SIU ready to host and compete in MVC Outdoor Championships this weekend

    Sophomore Josh Freeman

    Sophomore Josh Freeman

    May 14, 2014

    MVC Outdoor Championships
     Dates May 16-18, 2014
     Location Carbondale, Ill. -- Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex
     Meet Info Championship Central | Schedule | Heat Sheets
     Live Results Endurance Timing
     Live Video YouTube Live Stream
     Stream Schedule Friday: Starts at noon (hammer throw)
    Saturday: Starts at 3 p.m. (shot put and high jump)
    Sunday: All Day
    (Weather permitting) 
     Rankings Men's National | Women's National | Team Rankings
    NCAA West RegionMissouri Valley
     Performance Lists SIU Men | SIU Women
     MVC Weekly Notebook May 13, 2014
     Records SIU Record Book | Facility Records
    MVC Men | MVC Women
     Media Guide Media Guide
     SIU Social Media @SIU_TrackXC  | Saluki Track and Field 
    Saluki Athletics  | Saluki Athletics  | Saluki Athletics 
     MVC Social Media @MVCSports  | Missouri Valley  | MVC Sports 
    MVC Social Media Directory

    By Tyler Wooten

    CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Saluki track and field is set to host the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at its recently-built Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex this weekend on May 16-18.

    For the first time since 2008 for the women's meet and 2003 for the men's meet, the MVC will descend on Carbondale for the conference track meet. This weekend also marks the first conference meet to be held in the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex since it was completed in March 2013.

    In a pre-championship poll released Tuesday, Southern was picked to finish third in the women's competition and the Saluki men were tabbed to finish tied with Northern Iowa for fifth place. Indiana State, the defending men's and women's champions, were picked to repeat on the women's side but were slated to finish second on the men's side behind decathlon and heptathlon juggernaut Wichita State.

    Women's Preview

    The Saluki women will have their work cut out for them this weekend, as the caliber of competition from the two teams picked ahead of them -- Indiana State (seven first place votes) and Wichita State (two) -- is staggering. The two teams amount for 11 of the 18 MVC women's athletes ranked in the top-50 on the national collegiate list -- including four top-25 Sycamore women's marks from Katie Wise (100m, 11th; 200m, 22nd), Mary Theisen (shot put, 13th) and Kimyanna Rudolph (pole vault, 17th).

    Southern certainly has a shot to dethrone the Sycamores and keep the Shockers at bay, though. Southern returns 11 All-MVC honorees from the past three seasons and currently has 20 student-athletes ranked in the top-eight of their events in the conference -- including the top time in the 800 meter run this season from surging junior Mobola Rotibi. Rotibi has set a new personal best in the event in each of her last two outings, her last clocking in at 2:09.09 -- the fourth-best time in Saluki history. Rotibi comes into this weekend a two-time All-MVC competitor in the event.

    Rotibi and the rest of the distance squad will be key to Southern's success, and the last few outings for the group have been a good omen. Senior Alyssa Allison has posted times in the 800 (4:27.83) and 1500 (4:30.06) in the last month that both rank in the top-ten all-time at SIU and the top-eight in the conference in 2014. In the highly competitive 3000 meter steeplechase, the Salukis have two potential all-conference athletes in school-record holder Sadie Darnell (10:28.10) and Krista Menghini (10:29.78).

    Senior Kenya Culmer will look to end her storied Saluki career with her third MVC high jump championship and a berth to the NCAA West Regionals. Culmer, a native of Nassau, Bahamas, currently ranks second behind Wichita's Ashley Petersen on the conference performance list at 1.75m (5-08.75). But, Culmer has the potential to clear six feet. Her MVC indoor title this season came on a personal best height of 1.83m (6-00.00) which sent her to the indoor national meet.

    As always, SIU has the potential to make some noise in the throws. This season SIU owns eight MVC top-eight marks across the discus, hammer and shot -- including top-three marks in each by junior Ashley Gaston. A native of Centerville, Ill., Gaston has come on strong in the outdoor season with some impressive PRs in each event -- including marks in the discus (52.84m/173-04) and shot put (16.22m/53-02.75) that have moved her into the top-five all-time at SIU and the top-40 on the national collegiate list.

