As members of the SIU track and field team who qualified for championships prepare for the NCAA Indoor Championships, non-qualified members competed for a final chance to make the championships during the weekend.
Three members of the men’s track and field team, seniors Cody Doerflein, Stephen Arvanis and junior Zach Dahleen, competed Friday at the Last Chance Meet in Fayetteville, Ark., and Saturday in the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
Doerflein competed in the pole vault competition Friday. Doerflein’s vault of 16-06.75 (5.05m) placed him fourth, behind competitors from Kansas University and Florida State University. He did not meet the 18-0.05 needed to make the NCAA championships.
Dahleen and Arvanis tried to reach NCAA automatic marks Saturday in the one-mile and 800 meter events, respectively. Dahleen had a record day on the track: His time of 4:00.16 broke a 39-year-old SIU school record in the men’s mile. The junior is now ranked 35th in the nation.
Distance coach Matt Sparks said Dahleen will receive the recognition he deserves after breaking a mark that stood for nearly 40 years.
“It was a big break for Zach. He’d been under the shadow of (former SIU runner) Jeff Schirmer, and it was nice to see how he rose to the occasion,” Sparks said.
Despite breaking an SIU record, Dahleen missed qualifying for the NCAAs by .08 of a second. Sparks described the moment as bittersweet for Dahleen, but said the junior still has another year to break records as a Saluki.
“At this point the school record that he has his eye on now is the 1500-meter record set by (former SIU athlete and coach) Bill Cornell. That’s something we’ve been encouraging him to go for.”
Arvanis ran in the 800-meter race in an attempt to reach the NCAA automatic mark of 1:47.30. The Saluki finished with a time of 1:50.07, which failed to qualify him for the NCAA, but did rank him third all-time in SIU history.
Senior throwers J.C. Lambert and Jeneva McCall and multi-event athlete Malaikah Love will travel to Boise, Idaho March 10 through 12 to compete in the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships.