The Central Michigan men’s track and field team returned to action this weekend, competing in the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
Only a select few athletes were sent to the meet at Notre Dame, while members of the throwing corps competed separately at the University of Findlay.
At Notre Dame, more than 49 other schools participated in the invitational, including LSU, Gerogia, Florida and others from all over the country.
Going into this weekend, CMU hoped to use the intense competitive atmosphere to simulate the conditions of the Mid-American Conference championships. The high level of talent provided a challenge for the CMU distance runners and sprinters.
“Overall, we had a lot of solid marks moving us forward,” said director of track and field Willie Randolph. “Obviously we had more qualifiers this weekend, moving us up in the conference.”
In the 5,000 meters, sophomore Ethan Lievense finished fifth with a MAC championship-qualifying time of 14:30.02. Close behind was sophomore Kyle Stacks, who took 10th with a time of 14:35.74, which was also good enough to qualify. The young distance duo has been qualifying for their events week after week and have now qualified for the MAC Indoor Championships in the mile, the 3,000 meters and the 5,000 meters.
The CMU distance runners are a young group made up of mostly sophomores, with only three seniors and one junior running distance events. These young athletes represent the team as a whole: young, improving and hungry.
“We have a ton of guys coming in really strong for us,” Lievense said. “Guys like Nate Ghena and Monte Scott, who have only been here for a couple years and haven’t had a very prominent high school experience, so they’re coming in and really pushing Kyle and I and the rest of the sophomores on the team. It’s great that you’ve got that push on your back reminding you that you’ve got to be working hard everyday.”
Junior sprinter Ross Parsons had his first MAC qualifying mark of the season in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.90 seconds. He finished eighth in the semifinal race, which was not high enough to continue to the finals.
Freshman hurdler Ziemowit Dutkiewicz took 10th in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:05.13. With the large number of elite athletes in the running events, many Chippewas were kept off the podium in South Bend.
In Findlay, Ohio, the CMU throwers competed at the Findlay Open to gain experience at a meet with better competition. The throwers are led by senior and reigning MAC discus champion Alex Rose.
Rose threw in the shot put “elite” competition at Findlay, finishing ninth with a throw of 54-02.00. Junior Calvin Jackson threw in the men’s weight throw on Friday. He did not place in the event, but qualified for MAC championships with a heave of 57-03.00.