Track and field teams win the Big Blue Classic


Jason Howell

Junior Anita Saffa finished first in the women’s 100 meter with a time of 11.67 on Saturday at O’Brien Field.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men and women’s track and field teams captured both team titles at the Big Blue Classic this past weekend.

The men finished with 128 points total, ahead of second place Central Michigan who finished the weekend with 114 points. Nine Division I schools competed in the men’s field. The women scored 153.5 points just beating out Illinois State who finished with 147.5 points in a field of ten teams.

The Panthers opened up the meet on Friday night with a pair of first place finishes. Senior Amy Yeoman won the women’s 1500-meter race with a time of 4:36.67 seconds. Juniors Riley McInerney and Paxson Menard went first and second in the men’s 5k. McInerney won the event with a time of 14:37.11 just edging out his teammate who finished with a time of 14:38.72 seconds.

Eastern added more first place finishes to its weekend total on a very windy Saturday. Junior Anita Saffa had two first place finishes in both the women’s 100 and 200-meter sprints. Her time of 11.67 seconds in the 100-meter sprint puts her at second on the Eastern career list. She won the 200-meter sprint with a time of 24.65 seconds.

Redshirt freshman Brion Portis and junior Bryn Buckwalter each had first place performances in the field events that ranked in the Eastern career top ten list. Portis won the women’s triple jump with a leap of 39’5.25” which is now seventh best in school history. Buckwalter won the discus with a throw of 160’7” which is now second best in school history.

Senior Calvin Edwards was the lone first place finisher for the men on Saturday. He won the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.35 seconds. The men’s 4×100-meter relay team took home first place for the Panthers with a time of 41.86 seconds. The team consisted of JaMarcus Townsend, Edwards, Jamal Robinson and Christian Ilunga-Matthiesien. Senior Eric Gordon had a pair of top five finishes in the pole vault and javelin.

Junior Ruth Garippo, sophomore Haleigh Knapp and senior Dhiaa Dean each had top three performances for the women. Garippo took second in the steeplechase with a time of 11:17 seconds. Knapp took second in the high jump clearing 5’7.25”. Dean took third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:19.97 seconds.

The Panthers closed out the meet with the women’s 4×400-meter relay team finishing in second with a time of 3:59.83 seconds. The relay team included Amina Jackson, Cassidy Strohl, Darneshia Spann and Dean.

Both teams return to action next weekend at the Indiana State Gibson Invitational.


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