Select athletes of the men’s track and field team will compete Saturday in Allendale at the Grand Valley State Big Meet.
This begins the two-week period where competitors from all around the Mid-American Conference will be making their final preparations before the MAC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
This weekend will be the final week of competition for some. The Chippewas host the Jack Skroog meet next weekend, which is used primarily as a last chance for those who have not yet qualified.
“This week is our last competition week, so I’m hoping to get a really good 200 qualifying time,” said junior Ross Parsons. “I got my 60 time in, so I’m really focusing on my 200 and trying to put together a really good 200 so I have that in my system going into MACs.
“My times aren’t anywhere near where I want them to be right now. But I know that these two weeks of rest and recovery will really give my legs more strength and endurance to put out a really good mark at conference.”
CMU’s throwers and some jumpers will be resting this weekend, as well as a few sprinters and distance runners who have earned some recovery time.
The burden now lies on director of track and field Willie Randolph to make strategic adjustments to his lineup to best prepare his team for victory at the MAC Championships on Feb. 22.
Only a few members of the team will be running this weekend. Randolph expressed that, for the most part, his runners have qualified in the events they will be running in at Championships.
This allows him to work on getting these athletes ready for competition and putting them in the best condition to win.
“The strategy, as far as resting up your top athletes at certain times to make sure they can get more training in versus just attending competition, is extremely important for each event,” Randolph said. “It really differs depending on the athlete and person-to-person.
“But, the main focus is always on getting things done and knowing that they can go back and train. Making sure they’re staying sharp, that’s the key. You can’t let the athletes be off too long and have them be flat when they come back.”
Much of this focus has been on combining the build-up physical endurance with mental stamina. While Randolph feels that his athletes’ bodies are solid, he still wishes to strengthen their will. In order to win, CMU will need every athlete to perform to the best of their ability.
“These next two weeks are extremely important,” Randolph said. “Every program across the country is finalizing on what your individuals going into the MAC Championships are doing,”
This makes the handling of these few short weeks before Championships all the more vital.
“You want to make sure that they’re ready to go in their main events and their secondary events,” Randolph said. “You want to make sure they’re mentally and physically getting rested up so that they are sharp enough to be able to go when it counts.”