Nate Perry, CMUChippewas.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Six Central Michigan track and field student-athletes will begin their quest today, Thursday, for an NCAA championship at the East Regional at
The competition is scheduled through Saturday at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track & Field Complex.
The throwers, who have been a point of strength for the Chippewas all year, will send four representatives to Lexington, the most of any event group on the team.
Senior Kylee Dobbelaere will be the first Chippewa in action when she competes in the women’s hammer throw.
Dobbelaere has been arguably the most consistent Chippewa thrower throughout the outdoor season, regardless of gender. Her hot streak began with a career-best in the weight throw at the MAC Indoor Championships, and she parlayed that momentum into the best outdoor season of her career.
Dobbelaere won the hammer throw at three of her first four outdoor meets, before the undisputed highlight of her season occurred at the Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic.
The Marlette native finished fifth in the Showcase flight at the Jesse Owens with a 194-foot, 2-inch heave, re-setting her school record in the event. She set the previous program-best in 2015 at 191-1 ½.
Dobbelaere owns the No. 38 seed in the hammer throw field of 48.
CMU’s Dylan Banagis, Logan Targgart, and Kevin Weiler will represent the men’s throwers at the East Prelims.
Banagis will throw in the both the men’s hammer and discus.
The senior from Grand Rapids battled through injuries for parts of the outdoor season, but was able post solid marks in both events, which punched his ticket to the postseason.
In seven outdoor meets this season, Banagis recorded two podium finishes in the hammer throw with one victory, and five podium finishes in the discus with two victories.
Banagis’ season best in the hammer came at the Penn Relays where he logged a 204-foot throw that was good for ninth place.
Like Dobbelaere, Banagis occupies the No. 38 seed in a men’s hammer field of 48 at the NCAA’s.
His best in the discus came at the Baylor Invitational where he recorded a toss of 185-9 that earned him second place. That throw qualifies him for the 21st seed in the men’s discus.
Redshirt freshman Logan Targgart will join Banagis in the hammer throw at the East Regional.
The 2016-17 campaign was the first of Targgart’s collegiate career, and while he was largely unknown prior to competing, he has established his name as one to look out for in the years to come.
After a promising indoor season, Targgart came on strong in the outdoor portion, posting five top-six finishes with two victories in the hammer throw in seven meets.
Targgart’s outstanding seed mark of 213-9 came alongside Dobbelaere’s Herculean effort at the Jesse Owens Classic.
His throw, called an “absolute bomb” by CMU Director of Track and Field Mark Guthrie, was the best throw of any MAC competitor this season and qualifies him for the 25th seed in the NCAA field.
The Chippewas’ Kevin Weiler is seeded 30th in the men’s shot put, an event in which he has turned in six top-six finishes this season. He was first at the Alma Charles Gray Invitational, and his season-best 58-6 came at the Jesse Owens Classic.
While a berth in the NCAA Outdoor Regional is certainly a great accomplishment, Weiler was even more impressive during the indoor season.
The junior from Swartz Creek earned a podium finish in all six indoor meets, claiming the top spot three times.
The final representative from the CMU men’s team will be pole vaulter Sam Wagner. Wagner was able to sneak into the NCAA field by the narrowest of margins, one centimeter.
His seed mark of 16 feet, 7 ¼ inches, equates to 5.06 meters. The lowest mark in the pole vault field is 5.05.
However, Wagner seems to be performing his best in the late stages of the season, and positive momentum can be a lethal force in any sport.
He recorded his seed mark while posting a victory at the Toledo Invitational on May 4, which was followed by his fourth-place finish at the MAC Outdoor Championships on May 11.
CMU’s Nadia Williams will go in the women’s long jump. Like Targgart, Williams was a force in her first collegiate track and field season and was rewarded at the MAC Outdoor Championships with the Women’s Field Freshman of the Year Award.
In her first outdoor collegiate meet at the Tennessee Rust Buster, Williams set the program record in the long jump, leaping 20 feet, ¼ inch.
In her four other attempts during the season she never measured under 19 feet, and was at her best when it mattered most, re-setting the program record at 20-1 for third place at the MAC Championships.
That performance ultimately won Williams a berth in the Preliminary. Her 39th-seed mark of 6.12 meters eclipsed the minimum mark of 6.08.
The Chippewas are vying to move on to the NCAA Outdoor Finals, which are scheduled for Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, June 7-10.