Salukis remain with pack at Rod McCravy Invite

The SIU men’s and women’s track and field teams added several solid performances and one event win to their impressive indoor resume Saturday at the Rod McCravy Invitational in Lexington Ky.,.

Freshman Josh Freeman and Senior Zach Dahleen were among the title winners this week. Dahleen finished with the lone track win Salukis’ with a time of 4 minutes and 4.23 seconds in the mile run.The first-place finish was also Dahleen’s fastest time of the season and ranked fourth in the nation.The two-time Missouri Valley Conference champion previously had the seventh-best mile time nationally.

Dahleen said his mile time was what he wanted to achieve at this point of the season, but he still isn’t satisfied.

Distance coach Matt Sparks said Dahleen has continued to impress and has started to establish himself as a national-caliber runner.

“For the last two weeks he has been ranked in the top 10 in the country in the mile, and once again this week he has improved his time by two seconds” sparks said. “hopefully he can maintain that same position.”

Saluki distance runners also had a solid outing during the weekend with second,-fifth-and seventh-place finishes in the 3000-meter race.

Sophomore Juan Carrera finished at of 8:43.10, his personal best, while junior Nick Schrader and freshman Brandon Shemonia finished at 8:45.00 and 8:50.84 respectively.

Sophomore Sadie Darnell also recorded a personal best in the women’s 3000-meter race with a time of 9:54.58 and placed 11th overall.

Sparks said he was impressed with Darnell’s performance.

“Darnell ran one of the fastest times in the conference this year, and the time that she ran puts her at no. 5 all time in SIU history,” Sparks said.

Kentucky’s Cally Macumber finished the women’s 3000-meter run at of 9:10.34, the fastest time in the country.

Despite Darnell’s impressive

time, she didn’t place in the top 10, partly because of other notable talent showcased at the invitational.

“The meet this weekend was one of the top track meets in the United States,” Sparks said.

The women’s 4×400 meter relay team won its first heat of the season, and its time of 3:55.19 was the 12th best women’s relay time overall. The men finished their 4×400 meter relay at 3:17.60, which ranked them sixth overall.

After multiple personal bests on the track, the Salukis also claimed the meet’s field portion. The field team accounted for all 12 top 10 finishes in field events.

Freeman recorded a 18.32 meter throw in the men’s shot put finals. Freeman bested his previous personal

record of 18.19 meters and tallied his second win of the year.

The Salukis also saw success in the women’s portion of the field events. Senior Kim Fortney placed second in both the women’s weight throw with a 19.76 meter final toss and the women’s shot put with a distance of 16.19 meters.

Junior jumper Kenya Culmer also had a solid weekend. Culmer won the women’s high-jump competition with a final leap of 1.8 meters. Culmer found another top-10 appearance in the women’s triple-jump competition.

Culmer finished seventh with a final distance of 11.89 meters.

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