Sports / Track & Field

Men’s track heads back to Kentucky for Louisville Open

The men’s track team will return to Kentucky today, this time for the Louisville Invitational.

After taking last weekend off, the throwers will travel with the team and look to continue their recent success and finish the season strong.

Among these athletes is freshman javelin thrower Brandon McCleese. McCleese is coming off one of his best performances of the season at the Spartan Invitational in East Lansing on April 6. Despite throwing into strong winds, McCleese was able to throw a personal season-best 171-04, taking second place.

Wind and harsh weather conditions had a big impact on the meet, so, with the hopes of good weather in Louisville, McCleese is excited to start throwing again.

“Hopefully my results will be a lot better,” McCleese said. “The weather played a big role last meet in my performance, so I’m hoping to do a lot better this week and improve on my results.”

While many of his teammates are focused on the Mid-American Conference championships in a few weeks, McCleese is concerned with pushing himself and improving as much as he can.

“Before the end of the season, I really just want to focus on beating myself,” McCleese said. “I really want to PR; when I beat myself, that’s when everything else falls into place.”

If McCleese continues to improve at the rate he has been this season, he will find himself qualifying for the MAC championship meet. His season-best throw of 171-04 is a little more than 10 feet short of an automatically qualifying mark for the championships, but there are still a couple meets remaining to improve, he said.

“I’ve been working hard in practice,” McCleese said. “Just trying to hone in on some of the little things like the technical stuff.”

The rest of the throwers will also be competing this weekend. This meet will be big for a couple of throwers trying to hit qualifying marks, including freshman Cole Walderzak. In the hammer and the discus throws, he is just short of qualifying marks and will look to hit it at Louisville.

After already qualifying for the MAC championship meet in the hammer throw, junior Calvin Jackson will hope to qualify in the discus and improve in the hammer.

The jumpers will also be headed south for the second-straight week.

Freshman Craig Mauldin had trouble in the first meet of the weekend but was able to recover and have a decent performance in the second at Western Kentucky. Mauldin has already qualified for the MAC championship meet in the triple jump, so he will be looking to do the same in the long jump.

Sophomore Dee Smith competed in the triple jump for the first time last weekend and will look to build off his strong third place performance from last week.

Junior Michael Johnson and sophomore Ryan Miller will also jump this weekend after sitting out last weekend’s Northwood Open because of weather conditions.

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