It is early in the season, but every men’s and women’s indoor track and field team in the Ohio Valley Conference will be competing for the conference title on Feb. 26 and 27.
Tennessee State will play a more pivotal role in this year’s competition as they host the meet in late February. The OVC championship will be held in the Gentry Center.
The overall competition from both the men and women between both sides of the campus has been nothing short of entertaining this season.
The men of Southeast Missouri State are looking to defend their title, as they stride to be crowned champions for the third consecutive year, and achieve their 4th championship as a program.
Junior runner Marc Maton has done notably well this season for the Redhawks. Earlier this month, Maton finished as the top runner at the Missouri Invitational, and he came in 2nd place in the one-mile run at the Gladstein Classic just a week later.
The Eastern women’s team claimed the title last year for the first time since 2012, making it their 6th title in school history.
This past weekend, the Panthers hosted the 2016 John Craft Invitational. The invite ended with Eastern on top on both the men and women’s side.
The men accumulated a team score of 278, defeating the second place opponent by nearly 100 points. The women walked out of Lantz Fieldhouse with a team score of 211, surpassing Murray State by 55 points.
On Jan. 15, the Panthers traveled down I-57 and attended the Illini Classic. First place finisher junior Byrn Buckwalter led the women’s shot put with senior Janie Howse in second place. The men secured an overall second place victory with a score of 98.
Sophomore Davion McManis contributed to the team’s success by finishing second place in the long jump.
Freshman Ashton Wilson received first place in the men’s high jump at the classic with a score of 10 and clearing 6’5.
Tennessee State will look to utilize the home meet advantage they have over the other nine schools attending next month.
The women of Tennessee Tech will make the 83-mile trip to Gentry Stadium to partake in the meet as well.
Schools like Austin Peay, from the west side of the conference, and Jacksonville State University, a school from the east side of the conference, women’s teams will be in attendance as well.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Eastern Kentucky and Belmont University will show up in full force with both their men and women to contend.
The OVC track and field title is up for grabs. Of the ten teams contesting, all have the same goal in mind, but it is too early to tell who the winner will be in late February.
Jack Arkus can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]