SIU track and field finishes regular season strong

By Gus Bode

While the SIU track and field team added to its collection of titles, individual accomplishments stole the spotlight at the Jesse Owens Invitational.

The Salukis captured two meet titles and garnered 22 top-10 finishes in their final meet of the regular season, held in Columbus, Ohio. Highlighting the finishes were several SIU athletes who were able to surpass NCAA regional qualifying marks.

Junior Bianca Stuart and senior Brittany Riley accounted for the Salukis’ two titles during the second day of action. Stuart’s jump, which measured 21-feet-2-inches, was good enough for a regional and Olympic B qualifying mark. Riley was victorious in the hammer throw, throwing 224-feet-7-inches to surpass the regional and Olympic B marks.


Freshman teammate Rickael Roach joins Riley as a regional qualifier in the hammer throw and the shot put. Roach, who finished in ninth place in the hammer throw and eighth place in the shot put, said it was exciting to have such an accomplishment against athletes who competed in power conferences such as the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference.

“There was a lot of tough competition out there for me,” Roach said. “It was exciting to get this as a freshman. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to, but now I want to qualify in discus and be able to qualify in all three of my events.”

On the men’s side, senior Brenton Siemons also regionally qualified in the hammer throw and shot put. Siemons finished tied for fifth in the shot put and 14th in the hammer throw.

Sophomore Thomas Smith joined Siemons as a regional qualifier in the shot put, finishing in seventh place with a toss that measured more than 55 feet.

Freshman runner Emily Toennies provided the Salukis with another high mark, qualifying for the Junior National Championships in the 5,000-meter run. Toennies finished in sixth place with a time of 17:36.45. Fellow freshman Shanna MacLagan placed 12th, finishing in 18:38.20.

Freshman Jake Deiters also surpassed a regional qualifying mark in SIU’s final showing before the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships. Deiters placed eighth in the discus with a throw of 173-feet-3-inches. Not only did the toss surpass the regional qualifying mark, it now stands as his best throw of the season.

Deiters said it felt good to accomplish a feat like that so early in his career.


“It feels great, I kind of surprised myself,” Deiters said. “It would be more exciting to win conference, but just to be able to go to regionals is pretty exciting.”

The Salukis return to the track May 16 as they host the MVC Outdoor Championships.

Luis C. Medina can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 238 or [email protected].