Monday, January 26, 2009

Men nearly sweep pole vault

Issue date: 1/26/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

With a near sweep in the pole vault, the Central Michigan's men's track team improved in nearly all aspects Saturday at the Red Simmons Invitational in Ann Arbor.

Junior Marcus Briedinger won the event with a season-best 16 foot, 2.75 inch jump and fellow junior Mike McGregor finished in third place, clearing 15 feet, 9 inches.

After being bothered by injuries to begin the year, it was McGregor's first meet of the season, and head coach Jim Knapp believes the performance in the pole vault had a trickle-down effect to the rest of the team.

"That helped a great deal," Knapp said. "Everybody's aware that Marcus won the thing and with McGregor just coming back from injury and him being successful, I think that was very motivational as well."

The Chippewas' early success in the pole vault - the day's third event - carried over to the rest of the squad as they improved "across the board" over last week's performance at Kent State, according to Knapp.

"I thought we were more competitive than we were a week ago," he said, noting in some cases the improvement might not show because of the better competition the team faced on Saturday.

CMU competed in the University of Michigan-hosted event against a field that consisted mostly of in-state schools but featured out-of-state teams like South Florida and Valparaiso.

"Being on the track with the likes of Michigan and Eastern Michigan, we've got some holes we still have to fill," Knapp said.

All-American distance runner Abraham Mach made his season debut, finishing as the runner-up in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:20.72.

"I was excited and it was great to be able to get back out there and run," Mach said about competing for the first time since June.

Knapp said he was impressed with where Mach stood despite him being a little rusty and not in race shape his first race back.

"I thought he did a good job getting back to work and conditioning himself," he said. "He's a thoroughbred and he's a competitor. The next time on the track I'm sure he'll be as good, if not better."

Junior Riak Mabil followed up last week's MAC Track Athlete of the Week performance with a sixth place finish of 8:34.21 in the 3,000-meter run.

The team travels to Ypsilanti and compete in a rare scored tri-meet between Eastern Michigan and University of Detroit.

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