12 athletes earn automatic bid to MAC Indoor Championships
The Central Michigan track and field teams will face their biggest test of the season this weekend at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships.
The meet will kick off at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at Eastern Michigan with field events and track preliminaries.
Remaining field events and track finals will continue on Saturday.
Though only 12 athletes earned an automatic bid, others are on the declared list and will participate. From the entire field of participating athletes, 14 men and 20 women will compete in each event, said head coach Mark Guthrie.
With a tighter and more competitive field, Guthrie said this meet is unlike previous ones this season.
“Every week, (the athletes) have been working to get better and better,” he said. “But in the championships, all that matters is doing your best on one particular day.”
Freshman Nadia Williams was the only athlete on the women’s team to earn an automatic bid in two events.
The top-seeded men’s athlete is senior Dylan Bangs, who is second in the weight throw. He will be facing first-seeded Reginald Jagers from Kent State. Jagers handed Banagis one of his few losses on the season at the EMU Triangular in late January.
“All that matters is that I compete at my very best in the (championship),” said Banagis earlier this season. “That’s really all you can do in a sport like track.”
Athletes who qualify will compete in the NCAA Indoor Championship on March 10-11 at College Station, Texas.
Women’s automatic qualifiers:
Sophomore Samantha Cuneo: First seed, 400
Freshman Ja’la Taylor: Sixth seed, triple jump
Senior Kelsey Ross: Sixth seed, 800
Junior Megan O’Neil: Sixth seed, mile
Junior Rebekah Petty: Seventh seed, pole vault
Senior Kylee Dobbelaere: Eighth seed, weight throw
Freshman Nadia Williams: Ninth seed, long jump
Freshman Nadia Williams: Ninth seed, 60
Sophomore Calli Stemple: Ninth seed, high jump
Men’s automatic qualifiers:
Senior Dylan Banagis: Second seed, weight throw
Sophomore Jake Peister: Fourth seed, triple jump
Senior Melvin Harris: Fourth seed, high jump
Sophomore Benjamin Hayes: Fifth seed, 400