Senior J.C. Lambert
April 27, 2013
By Tyler Wooten
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Saluki track and field concluded their stay at the 104th Drake Relays on Saturday with a handful of impressive performances among the best competition in the country in front of 14,504 spectators, including an event win courtesy of J.C. Lambert.
Lambert, a senior from nearby Harrisburg, Ill., won his fourth hammer throw of 2013 in his fourth attempt -- his first career Drake Relays victory. The all-time Missouri Valley Conference hammer throw leader won with a final heave of 66.92m (219-07), his second-best throw of 2013 and six feet better than second place.
"(Winning) feels pretty good," Lambert said. "One of my goals this year was to win the Drake Relays. It's one of my favorite meets. Plus it's my senior year so to win the Drake Relays is a big honor. I couldn't have asked for a better day."
Southern also had a strong showing in the women's hammer throw. Sophomore DeAnna Price came within two feet of claiming an event crown of her own, which would have been SIU's fourth straight at the Drake Relays. Price threw within a foot of her personal best at 63.08m (206-11) and fell just shy of champion Brittany Smith of Illinois State. Fellow Saluki Kim Fortney finished fifth in the event, throwing 60.61m (198-10). The Salukis had won the last three years at the Drake Relays, and five of the past six seasons.
Entering competition, Smith, Fortney and Price were nationally ranked tenth, 12th and 13th in the event, respectively.
Junior Kenya Culmer posted another fourth-place finish on Saturday in the triple jump in a field stacked with the nation's best in the event. Culmer's best leap totaled at 12.59m (41-03.75), a personal best which now ties for the second best leap in Saluki history. At the end of competition, the three jumps further than hers all ranked within the top-30 nationally -- two of them in the top-five.
Saluki senior Tess Shubert also improved her stature in Southern's record book in the highly competitive 400 meter hurdles. Shubert, a local native of Coulterville, Ill., won the first heat and finished ninth overall with a personal best time of 59.26 seconds -- the second-best time in Saluki history. The winning time in the event -- 57.43 from iowa State's Eseroghene Okoro -- ranked as the tenth best time in the country at the end of competition. Shubert currently sits at 38th nationally and 16th in the west region.
"Drake is always a great place to compete at," said head coach Connie Price-Smith. "The good thing is that the athletes got to go on the track and in the rings and on the runways, so when conference comes in two weeks there should be no surprises."
The Salukis return home next Saturday for the Saluki Outdoor Open on May 4, a final tuneup before the MVC Outdoor Championships begin on May 9.