CMU - Chippewa Throwers NCAA Bound

CMU - Chippewa Throwers NCAA Bound

Provided by CMU

Andy Sneddon,

EUGENE, Ore. -- Two Central Michigan student-athletes will attempt to take their respective places among the best of the best this week at the NCAA Track & Field Championships at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

CMU's Devene Brown and Cole Walderzak will partake in the four-day championships, which begin on Wednesday. Both are juniors competing in the NCAA finals for the first time.

Walderzak will compete in the men's hammer throw, Brown in the women's discus. The men's hammer competition is scheduled for Wednesday, the women's discus for Saturday.

"What my goal for them both is for them to go out there and perform at their best," CMU throwers coach John Ridgway said. "We're a unique sport in that we can't control what other people do. Other people can perform terribly and that could bump us up, or other people could perform unbelievably well and that could bump us down.

"My goal for them is to go out there and be stable, be consistent with where they have been all year. You have to stay within yourself and they both do a really good job of not trying to do too much and finding their rhythm and executing it and not letting a meet over-stimulate them."

Walderzak is seeded 16th at 212 feet, 11 inches. Conor McCullough of Southern California is the top seed at 246-1.

Brown, a native of Jamaica who is a veteran of international competition, is seeded 19th at 174-1, a distance she covered in placing seventh in the East Preliminary a week ago. She holds the school record at 179-3. Shelbi Vaughan of Texas A&M is seeded No. 1 at 199-10 ¾).

There are 24 qualifiers in each event. The top eight finishers earn All-America honors, the next eight are Second Team All-America.

Each student-athlete will make three throws with the top nine advancing to the final round where they will make three additional throws.

"My goal for every thrower who comes into the program is to be in the post-season and the earlier in your career you can qualify for the big meets the better off you are," Ridgway said. "Devene's got tons of big-meet experience because she's competed in a bunch of big meets in Jamaica. Cole has been to the (NCAA) first round since he was a freshman and he has done remarkably well at virtually every big meet he's been to. For both of them this is something new, but I think they're ready for it.

"Both of them handle pressure really well. The goal is to make sure they don't feel any pressure and they can be empowered to be themselves and that seems to be the route we're on.

"Everyone wants to go out and hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth, but you can't do that if you're trying to be a hero."