SIU track and field competes in Iowa State Classic

By Gus Bode

SIU track and field coach Connie Price-Smith said most athletes on the team are where they need to be after their second- to-last meet before the indoor conference championships.

The Salukis competed in the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, on Friday and Saturday, placing 16 performers in the top-10 of their respective events. The top-10 domination included seven top-five finishes and four event winners.

‘There were just a lot of good performances for the time of the year,’ Price-Smith said in a phone interview.


The event winners were senior Bianca Stuart in the women’s long jump with a distance of 6.29 meters – an NCAA Provisional mark – sophomore Brad Wrage in the non-seeded men’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 14 minutes, 56.07 seconds; junior Nefeteri Williams in the non-seeded women’s 400-meter dash at 57.73 seconds; and freshman Cody Doerflein in the men’s non-seeded pole vault after clearing 4.90 meters.

Price-Smith said she is unsure of what event Williams will run at the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships, but the 400-meter dash and 800-meter dash are two options.

Doerflein could also be primed to improve after his latest showing, Price-Smith said.

‘Cody has been struggling a little bit this year and went to Iowa State and jumped really well there,’ Price-Smith said. ‘I think he’s finally over the hump and ready to vault even higher.’

The Iowa State Classic featured a high level of competition, which was evident in the women’s weight throw.

The best finish for SIU in the women’s weight throw at Iowa State was by freshman Rickael Roach, whose 19.04-meter throw earned her fifth place. The throw was an NCAA Provisional mark, and the second-best throw of any Saluki in the women’s weight throw this indoor season.

Roach threw 19.22 meters on Jan. 30 at the SIU-hosted McDonald’s Invitational.


Right below Roach in the standings at Iowa State were senior Sasha Leeth in sixth place, sophomore Gwen Berry in seventh and freshman Jeneva McCall in eighth.

Price-Smith said the throwers’ shot put standings were a little low ‘- the highest finish was Roach at 22nd ‘- but they did not underperform in the weight throw.

‘When you go to bigger meets, it gets more competitive,’ she said. ‘It’s not that they underperformed by any means; it’s just that the competition is higher.’

‘ The Salukis will compete in the Friday Night Special in Charleston hosted by Eastern Illinois University. It will be SIU’s last meet before the Missouri Valley Conference Championships begin on Feb. 28.

Price-Smith said she would be looking for the athletes to work on different goals, such as timing and speed, in the team’s final regular season tune-up.