Friday, April 10, 2009

Men's track team splits for two invites

Issue date: 4/10/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

This weekend, the men's track team will get into two buses and head south on Interstate 75. One bus will stop in Oxford, Ohio. The other one will continue to Knoxville, Tenn.

The Chippewas send eight of their top competitors to attend the Sea Ray Relays, hosted by the University of Tennessee, while the rest of the team heads to the Miami Invitational.

"I'm really looking forward to it," said junior thrower Greg Pilling. "It's my first big-time meet since I've been back. I checked the wind and it looks perfect for throwing."

Pilling said he is anxious to compete against the defending discus national champion, Kentucky senior Rashaud Scott.

Already in Knoxville is freshman Josh Kettlewell, who is competing in the decathlon, which started Wednesday.

As of Thursday afternoon, through five events, Kettlewell stood in ninth place with 2,775 points. Joining him will be throwers George Flanner and Greg Pilling, pole vaulters Marcus Breidinger, Joseph Jankowski and Mike McGregor, and high jumpers Joe Mielke and Branden Post will compete in hurdles.

"I would hope this can motivate some of our younger athletes," said head coach Jim Knapp.

Knapp will accompany the group competing at Miami because the higher number competing, many of which need more developing.

"You think that, as a young runner, if you get on the track and get slammed by better competition, it's going to motivate you to do better, but sometimes it doesn't," he said. "Sure, I'd love to be in Tennessee where the weather will probably be 20 degrees warmer. But it's my job to be where I'm needed."

The Sea Ray Relays is a "very elite" competition, Knapp said. Several Southeastern Conference and Florida schools will take part, as well as schools throughout the country.

No sprinters are traveling to Tennessee with the eight-man squad because of academic concerns. The group travels to Walnut, Calif., next week for Mount San Antonio College Relays, another event considered to be amongst the upperechelon in collegiate track.

Knapp said he is very impressed with Post so far this season and is excited to see how the freshman fares against top-notch competition.

Today's events in Tennessee will kick off at 12:15 p.m. and in Miami, things will get underway at 5:00 p.m.

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