SIU prepares for conference meet

By Gus Bode

Throws coach John Smith prepared throwers during Monday’s practice for the Missouri Valley Conference meet, and he wants them to be able to give their best as the season comes to an end.

“It seems like it was just the beginning of the season,” Smith said. “One day you’re a freshman, and the next day it’s the last meet of your senior year, and that’s why you’ve got to give every day everything you have because you’ll look up and it’ll be over.”

The Salukis will travel Friday to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the MVC Championships.


Senior Gwen Berry said as she prepares for her last conference meet, time has gone by quickly and she’s trying to focus on her execution and make sure she is steadily progressing.

Berry was one of the top performers in the women’s weight throw during the indoor season and said the outdoor season can be a bit of a challenge because an athlete’s physical attributes don’t matter as much.

“I was one of the top collegiate throwers during indoor, but I feel outdoor favors no one,” Berry said. “Anything can happen.”

Berry said she thinks her last outdoor season has gone well, and she remains confident she will be able to finish her season on top.

Both the SIU men’s and women’s teams are predicted to come in second behind Wichita State in a Missouri Valley Conference poll.

Last year, the SIU women beat Wichita State by 44.5 points and the men came in 17 points behind Wichita State for second.

Smith said he expects a strong battle this year for the throwing events at the championships.


“With the guys, I think we’re in a chase for the conference title, and for the women we’re trying to stay in the top two,” Smith said. “Everybody has to do their job. This is what we’ve trained the whole year for.”

Smith said freshman thrower Brian Cooper took a major step toward becoming a standout performer in the conference when he set a new personal record in a recent inner-squad meet.

Cooper said while the thought of competing at conference is exciting, his goal is to contribute as much as he can to the team and hopefully make it to the finals in the meet.

“I would love to have a huge performance or set a personal record, but my main goal is to help the team,” Cooper said.

Smith said he has made the necessary adjustments for the team to achieve its goal of winning conference.

“On paper and what happens in the meet are always two different things, so who knows what could happen,” Smith said. “But we’re prepared for it.”