The men’s track and field team dominated the competition Friday night at the CMU Open with strong results from underclassmen.
This was the first meet since winter break, and it served as an important test early in the season for the young team. Despite the hiatus, CMU showcased some peak performances, including three Mid-American Conference qualifying times and several first-place victories.
CMU ran away from the competition with several victories and top-three finishes by freshmen and sophomores. due to lack of experience on the team, underclassmen have had to step up and assume leadership roles in the team.
Sophomore Ethan Lievense took first in the 1600-meter run, clocking in at 4:20.25, later followed by sophomore Monte Scott, who took third.
“Individually, this is my third year here and my second wearing a jersey. I’m ready to start winning and being a bigger part of the team,” Lievense said. “I want to be a MAC champion. I want to be a leader for the team. We have a pretty young team, and I’m ready to step up.”
The Chippewas will rely on the deep, younger class of runners to continue to excel in the coming months. Despite a lack of experience, they are expected to perform without their age being an excuse.
“We don’t like to call our athletes freshmen, or seniors or whatever; we call them athletes,” said track and field director Willie Randolph. “When it’s one athlete against each other, instead of bringing age into it, they just compete.”
Continuing to impress were the veteran upperclassmen, who also had their share of victories and top-place finishes.
Junior Ross Parsons finished second in the 60m dash, and Clay Holman took second in the 200m dash with a time of 22.8 seconds. Taking second in the 60m hurdles was junior Scott Parker, followed by Chaz Bradshaw in third.
CMU faced its share of challenges, competing in the first meet since the Christmas break. This meet was a gauge to see where the team stood going into the season.
“Our goals coming in were to judge our athletes mentally and physically after the Christmas break,” Randolph said. “We saw today, mentally, they are competitors. The physical aspect, we still have to work on because there are still some nerves in there as well.
“Realistically, you only need marks that you can build on this early in the season. We got some solid performances considering we’ve been off that long.”
The Chippewas start off the season strong with a win; however Randolph said, there is still a lot of room for growth and development throughout this year.
“They’re sore and still a bit flat,” he said. “But, as the weeks progress, it’s going to get better, sharper, quicker, and that’s when they can explode when it counts.
“The challenge of keeping yourself calm, focused and ready to execute when it matters, we weren’t really there at the beginning,” he said. “That’s just something that we need to work on as the season progresses and the rust shakes off.”
CMU will be back on the track Saturday when it travels to Michigan for the Simons-Harvey Invitational.