Saluki men and women rack up ten more event titles, dominate SIU Invitational

    Senior Ryan Sidwell pushed the Saluki men 4x400m relay team to victory on Saturday with an excellent come-from-behind run at the anchor position.

    Senior Ryan Sidwell pushed the Saluki men 4x400m relay team to victory on Saturday with an excellent come-from-behind run at the anchor position.

    Feb. 2, 2013


    By Tyler Wooten

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois track and field completed a decisive sweep of both men's and women's competition at the SIU Invitational Saturday at the SIU Recreation Center, racking up 10 more event wins to bring the total number of Saluki wins to 15.

    Leading the way for the Salukis was junior Kenya Culmer, who won two of Southern's 15 event titles on Saturday. Her first was in the triple jump, where her winning leap of 12.20m (40-00.50) was not only a personal best, but it pushed her into eighth all-time at SIU. This was also Culmer's first career victory in the triple jump.

    In the high jump, Culmer won for the fifth consecutive time with a winning clearance of 1.68m (05-06.00).

    Senior Kim Fortney claimed her second event of the weekend with her second shot put victory this season. Fortney's winning launch of 16.25m (53-03.75) came within two inches of her personal best. Also placing in the top-five in the shot put were fellow Salukis Ashley Gaston (third, 15.23m/49-11.75 PR), DeAnna Price (fourth, 14.29m/46-10.75) and Alexus Scott (fifth, 14.05m/46-01.25 PR).

    In the 60 meter hurdles, freshman Remy Abrought and junior Laquitsha Bejoile-Hayes went one-two in both the third heat and the finals. Abrought's time of 8.86 took the crown, her first event win as a Saluki.

    Also claiming her first Saluki win was Krista Menghini, who won the 3000 meter race with a new personal best of 10:13.59 -- over 13 seconds better than her previous best. Also setting PRs in the women's 3000m were Tori Parry (fourth, 10:27.67) and Kristen Levi (seventh, 10:34.10).



    In the men's competition, freshman Josh Freeman won his fourth shot put title of the season with a throw of 16.98m (55-08.50). Also placing in the shot put for Southern were Brian Cooper (second, 16.30m/53-05.75) and Bradley Sauer (15.60m/51-02.25).

    Junior Dougie Palacious won his first triple jump title since last month's Saluki Open with a top mark of 14.66m (48-01.25).

    On the track, junior Matthew Benes narrowly defeated Alabama State's Sylvester Byrd in the 200 meter dash, clocking in at 22.5285 to Byrd's 22.5290. The photo-finish was a personal best for Benes in the 200.

    In the mile run, senior Lucas Cherry won his first career mile run with a time of 4:20.03. The three Salukis that followed him -- Juan Carrera (third), Nick Schrader (fifth) and Brian Dixon (seventh) -- all posted personal bests in the Saluki-packed top-ten.

    Southern's final win of the day came in exhilarating fashion in the men's 4x400 meter relay. The relay started off strong for Southern, but it had lost the lead narrowly to Alabama State before the final leg of the race. Ryan Sidwell once again brought SIU right back into the foreground at the anchor position, passing Alabama State's Brandon Coombs on the final turn and into the last straightaway.

    "I was pleased with both days of competition," said head coach Connie Price-Smith. "I think having a good first day help set the tone for the second day.

    "Having a scored meet helps the athletes focus on contributing to the team's total points," Price-Smith said. "That's the attitude that we will need going into the conference meet."

    Saluki track and field travels to Allendale, Mich. next Friday and Saturday (Feb. 8-9) for the GVSU Big Meet at Grand Valley State.

    Other notable performances:
    Women's 4x400m relay - Second, 3:53.00
    Kelley Gallagher - Mile (second, 5:01.82 PR)
    Allison Gallo - 800m (second, 2:17.96)
    Oscar Medina - 800m (second, 1:57.00)
    Brandon Shemonia - 3000m (second, 8:39.89 PR)
    Sadie Darnell - Mile (third, 5:02.87 PR)
    Kulayifi Haji - 800m (third, 1:57.27 PR)
    Tess Shubert - 200m (third, 25.03 PR)
    Alyssa Allison - Mile (fourth, 5:03.86 PR)
    Eric Reeves - 60m (fourth, 6.99)
    Kemar Jones - 60m hurdles (fourth, 8.42), 400m (tenth, 51.49)
    Lauren Cheadle - 60m (fifth, 7.89), 200m (eighth, 25.68)
    Spencer Jackson - 200m (fifth, 22.78)
    Evan Ehrenheim - 3000m (sixth, 8:50.57)
    Nikolai Gall - 400m (sixth, 50.92)
    Blake Green - 400m (seventh, 51.18), 200m (ninth, 23.11)
    Mobola Rotibi - 800m (seventh, 2:21.55)
    Christopher Nightengale - 400m (ninth, 51.42)

    Men's Team Scores:
    1. Southern Illinois - 207.5
    2. Central Arkansas - 81.5
    3. Arkansas State - 78
    4. Alabama State - 70
    5. Arkansas Pine-Bluff - 41
    6. Mississippi Valley - 33

    Womens Team Scores:
    1. Southern Illinois - 182.5
    2. Alabama State - 116.5
    3. Arkansas State - 84
    4. Central Arkansas - 52
    5. Mississippi Valley - 45
    6. Arkansas Pine-Bluff - 27
    7. Indiana - 17
    8. Murray State - 12