Cuneo, Throwers Lead CMU At MAC Indoor Championships

Cuneo, Throwers Lead CMU At MAC Indoor Championships

Provided by CMU

Nate Perry,

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- The team finishes may not have been ideal, but the Central Michigan track and field teams got big contributions from their leaders and boasted strong performances from some of their younger members at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships at Eastern Michigan's Bowen Field House.

Samantha Cuneo provided the brightest highlight of the day for CMU, winning the women's 400-meter dash in 55.02. It was the Chippewas' lone victory.

It was the sophomore's first MAC Championships win and, CMU Director of Track and Field Mark Guthrie said, it hopefully won't be her last.

"Obviously you hope, but you have to celebrate it for what it is right now because you don't know what the future holds," Guthrie said. "The goal is to keep this thing going and when you train like she does with a great mental approach, it can happen."

The Chippewas finished fifth in the five-team men's competition with 51 points. CMU was seventh with 38 points in the 12-team women's event.

As expected, the Chippewas were strong in the throws, getting a second-place finish from Dylan Banagis and a fourth-place finish from Logan Targgart in the men's weight throw, which accounted for 12 combined team points.

Banagis' second-place effort was a career-best toss of 21.11 meters, but was not enough to catch Kent State's Reggie Jagers' 22.01-meter throw.

Targgart's heave of 18.94 meters was also a personal best, which broke his own freshman program record.

Kylee Dobbelaere, the Chippewas' top female thrower, took fifth place in the weight throw as the No. 8 seed. Her throw of 18.37 meters was the best of her career as well.

"I think (their success) is a combination of their willingness to work hard and they have a good coach (Matt Adams), who prepared them to be ready on the day, which is what this is all about," CMU Director of Track and Field Mark Guthrie said.

"Obviously the two seniors (Banagis and Dobbelaere) have been around a little bit, but even though Logan is only a redshirt freshman, he threw at the USA Junior Championships, so he's seen some of this type of stuff."

CMU sophomore Ben Hayes took second in the men's 400-meter run with a time of 47.87. Buffalo's Joshua Gali came across the line first in 47.50.

"Gali is really good - good athlete - so we knew it was going to be a challenge," Guthrie said. "Ben stumbled a little bit coming across the finish line and going into the third turn, but he stayed up and he battled hard.

"Plus, on this track, with those times, it converts all the way down to like a 47.1. He ran a lifetime PR, what else can you do?"

Another sophomore, Scott Cousino, placed third in the men's 800-meter run in 1:54.38. He came across the line less than a second behind the winner, Craig Kaiser of Buffalo. Cousino was seeded fourth.

CMU's Nick Malliaras finished fourth in the men's heptathlon, highlighted by a first-place finish in Friday's 60-meter dash. He accumulated 4,979 points over the seven events, obliterating his previous best of 4,392.

Buffalo's Mike Morgan, the MAC record holder in the event, took the top spot on the podium with 5,439 points.

Also posting top-six finishes for the Chippewa men's team on Saturday: Jake Peister, fifth, triple jump; Joseph Emmanuel, fifth, 3,000; Isaac Sadzewicz, sixth, pole vault; and Lorenzo Wells, sixth, 200.

Sadzewicz's sixth-place finish came on a personal record of 4.62 meters. Wells' 200-meter time was his best of the season.

On the women's side CMU's Kelsey Ross placed fourth with a mark of 2:11.89 in the 800. Eastern Michigan's Natalie Cizmas won in 2:10.16.

Rising freshman Nadia Williams battled back from a tough first day to post a fifth-place finish in the women's 200-meter dash. The youngster showcased excellent closing speed to finish in 24.81.

"She's a long-legged girl so part of that can be attributed to indoor track," Guthrie said. "It's a tougher time for taller people running indoors, but she is no doubt one of those bright freshmen that we hope to develop and build around for the future."

While Guthrie said there are "goods and bads" to be addressed, indoor and outdoor seasons are different challenges, which present the Chippewas with opportunities to build as well as move on.

"What I told the team was that in championship and major meets, we find out the pretenders and those people who can really get it done when it matters," he said. "It's not easy, but it's easier to be great when it doesn't matter. The key is, can you be great when it does matter? That's why we play championship sports."

Akron placed first in both of the team standings. The Zips garnered 160.5 points on the men's side and 145 on the women's. It was the fourth consecutive title for the Akron men, while the Akron women unseated two-time defending champion Eastern Michigan.