Indoor track season begins Friday

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

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The men and women’s track and field teams will look to continue their success as the season begins this Friday with the EIU Early Bird meet.

For the women, they are the defending OVC champions and have three First Team All-OVC honorees returning for this season. Bryn Buckwalter earned first place in the shot put, Haleigh Knapp in the high jump and Sadie Lovett in the pole vault.

The women also had a number of Second Team All-OVC honorees that included Angelica Anyaogu who earned the honor in both the 60-meter dash and the long jump. Dhiaa Dean placed second in the 400-meter dash, Jackie Jones in the high jump, Annemarie Reid in the pole vault and Jordan Wallace in the 3000-meter run.

Sophomore Maria Baldwin said she is noticing some differences in this team compared to last year’s team.

“That’s hard to say because we haven’t practiced all together yet, but I noticed our depth during Turkey pre-season trials before Thanksgiving,” Baldwin said. “Our sprints have seriously improved from last year and so has the distance squad.”

Tom Akers, the director of track and field, earned women’s coach of the year and tied with the coach of Southeast Missouri for the men’s coach of the year.

Baldwin said she does not think the women will feel the pressure of being the defending champions of the conference.

“It motivates us to compete to our abilities and dominate indoor OVC’s again, especially after not competing well at outdoors last year and losing by 1.5 points,” Baldwin said. “That was a hard pill to swallow and it definitely fired us up for this year.”

For the men’s team, they finished as the runner-ups in the Ohio Valley Conference behind Southeast Missouri. Returning are First Team All-OVC Riley McInerney in the mile run, Norvel Mohammed in the 200 and 400-meter dashes and the distance medley and 4×400-meter relay teams.

On the Second Team All-OVC was Johnathan Boey in the 60-meter dash and John Piper in the 60-meter hurdles. Combined, the two units earned 17 top-two finishes over the two days of the conference championships.

Baldwin pointed out the Grand Valley and Notre Dame Meyo as meets other than the conference championship that are very important to the two squads.

“Both are very competitive and we run very fast times there,” she said.

The ideal thing that each team hopes to achieve this year is a conference championship indoors and outdoors.

 

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