Teams geared for MAC title runs

Jody Michael

Flashes ready for big meet

The accomplishments of Kent State’s indoor track and field teams include five school records, nine athlete-of-the-week honors and six national provisional qualifiers. But all along the athletes have had their eyes on the Mid-American Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend at Central Michigan.

The men’s team won the indoor championship last season and is now out to defend its crown.

“With us winning last year, we’re nervous that we’ve got to defend our title,” junior distance runner Destin Heasley said. “Our energy’s high because this is the biggest meet of the year for the team as a whole.”

Meanwhile, the women’s team looks to improve upon last year’s second-place finish and dethrone Akron, winner of the last five indoor titles.

“I’m excited,” sophomore Diana Dumitrescu said. “I would like to win the MAC Championship with the girls team and make history.”

Heasley and Dumitrescu have had the highlight performances of the teams’ season so far. Dumitrescu surpassed the school pentathlon record by 110 points, and Heasley now owns the school’s second-best time in the 800-meter run. Both have provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships.

They are also two of several Kent State athletes aiming to defend individual MAC titles from last season. Both have outperformed everyone in the conference so far this season and said they understand how important it is to sustain that high level.

“We worked hard all semester to get good results,” Dumitrescu said. “I hope to do the best that I can to help us earn some points.”

Heasley said he knows to take his early-season successes lightly coming into the conference meet.

“A track meet can go either way,” he said. “One person that’s not expected to rise up can win. Another person that’s expected to win can slip up.”

Other Flashes with conference-best marks this season are Dumitrescu in the women’s triple jump, sophomore Princeton Bryson in the men’s 200-meter dash, senior Aiman Scullion in the men’s 3000-meter run, sophomore Dean Wood in the men’s high jump and the men’s 4×400-meter relay team of Heasley, Matt Moffett, Javon Walker and Curtis Eaton.

Head coach Bill Lawson said he felt confident after seeing a lot of personal-best marks in the team’s last three meets.

“We need to continue doing the things we have been doing,” he said. “If you put the last three weekends together and add them up, that is basically what we have to do.”

Heasley said he credits Lawson for helping to ease some of the tension as the conference meet nears.

“He’s been serious about it but encouraging,” he said. “He believes that we can go out and win it.”

Contact sports reporter Jody Michael at jmic[email protected].