Friday, April 3, 2009

Men's track set for first outdoor meet

Issue date: 4/3/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

Men's track head coach Jim Knapp is entering the home stretch of his final season. After an encouraging end to the indoor season, CMU begins the outdoor season Saturday at home against Eastern Michigan.

The meet was originally scheduled to start at noon but will most likely begin closer to 11 a.m. at EMU's request.

The team last competed just over a month ago, when it finished fourth at the MAC Championships at Kent State.

"Our position at that meet was my fault because we don't have the numbers," Knapp said. "But the guys that we took to that meet did a great job and they are getting the job done."

The early weather of the outdoor season hasn't been cooperatative with the team's plans. Saturday's forecast calls for a high of 46 degrees.

"This is a real tough time of the year," Knapp said. "Not having any competition, it's difficult to get things done and it's tough on the guys but they're working out quite well."

Two factors equate into Knapp's optimism for the outdoor season. First, the schedule of events favor the Chippewas with the steeplechase, discus and 10,000-meter run added.

Secondly, junior Greg Pilling will rejoin the team for the outdoor season after missing last year to train for the Olympic trials.

"I'm interested to see what he does," Knapp said about Pilling's return in the discus. "He's done everything for us in terms of gaining points, but he's a discus thrower at heart."

Sophomore jumper Oz Lifshitz is very excited about the outdoor season.

"It's my favorite," he said. "I practice very hard through the indoor season and I bring all that hard work into the outdoor season."

Lifshitz is looking to take home the triple jump championship this season after he finished runner-up in 2008.

"We all know what we need to do and how to get it," he said.

CMU may be short-handed to begin the season, as All-American distance runner Abraham Mach remains injured.

When asked how he is recovering from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the indoor championship, Knapp replied, "He's not."

"He hasn't been able to work out in quite a while," he said, noting that he did not have a timetable on the senior's return. "I don't want to seem optimistic or pessimistic, we'll just have to play it by ear and see how it goes."

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