Salukis anticipate home meet

By Symone Woolridge

After grabbing four event titles at the Indiana Relays last weekend, the SIU track team will get a chance to compete at home Friday and Saturday.

Some Salukis say they enjoy competing at home, while others prefer away meets.

Junior distance runner Krista Menghini said it’s exciting to race at home but she enjoys traveling to compete at other schools.


“It’s just a different experience,” she said. “It’s fun to race in new places and explore. It’s fun to see new campuses but it’s also fun to be at home in a place that is familiar to us.”

The track and field team has not competed at home since Jan. 11, but the Salukis have been competing well, and finished with personal best records in every meet.

The Salukis captured three of their four event titles and two runner-ups on the first day of Indiana Relays.

Menghini claimed the first title for SIU. She finished first in the 3,000-meter run, sprinting to a winning time of 9:56.37.

The Saluki entered the SIU history books, completing the race with the ninth-best time in school history.

Menghini said she came into the race with two goals: Her first was to beat 10 minutes; the second was to be more aggressive with her racing strategy and tactics. Menghini accomplished both.

“My coaches told me to believe in my training and to believe in myself because they believe in me,” she said. “And with running, a big part of it is mental.”


Coach Connie Price-Smith said Menghini has been gaining a lot of confidence and has been trying to run her own style.

“There are times where she does show a lack of confidence,” Price-Smith said. “But the better she competes, the more confidence she has, and I think she is doing a great job of that right now.”

This is the third consecutive away competition for SIU, and Price-Smith said the Salukis have been doing a good job of working hard despite being away from home.

She said home meets may be more relaxed while road competitions are a little more structured.

“You get there and have to make sure you’re getting rest, which is a different routine than at home,” she said. “But when you’re at home, you have classes to go to and you get to sleep in your own bed, so it may just be a bit more relaxed.”

The two other Salukis who finished with event titles were sophomore thrower Alexus Scott and sophomore high jumper Kemar Jones.

Scott’s throw landed her in the seventh spot in SIU history and 33rd nationally. Scott threw 55 feet, which put her at fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Jones completed the Indiana Relays with a personal best jump of six feet. He also secured his fifth-ranked spot in the MVC.

Junior mid-distance runner Mobola Rotibi had a personal best record, but finished in second. Rotibi completed the open mile with a time of 4:59.64, the seventh-best time in MVC.

Rotibi continued to compete well the next day, this time winning the 800-meter run with a time of 2:14.61.

The Saluki said she is used to shorter races, but with longer races she is able to be in her own zone as she competes.

“Everything that we worked hard for is being shown in our meets and results so I’m pretty content with it,” Rotibi said. “I want to do better, and I want to do the best I can because I know I can run faster and do a little bit better.”

Rotibi said she is excited about the home meet this weekend and will hopefully have her family, friends and professors in the crowd.

“It’s more calming running at home because I know the track, I know its curves, I know who’s there, and I know who I’m running with,” she said. “Versus away where you don’t know where you can warm up or cool down, it’s two totally different things but I like them both because they’re both challenging in their own ways.”

The Salukis will host the SIU Invitational Friday and Saturday at the Recreation Center. The meet is open to only NCAA Division I schools and will be scored. The Salukis will begin their field events on Friday at 4p.m.

“It will be good to have people come out and actually see us perform,” Rotibi said. “It should be a good turnout.”

Symone Woolridge can be reached at [email protected] on twitter @swoolridge_DE ,or 536-3311 ext. 269