Nate Perry, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- The Central Michigan indoor track and field team will partake in the Grand Valley State Big Meet on Friday and Saturday at the Lakers’ Kelly Family Sports Center in Allendale. The meet begins at 10 a.m. on Friday and at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
The Big Meet comprises two meets, one Friday, one Saturday. Qualifying marks must be met to participate in Friday’s events, which is where the weekend’s top-level talent will most likely compete.
For the first time this season, the CMU women’s track and field team will get a chance to compete alongside Eastern Michigan’s women’s team, a perennial contender in the Mid-American Conference.
The men’s teams from both programs have already met up three times this season, twice at SVSU and again last week at the Akron Invitational.
MAKING THEIR DEBUT
Both Chippewa teams will run their top fleets in the 4x400-meter relays for the first time this indoor season. The women’s group will run first at 7:40 p.m. and will consist of Kyla Walton, Gabby Beauvais, Samantha Cuneo and Simonae Dismuke.
The CMU men’s group, comprising Erick Huertas, Jack Dodge, Ja’Corey Lipsey and Lorenzo Wells, will follow the women at 8 p.m.
Beauvais and Huertas won the elite divisions of the 400-meter dash for their respective genders last weekend at Akron.
CMU’s Erin Howard (women’s shot put), Calli Stemple (women’s high jump), Logan Targgart (men’s weight throw), and Ja’La Taylor (women’s long jump) will compete against top competition in the “invite” sections of their respective field events.
Howard and Targgart both posted runner-up finishes last weekend at Akron, and Stemple took third place against similar, premier opponents. Taylor will look to improve from her last performance in the long jump, in which she posted a career-best 5.76 meters (18 feet, 10 3/4 inches) at the CMU Jack Skoog Open on Jan. 12.
WHAT TO WATCH
• Chippewa redshirt freshman Logan Kleam will get the nod in Section 1 of the men’s 5,000 meters at 5:15 p.m. Friday. Kleam, who was a standout on the men’s cross country team last fall and has been successful in the mile and the 3K this indoor season, will make his first collegiate appearance in the 5K.
• CMU’s Luke Anderson and Emmett Smrcka are intriguing entries in the men’s 800 on Friday afternoon. Anderson comes off a performance in the mile run in which he placed third in the top division at Akron and set a season-best for the men’s team with a 4:12.47.
• Anderson’s career-best in the 800 is 1:53.64, which he set at last year’s Big Meet at Grand Valley. Smrcka has improved with each week this season and has the fastest 800 time, 1:53.41, among CMU runners. It is the fifth-best in the MAC this season. Both Anderson and Smrcka will look to finish under 1:52.22, the qualifying standard for the indoor MAC Championships.
• CMU senior Hannah Davis and freshman Alexis Grandys are slotted to run in Friday’s women’s 3,000. Davis is coming off a personal best of 5:03.99 in the mile run last week. Grandys has CMU’s fastest season mark in the 3,000, 10:04.21, which she set in her only collegiate attempt to date at the SVSU Jet’s Pizza Invitational.
• Dodge, a freshman, will run in the open division of the men’s 400 on Saturday. It will be his first attempt in the event. Dodge has run both the 60 and 200 dashes several times this season, and has been much more impressive in the 200. Entering Dodge into the 400 this weekend has an experimental feel to it, as the coaching staff may be looking to discover unforeseen success with Dodge as a long sprinter.