AMHERST, NY - University at Buffalo Cross Country and Track and Field Director and Head Coach Vicki Mitchell a former standout at Amherst High School was inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame on Thursday evening.
A 1987 graduate of Amherst High School, Mitchell has experienced much success and recognition as a student, athlete and coach. She graduated magna cum laude in 1991 from SUNY Cortland with a bachelor's degree in physical education. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of North Carolina at Greensboro, in 1994 with a master's degree in exercise physiology.
As a professional athlete, she was on the Nike Team Boston ('93-94), Brooks Running Team ('94-'98), Reebok ('98-01), Fila USA Team Discovery (01). A two-time USA Olympic Trials Qualifier in 1996 for the 10,000m and 2000 Marathon, she was also a six-time USA Track & Field National Championship Qualifier, 10,000m ('93, '94 '95,'96,'98,'99). She was a member of five USA National Teams.
During her NCAA collegiate career, Mitchell was a seven-time NCAA Individual National Champion (2 x 1500m, 3000m, 3 x 5000m, 1 x 10,000m, 1 x Cross Country) and a 10-time NCAA All-American. In 1991, she was recognized repeatedly with Student-Athlete of the Year awards.
As a coach at UB, her teams were MAC Individual Conference Champions: 2004 Women's 10k Champ, 2004 Women's XC Champ, 2011 Men's Steeple Chase Champion, 800m Women's Champion 2013, 2014, 2015 (indoor and outdoor), 2016 Freshman of the year in Cross Country. Twenty of her runners were named NCAA All Americans. She helped earn the bid to host the NCAA Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships in Buffalo for three straight years ('17, '18, and '19).
Mitchell recalls that in late September 1984, she ran the one mile Presidential Physical Fitness Test in physical education class with Mrs. Carol Fitzpatrick. "I was not competitive, but I did want to impress Mrs. Fitz by being the fastest in the class," she said. "Shortly after finishing the timed mile, Mr. McAllister, the boys PE teacher, came over and was talking with Mrs. Fitzpatrick. The next day, I met Mr. O'Donnell and running started. Mr. Bob O'Donnell (XC) and Mr. Brad Tichenor (Track) had a profound impact on my development. They recognized my strengths that I did not know I had. They challenged me but they knew just the right balance to keep me onboard. It is clear I was not an outstanding athlete in high school, but they did not mistake my quiet introverted personality for lack of enthusiasm or commitment. Both provided me with careful guidance and development that set the foundation for future success."