Salukis look to carry streak into MVC indoor championship

By Gus Bode

Members of the SIU track and field team enter the Missouri Valley Conference indoor championship with some pressure, as they are a favorite to win it all.

The women enter Saturday’s championship in Cedar Falls, Iowa, as the consensus No. 1 pick, while the men were picked to finish third.

Despite the pre-championship accolades, head coach Connie Price-Smith said the team should not focus too much on the rankings.


‘We try not to talk too much about it.’ It does add a little bit of pressure,’ Price-Smith said.’ ‘They are very confident in what they can do, and focused. We’ll see how they handle the pressure.’

The women’s team is loaded with talent, including three-time defending indoor champion in the long jump, senior Bianca Stuart. The Salukis also include six NCAA provisional qualifiers, including sophomore weight thrower Gwen Berry. Berry is ranked 18th in the nation in the weight throw.

‘ The men are led by two-time MVC cross-country champion Jeff Schirmer.’ Schirmer holds the season records in the 3,000 and 5,000-meter runs.’

The men also have standouts in the pole vault and weight throw.’ Among those is Jake Deiters, a sophomore thrower who has been watching the team as he redshirts during the indoor season.

Deiters said the conference has tough competition, but the Salukis should be able to compete.

‘If we throw as well as we can, we should be in good shape,’ he said.

The Salukis’ impressive start this spring has included numerous top-five finishes varying from pole vault, triple jump and weight throw.


The Saluki’s women weight throwers have been dominant this season.’ The group has taken the top-five spots four times.

Price-Smith said she is excited to see which of the team’s heralded athletes rise to the top.

‘We have a lot that have the potential,’ Price-Smith said.’ ‘Everybody is peaking out right now. They look great in practice.’ I wish the championship was last week.’