Daily Egyptian

Dawgs crush Don DeNoon Invitational, gearing up for MVC championship

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Reporter

After weeks of travel, the SIU Track and Field Team returned to Carbondale to host the annual Don DeNoon Invitational this weekend.

While this was be Southern’s fourth time hosting the invite, this season’s meet was the largest the event has ever been – hosting 11 teams.

A few teams in the mix with SIU include Ole Miss, Western Illinois, Arkansas State, Evansville and UT Martin.

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This two-day event was one of the Dawgs’ final meets before they head to Iowa for the MVC Indoor Championship. Rosalind Joseph, Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, saw it as an opportunity to prepare her athletes moving forward. 

“For me, this meet is where we start to gear up for the MVC Championship,” Joseph said. “This will be a good time with them at home and families coming in where we can put the spotlight on them for the second time this season. Everyone is training well so we are excited about our preparation.”

After the first day of competition, both the men and women’s teams were second overall in total points with the men scoring a total of 30.5 and the women scoring a total of 43.

The first day of competition consisted mainly of field contests and several Salukis shined in their respective events.

In the high jump, senior Justine Patton matched her personal best with a leap of 1.67 meters. Patton placed second in the event after being defeated in a tie-breaking jump off.

Sophomore Kyle Zeinemann earned his first win this season in the pole vault and cleared a season best height of 4.55 meters, while sophomore Erin Diemer earned a second place finish in the women’s vault clearing a height of 3.45 meters.

In the men’s weight throw, Southern is ranked fourth in the nation as a group and two Salukis placed in the top three for the event this weekend.

Senior Ricky Hurley placed second in the event throwing the weight 60 feet and .25 of an inch out, while senior Nate Dyer earned a third place finish with a toss of 59 feet and 8.5 inches.

The women’s weight throw competition was the highlight of day one as two professional field athletes and Saluki alums, Deanna Price and Jeneva (McCall) Stevens, went head to head.

Price currently has the best mark in the U.S. for the weight throw at 24.57 meters, while Stevens holds the fourth best mark at 23.42 meters.

Price took took first in the event with a toss of 76 feet and .25 inches and Stevens took second with a toss of 75 feet and 8.25 inches.

Junior Alexis Roberson was among the top three in collegiate finishers throwing the weight over 67 feet.

Day two of the invite proved to be even more successful than day one as it was full of Saluki wins and personal bests.

“I was kind of hard on our team this weekend because, as we near the conference meet I need us to move away from “hoping” to do well and instead “expecting” ourselves to do well,” Joseph said.

There were four event winners in day two and six personal best records broken.

Sophomore sprinter Theo Phipps earned a first place finish in the 60 meter hurdles and also set a personal best time of 8.14 seconds. This time moved Phipps up to the number six spot on the Saluki All-Time List.

For women’s 60 meter hurdles, sophomore sprinters Madison Meyer and Savannah Long ran collegiate best times of 8.98 seconds.

Meyer earned a third place finish in the event.

As usual, Southern’s throwers lit up the circle as the men’s shot putters swept the event achieving one personal best in the process.

Senior Adam Kessler won the event with a personal best throw of 19.26 meters being only the third Saluki to do so indoors.

Sophomore Sam Sikon took second in the event, while senior Ricky Hurley took the third place slot.

In the women’s shot, sophomore Aveun Moore finished second among her collegiate competitors with a toss of 14.77 meters, while her teammate, senior Sian Person, finished third with a toss 14.68 meters.

Back on the track, Saluki freshman Julia Lutz earned her first collegiate win in the 200 meter dash running a time of 25.43 seconds.

Senior Tyjuana Eason not only earned a second place finish in the 60 meter dash, she set a lifetime best record in the event running a time of 7.48 seconds.

Eason still holds the top mark for the event in the MVC and furthered her lead by running this time.

To continue on the track, senior Cain Hassim earned a fourth place finish in the mile running a personal best time of four minutes and twenty seconds, which is five seconds faster than his previous record.

After this weekend’s invite the Salukis will hit the road once more to compete next Friday at the Samford Invite for their final regular season indoor meet.

“We had a lot of marks/wins/PRs that we expected from our student-athletes and we have a lot more to come, but we have to create some urgency and start really honing in on these expectations,” Joseph said. “Overall, things are moving in the right direction and I’m confident everyone is on pace to do great things at the conference meet.”

Sports reporter Tamar Mosby can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @mosbytamar.

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