Salukis hit the road for Kentucky Invitational on Friday and Saturday

    Junior Curtis Wideman is currently nationally ranked in the top-30 in both the shot put (18th) and weight throw (28th).

    Junior Curtis Wideman is currently nationally ranked in the top-30 in both the shot put (18th) and weight throw (28th).

    Jan. 16, 2014

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    By Tyler Wooten

    LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Saluki track and field will hit the road for the first time this indoor season for the Kentucky Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

    A contingent of 22 other schools will join Southern at UK, including Central Florida, Miami (OH), Ohio State, Wake Forest and host-school Kentucky -- which boasts the No. 6 women's squad in the country, the highest ranking for the women's program in school history. The Wildcats will also showcase Preseason Bowerman Award Watch List honoree, sprinter and former Clemson All-American Dezerea Bryant. The Bowerman Award, track and field's version of the Heisman Trophy, began in 2009 and is awarded annually to the most outstanding individual in the country.



    Southern is coming off an impressive weekend at the Saluki Open on Jan. 10-11, where the Salukis took home 14 event titles. SIU's success has come from varying amounts of experience thus far, from All-American DeAnna Price (weight throw, shot put) and senior Kenya Culmer (high jump, triple jump), to freshmen Franklin Adams (long jump), Kyle Landon (high jump) and Katie Trupp (pole vault, high jump).

    Currently, the Salukis own 20 top-50 marks and seven top-20 marks nationally -- including four in the top-10 on the women's side. Price, a junior from Moscow Mills, Mo., ranks third in the weight throw (20.75m/68-01.00) and sixth in the shot put (16.29m/53-05.50) after cruising past her previous bests and moving up the all-time lists at SIU in Southern's last two meets.

    Culmer, SIU's all-time leader in both the indoor and outdoor high jump, came narrowly close to pushing that mark even higher at the Saluki Open on Jan. 11, where she just missed shattering her record by a full inch. The current record (5-10.75) was set by Culmer for the first time last year at Kentucky on Jan. 25.

    The SIU men's team looks to be dominant in the field events at UK, as six of Southern's seven top-50 men's marks come from the field. Junior Curtis Wideman (weight throw, shot put) and sophomore Josh Freeman (weight throw, shot put) are ranked nationally in both the weight and shot, and SIU currently has two high jumpers ranked within the top-40 -- sophomore Kemar Jones and freshman Kyle Landon.

    Landon won his first collegiate high jump title in his first try at the Saluki Open with the best high jump mark at SIU in nine years. Landon, a local native of Chester, Ill., won with a winning clearance of 2.10m (6-10.75), currently the 19th-best mark in the country.

    Day One will consist of the men's and women's weight throw and distance medley relays, beginning with the women's weight at 3:00 p.m.

    Men's National Rankings (Top-50):
    13. Josh Freeman - Shot Put - 18.19m (59-08.25)
    18. Curtis Wideman - Shot Put - 17.84m (58-06.50)
    19. Kyle Landon - High Jump - 2.10m (6-10.75)
    28. Curtis Wideman - Weight Throw - 18.74m (61-05.75)
    38. Kemar Jones - High Jump - 2.05m (6-08.75)
    40. Matt Benes - 60 Meter Hurdles - 8.12
    47. Josh Freeman - Weight Throw - 18.09m (59-04.25)

    Women's National Rankings (Top-50):
    3. DeAnna Price - Weight Throw - 20.75m (68-01.00)
    6. Kenya Culmer - High Jump - 1.79m (5-10.50)
    6. DeAnna Price - Shot Put - 16.29m (53-05.50)
    10. Ashley Gaston - Shot Put - 15.81m (51-10.50)
    11. Sophia Lozano - Weight Throw - 19.70m (64-07.75)
    24. Kenya Culmer - Triple Jump - 12.11m (39-08.75)
    25. Ashley Gaston - Weight Throw - 18.40m (60-04.50)
    25. Alexus Scott - Shot Put - 14.76m (48-05.25)
    29. Lauren Cheadle - Long Jump - 5.86m (19-02.75)
    30. Alexus Scott - Weight Throw - 18.00m (59-00.75)
    36. Sadie Darnell - Mile - 5:00.01 (converted)
    39. Mobola Rotibi - Mile - 5:00.55 (converted)
    46. Lacey Gibson - 3K - 10:09.22 (converted)