Friday, May 1, 2009

Men well-rested for weekend

Issue date: 5/1/09

By Anthony Fenech
Staff Reporter

Men's track coach Jim Knapp will get his wish.

Just two weeks before the MAC Championships in Akron, the entire men's track team will travel to Columbus for this weekend's Jesse Owens Classic, the 15th annual meeting of the prestigious event.

This is the first time in three weeks the team is together as one, something Knapp enjoys.

"I would rather have my whole family with me," he said.

He called a 9 p.m. team meeting on Monday night to let his athletes know what tasks are at hand the next few weeks.

"It's going to be tough," Knapp said. "This will be a step up from the MAC meet."

CMU is well-rested after the majority of the team took last weekend off.

"We're going to need to step up our performance just to be in the mix there," he said of the upcoming weekend, noting he likes the Jesse Owens Classic format.

Looking forward to the conference meet, Knapp said it is critical the team stays healthy, but keeps competing at the same time.

"On paper, we look to be in the lower level but that's simply because of our lack of numbers," Knapp said. "The people we put on the track will take care of business, I have no doubt about that."

Junior thrower Greg Pilling looks to continue his good fortune this weekend and into the conference championship.

"He's throwing extremely well now," Knapp said. "He measured some outstanding throws during the week in practice and he's a great competitor."

Pilling, older than most of his teammates because he attended a missionary after high school, serves as a mature and calming influence on the team.

"I think I'm a little bit more focused," Pilling said, "Having the couple extra years of schooling made all the difference."

Knapp said this team is not as elder and experienced as some of his in the past.

"This isn't a put-down to my team," he said, "But we're not as mature as teams here have been in the past. We only have seven seniors. Just three years ago, we finished graduating 39 seniors in three years."

Some competitors whose events begin today left yesterday, but most of the team will head south Friday.

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