Junior Mobola Rotibi won the 800 meter invite on a new PR of 2:09.30, the fourth-best time in SIU history.
April 26, 2014
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 wrapped up the two-day A-State Red Wolves Open with five more event wins at the A-State Track and Field Complex hosted by Arkansas State on Saturday.
Southern's distance squad didn't slow down on the second day, taking three of SIU's five total wins on Saturday to add to the four events the distance squad won on Friday night. SIU took three of the four total 800 meter run events run on Saturday between both the invitational and regular editions of the event.
Most impressive of the wins on Saturday came from junior Mobola Rotibi in the 800 meter run invitational. Rotibi, who ranked tied for sixth all-time in the 800 at SIU entering today, won on a two-second personal-best time of 2:09.30. Her new best now ranks fourth all-time at SIU, first in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2014 and 44th in the NCAA West Region. Rotibi, a two-time All-MVC runner in the 800, also ranks third in the indoor 800 at a time of 2:11.28, set during this past indoor season.
Right behind Rotibi in second place was senior Alyssa Allison, who capped a strong weekend at A-State with a career-best of her own at 2:10.84. Less than a day after she moved up to third all-time after her victory in the 1500 meter run (4:27.83), Allison now ranks seventh all-time at SIU and fourth in the MVC in 2014 in the 800.
Sophomore Allison Gallo helped complete the Saluki women's sweep in the 800 with her victory in the regular edition of the event. Gallo, a native of Schaumburg, Ill., claimed victory on a two-second PR time of 2:13.10, her first career win in the 800 at SIU. Also setting a new best in the 800 was freshman Jessica Jump, who finished eighth at a time of 2:19.38.
Senior Zach Dahleen took the men's 800 meter invite crown for Southern's seventh distance victory of the meet. SIU's all-time leader in both the indoor mile (4:00.16) and outdoor 1500 meter (3:41.18) runs, Dahleen set a new 800 meter PR in the process at a time of 1:50.43 -- the second-best time in the MVC in 2014, which also ties as the 36th-best in the NCAA West Region.
Southern's success on the track continued in the 4x400 meter relays. The Saluki women's squad of McKenzie White, Alyssa Allison, Tyra Wooten and Mobola Rotibi claimed SIU's first relay win of the season with a season-best time of 3:50.65. The men's quartet of Christopher Nightengale, Andrew Carmin, Blake Green and Zach Dahleen also set a season-best time of 3:20.21 in their fourth-place finish in the men's relay.
Sophomore Josh Freeman grabbed SIU's final victory of the day in the men's shot put. Freeman, SIU's all-time leader in both the indoor (19.43m/63-09.00) and outdoor (19.35m/63-06.00) shot put, won on his second heave of the day at 18.93m (62-01.25). Junior Curtis Wideman also finished in the top-five in fourth place at 17.64m (57-10.50).
Freeman was also one of five Saluki runners-up on the day in the discus. The Fox River Grove, Ill., native hit a four-foot best at 54.17m (177-09) to move from eighth up to sixth place on SIU's all-time list. His newest best also ranks second in the MVC and 31st in the West Region in 2014. Wideman finished seventh in the event at 51.87m (170-02).
Junior Ashley Gaston also concluded a superb weekend in Jonesboro with a runner-up finish in the shot put and a fourth-place finish in the discus (52.15m/171-01) on Saturday. Less than 24 hours after setting a new PR in the hammer throw (56.80m/186-04) on Friday, Gaston hit a new personal best in the shot at 16.22m (53-02.75). Her newest mark pushes her to fifth all-time at SIU, 10th in the NCAA West Region, 20th on the national collegiate list and 40th among all competitors in the United States in 2014. Gaston ranks in the top-48 in all three of her throwing events in the West Region (hammer, shot and discus), which would automatically qualify her for the regional meet in each if the season were to end today.
Sophomore Alexus Scott also finished in the top-five in the shot put. The Greenbelt, Md., native set a new outdoor PR in fourth place at 14.86m (48-09.00).
Freshman Kyle Landon also earned a runner-up finish, his coming in the high jump. Landon cleared the same height as winner Jamario Taylor of Western Illinois (2.17m /7-01.50), but after a tiebreak was assessed was awarded second place. Each jumper also took three attempts with the bar at 2.23m (7-03.75), which would have placed them into a tie for third on the national collegiate list. The local Chester, Ill., native entered Saturday 9-of-11 in high jump victories at SIU across both the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Senior Kenya Culmer replicated Landon's performance in the women's high jump, earning second place on a clearance of 1.69m (5-06.50). Junior Cetrena Simmons finished right behind Culmer at the same height in third place, and freshman Amy Rzepczynski finished tied for eighth by tying her collegiate PR of 1.61m (5-03.25).
Culmer was also SIU's top finisher in the triple jump, where her season-best leap of 12.30m (40-04.25) pushed her up to fourth in the Valley and 35th in the West Region in 2014.
Southern's final runner-up of the day was junior distance runner Oscar Medina, who set a new personal best in the 1500 meter invite at 3:52.19 -- the eighth-best time in the MVC this season.
The Saluki women also had a handful of other impressive performances on the track in the straightaway and quarter-mile events. Freshman Tyra Wooten set a new personal best in the 400 meter dash in eighth place at 58.00 seconds, the fastest time on Southern's roster in 2014. In the 400 meter hurdles, junior McKenzie White also set a new personal best at 1:02.59, which was good for third place.
The Saluki women also got two top-five finishes in the 100 meter dash and hurdles. Junior Amiris Warren hit a season-best time of 12.00 seconds for fifth place in the dash, and in the hurdles freshman Shaneice Bufford set a new collegiate PR of 14.78 seconds for fifth.
Only two meets remain for the Salukis before they host the MVC Outdoor Championships at the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex on May 16-18: the Illinois State Invitational in Normal, Ill., on May 3, and the EIU Panther Qualifier in Charleston, Ill., on May 10.
Men's Long Jump
6. Franklin Adams - 7.24m (23-09.00)
Women's Pole Vault
T6. Katie Trupp - 3.67m (12-00.50)
9. Caselyn Harding - 3.67m (12-00.50) - Outdoor PR, 3rd all-time outdoors at SIU
18. Kacy Murphy - 3.07m (10-00.75) - Outdoor PR, 8th all-time outdoors at SIU