Cuneo wins 400, 3 throwers hit career-highs at MAC Indoor Championships


Belmont sophomore Samantha Cuneo finishes first in the 400 meter dash on Feb. 25 at Bowen Field House.

Sophomore Samantha Cuneo didn’t have a Mid-American Championship in mind when the indoor track season began.

The Belmont native was the lone first-place finisher for the women's track team, winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.02 at the MAC Indoor Championships on Saturday at Eastern Michigan.

Cuneo’s win gave the Central Michigan women’s team 10 points, which helped lead them to a seventh-place finish.

“I never expected to be a MAC champion going into the season, so today is a really good day," Cuneo said after winning. “Being seeded higher is definitely an advantage. It gives you confidence and it’s intimidating for opponents.”

Cuneo wasn’t the only CMU athlete on their game at the meet. Seniors Dylan Banagis and Kylee Dobbelaere and freshman Logan Targgart all hit career-high marks in the weight throw.

Banagis and Targgart helped secure a fifth-place team finish for the men’s team with 51 points. Akron took home both the men’s and women’s titles.

Banagis finished second with a distance of 21.11 meters in the weight throw, while Targgart came in fourth with a distance of 18.94.

“It’s tough to lose, but it’s easier when you’ve thrown farther than you have in your entire life," Banagis said. "(Kent State’s Reginald Jagers) took first (and) threw a (personal record) too, so it just comes down to who does better on any given day.”

Dobbelaere took fifth in the women’s weight throw with an 18.37.

“I put myself in a tough place with a slow start,” Dobbelaere said. “But the pressure put me in a place where I needed to set a personal record on the next throw.”

Men’s top results:

Sophomore Kevin Weiler took third place in the shotput with 16.80 meters, while Logan Targgart finished fifth and set another personal best of 16.49.

“I (had a personal record) in both (shot put and weight throw), so I feel good about how I ended the season,” Targgart said. “I just want to keep improving on both every year and hopefully end up a MAC champ.”

Second-seeded sophomore Benjamin Hayes finished second in the men’s 400 with a time of 47.87, winning his heat by a hair.

After leading through 300 meters, junior Scott Cousino fell to third in the 800 with a time of 1:54.38. Just behind him was freshman Luke Anderson, who finished seventh with a time of 1:55.58.

CMU's distance medley relay squad of Anderson, sophomore Ben Yagiela and juniors Erick Huertas and Joseph Emmanuel took fourth with a 10:13.83 finish in the finals.

Senior Nicholas Malliaras gave the team four points with his fourth-place finish in the heptathlon with 4979 points. He finished first in the 60, sixth in high jump, seventh in pole vault, tenth in hurdles and fifth in long jump, shot put and the 1000.

An 8:29.32 finish in the men’s 3000 gave junior Joseph Emmanuel fifth place, along with two team points.

Two Chippewas put some team points on the board in the 5000, with seniors Silas DeKalita and Spencer Nousain finishing fifth and sixth in 15:00.83 and 15:02.26, respectively.

Sophomore Jake Peister took fifth in the triple jump with 14.77 meters.

Junior Lorenzo Wells finished the 200 in 22.22 seconds, which was good for sixth place.

With a high of 4.62 meters, freshman Isaac Sadzewicz took sixth place in the men’s pole vault.

Senior Casey Voisin sprinted down the stretch of the men’s mile to finish eighth in 4:20.56, just .04 seconds ahead of ninth.

Women’s top results:

The team of juniors Megan O’Neil and Kyla Walton and seniors Michaela Bundy and Kelly Schubert took third place in the women’s distance medley, earning six team points with an 11:44.77 finish.

Freshman Ja’la Taylor took seventh in the triple jump with 11.77 meters, only 13 centimeters short of a personal best.

After a strong start, senior Kelsey Ross faltered down the stretch of the 800, finishing fourth with 2:11.89, a half-second short of third.

With a top score of 3.82 meters, junior Rebekah Petty took seventh in the pole vault.

Coming just a centimeter short of placing, freshman Nadia Williams took ninth in the long jump with 5.86. This was one of three events in which she competed. Her 24.96 second finish in the 200 placed her fifth.

Williams also competed in the 60, though she fell two places short of making the finals in the prelims on Friday.

CMU’s Mikaela Grant was the only freshman to place in the pentathlon, finishing seventh. She took third in shot put, third in long jump, fourth in high jump, ninth in hurdles, and 11th in the 800.

Next up:

Most of the athletes who participated in the indoor championships will continue into the outdoor season, beginning on March 25 at the “Tennessee Rust Buster” in Knoxville, Tennessee.