See also: Women's Outdoor Track and Field Preview
MOUNT PLEASANT – Coming off a strong indoor season and with key student-athletes making their 2011-12 debuts, the men's outdoor track and field team is primed for a successful season.
“We're very excited and focused on executing a very solid season,” said director of track and field and cross country Willie Randolph. “We're looking forward to maintaining our production, getting more strength and points back, and continuing to press toward our goals of a MAC Championship and regional and national qualifiers.
With many athletes shifting to their more natural events, Randolph expects his student-athletes to improve on a strong showing at the MAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, where they finished third.
Junior thrower Alex Rose, an All-American in the discus in 2011, and senior hurdler Branden Post, the Mid-American Conference Outdoor 400m hurdles champion, will be among those who join CMU student-athletes who finished third at the MAC Indoor Track and Field Championships and set five school records.
The men's team is loaded with championship experience. Including accomplishments in both indoor and outdoor track, as well as cross country, the Chippewas boast five individual championships and two All-Americans.
After redshirting the indoor season, Rose rejoins a formidable throws corps with seniors Kevin Mays and Ryan McCullough. Mays is fresh off a second-team All-American performance at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in the weight throw and earlier in the season set the CMU weight throw school record, and McCullough owns the CMU hammer throw record.
Rose will likely compete in the discus, an event in which he has qualified for the NCAA Championships in two consecutive seasons, and the shot put, while Mays and McCullough will likely compete in the hammer throw and discus. Senior George Flanner, senior Mychael King, sophomore Nicholas Rainey and sophomore Kyle Smith will also be among the throwers for the Chippewas.
Post, like Rose, will rejoin the hurdlers following a redshirted indoor season. The Chippewas will be strong in the hurdles with MAC individual champions in both the mid-distance hurdles (Post, 400m hurdles) and the short hurdles, as junior Renaldo Powell will look to transfer the momentum from his 60m hurdles indoor individual championship into the spring.
Sophomore Cory Noeker will also look to build upon his third-place finish in the 60m hurdles at the MAC Indoor Championships. Sophomore Parker Scott and redshirt freshman Brandon Piligian round out the hurdlers.
Sophomore Tecumseh Adams will lead the long-distance team and look to add to a 2011-12 resume that already includes MAC individual championships in cross country and the 3,000m run, new school records in the 3,000m and 5,000m runs and a 69th-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Adams will be joined by a strong stable of distance runners who will compete in the 1,500m, 5,000m and 10,000m runs and the steeplechase, including juniors Jason Drudge and Matt Lutzke, and redshirt freshmen Kyle Stacks, Ethan Lievense, Ben Wynsma and Nathan Huff.
Senior Josh Kettlewell will look to follow up his school record and MAC individual championship in the indoor heptathlon with equivalent performances in the outdoor decathlon. Sophomore Tim Reynolds, who finished third in the heptathlon at the MAC Indoor Championships, will also compete in the multi-events.
The sprints and middle distance will be strong for the Chippewas in the outdoor season. Sophomore Ross Parsons leads the short sprints after third- and fourth-place finishes in the 200m and 60m dashes, respectively, at the MAC Indoor Championships. Senior David Ashcraft, who along with Parsons was a member of the school-record-setting 4x400m relay team at the MAC Indoor Championships, will headline the long sprints.
Junior Nathan Sanchez and freshmen Lucas Bade and Davis Nixon are set to compete in the middle distance for the Chippewas. Joining Parsons in the short sprints will be sophomores Greg Knaus and Ryan Brooks and freshman Curt Mitchell. Senior Christopher Thomas and Clay Holman, also members of the school-record 4x400m relay team, will compete with Ashcraft in the long sprints.
Kettlewell and senior jumper Kevin Bacon each recorded fourth-place finishes at the MAC Indoor Championships in the pole vault and long jump, respectively, to lead the jumps corps. Kettlewell will be accompanied by Reynolds, sophomore Adam Lohner and senior Joseph Jankowski in the pole vault, while Bacon will be joined in the long jump by freshman Dee Smith and sophomore Michael Johnson. Bacon, Smith and Johnson will also likely compete in the triple jump throughout the season.
The high jumpers will be lead by sophomore Jake Behmlander.
The first meet of the season will take place Friday, March 23, at LSU for the LSU Relays.