Track and field kicks off indoor season at home

By Gus Bode

With a depleted roster, the SIU track and field team might take on an underdog role at its own sport.

With the members of the cross country team sitting out during the Saluki Fast Start Invitational and a few sprinters inactive, the track and field team will need its freshmen to step up Friday.

The Fast Start Invitational kicks off the indoor track season and will help SIU prepare for the Missouri Valley Conference Championships on Feb. 23.


Members of the cross country team will sit for the meet to rest up after a full slate of races during the fall.

For the Salukis to garner the win, they will need to fend off Rend Lake College and the University of Louisville – Louisville will feature two All-American sprinters from the 2005-06 season.

SIU sprint coach Alan Turner said the freshmen will get the opportunity to prove themselves early against some of the nation’s top talent.

“Because of all the injuries and such, this is going to be a big meet for our freshmen,” Turner said. “I’m looking to get strong performances out of a trio of freshmen including Brandon Love, Jonathan Daniel and Sammy Biggs.”

While in high school, Love was the Prep Top Times Indoor State meet winner in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.71 seconds – he will be competing in the 200- and 600-meter dash in the Fast Start Invitational.

Love admitted to being nervous going into his first meet at the collegiate level but said he is eager to see how he stacks up against the competition.

“Louisville will give us a hard time because they have a lot of potential All-American sprinters, and Rend Lake is going to be tough as well,” Love said. “If I run well against Louisville’s top guys, I’ll have a pretty good idea of where I stand.”


The women’s team features junior Brittany Riley, who has the potential to be one of the best throwers in the country – she is a two-time All-American in the hammer and weight throw and finished fifth in the weight throw in the NCAA Indoor Championships.

On top of her success at the NCAA Championships, Riley also broke the distance record in the hammer throw at the Midwest regional en route to winning the title with a personal best throw of 66.39 meters.

The Flossmoor native changed her form from last season to improve on her already stellar performances and said she looks forward to unveiling her new technique at the Fast Start Invitational.

“This year, I’m using a three-turn throw instead of two-turn throw, which should help me out,” Riley said. “As far as this meet goes, I have a good chance of winning it because I’m ready to go.”

Matt Hartwig can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 238 or [email protected].