    Southern also has the chance to steal an All-MVC honor or two from returning all-conference performer and 100 meter dash school record holder (11.51) Amiris Warren. The junior native of Raytown, Mo., earned the distinction in both the 100 and the 4x100 meter relay in 2013.

    Men's Preview

    Southern won't be the only school looking to topple three-time defending champion Indiana State, as Wichita State looks ready to dominate in the decathlon and javelin to stockpile meet points. While the Salukis were picked to tie for fifth, Southern still owns several impressive marks among conference competition and return five All-MVC performers -- including two outdoor champions (Josh Freeman and Zach Dahleen).

    The Saluki men hold four NCAA top-50 marks -- two of which rank in the top-16 -- and 15 MVC top-eight marks, two of which rank at the top of the MVC performance list. First of those two is freshman Kyle Landon, whose hot start at Southern has led to nine high jump wins in 12 tries -- including the indoor Valley title back in March. Landon currently leads the MVC and ranks 15th in the NCAA at a personal-best height of 2.20m (7-02.50), the fifth-best clearance in Saluki history. Fellow freshman jumper Franklin Adams will also be looking to repeat his performance from March, as the West Orange, N.J., native won the long jump indoors.

    In his final conference outing, senior Zach Dahleen -- the 2013 MVC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year -- will look to add two more conference titles to cap his storied Saluki career. The Orland Park, Ill., leads the Valley and ranks 24th in the NCAA in the 1500 (3:42.55), but also isn't far behind in the 800 (third, 1:50.43). Both should be exciting races as Dahleen has not even hit his school-record PR in the 1500 yet (3:41.18). Furthermore, Dahleen will have a rematch with Loyola distance star Sam Penzenstadler in each race, who he beat out in the 800 two weeks ago at the Redbird Invitational.

    Sophomore Josh Freeman held the all-time MVC shot put record at 19.35m (63-06.00) for a couple weeks earlier this season before Illinois State fifth-year senior Curtis Jensen toppled that with his NCAA third-ranked heave of 20.33m (66-08.50). Jensen is not unbeatable, though, as Freeman has had a chance to best him before. At the indoor conference meet, MVC champion Jensen threw nearly five feet below his PR that ranked third in the nation coming in -- easily within striking range for Freeman.

    The Salukis also have a chance to gain some points in the 110 meter hurdles by the double-headed attack of senior Matthew Benes and sophomore Kemar Jones. Jones ranks fourth in the Valley and 44th in the West Region at 14.25 (the 10th-best time in school history), and Benes ranks eighth at 14.40.

    Day One will begin at 10 a.m. Friday morning with the beginning of the men's decathlon and women's heptathlon. Live results are available at Endurance Timing, and a live stream will be available on YouTube beginning at noon on Friday with the hammer throw. Admission to the championships is $10 per person at the gate.

    Men's Pre-Championship Poll
    1. Wichita State (6), 62
    2. Indiana State (2), 58
    3. Loyola, 41
    4. Illinois State, 36
    T5. UNI, 33
    T5. Southern Illinois, 33
    7. Drake, 17
    8. Bradley, 8

    Women's Pre-Championship Poll
    1. Indiana State (7), 79
    2. Wichita State (2), 71
    3. Southern Illinois, 56
    4. Missouri State, 54
    5. UNI, 42
    6. Illinois State, 38
    7. Loyola, 35
    8. Bradley, 16
    9. Drake, 14

    Last Five Men's MVC Champions
    2013: Indiana State
    2012: Indiana State
    2011: Indiana State
    2010: Wichita State
    2009: UNI

    Last Five Women's MVC Champions
    2013: Indiana State
    2012: Wichita State
    2011: Wichita State
    2010: Southern Illinois
    2009: Southern Illinois

    Saluki Men Returning All-MVC
    Josh Freeman - Shot Put, first
    Curtis Wideman - Discus, second
    TJ Beelen - Discus, third
    Brian Dixon - 10,000m, third
    Zach Dahleen - 1500m, first

