The men’s track and field team will travel to Ann Arbor this weekend for the Simmons-Harvey Invitational to test its mettle after an overwhelming home victory last weekend.
Last week, CMU had four athletes meet Mid-American Conference Championship qualifying marks, including senior Nathan Huff, sophomore Tanner Pesonen, freshman Craig Mauldin and sophomore Dee Smith.
Also attending the invitational Saturday will be Eastern Michigan, the University of Delaware and host Michigan. This will be a good gauge for the Chippewas as well as an opportunity to gain more momentum as the season starts rolling.
“Each week it should get a little more competitive at the meets we go to,” said director of track and field Willie Randolph. “Michigan always comes competitive, but we don’t really pay attention to conference names; we just go in there and compete.”
Expect to see more solid performances from the young CMU team. Juniors Ross Parsons and Clay Holman and sophomores Clinton Cargile, Ethan Lievense and Kyle Stacks all put forth good efforts for the Chippewas.
Despite Michigan’s close loss last week to Ohio State, the Wolverines have been heating up. They are a well-rounded team with an abundance of young talent.
Both teams have a large number of developing freshman and sophomore runners. With a deep roster of young athletes, U-M will present a challenging adversary for the growing CMU team.
“I would say that we’re going to see a lot of competition coming out of the sprints and the hurdles,” Randolph said. “We’ll definitely see some from the jumping events, pole vaults and some other areas. Of course, Michigan has also had some really good distance running for years.”
The Chippewas are looking to benefit from this competitive atmosphere. While championships are still a long ways off, the indoor season is short and the focus on making qualifying times is looming over the athletes.
This weekend, a few athletes are getting rest to prepare for the coming weeks. Allowing beat up players some reprieve is an important strategy to keep athletes fresh into the offseason.
“Sometimes it’s better to pull back and train instead of trying to just go out and figure it out during the meet,” Randolph said. “There are times when to we need to pull back and fix things to make sure that when we get to championships we’re ready to go versus being broke from rushing.”