Distance running will be strength for both men's and women's track and field
A mix of veterans and youth has made the track and field distance runners a threat in this weekend's Mid-American Conference championships.
Sophomores Ethan Lievense and Kyle Stacks for the men's team and senior Charnele Lyons for women will be looking to give CMU some strong performances in Ypsilanti.
The two sophomore runners will be competing in the 3000m, 5000m and mile run for their team. Even more impressive, they are ranked in the top five in each event.
"It puts a lot of weight on my shoulders, but knowing I have my teammate doing the exact same thing helps," Stacks said. "Because we’re both going to be going through the same pain. It’s a pretty cool feeling."
Going into this weekend, Lyons will be competing in the mile run, the 800m dash and will racing alongside her teammates in the women’s DNR relay.
Competing once again in the MAC championships is something that Lyons always knew would happen once again, despite having to miss last season due to injury.
“I knew I was going to come back; there wasn’t a doubt in my mind,” Lyons said. “It wasn’t a matter of if I was coming back, it was a matter of when I was coming back.”
With this being her senior year, Lyons knows what it takes to compete and excel at this level. She credits her coaching staff for always being there for her and helping her get the training that she needs on a weekly basis.
Also, with 2013 being her first track and field season in roughly two years, both Lyons and her teammates are grateful for her successful return to the competition.
“Marks are good, but it doesn’t matter until you actually step up to the line that particular day,” Lyons said. “I’m optimistic, and I’m expecting to do well despite the competition.”
Stacks and Lievense on the other hand are sophomores, so they don't have the experience that Lyons brings for the women.
But both are finding success this season, despite the youth.
Stacks has achieved MAC-qualifying times at the GVSU Quad, Simmons-Harvey Invitational and Meyo Invitational, setting personal records at the Simmons-Harvey Invitational and Indiana Relays.
He is ranked second in the 3000m run with a posted time of 8:18.81. He is also third in the mile run and the 5000m run. With championships this weekend, Stacks is ready to show why he holds such a high spot.
"I've been ranked this high before, but this year it’s a little bit different because I can hang with these guys and I also have teammates there with me," Stacks said. "I would definitely like to medal in all of my events if I can, and I would love to win any of them."
Lievense has been neck and neck with his teammate all season setting his MAC-qualifying marks and even achieving personal records in the same meets and races as Stacks.
He is ranked second in the conference in the 5000m run after running 14:30.02 at the Meyo Invite. Lievense also holds the fourth-place spot in the mile run and stands ranked in fifth in the 3000m run.
"I haven’t really been this highly touted since high school," Lievense said. "So, to be ranked that highly at this level is really something. It’s a special feeling, especially to be in all three races."
While a lot is riding on the performances of just three athletes, they know that a team effort is required to win. After the men took third in the indoor meet last season and the women 10th, both teams will be hungry to be the best in the MAC.