Saluki men and women both lead after Day One of SIU Invitational

    Junior Curtis Wideman currently ranks 18th in the nation and fifth all-time at SIU in the weight throw (20.51m/67-03.50).

    Junior Curtis Wideman currently ranks 18th in the nation and fifth all-time at SIU in the weight throw (20.51m/67-03.50).

    Feb. 7, 2014

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    By Tyler Wooten

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Saluki track and field opened the SIU Invitational with three event wins in the first six events to take an early lead in both men's and women's competition after Day One on Friday night at the SIU Student Recreation Center.

    On the men's side, the Salukis are currently edging out Southeast Missouri 53.50-41.50, due in part to two event victories.

    Junior thrower Curtis Wideman had a career day in the weight throw, which he won with a massive personal best throw of 20.51m (67-03.50). Wideman, who entered the meet with a weight PR of 19.81m (65-00.00) set last week at the Indiana Relays, broke that previous mark in four of his six attempts and set a new personal best on three of his throws. Wideman's top throw currently registers as the 18th-best in the country and now ranks as the fifth-best in SIU history -- up two spots after moving into seventh last week at Indiana.

    Also scoring in the men's weight were Brian Cooper (fourth, 18.38m/60-03.75 PR), Josh Freeman (fifth, 17.74m/58-02.50) and Kyle Walker (seventh, 16.96m/55-07.75).

    Freshman Chad Weaver led a strong Saluki contingent in the men's pole vault, which he won with a clearance of 4.63m (15-02.25). Weaver and second-place finisher junior Alex Lietz cleared the same height, but Lietz declined his final attempt with the bar at 4.93m (16-02.00). SIU scored three more pole vaulters in the final six spots who each cleared the same height (4.33m/14-02.50), two of whom set new PRs: Henry Uslabar (tied for fourth, PR), Dean Jordan (tied for sixth, PR), and Haedin Sweetin (tied for sixth).

    The Saluki men also had one scorer in the men's long jump, freshman Franklin Adams -- who posted a PR in fourth place at 7.19m (23-07.25).

    The Saluki women currently enjoy a larger lead with 59 points over second-place SEMO with 23. In three events, SIU placed 11 scorers in 24 available spots.

    Four of SIU's 11 women scorers placed in the weight throw, which was won by junior Sophia Lozano with a winning throw of 19.90m (65-03.50). Lozano has now won the weight throw in two of SIU's last three meets.

    Salukis occupied the top-three spots as junior Ashley Gaston (second, 19.38m/63-07.00 PR) and sophomore Alexus Scott (third, 18.54m/60-10.00 PR) followed Lozano with career performances. Junior Erin Scott also scored and set a personal best in seventh place at 17.57m (57-07.75).

    The SIU women were also successful in the long jump, where they placed three scorers. Sarah Rautio (third, 5.62m/18-05.25), Cetrena Simmons (fifth, 5.55m/18-02.50 PR) and Lauren Cheadle (seventh, 5.49m/18-00.25) each advanced to finals and scored for the Salukis.

    Finally, the women's pole vault also saw it's fair share of Saluki maroon as well with four SIU scorers in the top-eight. Cara Engel (second, 3.53m/11-07.00 PR), Katie Trupp (third, 3.53m/11-07.00), Caselyn Harding (fourth, 3.53m/11-07.00) and Kacy Murphy (seventh, 3.08m/10-01.25 PR) each scored for Southern.

    Engel (fourth), Trupp (second), Harding (third) and Murphy (ninth) all rank within the top-10 all-time at SIU -- with each mark made this season.

    Day Two will begin at 10 a.m. with the shot put and triple jump, followed by the beginning of the running events at 10:30 a.m.

    Men's Team Scores:
    1. Southern Illinois - 53.50
    2. Southeast Missouri - 41.50
    3. Western Illinois - 11
    4. Western Kentucky - 6
    5. Mississippi Valley State - 4
    6. Lipscomb - 1

    Women's Team Scores:
    1. Southern Illinois - 59
    2. Southeast Missouri - 23
    3. Austin Peay - 17
    4. Western Kentucky - 10
    5. Murray State - 8