Salukis win three event titles at Day One of GVSU Big Meet

    Junior Sophia Lozano now ranks fifth all-time at SIU and 12th nationally in 2014 in the weight throw.

    Junior Sophia Lozano now ranks fifth all-time at SIU and 12th nationally in 2014 in the weight throw.

    Feb. 14, 2014


    Live Results | Live Video

    By Tyler Wooten

    ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Saluki track and field rode three event wins and numerous career performances to a successful Day One of the GVSU Big Meet on Friday.

    Friday featured the scored portion of the meet, which was split into two sections: invitational and invitational elite. The Saluki men (24.50) and women (29) rank third and fourth in the invite team scores after Day One, respectively. In the elite events, the Saluki women lead by 27 points with 30 after Day One, and the men rank second with 14.

    Southern's most impressive win came in the women's weight throw invite elite, where junior Sophia Lozano had a career day. Lozano threw a career-best 20.82m (68-03.75) for the victory, which now ranks fifth all-time at SIU (up from seventh) and leapfrogs teammate DeAnna Price in both the Missouri Valley Conference standings (first) and the national collegiate qualifying list (12th).

    For the second straight week and the fourth time this season, the Salukis swept both the men's and women's high jump. In the men's high jump invite, freshman Kyle Landon won his fourth high jump of the season on a winning clearance of 2.12m (6-11.50). In the women's high jump invite, senior Kenya Culmer won her fifth high jump title in seven tries this season with the bar at 1.69m (5-06.50).

    The Saluki women had several more record-book worthy performances in both the invite and elite invite events on Day One.

    In the women's shot put invite elite, junior Ashley Gaston finished second on a career-best throw of 15.94m (52-03.75). The mark pushes her up to sixth all-time at SIU and in 2014 it ranks third in the MVC and 28th in the nation.



    Southern's female distance runners had another historic outing with three top-10 SIU times at Day One.

    The Salukis received two significant PRs in the 3000 meter run invite by juniors Krista Menghini and Sadie Darnell. Menghini finished fourth with a time of 9:43.41, which shattered her previous best set at Indiana on Jan. 31 by 13 seconds. Her new time -- now the second-best in the Valley in 2014 -- jumped up seven spots in SIU's record book to rank second all-time. Darnell had a relatable performance with her sixth-place time of 9:44.82, which broke her old PR by five seconds. Darnell now ranks third all-time at SIU and fourth in the MVC.

    Senior Alyssa Allison also placed herself in Southern's record books after her performance in the 800 meter run invite. Allison finished eighth with a time of 2:11.64, which sits at fourth all-time at SIU. Entering competition, Allison had not run the 800 indoors at SIU. Allison now ranks third in the MVC for 2014, which gives Southern two student-athletes in the top-three -- along with junior Mobola Rotibi. who owns the Valley's best 800 time in 2014 (2:11.28).

    Freshman pole vaulter Katie Trupp earned her fifth top-three finish this season by tying her PR of 3.75m (12-03.50), which has been the second-best clearance in SIU history since she first set it back on Jan. 17 at the Kentucky Invite.

    Other notable performances from the women included: Lacey Gibson in the 5K invite (17th, 17:36.16, fifth in the MVC), and the 4x400 meter relay invite of McKenzie White, Amiris Warren, Mobola Rotibi and Nirupama Sunderraj (seventh, 3:50.33, season best).

    The Saluki men saw their share of impressive performances as well, with two appearances in the SIU record books and three leaps in the Valley top-10 list.

    In the 60 meter hurdles, SIU had two representatives in the finals -- senior Matthew Benes and sophomore Kemar Jones. Benes finished seventh with a time of 8.09 seconds, and it was Jones who had a career day in fifth place at 8.04 -- a personal best that now ranks sixth in the conference and improves upon his standing in fifth all-time at SIU.

    Benes also had a strong performance in the 200 meter dash, where he set a new indoor personal best of 21.97 seconds. Benes moved up three spots to seventh all-time indoors and is now the sixth-best time in the MVC in 2014.

    A large chunk of the Saluki men's elite invite team score came from two third-place finishes in the throws. In the shot put elite invite, sophomore Josh Freeman finished third with a launch of 18.81m (61-08.50), and in the weight throw elite junior and current MVC Field Athlete of the Week Curtis Wideman hit 19.87m (65-02.25).

    The men's 3000 meter run also saw a sizable personal best from junior Oscar Medina, who bested his previous mark by six seconds with his fifth-place time of 8:23.49 -- the sixth-best time in the MVC in 2014.

    Day Two will mostly feature the unscored, open portion of the meet and will begin at 10 a.m. CST with the field events and the final scored events of the meet -- the distance medley relays.

    Men's Invite Team Scores:
    1. Eastern Illinois - 62.50
    2. Grand Valley State - 38
    3. Southern Illinois - 24.50
    4. Central Michigan - 17.50
    5. Loyola - 16
    6. Wisconsin-Milwaukee - 12
    7. Wichita State - 10
    8. Marquette - 8
    9. Oakland - 1

    Women's Invite Team Scores:
    1. Grand Valley State - 87.50
    2. Central Michigan - 45.50
    3. Loyola - 34
    4. Southern Illinois - 29
    5. Miami (Ohio) - 26.50
    6. Eastern Illinois - 16.66
    7. Wisconsin-Milwaukee - 10
    8. Marquette - 9
    9. Murray State - 8
    10. Bowling Green - 7
    11. Northern Illinois - 5
    12. Oakland - 4
    13. Detroit Mercy - 1

    Men's Invite ELITE Team Scores:
    1. Grand Valley State - 28
    2. Southern Illinois - 14
    3. Central Michigan - 10
    4. Loyola - 3
    5. Detroit Mercy - 2
    5. Wisconsin-Milwaukee - 2

    Women's Invite ELITE Team Scores:
    1. Southern Illinois - 30
    2. Grand Valley State - 38
    3. Bowling Green - 9
    4. Western Michigan - 6
    5. Wisconsin-Milwaukee - 4
    5. Murray State - 4
    7. Miami (Ohio) - 3