Junior Mobola Rotibi
May 3, 2014
By Tyler Wooten
NORMAL, Ill. -- Saluki track and field came away with nine event wins at the conclusion of the Redbird Invitational on Saturday at the Redbird Track and Field Complex.
Southern's middle-distance runners shined once again by sweeping both the men's and women's 800 meter run events on Saturday. Junior Mobola Rotibi improved in the event for the second straight week, winning the 800 on a new personal-best time of 2:09.09 -- besting her previous time set last week at Arkansas State by 0.21 seconds. Her newest time improves on her standing in fourth place all-time in Saluki history and atop the Missouri Valley Conference performance list, as well as moving her up to 46th in the NCAA West Region as of Saturday night.
Senior Zach Dahleen also won his second-consecutive 800 meter event on Saturday in an exciting race against MVC-leader Sam Penzenstadler of Loyola. Dahleen -- a native of Orland Park, Ill., who owns both the SIU indoor mile (4:00.16) and outdoor 1500 meter (3:41.18) all-time records -- beat out Penzenstadler (1:52.55) by just over one second at a winning time of 1:51.51. In the MVC standings in the 800, Penzenstadler (1:50.02) currently holds a lead of less than four tenths on Dahleen -- who ranks second at his PR time of 1:50.43 set last week at Arkansas State.
Freshman Kyle Landon, who had the week off in his signature high jump, claimed his first collegiate long jump victory on Saturday. Landon won on a leap of 7.03m (23-00.75), his best distance at SIU without the assistance of the wind. Landon has a wind-aided long jump PR of 7.18m (23-06.75) that he set at the Kansas Relays.
Senior jumper Kenya Culmer also claimed an event win outside of the high jump, winning her first triple jump title of the outdoor season on a winning leap of 11.96m (39-03.00). Freshman Alauna Ray finished behind Culmer in third at a new PR distance of 11.67m (38-03.50). Southern accounted for all four finishers in the event.
Junior Ashley Gaston was SIU's lone victor in the throwing events on Saturday, as she won the discus on a throw of 51.57m (169-02). Sophomore Alexus Scott finished in third at a new personal best of 45.87m (150-06).
The Saluki women also took home three event wins in the sprinting events. SIU won the women's 4x400 meter relay for the second-consecutive week, as the squad of Tyra Wooten, Jessica Jump, McKenzie White and Mobola Rotibi won on a time of 3:52.16. The Saluki women's 4x100 meter relay squad of Victoria Archie, Desiree White, Amiris Warren and Nirupama Sunderraj ran 48.32 to win their event by default as Illinois State's group was disqualified.
Southern's final victory came courtesy of freshman Shaneice Bufford, who beat out one lone competitor in the 100 meter hurdles at a time of 15.22.
Sophomore Josh Freeman had his best throw in over one month in the shot put, but it wasn't enough to topple Valley-leader Curtis Jensen for the shot put title on Saturday as Freeman finished second. Freeman hit 19.24m (63-01.50) on his fifth throw, but Jensen threw a new MVC all-time record distance of 20.33m (66-08.50) on his fifth throw as well to seal victory.
The Saluki women distance crew had a successful day in the highly-competitive 1500 meter run on Saturday, grabbing five personal bests and six top-third finishes. Senior Alyssa Allison was SIU's top-finisher in third place at 4:32.83, followed by Kelley Gallagher (fifth, 4:33.92 PR), Sadie Darnell (sixth, 4:34.23 PR), Krista Menghini (eighth, 4:36.28 PR) and Allison Gallo (11th, 4:40.71 PR).
On an individual level, SIU had a strong outing in the men's javelin for the second week in a row. Junior Dean Jordan was the highest collegiate finisher in second place at 49.32m (161-10), 101 feet behind unattached winner Tim Glover (79.85m/262-00). Glover, a two-time NCAA javelin champion, is the current U.S. leader in the event at 84.01m (275-07). For Southern, freshmen Kurtis Siemsen (third place, 48.18m/158-01 PR) and Andrew Carmin (fifth, 41.65m/136-08 PR) posted new PRs for the second straight meet.
Only one meet remains before Southern hosts the MVC Outdoor Championships at the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex on May 16-18: the EIU Panther Qualifier in Charleston, Ill., on May 10.
Other Notable Performances:
Women's Pole Vault:
T2. Katie Trupp - 3.65m (11-11.75)
Women's 400 Meter Dash:
4. Jessica Jump - 57.60 PR, SIU season-best