Friday, January 23, 2009

Men's track team looks to regain form

Chippewas travel to Red Simmons Invitational in Ann Arbor

Issue date: 1/23/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

One week after regressing in its second meet after winter break, the CMU men's track team will look to bounce back at the Red Simmons Invitational Saturday in Ann Arbor.

After a solid performance in the Chippewa Open on Jan. 9, the team traveled to Kent State and "lacked focus," in the words of head coach Jim Knapp.

"I'm confused about that," Knapp said of the team's inconsistency the past two meets. "We have to get a little more focused about how we weren't quite as good last week as we were the first weekend at home."

Tomorrow, the team will travel to the home of the No. 17 Michigan Wolverines and compete in a non-scoring meet against local teams beginning at 10 a.m., according to Michigan's official athletic site.

"We don't pay a whole lot of attention to that," said Knapp when asked about the competition level of Saturday's event. "I just concentrate on what we're doing and our people getting ready to do what they're capable of doing."

Knapp said that until the team arrives at an event, they do not know for sure who will attend, noting a situation last week when several schools that entered the meet never showed up for different reasons.

"Track and field is strictly an offensive sport," he said. "There's nothing that you can legally do to impede the progress of the other team. So the competition is really irrelevant."

MAC Honors

After winning their respective events last weekend, it was announced Thursday that junior Riak Mabil and sophomore Oz Lifshitz both took home Mid-American Conference Athlete of the Week awards for Track and Field.

Mabil's time of 15:02.12 currently stands as the conference-best mark in the 500-meter run and Lifshitz, who won the triple jump by almost 20 inches, holds the top two jumps in the conference so far this year.

"I'm really happy with my first MAC honor," Lifshitz said. "This will give me more inspiration to push myself harder and try to represent CMU in the best way that I can."

Lifshitz said that he does not plan on jumping again until Notre Dame's Meyo Invitational the weekend of Feb. 6.

The coaching staff replaced much of the hard training with pure technical work this week at practice, and Knapp believes the team will respond well.

"I fully expect that you'll see a different team," he said. "These guys are all proud, they work hard and they know they weren't on top of their game this last week. We'll be sharper this week."

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