Track, field teams succeed at Drake Relays

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

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The Eastern men’s and women’s track and field teams are coming off two successful meets at Drake Relays and the Indiana State Midweek.

Eastern coach Tom Akers was overall satisfied with the groups of athletes that he took with to compete at the Drake Relays.

“I thought that overall all the people we took there competed very well,” he said. “There are a few areas where we didn’t come out with season bests, but all in all I thought it was a really good meet for all of those that we took.”

Something Akers wants to work on is the handoffs by the 4×100-meter relay team that had a top three finish last Saturday.

“Our 4×1, I think had an opportunity to be up there and possibly win that 4×1 but our handoffs were atrocious in finals, absolutely the worst probably set of exchanges we’ve had almost all year,” he said. “I think that’s a learning experience for that crew that they have to learn when they get in and run with some of the top teams.”

The 4×100-meter relay team included sophomore Jamal Robinson and juniors Calvin Edwards, Norvel Mohammed and Christian Ilunga-Matthiesen had a time of 40.45 seconds last weekend.

“That 4×1 I think has a really legitimate shot at going to the NCAA championships at the end of the year, but we’ve got to be able to focus when running with the big dogs,” he said.

The relay teams have been changing up all year, and they will continue to be changed this weekend due to a family commitment for Robinson.

“There will be a different 4×1 this weekend,” he said. “We’ve had a different foursome run almost every weekend and we’re trying another lineup this weekend. (sophomore)Jonathon Boey will be leading off that group in this point in time.”

The nine individuals and six relay team competitors are considered to be locks for the conference meet roster for Akers to this point.

“I would say yes, obviously they are our top competitors in their areas right now, but there are a number of things,” he said. “Academics can take it away from them, injuries, illness can take it away so yeah we want that crew healthy along with some of the people we left at home going to our conference meet, but in athletics there are no guarantees.”

The athletes that competed at the Indiana Mid-week last Wednesday broke many personal records.  Junior Annemarie Reid ranks third in Eastern school history in the pole-vault now after her height of 12’9.50”. In other field events, sophomore Bryn Buckwalter also is now third all-time in the women’s shot put with her throw of 47’3”.

Freshman Michael Brown ran a personal record while winning the 800-meter run by five seconds. Junior Kristen Paris had seasonal best and her second best performance in the 800-meter run and freshman Whitney Maninfior took 46 seconds off of her personal best in the 10,000 meter run. Paris and Maninfior both competed at Drake Relays.

Sophomore Ashley Fouch is somebody that Akers was happiest with that competed at the Indiana State Midweek.

“Ashley Fouch ran a season best in the 400 over there looked really good, ran in really windy conditions and it was really good to see Ashley get back to running with some confidence and back to where she belongs,” he said. “I was probably the happiest with her performance over there.”

Both teams will be in action this Saturday at the Indiana Billy Hayes meet.

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