MAC Championships bring conference’s best to Kent


Kent State’s TJ Lawson jumps during the 60-meter hurdles, which he finished with a time of 8.36 seconds. Lawson placed fifth in the heptathlon at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas. 

John Conley

Five years ago, Laron Brown III competed as a Kent State athlete, the last time the Flashes hosted the Mid-American Conference indoor track championships. Saturday he’ll be back at the Championships at the KSU Field House as a first year assistant coach for the Flashes.

“I’m excited to see how our team does over the two-day competition,” Brown said. “We expect performances from a few individuals that will stand out among the rest.”

Kent State holds five individual first place performances in the MAC.

“About four men and three women from the Kent State track & field team are challenging for an individual title,” Brown said. “As a team overall, the Kent State men’s side has a chance to win while the women’s side could see several teams competing for the title.”

Senior Samory Fraga has a MAC-best distance of 7.75 meters in the men’s long jump, and he finished fourth at the MAC Championships last year.

“We expect Fraga to jump well this weekend. He has improved since last year and is hoping to perform at his best,” Brown said.

Freshman Asa Hodrick is also expected to have a big weekend. Hodrick is first in the MAC for the 200-meter with a time of 21.48 seconds and sixth in conference for the 60-meter at 6.88 seconds.

“Hodrick has potential to score well this weekend and we are hoping he can contribute in the ways we need him to,” said Brown.

Senior Craig Stevens, Jr. is in first place in the triple jump with a distance of 15.75 meters. Stevens took home first place in last year’s MAC Championships. With that, Sophomore Jake Wickey is in second place in the weight throw.

On the women’s side, a few athletes are challenging for a top spot.

Junior Nicole Yeargin is first in the MAC for the 200-meter at 24.05 seconds. Yeargin took third place at the MAC Championship last year.

“Yeargin continues to improve every week so we are waiting to see what she can do this weekend when it counts,” Brown said.

In the shot put, sophomore Grace Tennant and freshman Gabby Bailey sit in third and fourth, respectively, in the MAC.

“Our shot put group is looking strong heading into this weekend,” Brown said. “They are sitting in a good position to make a run at the top three.”

Kent State track and field hosts the MAC Championships in the field house, so it brings a natural home field advantage to the Flashes — something that they’ll need to keep in check.

“We tried telling our athletes that this is just another home meet and we wanted to not add any pressure where it’s not needed,” Brown said. “Keeping our athletes neutral and focused is our main priority going into the weekend.

The MAC Championships will start on Friday at 10:45 with the Heptathlon. All the finals for field events will go on Saturday with the running events in the afternoon. The awards ceremony will follow the finals.

John Conley is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]