Salukis start outdoor season with Spring Classic

By Gus Bode

After getting a taste of success during the indoor season, Brittany Riley and the SIU track and field team have unfinished business when it comes to the great outdoors.

The Salukis finished the indoor season ranked No. 17 in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Poll and look to improve on that ranking as they head into the outdoor season. SIU hosts the Spring Classic, which begins Friday and will feature teams such as SIU-Edwardsville, Bradley, Northern Iowa and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Head coach Connie Price-Smith said she was excited about the ranking.


“It is always nice to have your achievements recognized by your peers,” Price-Smith said. “It is a great way to wrap up the indoor season and enter the outdoor season.”

In 2007, the men’s team finished fourth, while the women finished fifth at the Missouri Valley Conference Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Riley, Brenton Siemons, Jeff Schirmer and Bianca Stuart each earned individual conference titles at the outdoor championships and look to do the same in 2008.

Almost four weeks after winning her second National Championship in indoor competition, Riley looks to capture her first outdoor title as a Saluki. But for most of the Salukis, the Classic will be their first action since posting second place finishes March 2 at the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“I’m looking forward to throwing the hammer,” Riley said. “I should have won last year. It was frustrating to finish in second.”

Riley isn’t the only Saluki coming off a successful indoor season. Junior jumper Bianca Stuart finished 13th in the long jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

For indoor success to translate into the outdoor season, the Salukis will have to make several adjustments, including training for different events and being prepared to perform in the elements.

“They’re out here trying to get adjusted to the outdoors again,” jumps coach Andre Scott said.


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