Eastern Michigan University’s men’s track and field team finished strong in the Mid-American Conference on Feb. 1 at home at Bowen Field House.
EMU controlled its opponents Central Michigan University and the University at Buffalo with a total of 128.5 points. The Chippewas claimed second with 89.5 points and the Bulls finished third with 70 points.
The Eagles took a total of nine events in the triangular meet with six of the wins coming from the track athletes.
A member of the Green and White claimed first in the distance and mid-distance events. Willy Fink set the pace for the day with a personal-best in the mile (4:11.11), finishing four seconds ahead of CMU’s Ethan Lievense.
Warren Witchell produced another personal-best leading the way for the majority of the 3000m run. Witchell ran in a trio with newcomer freshman Lahsene Bouchikhi and CMU’s Nate Ghena. In the final 50 meters of the race, Witchell pulled ahead and finished at the 8:24.40 mark.
In the 800-meter run, senior Gregorz Kalinowski dominated the field for the entire race, finishing in 1:52.07.
Two more Eagles claimed wins on the track as junior Cameron Bolton finished in an impressive 21.47 in the 200m, finishing well ahead of Buffalo’s Miles Lewis. Freshman Tyler Brown ran his first 400-meter event wearing the Green and White, finishing ahead of the competition with a time of 48.48. Brown also ruled on the field, as the rookie won the long jump by nearly a foot as he leapt 23 feet 7.50 inches.
Both event results secured Brown’s participation in the 2014 MAC Indoor Championships
The Green and White had 10 other athletes along with Brown who met or exceeded the qualifying standard.
Bolton, Bouchikhi, Fink, Kalinowski, and Witchell each earned a spot in their respective events, while senior Max Babits, sophomore, junior Solomon Ijah, sophomores Anthony Jones, Travis Harris, and Bryce Lindsey, freshman Javion Lee all earned scores that ensure them a spot in the conference meet.
EMU’s Babits took the pole vault by a large margin, out-vaulting the other competitors by nearly two feet with a vault of 17-feet .0.75 inches. Babits, a school record holder, nearly accomplished an 18-feet attempt, which would have broken his own record of 17 feet 9.00 inches set in the triangular meet against Detroit Mercy and Oakland on Jan. 10.
The Green and White did not come away with a win in the 60m hurdles, but Lindsey and Ijah came in 2-3 behind Renaldo Powell, one of the top hurdlers in the conference. Both Lindsey’s and Ijah’s times were personal-bests in the event while running a MAC standard time.
In the field events, two EMU throwers met qualifying standards and set personal-best records in their respective events.
Harris threw a distance of 56- feet 7.50 inches in the shot put and Jones launched the weight throw for 61-feet 2.00 inches. Harris came in third behind Buffalo’s All-American Jonathan Jones and CMU’s Alex Rose. Jones finished runner-up behind the No. 13 rated weight thrower in the nation, Evan Palmer.
The Eagles’ Lee rounded out the MAC qualifiers in the long jump by jumping 47-feet 9.25 inches. Lee won the event by a distance of nearly four feet.
“The coaching staff appreciated the many solid efforts we received in each event area,” EMU coach John Goodridge said. “Cameron Bolton and Tyler Brown stood out individually as each competed in three events.”
EMU will compete in a two-day meet at the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind. on Feb. 7-8.