Fast Start Open preview

By Gus Bode

The SIU men’s and women’s cross country teams will be getting an early start to the season Saturday at the Saluki Fast Start Open.

The women’s race is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., while the men should start at 9:30 at the Saluki Cross Country Course behind Abe Martin Field.

The Salukis will be competing against Southeast Missouri State University in a dual battle.


Murray State University was scheduled to participate as well but called two hours after the Wednesday deadline to inform SIU officials it would not competing.

Missouri-Kansas City, DePaul University and Bradley University took part in last year’s open.

“If they don’t want to come, then fine,” SIU men’s cross country head coach Matt McClelland said. “I don’t think the competition level will drop that much either.”

Murray State reportedly scheduled another race for Saturday.

For the Salukis, senior Katie Meehan figures to place high for the women, while junior Dorian Giat and sophomore Eli Baker look to be early favorites in the men’s race.

Meehan finished second last year to teammate Noa Beitler with a time of 13 minutes, 57.01 seconds. Beitler, who recently returned to the team after spending the summer in her native Israel, will not be competing in the meet as she not yet at her peak physical state.

Giat won the men’s event last year with a time of 20:11.65. Baker claimed fourth.


The keys for SIU at Saturday’s race will be who claims the three, four, and five spots for the SIU women’s squad and how last years’ freshman have improved for the men’s team.

“We are looking to see where we are at now,” McClelland said. “As a team we have only been practicing for a few weeks. This race is the best way to find out who we are.”

Reporter Zack Creglow can be reached at [email protected].