Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
TAMPA, Fla. - No Central Michigan track and field student-athletes are moving on to Eugene.
Still, the seven Chippewas who participated this weekend in the NCAA East Preliminary at South Florida showed plenty of potential and demonstrated that they belong among some of the nation's best.
None of those seven CMU student-athletes is a senior.
"For the future it's going to give us a leg up," first-year Chippewa coach Jenny Swieton said. "All of these kids know how to handle this situation and know what to expect. You've just go to experience it. I get excited thinking what their future is going to be like because of this experience."
The top 12 finishers in each event advanced to the June 6-9 NCAA Championships at the University of Oregon in Eugene.
The top finishes for CMU came from sophomore Nadia Williams and junior Shane Moffo. Williams finished 15th in the women's long jump at 19 feet, 8 ¼ inches, while Moffo was 16th in the men's 110-meter hurdles in 14.14 seconds.
Earlier in the meet, Moffo set a personal best, 13.96, in his opening heat, which Swieton said was "a big deal to come and PR on this stage."
The women's long jump was interrupted by a long lightning delay. After it re-started, Williams had one attempt remaining, and that's when she posted her best jump.
"To think that Nadia coming in was ranked 47th is insane on its own," Swieton said, adding that Williams' ability to refocus and perform at her best after the long delay "shows the ability to handle pressure really, really well. That was definitely a huge highlight."
Another CMU highlight came from junior Kevin Weiler, who placed 23rd in the men's shot put at the regional with a toss of 59-8 ¼, a personal best. His previous outdoor best was 58-6.
"It was a huge throw for him," Swieton said. "That was super big for him."
Also for the Chippewas, sophomore Gabrielle Beauvais was 34th in the women's 400-meter run, finishing in 53.63; freshman Marissa Dunn placed 37th in the women's hammer throw at 183-2; sophomore Logan Targgart came in 43rd in the men's hammer throw at 183-11.
Freshman Erin Howard, the lone Chippewa to have qualified in two events, placed 29th in the women's shot put, 50-3 ½; and was 36th in the women's discus (153-5).
The experience gained by those seven Chippewas, plus another handful who finished just a few spots from qualifying, bodes well, Swieton said.
"Our goal next year is to have a bus load (of qualifier)," she said.