MVC pole vault champion, Ryan Sidwell. (Photography at MVC Indoor Championships courtesy of Jarrin Williams)
Feb. 23, 2013
By Tyler Wooten
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Saluki track and field started strong at Day One of the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships on Saturday, winning two event titles and placing All-MVC in five events.
After five scored events each, the Saluki men are leading the team scores with 46 points -- one-half point ahead of No. 25 Indiana State -- and the Saluki women currently sit at fourth place with 29 points.
Southern's first event title at Day One came courtesy of senior Ryan Sidwell in the men's pole vault. The senior native of Casey, Ill., earned his first MVC event championship and first All-MVC honor with a clearance of 5.01m (16-05.25), four inches better than second place. Sidwell is only the 12th Saluki in SIU history to win the MVC indoor pole vault, the last coming from Cody Doerflein just last year.
Senior Zach Dahleen, reigning champion in the indoor mile, won his fourth career indoor MVC title (sixth overall) in the 3000 meter run. Remarkably, Dahleen's title-winning time of 8:20.38 is nearly four seconds off his personal best. Dahleen has now won MVC championships in four different events (mile, 3000m, distance medley relay and outdoor 1500m) during his time as a Saluki.
A bulk of the Saluki women's team score came from the weight throw, where Southern placed four in the top-eight for 17 team points. Senior Kim Fortney once again pushed her personal best, this time earning her first career All-MVC honor with a third place finish. Fortney's PR launch of 20.41m (66-11.50) unfortunately fell behind two of the best women's weight throwers in the nation: No. 17 Indiana State's Felisha Johnson (MVC Champion, No. 1 in the nation) and Illinois State's Brittany Smith (second place, No. 7 in the nation).
Seventh-ranked thrower in the nation Bradley Sauer earned All-MVC in the men's weight throw for his second place finish in what turned out to be a surprising event. Top-ranked thrower Brandon Pounds of Indiana State finished seventh with a throw nearly 14 feet off his nation-leading launch, allowing Drake's Issac Twombly to take the crown. Sauer's all-conference heave of 20.86m (68-05.25) was his third best throw of the season, and the All-MVC honor is his first as a Saluki.
Also scoring in the men's weight throw was Curtis Wideman, who finished eighth with a throw of 18.48m (60-10.00).
Southern's final All-MVC nod of the day went to the women's distance medley relay team of Alyssa Allison, McKenzie White, Allison Gallo and Kelley Gallagher. The relay team ran a season-best time of 11:52.67, and only two seconds separated the top three All-MVC finishers. This is the first All-MVC honor for all four student-athletes.
The Saluki men's distance medley relay came painfully close to claiming an All-MVC sweep in the medleys. The relay of Kulayifi Haji, Brett Kohler, Cole Allison and Oscar Medina finished in fourth place and missed out on all-conference by eight thousandths-of-a-second with a time of 10:17.800 to Wichita State's All-MVC time of 10:17.792.
Three Salukis scored in the long jump between the men's and women's squads. Eric Reeves and Dougie Palacious scored a combined nine team points with their respective fourth and fifth place finishes. Reeves tied his personal best with his leap of 7.22m (23-08.25), which fell two inches shy of All-MVC. Palacious took fifth place with his jump of 7.20m (23-07.50), a season best.
Sophomore Lauren Cheadle pushed her PR once again with a leap of 5.74m (18-10.00) for fifth place, which fell within 1.75 inches of All-MVC.
Saluki distance runners scored in two more events. Senior Neal Anderson (sixth place, 8:27.26) and sophomore Sadie Darnell (seventh place, 10:01.95) both scored in the 3000m race for the Salukis, hauling in three and two team points, respectively.
Southern has a chance for a large haul of team points at Day Two after nine Salukis qualified for finals after excellent performances on Day One.
Matthew Benes may have been beat out of the 60 meter dash finals by fellow teammate Eric Reeves, but he also had the best 200 meter dash time on the day at 22.20. Benes also qualified for the finals in the 60 meter hurdles tomorrow with a personal best time of 8.10 seconds.
Senior Tess Shubert continued her excellent senior campaign with the third best women's 400 meter dash time of 56.40 seconds to qualify for finals tomorrow.
Also qualifying for the 400 meter dash finals was 2013 MVC pole vault champion Ryan Sidwell, who ran a time of 49.67 to get into the finals.
Remy Abrought shattered her personal best in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.66 seconds to qualify for finals tomorrow. Currently, that time stands as the fifth best time in Saluki history.
Day Two of the MVC Indoor Championships begins at 9:30 a.m. with the conclusion of the women's pentathlon and mens heptathlon.
Men's Team Scores:
1. Southern Illinois - 46
2. Indiana St. - 45.50
3. Northern Iowa - 36
4. Wichita State - 28
5. Drake - 20
6. Illinois State - 16.50
Women's Team Scores:
1. Wichita State - 61
2. Illinois State - 34
3. Indiana State - 30
4. Southern Illinois - 29
5. Missouri State - 16
T-6. Bradley - 9
T-6. Northern Iowa - 9
8. Drake - 7