Monday, April 20, 2009

Men's track team excels in California, Ypsilanti

Issue date: 4/20/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

The men's track and field team welcomed the warm temperatures in California and this weekend's mid-70 degree weather in Michigan.

While a small group of athletes competed in California, the majority of the team competed in Ypsilanti.

Across the country at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays, considered one of the premier events in men's track and field, CMU took home two victories and set three season-best marks.

"They went out there and did a great job," head coach Jim Knapp said. "It was impressive."

Junior Greg Pilling continued his torrid run in the discus, winning the event with a distance of 183 feet, three inches, while junior pole vaulters Marcus Breidinger and Mike McGregor followed suit with first and seventh place finishes, respectively.

Pilling said he struggled with his technique early in the season, but after a warm-up round on Thursday, it started to click.

"I'm excited to see everything coming together," Pilling said. "I'm finally starting to see some results and it's good to get that monkey off my back."

Both pole vaulters set season highs, Breidinger with a winning height of 16'6 ¾" and McGregor with 15'7".

"This weekend they put some better vaults together," said assistant coach Troy Irvine, who was accompanying the group to the west coast.

"The weather was great for a change and everything meshed together."

The rest of the team competed against Eastern Michigan and University of Detroit-Mercy at the EMU Twilight Invitational.

Again, CMU field athletes performed well, with freshman Kevin Mays - also a member of the football team - winning the discus and fellow freshman Joe Jankowski winning the pole vault.

Knapp said the performances of sophomore Sammy Kiprotich (1,500-meter run) and sophomore Branden Post (400-meter hurdles) were impressive, with both athletes finishing in the top 10 in their events.

Senior Riak Mabil made his outdoor debut for the team, returning from injury to post a 12th place finish in the 1,500-meter run.

"It felt really good to get back out there," Mabil said.

Pilling is looking forward to a weekend off after traveling to Tennessee and California on back-to-back weeks.

"All the traveling makes you kind of tired," he said. "It will be nice to relax."

Less than a month from the MAC Championships, the rest of the team will compete at the Oregon Relays in Eugene, Ore., next weekend.

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