Senior leadership by example

By Gus Bode

When Brenton Siemons hits his first throw, it seems as if his teammates follow in stride.

This is the final year the Pittsfield native will compete for SIU. The fifth-year senior studying accounting is one of the track and field team’s most accomplished athletes. Siemons posted 17 top-5 finishes in the 2006-07 season, finishing the year by winning indoor and outdoor shot put titles at the Missouri Valley Conference championships.

Throws coach John Smith said replacing an athlete like Siemons is going to be difficult.


“Losing Brenton is going to be hard,” Smith said. “He’s the kind of guy you want going into a conference meet.”

Track and field was not always Siemons’ sport. At Pittsfield High School, he played golf for three years before his friends talked him into joining the track and field team. In his junior year, he was a state qualifier in the discus and shot put events.

Now, he is one of the Salukis’ most consistent point scorers.

Siemons started the 2008 portion of the track and field schedule strong with victories in the weight toss and shot put events at the Saluki Booster and Illinois Invitational. Siemons’ performance at the Saluki Booster helped him win the MVC Athlete of the Week award Jan. 22.

Smith said Siemons is an “ice breaker.” Siemons is not a vocal leader; instead he is the type of athlete who leads by example. Smith said Siemons’ soft-spoken personality has not changed since he came to SIU, but his skill has improved on a year-to-year basis more than any other athlete he has seen.

“He’s one of the best I’ve ever coached,” Smith said. Even though Siemons is doing well in his events, his main focus is in the classroom.

He said he used to find it difficult to concentrate in the classroom, but has shifted his sights towards the importance of graduation.


“In class, all I could think about is the next meet,” Siemons said. Siemons said he is focused on graduating because he is not sure what his future holds. He might pursue his master’s degree in accounting and said he would like to finish his Saluki career on a high note.

Siemons said he enjoys his events, and that helps him to be successful.

“When you have fun, you don’t get burned out,” Siemons said.

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