Feb. 25, 2012
By Robin Thuringer
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Southern Illinois men's and women's track and field teams both completed the first day of competition at the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships that are being held at the UNI-Dome.
After the first day of competition, the Saluki men are currently in first place with 54.50 points. Championship favorite Indiana State trails in second place with 43 points. The women sit in third place with 36 points, closely trailing first place Illinois State (42 points) and second place Wichita State (41 points).
Malaikah Love opened up the day by edging out Northern Iowa's Olimpia Nowak by 25 points to win the pentathlon with 4092 points. The mark currently ranks Love fourth in the nation. The Carbondale, Ill. native won the long jump (20-02.50) and shot put (45-03.00) and placed second in the 60-meter hurdles. Love placed third in the 800m and seventh in the high jump.
In the weight throw, seniors Jeneva McCall and J.C. Lambert each defended their conference titles. McCall recorded a distance of 76-09.00 which out-distanced second place finisher Brittany Smith of Illinois State by seven feet. Rickael Roach finished in fourth place while freshman DeAnna Price placed fifth to collect points for SIU. Price recorded a personal best throw of 64-04.50.
Lambert won the men's weight throw competition with a heave of 70-09.25 holding off Indiana State thrower Brandon Pounds. Freshman Bradley Sauer had a strong showing in his first championship placing fifth with a distance of 62-06.00 to be the only other Saluki to finish inside the top eight.
The Salukis collected additional points in the long jump competition. Doug Palacious was the top men's finisher for Southern placing third overall with a leap of 23-06.00. Eric Reeves and Maxim Bakana placed fourth and sixth, respectively. Malaikah Love placed third on the women's side with a distance of 19-06.75.
The SIU men's distance medley relay team claimed gold with their time of 10:04.18. T.J. Heffernan anchored the winning team followed by Jeremy Bankston, Oscar Medina, Zach Dahleen, Stephen Arvanis, Jawon Smith, and Lucas Cherry.
Continuing on with the distance events, Neal Anderson finished in fifth place in the men's 3000-meter run with a time of 8:37.01.
Southern Illinois has put itself in good position to contend for the championships on Sunday with a number of athletes advancing to the finals in the track events. Amiris Warren qualified for 60m finals as did Eric Reeves on the men's side. Warren's prelim time of 7.54 is a new personal best.
Warren and Reeves also qualified for the finals of the 200-meter dash. Dominic Williams also will compete Sunday in the 200.
Tess Shubert recorded a time of 56.32 to qualify to compete in the final of the women's 400m.
The second and final day of the 2012 MVC Indoor Championships begins Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. with the conclusion of the men's heptathlon. Field events begin at 11:30 a.m. with the women's triple jump, while the mile run at 1 p.m. kicks off the track events.
Scores after five events:
Women's: 1. Illinois State 42 2. Wichita State 41 3. Southern Illinois 36 4. Missouri State 25 5. Northern Iowa 20 6. Indiana State 16 7. Bradley 9 8. Drake 6
Men's: 1. Southern Illinois 54.50 2. Indiana State 43 3. Northern Iowa 29 4. Drake 25 5. Wichita State 23.50 6. Illinois State 17