Saluki distance runners claim four event wins at dominant first day of A-State Red Wolves Open

    Senior Alyssa Allison won the 1500 meter run on a PR of 4:27.83, the third-best time in Saluki history.

    Senior Alyssa Allison won the 1500 meter run on a PR of 4:27.83, the third-best time in Saluki history.

    April 25, 2014


    Preview Release | Meet Central
    Schedule | Live Results

    By Tyler Wooten

    All national or regional rankings are calculated using the most up-to-date lists at the time of writing. Rankings may or may not change as results are recorded and reported throughout the weekend.

    JONESBORO, Ark. -- Saluki track and field came away with four distance event titles after a dominant first day of competition at the Red Wolves Open hosted by Arkansas State on Friday.

    Southern's distance program -- which swept the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country championships in the fall -- had an impressive day on the track with not only four event wins, but eight personal-bests and numerous entries into SIU's record book. The Salukis swept the men's and women's 3000 meter steeplechase and also took victory in the women's 1500 and 5000 meter runs on Friday evening, as the cooler temperatures helped facilitate some blistering times in the event.

    In the women's steeple, SIU record-holder Sadie Darnell won the event at a time of 10:29.72 -- just one second shy of her record time of 10:28.10 set as a sophomore in 2013. Darnell just barely beat out fellow junior Krista Menghini, who clocked in at an unreal 22-second PR time of 10:29.78 -- which now ranks right behind Darnell on Southern's all-time list. Those times rank 29th and 30th in the NCAA West Region and third and fourth in the MVC in 2014, respectively.



    Junior Juan Carrera also had a career day in his victory in the men's steeple. Carrera, a native of Round Lake, Ill., won the event on a nine-second personal-best time of 9:14.07, his third meet in as many tries outdoors that he has broken his previous best. His newest time currently ranks third in the Valley in 2014.

    The Saluki women kept their momentum rolling in the 1500 meter run, where Southern took the top two spots on career-best times. Senior Alyssa Allison won the event at a time of 4:27.83, a five-second improvement that moves her up to third all-time at SIU from ninth place and ranks fifth-best in the MVC in 2014. In both of Allison's attempts in the 1500 meter this spring she has set a new PR.

    Three seconds behind Allison in second place was fellow junior Mobola Rotibi, who set a nine-second career-best time of 4:30.06 -- now the sixth-best time in Saluki history. Entering competition on Friday, Rotibi did not register on Southern's top-ten list in the 1500 meter run.

    The Saluki women weren't done there, as SIU maroon dominated the 5000 meter run as well. Junior Kelley Gallagher won the event on a monstrous 25-second PR of 17:07.21. Like Rotibi, Gallagher was not ranked on SIU's all-time 5K list but now sits in seventh place all-time. Behind Gallagher in second place was junior Tori Parry, who set a new career-best time of 17:28.43 -- her third straight meet with a new PR in the 5K. Junior Lacey Gibson joined Gallagher and Parry in the top-three at 18:09.85.

    SIU's eighth and final distance PR of the day came from senior Nick Schrader, who ran 4:08.99 in the men's 1500 meter run for fifth place.

    Southern also had a strong showing in the women's hammer throw with three personal-bests. Junior Ashley Gaston was SIU's top-finisher in third place after throwing a six-foot PR distance of 56.80m (186-04). Gaston's newest mark ranks 42nd regionally, second in the MVC and the best on SIU's roster in 2014. Sophomore Alexus Scott finished sixth at a seven-inch best of 54.48m (178-09), junior Sophia Lozano finished right behind her in seventh place at 53.86m (176-08) and junior Erin Scott hit a new PR at 51.43m (168-08) in ninth place.

    Former Saluki Gwen Berry won the event as a member of New York Athletic Club at a distance of 71.74m (235-04), which ranks as the second-best throw in the United States in 2014.

    The Saluki men claimed a runner-up spot in the men's hammer throw from junior Curtis Wideman. The junior native of Evanston, Ill., threw 62.38m (204-08), which finished just over a meter shy of Ole Miss' Nathan Loe (63.90m/209-07) for first place.

    SIU gained five total career performances in both the men's and women's javelin throws as well. Freshman Stephanie Milroy was Southern's top-finisher on the women's side in seventh place at 35.38m (116-01), and on the men's side Dean Jordan (sixth, 56.25m/184-06), Kurtis Siemsen (12th, 44.17m/144-11), Haeden Sweetin (14th, 43.20m/141-08) and Andrew Carmin (15th, 41.18m/135-01) each set career-bests on Friday.

    Competition on Saturday will begin with the long jump at 10:30 a.m., which will be followed by the beginning of the running events at 11 a.m. with the 4x100 meter relays.