Eastern set to host first outdoor meet

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The EIU Big Blue Classic marks the first outside meet hosted by Eastern this year and both the men and the women will be competing.

The three-day event begins Thursday at 10 a.m., with four events of the Heptathlon and five events of the Decathlon at 10:30 a.m.

On Friday, the final five events of the Decathlon start it off at 10 a.m. and the last three events of the Heptathlon are at 11 a.m. Saturday begins with the field events at 10 a.m. The prelims for the running events will start at 11:30 a.m.

Rainfall is expected on Thursday and Friday for the meet, but Eastern coach Tom Akers said everything would continue as long as the conditions are safe.

“The only thing that will stop us from competing is if it gets unsafe, so if starts raining too hard or if there’s lots of lightning,” he said. “Other than that, if it rains we get wet.”

Akers talked about the ideal conditions that a runner would want at an outdoor meet.

“It rains on everybody,” he said. “Obviously its not ideal conditions, if you talk to distance runners they like maybe 60 degrees sunny, still, no wind. Sprinters are going to want something like 80 degrees and a little bit of wind, of course only if it’s blowing at their back.”

The field event competitors are the people who dislike the rain the most, Akers said.

“Field event people don’t want the rain; especially pole vaulter and high jumpers where they need good traction on the track, and the pole vaulters need good grip on the pole,” he said.

For Akers, Freshman Nyjah Lane and Junior Norvel Mohammed were the newcomers to outdoor track that he was impressed with.

“Nyjah Lane opened up well in the 100, so I was pleased with that,” he said. “Norvel Mohammed even though he’s a junior, this is his first outdoor season for us opening up with a 21.02 in the 200 is outstanding.”

Akers is still looking for the athletes to get back into competition mode

“I think some of them underestimated themselves being ready to race so they’ve got to do a better job at warming up and having them physically ready to go,” he said. “It’s just getting back into the swing of competition because it’s been so long since we competed.”

Due to the Big Blue Classic starting Thursday, the teams will have one day less to practice.

“Sometimes competition is probably the best form of working out so yeah we’re cutting out a practice day but we’re adding a competition day so its just like a high quality workout,” Akers said.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].