The Central Michigan track and field teams were able to showcase their talents in Mount Pleasant for the first time in the outdoor regular season, at the Lyle Bennett Open Saturday.
“To consider the weather wasn’t on our side, I think we got some solid performances,” said director of track and field Willie Randolph. “The main thing was to get a team atmosphere pulled all together. This was the first time every group was here, at the same place, at the same time.”
It was a short drive for many family and friends of CMU athletes. They wrapped themselves in heavy clothing and sipped hot chocolate to stay warm for the only home meet of the regular season.
Bridget Doughty gave the Chippewas fan base the best performance of the day.
The time of 1:01.84, she had in the 400 meter, qualified her for the USA track and field juniors. She will compete against the best 18- and 19-year-olds across the country, and then go to the World Juniors, Randolph said.
“It definitely makes me excited for the future. I just want to keep continuing on improving,” Doughty said. “I just give a lot of credit to the coaches for training us right.”
Alex Rose also had success. He placed first in the men’s discus throw at 55.04m. He said he has put more focus on the event.
“Technically, I really worked on putting a lot of momentum in the discus,” Rose said. “And not wasting any effort that I make inside of the circle.”
One of the biggest cheers did not come from the success of the Chippewas, but the athletes of the Special Olympics, in their first of three events. About every athlete and spectator put what they were doing on hold to give them an ovation.
It was hard to ignore Randolph exuberance. He was waiting at the finish line of the Special Olympics 100m yelling “Keep it going. Keep it going.”
“It’s fun. We’re all people. Being people no matter what color, what size, no matter what’s going on, you got to share love and you got to give back and support each other,” Randolph said. “It’s not about how fast you run or jump or throw, all the time.”
Alma, Calvin, Detroit Mercy, Davenport, Lake Superior State, Michigan State and Oakland also competed in the open.
CMU will remain in the confines of the Lyle Bennett outdoor track in the Mid-American Conference Championships May 10-12.
Central Michigan’s distance runners participated in the Penn Relays Thursday. Tecumseh Adams third-place finish, in the 5,000m, was the highest among the Chippewas.
He had a time of 14:02.59 in a tight race.
“The competition was really good,” Adams said. “I was pretty happy. I’m still trying to get back to where I was (in the indoor season). I’m hoping, later in the season, to get under the 14-minute mark.”
Holly Anderson and Krista Parks had career best in the women’s 5000 meter. Anderson finished ninth with a time of 16:43.71 and Parks had a time of 16:56.92, finishing 12th in the Olympic Development section.
Ethan Lievense also competed in the Olympic Development section, placed seventh in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a career-best time of 9:10.35.