Monday, February 9, 2009

Mabil cuts MAC-best 5,000 meter

Issue date: 2/9/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

At the beginning of the weekend, Central Michigan distance runner Riak Mabil held the indoor season's conference-best time in the 5,000-meter run.

The junior trimmed almost 21 seconds from his previous season best-time of 15:02.12 at Notre Dame's Meyo Invitational on Friday with a time of 14:43.85. But he now has company at the top.

Sophomore teammate Sammy Kiprotech finished less than 10 seconds behind Mabil, surpassing his previous mark and placing him second in the conference.

Mabil set his original mark on Jan. 17 at Kent State.

The runners placed 19th and 28th this weekend, respectively, which indicated the level of competition the Chippewas faced in South Bend, said coach Jim Knapp.

"It's the most competitive meet we'll see all year," he said. "It was a great opportunity to face some great competition and they had some incredible teams there."

Along with some of the nation's best collegiate athletes, there were post-collegiate athletes training for the next Olympics. In the mile race, five runners finished in less than four minutes, a feat Breidinger called "unbelievable."

Sophomore jumper Oz Lifshitz turned in the team's highest placing of the invitational with a 15.29 meter triple jump that earned him second place.

For the third consecutive week, pole vaulters Mike McGregor and Marcus Breidinger anchored the team. The juniors finished in ninth and 10th place, respectively, with the same finals vault of 4.87 meters.

"They have been very consistent all along," Knapp said of the vaulters.

Briedinger said the meet set a standard for which the team wants to perform.

"We try to compete at the same level everybody else is competing at," he said. "When you're around other vaulters of that caliber, it gets you going."

The team has next weekend off before hosting the Jack Skoog Open on Feb. 20, but Knapp foresees possibly "taking a handful" of guys to a small college event this weekend, hosted by Grand Valley State University.

"Everybody's slightly on a different page," he said. "I'm very cautious because it's a long season."

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