    Saluki Women Returning All-MVC
    Kenya Culmer - High Jump, second
    Amiris Warren - 100m, second
    Kenya Culmer - Triple Jump, third
    Sadie Darnell - 5,000m, third
    • 4x100m Relay - Lauren Cheadle, Desiree White, Amiris Warren, third
    Kenya Culmer - High Jump, first
    Lacey Gibson - 10,000m, third
    Mobola Rotibi - 800m, third
    Kenya Culmer - High Jump, second

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

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

    Saluki Men's Regional Rankings - NCAA West Region (Top-48)
    6. Josh Freeman - Shot Put - 19.35m (63-06.00)
    8. Kyle Landon - High Jump - 2.20m (7-02.50)
    13. Curtis Wideman - Hammer Throw - 63.86m (209-06)
    16. Zach Dahleen - 1500 Meter Run - 3:42.55
    29. Curtis Wideman - Shot Put - 17.64m (57-10.50)
    39. Josh Freeman - Discus - 54.17m (177-09)
    44. Kemar Jones - 110 Meter Hurdles - 14.25

    Saluki Women's Regional Rankings - NCAA West Region (Top-48)
    12. Ashley Gaston - Shot Put - 16.22m (53-02.75)
    25. Ashley Gaston - Discus - 52.84m (173-04)
    31. Kenya Culmer - High Jump - 1.75m (5-08.75)
    39. Sadie Darnell - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 10:29.72
    40. Krista Menghini - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 10:29.78
    43. Alexus Scott - Shot Put - 14.86m (48-09.00)
    45. Kenya Culmer - Triple Jump - 12.30m (40-04.25)

    Saluki Men's MVC Rankings (Top-Eight)
    1. Zach Dahleen - 1500 Meter Run - 3:42.55
    1. Kyle Landon - High Jump - 2.20m (7-02.50)
    2. Josh Freeman - Shot Put - 19.35m (63-06.00)
    2. Curtis Wideman - Hammer Throw - 63.86m (209-06)
    3. Juan Carrera - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 9:14.07
    3. Zach Dahleen - 800 Meter Run - 1:50.43
    3. Josh Freeman - Discus - 54.17m (177-09)
    3. Luke James - Triple Jump - 14.67m (48-01.75)
    3. Curtis Wideman - Shot Put - 17.64m (57-10.50)
    4. Franklin Adams - Long Jump - 7.27m (23-10.25)
    4. Kemar Jones - 110 Meter Hurdles - 14.25
    7. TJ Beelen - Discus - 49.55m (162-07)
    7. Kyle Landon - Long Jump - 7.18m (23-06.75)
    8. Matt Benes - 110 Meter Hurdles - 14.40
    8. Kemar Jones - High Jump - 2.04m (6-08.25)

    Saluki Women's MVC Rankings (Top-Eight)
    1. Mobola Rotibi - 800 Meter Run - 2:09.09
    2. Kenya Culmer - High Jump - 1.75m (5-08.75)
    2. Ashley Gaston - Discus - 52.84m (173-04)
    2. Ashley Gaston - Shot Put - 16.22m (53-02.75)
    3. Sadie Darnell - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 10:29.72
    3. Ashley Gaston - Hammer Throw - 56.80m (186-04)
    3. Cetrena Simmons - High Jump - 1.70m (5-07.00)
    4. Kenya Culmer - Triple Jump - 12.30m (40-04.25)
    4. Sophia Lozano - Hammer Throw - 56.20m (184-04)
    4. Krista Menghini - 3000 Meter Steeplechase - 10:29.78
    4. Alexus Scott - Shot Put - 14.86m (48-09.00)
    5. Alyssa Allison - 1500 Meter Run - 4:27.83
    7. Lauren Cheadle - Long Jump - 5.76m (18-10.75)
    7. Mobola Rotibi - 1500 Meter Run - 4:30.06
    8. Alyssa Allison - 800 Meter Run - 2:10.84
    8. Alauna Ray - Triple Jump - 11.67m (38-03.50)
    8. Alexus Scott - Discus - 45.87m (150-06)
    8. Alexus Scott - Hammer Throw - 54.48m (178-09)
    8. Erin Scott - Shot Put - 14.48m (47-06.25)
    8. Katie Trupp - Pole Vault - 3.75m (12-03.50)