Nate Perry, CMUChippewas.com
ROCHESTER, Mich. — The Chippewa women’s track and field team took home first place at the Oakland Golden Grizzly Invite on Saturday, edging out second-place Grand Valley State by the narrowest of margins.
Central Michigan finished with 138.33 points to Grand Valley’s 137. Oakland scored 116 points to round out the contenders in the seven-team field.
The Chippewa women were led by an impressive performance in the triple jump where Ja’La Taylor, Calli Stemple, Ijeoma Agomo and Kyra Harrison took the top four spots, respectively.
Star sprinter Samantha Cuneo took first place in the 400-meter dash, roasting the competition, and finishing more than a full second ahead of the second-place finisher. Her mark of 54.32 seconds was .03 off her career best of 54.29.
CMU senior Kylee Dobbelaere was even more dominant in taking the women’s hammer throw, posting a winning heave of 58.01 meters, more than seven meters better than teammate Valerie Johnson who finished second.
It was the third consecutive meet that Dobbelaere has placed first, dating to the Charles A. Gray Invitational two weeks ago at Alma.
Dobbelaere and Johnson finished 1-2, respectively, in the hammer throw and gave the Chippewas 16 points toward the team total.
Michaela Bundy (800), Emily Helfrich (high jump), McKenzie Wieber (pole vault), Kyra Harrison (long jump), and Wendy Szuminski (javelin) also took home second-place finishes for the Chippewas.
The Chippewa men finished with 91 points to finish in third place behind Eastern Michigan (128) and Oakland (111).
Leading the way was Jake Peister (triple jump), Dylan Banagis (discus), Avery Joseph (javelin), Logan Targgart (hammer), each of whom finished at the top of the podium in their respective events.
While Banagis did take home the discus title at the meet, he was unable to land any of his three hammer throws inside the boundary lines, which eliminated him from contention in the event.
Banagis’ DQ opened the door for teammate Logan Targgart, who notched the second hammer throw win of his career. His winning toss of 61.02 meters was .06 meters short of the career-best he set earlier this season at the Baylor Invitational.
Joseph, a sophomore from Charlotte Amalie of the United States Virgin Islands, posted a javelin heave of 59.42 in his first collegiate action since last year’s Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships.
Placing second for CMU were Melvin Harris (high jump), Kevin Weiler (shot put), Mark Beckmann (5,000) and Ziemowit Dutkewicz (400 hurdles).
On Thursday and Friday, eight CMU distance runners took part in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in Torrance, Calif.
The western United States proved to be a tough challenge for the Chippewas as the highest finisher was Megan O’Neil, who was the 21st athlete across the line in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. Her time was 10:44.10.
Luke Anderson took 33rd on the men’s side of the steeplechase, finishing in 9:17.51.
On Friday, CMU’s Kelsey Ross took 23rd in the women’s 800 with a time of 2:11.54; Scott Cousino took 30th in the men’s 800 in 1:53.20; Hannah Davis posted a time of 17:05.29, which was good enough for 36th place in the women’s 5,000.
There was no team scoring at the Mt. SAC Relays.
Next up for the Chippewas is the Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic, one of the bigger meets of the outdoor season. The two-day event will begin Friday at 2 p.m. and will resume at 10 a.m. Saturday morning.