An ode to the class of 2015-16


Senior quarterback Mark Iannotti throws a pass during the Salukis 27-24 loss to Southeast Missouri State on Saturday. Of 38 attempts, Iannotti completed 26 passes and threw three interceptions.

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

SIU athletics does not have one standout senior this year, it has multiple.

The class of 2015-16 has athletes who are far superior than the rest when it comes to athletic ability and accolades.

Mark Iannotti, Taylor Pippen, Jonny Rigby, Josh Freeman, DeAnna Price, Sherry Zhang, Cartaesha Macklin, Dyana Pierre and Anthony Beane have earned accolades through their careers that make them the best senior class to ever play at SIU.


Mark Iannotti — Quarterback, Football

Iannotti might be the best quarterback in SIU history, and if not, he is top three without a doubt. He finished his season, and career, as one of the best quarterbacks of all-time at SIU.

His 3,911 yards of total offense was the most in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and he became one of two SIU quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 or more yards in a season with 3,195. He also led the team with 716 rushing yards.

Iannotti finished his career first all-time with 12 250-plus yard passing games, tied for second with 46 touchdowns, was third with a 60.38 pass completion and finished fourth with 785 pass attempts and 474 pass completions.

He set the single-season all-time SIU records for passing yards, pass completions and 250-plus passing yard games with 3,195, 273 and eight, respectively. He also tied for second with 24 touchdowns.

Iannotti signed with agent Dave Schuman of Inspired Athletes on Tuesday after being named the offensive most valuable player for the American team in the Football Championship Subdivision Bowl on Sunday. He was also named to the first-team MVFC All-Academic team last week. Iannotti has a 3.89 GPA and plans to graduate this semester.

Taylor Pippen — Middle Hitter, Volleyball


Pippen closed out her illustrious career leading the Salukis to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. She was named MVC First Team All-Conference, MVC Scholar Athlete, State Farm MVC Good Neighbor, CoSIDA Academic All-District and two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Week.

She also became one of four Salukis to be named American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region on Tuesday.

Pippen finished the year first on the team with a .386 attack percentage, third in the Valley and 35th in the nation. She is first all-time at SIU with a .345 attack percentage and 426 block assists.

Jonny Rigby — Tennis

Rigby finished the fall season in October with two doubles tournament wins with partner junior Michal Kianicka. They are No. 2 all-time at SIU with 39 doubles wins, five behind the record of 44 set in 1989.

He is the leader in doubles wins with 57. His 56th doubles win on Oct. 17 passed former teammate Brandon Florez for first all-time.

Rigby and the Salukis return to the court Jan. 16 in Knoxville, Tenn. and the senior could move to first all-time with Kianicka in doubles wins. Rigby is 42 wins away from the SIU record for most singles and doubles wins in a career.

Josh Freeman — Thrower, Track & Field

Freeman finished 12th in shot put at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this summer. He also became the first Saluki male shot putter to earn All-American recognition in the outdoor season since 1966.

He holds the SIU all-time record for indoor and outdoor shot put. His outdoor mark of 66-feet, 1.5-inches is also an MVC Championship record. He is the active SIU all-time leader with a discus throw of 187-feet, four-inches.

Freeman won the gold medal in shot put at the 2013 Pan American Junior Championships after finishing second at the USATF Outdoor Junior Championships.

DeAnna Price — Thrower, Track & Field

Price finished 18th at IAAF World Championships in August after winning the NCAA outdoor hammer throw championship, MVC hammer throw championship and competing in the Pan American Games.

She is in the top 10 indoor in weight throw and shot put at fifth and sixth, respectively. She is also top 10 outdoor for hammer throw, discus and shot put at second, fourth and seventh, respectively.

Price will not compete for SIU during the indoor season, but has a year of eligibility remaining for the outdoor season.

Kaixuan “Sherry” Zhang — Diver, Swimming & Diving

Zhang has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Diver of the Week 20 times in her career and was named the MVC Diver of the Year in the last two seasons.

She finished third in the one and three-meter dives at the NCAA Finals her sophomore year and was an All-American as well as an MVC Scholar-Athlete.

Zhang has 44 event wins in her career and has won five MVC Championships. She also holds the school and pool record at Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium all-time record for the one and three-meter dives. Her one-meter record is 379.35 and the three-meter is 449.10.

Cartaesha Macklin — Guard, Basketball

Macklin is the all-time leader with 372 free throws made after converting three in a 70-57 win against Murray State on Dec. 2. She is also second with 401 assists, fifth with 1,408 points and 11th with 132 steals.

She is the only SIU player to be in the top five for both points and assists.

Macklin was honorable mention All-MVC her freshman and sophomore seasons, and was the MVC Freshman of the Year in the 2011-12 season. She was voted preseason All-MVC before her junior year, in which she redshirted.

Dyana Pierre — Center/Forward, Basketball

Pierre is second all-time at SIU with 139 blocks and third with 987 rebounds.

She is 225 for 386 for free throws, which are tenth and sixth all-time, respectively. She is also 18th all-time with 1,179 career points.

Pierre was named first-team All-MVC last season while also making the MVC All-Defensive Team. She was a two-time MVC Player of the Week. Pierre was also named first-team All-MVC following her sophomore season.

Anthony Beane — Guard, Basketball

Beane started his career with SIU by making the All-Freshman Team in 2012-13. He was named 2nd team All-MVC his sophomore and junior seasons. Beane was named to the MVC Most-Improved team and the first team MVC Scholar-Athlete his sophomore season.

He is a four-time MVC Player of the Week and a two-time MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week.

Beane is currently eighth with 1,229 field goals attempted, ninth with 143 three-pointers made and 394 three-pointers attempted. He is eleventh with 1,507 points, twelfth with 120 steals, tied for twelfth with 97 games started and fifteenth with 545 field goals made.

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3333.