Akron Invitational • Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2-3 • 4 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. Saturday • The Stile Athletics Field House, Akron, Ohio • @CMUtrack
SETTING THE SCENE
CMU track and field will leave the state of Michigan for the first time this season when it participates in the Akron Invitational. With that, the Chippewas will also be exposed to more Mid-American Conference teams than they normally encounter during the indoor regular season. Five conference opponents – Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Kent State and host Akron – are scheduled to partake in the meet along with national programs South Florida, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, among others.
• The meet will be separated into blue and gold divisions, which will act as tiers for competition. The gold division will feature the premier athletes at the meet, which features an impressive list of national-scale stalwarts.
• CMU men scheduled to compete in the blue division: Connor Covert (shot put, weight throw), Jack Dodge (60 meters), A.J. Frens (pole vault), Brett Hannah (800 meters), Ja’Corey Lipsey (400 meters), Isaac Sadzewicz (pole vault), Joe Seghi (pole vault, long jump, 60 meters), Aaron Taylor (high jump, 60m hurdles), Sam Wagner (pole vault) and Lorenzo Wells (60 meters).
• CMU women scheduled to compete in the blue division: Maya Bennett (weight throw), Allee Bunting (shot put), Marissa Dunn (weight throw), Alexis Grandys (mile run), Emily Helfrich (high jump), Aisha Jackson (60m hurdles), Brooklin Klopf (shot put), Morgan Merlino (800 meters), Michaela Peramaki (pole vault), Alexandria Robinson (high jump, 60m hurdles), Kasey Staley (pole vault) and Kyla Walton (400 meters).
WHAT TO WATCH
• CMU’s Nadia Williams is the No. 3 seed in the Gold women’s long jump with a mark of 6.12 meters. She will look to keep pace with Kent State senior Cayla Carey, who is seeded second at 6.17 meters, along with top seed Danique Bryan of West Virginia. Williams will also run in the 200-meter gold race.
• The Chippewas’ Kevin Weiler will look to extend his win streak , but will face a rigorous challenge ahead. The junior has been placed in the premier segment of the event, the “gold” division, and occupies the No. 2 seed with a career-best of 17.83 meters. Indiana Tech’s Malik Stuart holds the top spot at 18.07 meters.
• CMU’s Erin Howard is one of two freshmen in the Gold women’s shot put and her season-best 15.28-meter effort, puts her in the third seed.
• Logan Targgart, a Chippewa sophomore, is the top seed in the men’s weight throw (19.52 meters) and will look to fend off the best Akron has to offer in order to take the title. The Zips’ Philip Jagers (19.46) and Maurice Harris (19.08) are both strong competitors. Those two own the third and fourth-best throws, respectively, in the conference this season behind Targgart (second) and Kent State’s Jake Wickey, who is first (20.19).
• CMU high jumper Calli Stemple is tied for the fifth seed at 1.72 meters with Kent State’s Alyssa Matheny. The only other MAC competitor in the event is top-seed Regan Lewis of Ball State (1.82).
• CMU freshman Ryan Taylor is the fourth seed (14.76 meters) in a field of nine entrants in the men’s triple jump and is fresh off setting that seed mark last week at SVSU. Kent State’s Anthony Milliner is the top seed and is the only athlete to have leaped 15 meters (15.01).
• The Chippewas’ Logan Kleam and Luke Anderson are the sixth and seventh seeds, respectively, in the men’s mile. Kleam is the highest-seeded freshman in the event (4:14.89), and will be running in the event for just the second time as a collegian. His time is currently fifth-best in the conference.
• CMU’s Gabby Beauvais will try to upset top-seeded Tyler Williams of Akron (54.57) seconds) in the women’s 400 meters. Beauvais owns the No. 2 seed at 55.90, but she recorded that time more than 10 months ago at the Tennessee Rust Buster outdoor meet last March. She will run in the event for the first time since this weekend.
• The Chipewas’ Emmett Smrcka is looking to continue his progression in the men’s 800. Smrcka has set personal bests in each of his last two meets – improving by nearly two full seconds last week at Saginaw Valley – and is the No. 6 seed in a field of 12. The redshirt freshman’s seed mark of 1:53.41 is the third-best time in the MAC this season.
• The other CMU Gold Division competitors: Ali Taha (men’s long jump), Quiara Wheeler (women’s weight throw), Ja’La Taylor (women’s triple jump), Hannah Davis (women’s mile run), Erick Huertas (men’s 400 meters), Simonae Dismuke (women’s 400 meters), Jack Dodge (men’s 200 meters), Lorenzo Wells (men’s 200 meters), Kirsten Olling (women’s 3,000 meters), and the men’s 4 x 400-meter relay.