CMU men’s track and field will face its first test as a full team at the Grand Valley State-hosted Quad meet where it’ll compete with Eastern Michigan, Hillsdale and GVSU.
Last week, the Chippewas performed admirably in Ann Arbor, especially the distance runners led by sophomores Kyle Stacks and Ethan Lievense. Both athletes qualified for Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships and placed first and second in their races, respectively. Senior mid-distance runner Nathan Sanchez also won in the 800m run.
The young CMU team has been growing as the season goes on, showing mid-season form early in the year. This week will be another opportunity for improvement and preparing their bodies for championship season.
“We always say that success is something you can grow from,” said director of track and field Willie Randolph. “But, it was still yesterday. We’re trying to work toward the future and move forward. What we took from (last week) is that we have some great things happening, but we still want to support each other and understand what we’re doing. So we’re trying to make sure that everybody is on that same wavelength as far as staying competitive and focused.”
With a few meets under their belt, underclassmen have been stepping up to fulfill leadership roles on the team. A strong freshman and sophomore class has been putting up more points for the Chippewas.
Freshman Clinton Cargile and sophomores Stacks and Lievense make up part of a strong running corps supplemented by the jumpers in sophomore Dee Smith, as well as freshmen duo Craig Mauldin and Matt Mueller.
These young athletes are led by the consistent performances of juniors Clay Holman, Ross Parsons, Cory Noeker and Calvin Jackson.
This weekend, CMU will come together as a whole team.
“The main thing is just making sure that they’re working with their chemistry together and feeding off each other’s energy,” Randolph said. “It’s going to be a great meet and something that the athletes really need to have as a kind of dress rehearsal before our conference meet.”
To receive better training, Stacks and Lievense will attend a meet in Indiana on Friday before heading to GVSU with the rest of the Chippewas. Also, Randolph has plans for some distance runners to train in opposite events this weekend in order to work different areas of the body.
“Right now their marks are coming together but we’re still doing some things a bit differently,” Randolph said. “We’re getting some of their opposite events going so their muscles and their bodies can come together for their main event later on, same thing with the sprints and hurdles doing opposite events to get ready for the main event. Everyone is starting to look pretty good but we want to look great and feel great at the end of the year and that’s where it’s most important.”