Men’s track and field picked up some much-needed times and marks this weekend at the Jack Skoog Meet, preparing for next week’s Mid-American Conference championships.
The Chippewas had plenty of athletes improve their marks and win their events, but this weekend was about getting in the right mindset before championships next week.
“The marks came, but the bottom line is recognizing the support that came from each other and the work they put in together,” said track and field director Willie Randolph. “There were a lot of improvements today, and that happened from support. It was one of the best team-played meets that we had, and it was exactly what we needed going into conferences.”
The Chippewas added more MAC qualifiers Friday night, the most impressive performance coming from junior Michael Johnson.
Johnson qualified in the triple jump with a mark of 46-00.75 and also beat his personal record by more than three feet.
“It’s great to get it flowing right before conference championships,” Johnson said. “Going into that big of a meet, it’s setting the bar high and setting the tone for what is to come.”
Johnson took first in the triple jump and is now ranked 11th in the conference.
Freshman Craig Mauldin also won and qualified in the long jump with a personal record distance of 22-06.25. Mauldin qualified in the triple jump in the first meet of the season and is ranked 10th in the MAC.
Mauldin is one of the 13 CMU athletes to have qualified for the MAC Indoor Championships. This gives the team more options and depth that could help give it an edge to put together a strong team performance next week.
“It’s like going into a battle,” Randolph said. “If you know that we have some more bullets to shoot, that should mean we have a bit more confidence, just because we have some more ammunition that we can use to help each other.”
The Chippewas had a strong showing from athletes in all events. In the high jump, junior Tim Reynolds took second place with a height of 1.95m. Junior Calvin Jackson took second in the men’s weight throw with a throw of 58-02.00, while senior Alex Rose threw a 57-00.00, a new personal best.
Junior Andrew Barrett won the 400m run with a time of 51.86. Senior Jason Drudge won in the 3000m run with a time of 8:57.81. Close on his trail was junior Tanner Pesonen, who took second.
In the mile run, freshman Nate Ghena took second place, clocking in at 4:22.8. Next weekend, Ghena will be competing in the 5000m run where he is ranked 10th.
This was a solid swan song for the Chippewas in the final meet before championships. Randolph was impressed with his team’s energy at the end of the night and plans to ride that momentum into next week.
“I think it just got us more focused as far as getting our emotions going and getting in the right mindset,” Randolph said. “It was good to get everybody in the mindset of ‘MAC is next week’. We just want to prepare so when that time comes it’s not a surprise and we’re ready for it.”