Salukis win huge at Big Meet

SIU’s track and field teams added yet another solid performance to their indoor resume as they claimed six events during the weekend’s Grand Valley State Big Meet in Michigan.

Both senior distance runner Zach Dahleen and junior jumper Dougie Palacious broke mile-run and triple-jump meet records respectively.

Dahleen won his third mile run of the season by nearly five seconds, clocked at four minutes and 0.06 seconds, which broke the GVSU Big Meet record by more than two seconds. The run also brought him up from 46th to 21st nationally in the mile run for the season.

Palacious jumped 15.13 meters en route to his fourth triple jump title of the 2013 season and broke the Big Meet record by four inches. The junior now ranks 48th in the country in the event.

Sophomore Ashley Gaston edged out teammate DeAnna Price with a 14.72 meter throw to win the women’s shot put title. Price’s final throw was just .03 meters behind Gaston.

Even though the throwers performed well during the weekend, throws coach John Smith said he thought the team could have performed much better.

“The numbers looked a lot better than how we actually did,” he said. “We looked decent on paper, but we had a lot of misses and we should have thrown much better and there is room for improvement.”

In the women’s triple-jump competition, junior Kenya Culmer won her second-ever triple-jump title. Culmer, who won in last weekend’s triple jump and high jump, leaped to a distance of 11.91 meters in her final run. Culmer also placed second in the high jump with a final height of 1.76 meters. Culmer originally tied with senior Ericka Schroll of Central Michigan; however, the tiebreaker came down to the total number of misses in the event. Culmer had a total of six misses, where Schroll only had four, which granted her the high jump title.

Senior Ryan Sidwell added to the Salukis’ titles when he took the pole vault competition for the second consecutive week. Sidwell launched himself 4.85 meters on his final run to grant him the title over Siena Heights University sophomore Chris Whiting.

Smith said the team’s success at the Missouri Valley Conference meet in two weeks will depend on how the team practices and prepares this week.

“We have to get our workouts right. What we do now is going to determine how we do two weeks from now,” he said. “People are ready to go, so it’s all about preparation right now and thats how championships are won and lost.” The SIU men’s and women’s track and field teams head to Charleston Friday for the Friday Night Special meet.

This will be their final tune-up meet before the Feb. 23 MVC Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

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