MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Central Michigan track and field team is set to head to the University of Akron this weekend, May 9-11, for the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships. The meet will be held at the Lee R. Jackson Track and Field Complex.
Competition is set to being with the women’s hammer throw trials at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 9, and will conclude with the awards ceremony around 6 p.m., Saturday, May 11.
“We’ve been vey blessed to have great weather the last couple weeks to prepare for the MAC Championships. It has helped training and just lifted everyone’s spirits. Entering the Championships we will be looking for our upper classmen to lead. We are still a young team who keeps gaining experience,” said Director of Track and Field Willie Randolph.
The Chippewas with a total of 30 female and 23 male athletes competing will be looking to improve on their 2012 finishes of third on the men’s side and ninth on the women’s side.
Young Throwing Squad Look to Make Their Marks
Despite the lost of 2012 Individual MAC Champion Ryan McCullough, the men’s hammer throw winner, the throwing squad looks to be on pace to lead the Chippewas at the 2013 MAC Championships. Freshmen Devene Brown and Cole Walderzak lead the way. Brown broke the school discus record twice this season, with her best throw coming in a win at the Penn Relays with a throw of 177-0. Which also has given her the best mark in the MAC. Brown will also be competing in the shot put. Walderzak currently racks fifth in the men’s discus and seventh in the men’s hammer throw. Joining Walderzak in the hammer throw is junior Calvin Jackson, who currently ranks sixth.
On the women’s side with Brown will be joined by senior Kayla Brindley and sophomore Kyla Walworth. Both have thrown personal best throws in the discus this season, ranking ninth and seventh respectively. Taking part in the javelin competition will be 2012 All-American sophomore Milica Kulidzan as well as freshman Kyleigh Young on the women’s side and freshman Brandon McCleese on the men’s side.
Depth in Distance Races Key
The distance races looks to be another area of strength for the Chippewas. The men’s 3000m steeplechase will feature three Chips, sophomores Ethan Lievense and Ben Wynsma and freshman Monte Scott. They hold three of the top-four fastest MAC time heading into the Championships. Senior Maddie Ribant will be looking to make her mark in the women’s 3000m steepchase as she enters with the second-fastest time. Ribant will also be competing in the 5000m race with junior Krista Parks and sophomore Breanne Lesnar. Parks and Lesnar will take part in the women’s 10,000m race along with sophomore Jacquee Overbeek.
In the middle distance races, seniors Nathan Sanchez and Charnele Lyons look to make their final mark as a Chippewas this weekend, competing in both the 800m and 1500m races, on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively.
Experience Leads Hurdles/Sprints
Senior Renaldo Powell and junior Parker Scott look to lead the sprinter and hurdler squad. Powell enters the 110m-hurdle race with the second-fastest time, a personal-record time he earned at the Sea Ray Relays at the University of Tennessee. Scott, who also enters with a second-fastest MAC time, will be competing in the 400m hurdles. Scott is looking to improve upon his sixth-place finish at the 2012 Mid-American Outdoor Championships. Freshman Dee Smith enters the men’s 100m race with the fourth fastest time.
On the women’s side, sophomore Bridget Doughty and junior Shawntoreah Turk will guide the way. Doughty enters the women’s 400m hurdles with the fifth-fastest time. Turk, after missing most of the 2013 indoor season, is looking to continue to increase her time as she competes in the women’s 400m race.
Johnson to Lead Jump Corps
Fresh off a new personal record, junior Michael Johnson will lead the Chippewa jumping corps. Johnson hit his new personal best of 46-08.75 in the triple jump at the Lyle Bennett Open, giving him the seventh-best mark in the conference; freshman Craig Mauldin and sophomore Ryan Miller will join him. Mauldin and Johnson will also be competing in the long jump with freshman Dee Smith.
Juniors Megan Heffner and Samantha Stein will be competing in the women’s high jump along with senior Misha Lamphere. Stein and Heffner tied for sixth in the high jump at the 2013 indoor championships.