Track and Field: Seniors shine winning five of nine titles at Bill Cornell Classic

By Tamar Mosby, Sports Reporter

Southern took nine titles at this year’s Bill Cornell Classic – the seniors snagging five, as the Dawgs open their outdoor season at the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex in Carbondale.

The Classic is named in honor of three-time All-American and two-time NCAA Runner-Up Bill Cornell. After a successful competitive career Cornell went on to coach Southern from 1982-2000.

Cornell was named the MVC Coach of the Year nine times while coaching the Salukis and coached 21 All-Americans, four Olympians, three NCAA champions and one NCAA runner-up. The former coach passed away in 2016 after fighting a long battle against Parkinson’s Disease.

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Not only does classic honor Cornell, it also served as a moment for the Salukis to honor their senior athletes.

The 17 seniors honored at the meet included Nate Dyer, Matthew Bigelow, Gunnar Galloway, Isaac Wingerter, Tyjuana Eason, Megan Krolak, Alicia Reed, Sasha Lanning, Josh Maier, Kevin Turner, Mitchell Bland, Bri’Anna Branch, Cain Hassim, Ricky Hurley, Adam Kessler, Justine Paton and Luca Palasti.

Southern hosted ten teams at this weekend’s meet with three of them being members of the MVC.

In this meet, the Dawgs won nine event titles along with 17 top three finishes and four Top Ten outdoor school marks.

Four of SIU’s top nine finishes and five of the Top-Three finishes came from the Saluki throwers as the men swept all three of the throwing events –shot put, hammer throw, and discus.

Senior Ricky Hurley earned the first title of the meet when he threw 48.59 meters to win the discus event on Friday. On Saturday, Hurley placed second in the hammer throw and third in the shot put behind his teammates.

Senior Adam Kessler took the win in the shot put on Saturday after throwing a personal best distance of 19.52 meters. This toss moved Kessler up to number three on the Saluki All-Time list.

The final win to complete the thrower sweep came on a 61.04 meter throw in the hammer from senior Nate Dyer.

On the women’s side, A’Veun Moore took home a first place finish in the shot put after she threw a personal best length of 15.73 meters. This throw placed Moore in the Top Ten on the Saluki All-Time List.

Moore’s teammates Kayleigh Conlon and Sian Person finished in the second and third positions to complete the sweep.

In the women’s hammer, sophomore Shauniece O’Neal was the top collegiate performer as she finished in second place with a toss of 60.40 meters. O’Neal placed behind her volunteer coach and olympian DeAnna Price who won the event with a 74.47 meter throw.

Seniors Bri’Anna Branch and Tyjuana Eason led the way for women’s sprints as Branch took home the title in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.88 seconds and Eason took home the title in the 200 meter dash clocking a time of 24.40 seconds.

Both of these women were members of the first place 400 meter relay team along with juniors Maddison Meyer and Genesis Ewell. The group ran a time of 45.45 which is the fourth best time in program history.

Meyer earned her second first place finish of the day as she earned the 100 meter hurdles title running a time of 14.34. Fellow teammate junior Savannah Long also earned a hurdle title as she won the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 1:00.65.

Corey Sherrod led the men’s sprints as he earned three top-three finishes in his debut as a Saluki. Sherrod placed second in the 400 meter dash, third in the 200 meter dash, and was a member of the third place men’s 400 meter relay.

In the men’s steeplechase sophomore Theo Hassim clocked a time of 9:54.81 to finish second in the event, while Kayla Schiera finished second in the women’s steeple running the eight best time in program history.

Senior Josh Maier topped off the distance title as he took home a second place finish in the 1500 meter run with a personal best time of 3:48.52.

Junior Willie Rodgers was Southern’s top finisher in the high jump as  he earned a second place finish with a personal best jump of 2.05 meters, while his teammate Caleb Vogel finished in third.

In the women’s high jump senior Justine Paton earned a third place finish after clearing a jump of 1.63 meters.

Sophomore pole vaulter Kyle Zeinemann was the runner up in his event on Saturday, while senior triple jumper Mitchell Bland was the second runner up in his.

The Salukis will be in action on separate tracks next weekend as half of the team will compete at the Raleigh Relays, hosted by North Carolina States and the other half at the Bobcat Invite, hosted by Texas State.

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

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