The Kent State track team will compete this weekend at the Mid-American Conference Track and Field Indoor Championships at Central Michigan University. It is the Flashes’ first overnight trip of the season.
Coach Bill Lawson said that the trip would be tiring and coaches would have to scramble to get players through COVID-19 screenings and ready for the meet.
“It’s going to be really different and kind of strange,” Lawson said. “I know a lot of other teams have gone through some difficulties. It has been a completely different experience this year. Everybody is dealing with it.”
Lawson said the team has spent the week fine-tuning technique and getting ready to compete mentally.
“You just have to be ready,” he said. “You know it’s a hard competition, and you have to be positive.”
Lawson didn’t want to predict overall results but said he had individuals who could compete for titles.
Leah Pasqualetti has the best pole vault in the conference this season. Last weekend she cleared a height of 14’ 0.5” to break the Kent State record. Her vault ranks 14th in the country.
“[Pasqualetti] has had some very good practice this week, and she is trending in a positive direction,” Lawson said. “I think she can go a little bit higher this week. If she does what she is capable of, she will qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championship.”
Kent State has another freshman ready to compete for a title in Alexander Shields. Shields’ best time of 8.00 in the 60-meter hurdles ranks first in the MAC.
“To be a MAC champion as a true freshman is not an easy thing to do,” Lawson said. “He’s got a big road ahead, and he has a chance to shine this weekend.”
Redshirt senior Mi’Angel Daniels ranked third in the MAC 60-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 8.75, but her personal-best time of 8.50 is .09 seconds faster than any of her competitors.
“She’s in a better shape now than she has been in a long time,” Lawson said. “She is running strong, and I fully expect her to have her best time of the year this weekend.”
Senior Jake Wickey ranks second in the weight throw with a toss of 72' 11.75.”
“He is having a tremendous year,” Lawson said, “Jake is a veteran. He’s just never gotten to the level we thought he was capable of.”
Senior Grace Tennant is the reigning champion in the MAC shot put and looks to continue her undefeated indoor season. Her personal-best of 55' 2" this past weekend moved her to 10th best in the country.
Ignatius Ogbu is a sports reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.