Salukis ready for conference primer at Redbird Invitational

    Senior Zach Dahleen

    Senior Zach Dahleen

    May 2, 2014

    Redbird Invitational
     Dates May 2-3, 2014
     Location Normal, Ill. -- Redbird Track and Field Complex
     Meet Info Schedule | Field Events | Track Events
     Scoring Not scored
     Rankings Men's National | Women's National | Team Rankings
    NCAA West RegionMissouri Valley
     Performance Lists SIU Men | SIU Women
     MVC Weekly Notebook April 29, 2014
     Records SIU Record Book
     Media Guide Media Guide
     Social Media @SIU_TrackXC  | Saluki Track and Field 
    Saluki Athletics  | Saluki Athletics  | Saluki Athletics 

    By Tyler Wooten
    SIUSalukis.com

    NORMAL, Ill. -- Two weeks out from hosting the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships on May 16-18, Saluki track and field will compete in a key conference preview meet at the Redbird Invitational at the Redbird Track and Field Complex on Saturday. Six schools will be in Normal this weekend, including three additional MVC teams: Bradley, Illinois State and Loyola.

    Southern had a slew of impressive performances last weekend at the A-State Red Wolves Open at Arkansas State, where SIU claimed nine event titles. The Saluki distance runners shined on both days of the meet, winning seven of Southern's nine event titles themselves. In the process SIU gained two 20-second personal-bests from Krista Menghini in the 3000 meter steeplechase (10:29.78) and Kelley Gallagher in the 5000 meter run (17:07.21), as well as six entries onto Southern's all-time top-10 lists.

    The distance and mid-distance events will be highly competitive as each Valley school in attendance boasts superb distance squads. Seven of the eight top-distance marks in the conference belong to schools competing at ISU this weekend -- two of which belong to Southern: Mobola Rotibi in the 800 meter (2:09.30) and Zach Dahleen in the 1500 meter (3:42.55). SIU alone holds claim to eight top-five conference times this season.

    The Saluki throwers will also have their work cut out for them, as the Redbirds have a stellar throws squad this season. ISU's Curtis Jensen (shot put, 20.21m/66-03.75) and Akil Mills (hammer throw, 63.99m/209-11) hold the top marks in the Valley in 2014, which rank third and 27th on the national collegiate lists, respectfully.

    Jensen's mark in the shot put -- set two weeks ago at the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State -- broke Saluki sophomore Josh Freeman's all-time MVC record of 19.35m (63-06.00), the 12th-best throw in the country. However, Southern should compete with ISU as it has considerable depth in the throws. Currently SIU owns nine top-five marks in the Valley -- including the runner-up mark in both the men's and women's discus, shot put and hammer.

    In the men's high jump freshman Kyle Landon will have a rematch with Western Illinois' Jamario Taylor, who beat out Landon in the high jump last week at Arkansas State. Landon is 9-of-12 in high jump victories this season stretching back to the indoor season -- which ended with an MVC indoor high jump title. He currently ranks 10th among all collegiate high jumpers at 2.20m (7-02.50) -- the top mark in the MVC and the sixth-best in the NCAA West Region in 2014.

    Two former Salukis will also be competing in Normal as unattached athletes: throwers Gwen Berry and J.C. Lambert. Berry, the two-time defending indoor U.S. national champion in the weight throw, currently ranks second in the country in the hammer throw at 71.74m (235-04). Lambert, a five-time All-American during his time at SIU, ranks 14th in the hammer nationally at 67.47m (221-04).

    On the national collegiate lists, SIU owns six top-50 marks (four men, two women) in addition to 18 top-48 marks (nine men, nine women) in the NCAA West Region that would qualify for the regional meet if the season were to end today. Looking forward to the conference meet, SIU currently owns 17 top-three marks (nine men, eight women) in the Valley in 2014 -- four of which rank as the best in the conference.

    The men's and women's hammer throw is being held Friday afternoon and the rest of the meet's events will be held on Saturday, beginning with the women's discus throw at 10:30 a.m.

    Participating Teams
    Bradley
    Illinois State
    Loyola
    Southern Illinois
    Washington University (St. Louis)
    Western Illinois

    Weekly MVC Notes

    THEY'RE GOING THE DISTANCE
    Southern's distance squad posted an incredible performance last weekend at the A-State Red Wolves Open, taking seven of SIU's nine event titles. This past weekend alone saw two 20-second PRs (Krista Menghini in the 3000m steeplechase and Kelley Gallagher in the 5K)and six entries onto SIU's all-time top-10 list -- including three in the top-five: Krista Menghini in the 3000m steeplechase (second, 10:29.78), Alyssa Allison in the 1500m (third,4:27.83) and Mobola Rotibi in the 800m (fourth,2:09.30).

    REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS
    Aside from SIU's historic performances last weekend, the outdoor season has been one that will be remembered in Southern's record books for some time. It only took one meet for sophomore Josh Freeman to claim the all-time outdoor shot put record (19.35m/63-06.00) as his own -- less than two months after setting and breaking his own all-time indoor record of 19.43m (63-09.00). At the Tennessee Relays, the Saluki women broke the all-time 4x800m relay record at a time of 8:54.38 -- a quartet that included three runners from last season's school-record 4x1600m relay team (Alyssa Allison, Kelley Gallagher and Mobola Rotibi). In all, 17 current student-athletes have either broken onto SIU's all-time top-10 lists or have improved their standing on those lists -- 11 such athletes coming from the women's squad.

    CONFERENCE OUTLOOK
    With only two meets to go until SIU hosts the MVC Outdoor Championships at the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex on May 16-18, the Salukis are in good shape looking forward to the conference meet. Southern currently has 42 marks that rank within the top-eight in the conference standings -- four of which rank first overall: Zach Dahleen (1500m),Mobola Rotibi (800m), Kyle Landon (high jump) and Kenya Culmer (high jump).

    Men's National Rankings (Top-50)
    10. Kyle Landon - High Jump - 2.20m (7-02.50)
    12. Josh Freeman - Shot Put - 19.35m (63-06.00)
    15. Zach Dahleen - 1500 Meter Run - 3:42.55
    29. Curtis Wideman - Hammer Throw - 63.86m (209-06)

    Women's National Rankings (Top-50)
    20. Ashley Gaston - Shot Put - 16.22m (53-02.75)
    32. Ashley Gaston - Discus - 52.84m (173-04)

    Men's Regional Rankings - NCAA West Region (Top-48)
    6. Josh Freeman - Shot Put - 19.35m (63-06.00)
    6. Kyle Landon - High Jump - 2.20m (7-02.50)
    11. Zach Dahleen - 1500 Meter Run - 3:42.55
    13. Curtis Wideman - Hammer Throw - 63.86m (209-06)
    27. Curtis Wideman - Shot Put - 17.64m (57-10.50)
    34. Josh Freeman - Discus - 54.17m (177-09)
    39. Kemar Jones - 110 Meter Hurdles - 14.25
    45. Zach Dahleen - 800 Meter Run - 1:50.43
    48. Curtis Wideman - Discus - 53.15m (174-04)

    Women's Regional Rankings - NCAA West Region (Top-48)
    10. Ashley Gaston - Shot Put - 16.22m (53-02.75)
    21. Ashley Gaston - Discus - 52.84m (173-04)
    28. Kenya Culmer - High Jump - 1.75m (5-08.75)
    31. Sadie Darnell - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 10:29.72
    32. Krista Menghini - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 10:29.78
    36. Kenya Culmer - Triple Jump - 12.30m (40-04.25)
    42. Alexus Scott - Shot Put - 14.86m (48-09.00)
    42. Ashley Gaston - Hammer Throw - 56.80m (186-04)
    48. Mobola Rotibi - 800 Meter Run - 2:09.30

    Men's MVC Rankings (Top-Three)
    1. Zach Dahleen - 1500 Meter Run - 3:42.55
    1. Kyle Landon - High Jump - 2.20m (7-02.50)
    2. Zach Dahleen - 800 Meter Run - 1:50.43
    2. Josh Freeman - Discus - 54.17m (177-09)
    2. Josh Freeman - Shot Put - 19.35m (63-06.00)
    2. Luke James - Triple Jump - 14.67m (48-01.75)
    2. Curtis Wideman - Hammer Throw - 63.86m (209-06)
    3. Juan Carrera - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 9:14.07
    3. Curtis Wideman - Shot Put - 17.64m (57-10.50)

    Women's MVC Rankings (Top-Three)
    1. Kenya Culmer - High Jump - 1.75m (5-08.75)
    1. Mobola Rotibi - 800 Meter Run - 2:09.30
    2. Ashley Gaston - Discus - 52.84m (173-04)
    2. Ashley Gaston - Hammer Throw - 56.80m (186-04)
    2. Ashley Gaston - Shot Put - 16.22m (53-02.75)
    3. Sadie Darnell - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 10:29.72
    3. Alexus Scott - Shot Put - 14.86m (48-09.00)
    3. Cetrena Simmons - High Jump - 1.70m (5-07.00)

     

     

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