Salukis spring into outdoor season

By Gus Bode

Track and field start outdoor season with Saluki Spring Classic

The men’s and women’s track and field team’s compete in the only home meet

Freshman Mariann Ahuna broke SIU’s five-year-old triple jump record of 40-11 3/4 set by Heather Greeling with a distance of 41-3 3/4 during the Saluki Spring Classic at McAndrew Stadium on Saturday.


I never expected to jump that far so early in the season, Ahuna said. It gave me confidence that I can jump farther in the remainder of the season.

Not everyone was as successful as Ahuna. The sun was shining, but there were cold and gusty winds that affected some of the athletes, resulting in slower times.

The meet was a scored event that ended with the men’s team placing third, just below the University of Kansas and the University of Northern Iowa, but able to finish ahead of regional rivals Indiana State University and the University of Illinois.

The Saluki women took fifth. The ladies of Central Michigan University finished first, followed by the University of Kansas, University of Missouri and the University of Northern Iowa to round out the top five.

The women had two other first-place finishes along with Ahuna’s and four top-five placements.

Freshman Kelsey Toussaint (sprints) took the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.58 and second place in the 200m dash at 25.27. Sophomore Korto Dunbar (hurdles) won the 100m dash in a time of 15.27.

Other top performances for the women were fourth place standings from Katie Meehan in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:07.61, Latrice Gray with a height of 5-5 in the high jump and Hilla Medalia with a distance of 36-09 1/2 in the triple jump. The 4×100 relay team placed fourth.


The women had a good weekend and no one suffered from any injuries.

We have a healthy and happy team and are prepared for the outdoor season to come, said head coach Connie Price-Smith.

Meanwhile, the men had an impressive meet also with two top finishes from Jeff Young and Jaanus Uudmae. Young took the 100m hurdles in 14.38, while Uudmae led in the triple jump with a leap of 49-11 1/4.

Junior Adam Judge came in second in the hammer throw and also provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships. Judge also shattered his own personal-best with his toss of 202 feet, 24 feet better than his record.

The men had several top-five finishes, which include second place from Kevin Mills in the 100m dash at 11.10, Willie Davis with a time of 47.94 in the 400m dash and Nyles Stuart in the long jump with a distance of 23-03 1/2.

Doron Giat, Eli Baker, Greg Denagall and Joe Zeibert also took top five placements in their events. The men’s 4×100 relay team placed second and the 4×400 relay team came in fifth.

A lot of the men ran well and are improving, Zeibert said. Coming in third was OK, but it was a plus that we finished ahead of Illinois.

Giat competed in the 1500m run and placed second. He said he felt better than at the first meet.

I’m not in perfect shape but I know I am improving, Giat said. The only thing is that the wind had a little effect on me and I think it slowed me down.

The Saluki Spring Classic was the only home meet for both teams. The men will be in action again in two weeks April 5-6 at the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas. The women will also compete the same weekend at a tournament in South Carolina.

Samantha Robinson can be reached at [email protected]