Central Michiga’s track and field teams had a busy yet successful weekend.
Members split up across the country, competing in the Penn Relays at University of Pennsylvania, the Triton Classic in San Diego, and Hillsdale Invitational in Hillsdale.
A few Chippewas were sent to Penn State on Friday, each hoping elite competition would earn them a Mid-American Conference automatic qualifier or first round NCAA ranking.
All of the Chippewas who competed in the 10K managed personal bests.
Junior Breanne Lesnar finished 10th overall with a time of 34:50.14. Senior Krista Parks and freshman Kelly Schubert finished 11th and 18th, respectively.
“We were shooting to be under 35 minutes, but I really had no idea what to expect,” Lesnar said. “I’ve only ran one other 10K and my time was 37:37, so this is a pretty big new PR. Going into the race, I tried not to get psyched out by the other girls. I wanted to just find a pack to hold onto, so it was really good to have that kind of competition.”
Lesnar is ranked in the top 48 for the East Region, which means she should be able to compete in the first round of the NCAA championships.
On the men’s side, sophomore Nate Ghena finished in 11th with a personal best of 30:08.17.
“I was a little upset immediately after the race just because I was only eight seconds away from going under 30,” Ghena said. “As more time has passed from the meet, though, I’m more and more proud of my race.”
Ghena, who is ranked No. 62 in the NCAA East, hopes to make the top-48 at the MAC meet.
“Everybody did a great job,” said director of track and field, Mark Guthrie. “Penn Relays is one of the most prestigious meets in the country, so it’s a really huge testament to the quality of athletes.”
CMU’s top throwers traveled to University of California San Diego over the weekend to compete at the Triton Invite.
In the women’s hammer throw, freshman Kylee Dobbelaere threw a personal record of 176-foot-3. Dobbelaere’s throw earned her 17th place overall. She is now ranked as the No. 4 freshman in the NCAA East Region.
“This was a great opener,” Guthrie said.
With its success, CMU was dealt a setback.
Senior Alex Rose, one of the team’s most successful throwers, injured his pectoral muscle while throwing. Guthrie said he was not certain about the severity of the injury or how long Rose will be out.
A large portion of the track and field team attended the only in-state meet of the weekend.
In the men’s 400m, freshman Malik Vasquez nabbed a first place finish in the championship event. He ran a personal record of 48.23.
Junior Abbey Kelto finished just behind Eastern Michigan’s Anna Aldrich in the women’s 5k. Kelto’s time (17:17) was also a personal best.
In the women’s high jump, senior Megan Heffner was able to break a slump. She earned a season best, 5-foot-6.
“I was in an outdoor funk for the beginning of the season,” Heffner said. “It’s all a mental game. All that rain and wind was messing with my mind, so I tried going into it with a positive attitude and kept telling myself that the weather doesn’t affect my jump.”
Now that she has beaten her mental block, Heffner has big plans for the rest of the season. She, like the rest of the Chippewas, is hoping to place in both the conference and national meets.
“In general, I’m very pleased with the effort our students gave us,” Guthrie said. “No matter which coast we were on, we had good performances, and significantly more good than bad. That’s essential for this time in the season, when we’re coming down to the end.”