel became the first women's cross country runner in school history to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The women's team had a program-best fourth-place finish at the 2004 MAC championships.
Mitchell has led the track & field programs to new heights during her tenure. Twenty of UB's 21 All-Americans have been crowned during Mitchell's time as head coach, including UB's first NCAA Division I national champion in any sport, 2015 graduate Jonathan Jones. Jones won the 2015 outdoor men's shot put with a school-record heave of 20.78 meters in Eugene. Only 12 school records stand that have not been broken or matched under her guidance, including several records in events that are no longer contested. Mitchell's student-athletes set 28 school records in 2014 alone – 19 men's records and nine women's – and added another 19 in 2015 – 11 men's and eight women's. The Bulls, both men and women, placed fourth at the 2014 MAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
Under Mitchell's tutelage, middle-distance standout Allison Laske competed in the 800 run at the NCAA Outdoor National Championship and went on to race at the 2004 US Olympic Trials. The women's T&F team had a program-best third-place showing at the MAC Outdoor Championships in 2013, while the 2010 season produced UB's first T&F All-American in over 10 years with Kristy Woods placing third in the outdoor shot put. Nineteen All-America finishes have followed, as well as numerous MAC champions and NCAA qualifiers. In addition, Mitchell has had several athletes qualify for the USATF Junior National Championships annually.
Prior to arriving at UB in 1999, Mitchell served as the assistant cross country and track & field coach at William Jewell College in Kansas City, Missouri. Mitchell also spent five years at Holy Angels Academy in Buffalo where she taught physical education and was the head cross country and track & field coach. A native of Western New York, she is a 1987 graduate of Amherst Central School.
A distinguished athlete and international competitor, Mitchell competed in the 1996 US Olympic Trials in the 10,000 run. She made her marathon debut at the 1999 Hong Kong Marathon, where she qualified for the 2000 US Olympic Marathon Trials. In 2001, she was invited to join the Fila Discovery USA training program, a program designed to develop American distance runners into elite marathon athletes able to compete with the best in the world. She has been a member of five USA national teams, including the 1993 World University Games and 1998 IAAF World Road Race Championship in Manaus, Brazil.
Mitchell is the current Northeast NCAA Cross Country representative and has been an instrumental committee member in establishing the Buffalo Chapter of Girls on the Run, a national program for pre-teen girls that focuses on developing self-esteem, self-respect and healthy living through fitness and running. Mitchell also presented at the 2010 Illinois State Track Clinic, is a panel member of the Buffalo Medical Runner's Forum and is a regular speaker at several running camps each year.
Mitchell received her B.S.E. in physical education from SUNY Cortland in 1991 and a master's in exercise physiology from North Carolina-Greensboro in 1994. While at Cortland, Mitchell was a seven-time NCAA champion and 10-time All-American in leading the Red Dragons to NCAA Division III national championships in cross country and track & field. In 2003, she was named Cortland's Western New York Alum of the Year, and in 2004 she was inducted to the Cortland C-Club Hall of Fame. In 2010, she was named to the Division III Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame and was a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame class of 2014.