Track and Field set for MVC Outdoor Championships

    Senior Jeneva McCall is the MVC's defending Most Outstanding Field Athlete.

    Senior Jeneva McCall is the MVC's defending Most Outstanding Field Athlete.

    May 10, 2012

    By Bill Ford

    Championship Central

    CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois men’s and women’s track and field teams are set to compete at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships Friday through Sunday in Wichita, Kan.

    Both Saluki teams were picked to finish third in a pre-championship poll of the league coaches while host Wichita State was selected to sweep the men’s and women’s team titles.

    The SIU women enter the MVC Outdoor Championships with two defending conference champions in a combined five events while senior Jeneva McCall is the defending MVC Most Outstanding Field Athlete. McCall won the discus and hammer throw at the 2011 Championships to bring her career outdoor conference title haul to six.

    An 11-time All-American (combined indoor/outdoor), the Dolton, Ill., native holds the top mark in the nation in the discus, the second-longest mark in the hammer throw and the fourth-longest mark in the shot put. Illinois State’s Brittany Smith is the only MVC thrower with a shot put mark better than McCall’s this season. McCall holds the MVC Championship record in the discus and hammer throw.

    Saluki junior Malaikah Love is the defending Valley champion in the long jump, triple jump and heptathlon. She holds the MVC’s longest marks in the long and triple jumps this season, but has not competed in the heptathlon thus far in 2012.

    The Saluki women have six other athletes that rank among the top five in the conference in their respective events. On the track, freshman sprinter Amiris Warren ranks second in the 100-meter dash while junior Tess Shubert ranks fourth in the 400-meter hurdles and fifth in the 400-meter run.



    In the field, sophomore Kenya Culmer’s season best in the high jump ranks second in the league while her season-best triple jump ranks fourth in the Valley. The Salukis also have a strong throwing contingent of junior Kim Fortney and freshmen Ashley Gaston and DeAnna Price. Fortney ranks fourth in both the shot put and hammer throw while Gaston ranks fourth in the discus and Price ranks fifth in the hammer.

    The SIU men look to duplicate their success from the MVC Indoor Championships where the Salukis won the conference title despite being picked second. The Salukis will be without four-time All-American and two-time defending MVC hammer throw champion J.C. Lambert, who plans to redshirt the 2012 outdoor season.

    The Saluki men boast the top marks in the MVC in three events with 14 top-five seeds across the field.

    On the track, Zach Dahleen leads a strong SIU distance contingent with the top seed in the 1,500-meter run. Dahleen nearly broke a 50-year old school record in the event last week at the Billy Hayes Invitational, missing Bill Cornell’s record time of 3:42.74 from 1962 by 0.16 seconds.

    Dahleen also holds the Valley’s fifth-fastest time this season in the 800-meter run while teammate Stephen Arvanis holds the third-fastest time in the event. In the 5k, Saluki seniors Kyle Kirchner and Neal Anderson rank fourth and fifth respectively while Anderson ranks second in the 10k and Kirchner ranks fifth. Junior Lucas Cherry ranks third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase to round out Southern’s top contenders in distance events.

    Sophomore Dominic Williams is SIU’s top threat in sprints with the fourth-fastest time this season in the 100-meter dash and the fifth-fastest time in the 200-meter dash.

    In the field, Saluki senior Cody Doerflein holds the top mark this season in the pole vault while sophomore Doug Palacious holds the top mark in the triple jump and is tied for the second-best long jump mark. Senior Maxim Bakana also ranks third in the triple jump.

    In the throwing events, freshman Curtis Wideman ranks third in the discus while senior Collin Otto ranks fifth in the field in the hammer throw.

    The 2012 MVC Outdoor Championships will begin Friday at 10 a.m. with the men's decathlon. Free live video of the event will be available HERE.