Track and field teams head to ISU


Jason Howell

Senior pole-vaulter Eric Gordon finishes in fourth place of the javelin throw event during the EIU Big Blue Classic on April 2. The men and women both finished first.

Mark Shanahan, Staff Reporter

The Eastern track and field teams will head to Illinois State for a meet on Saturday after both finished fourth in team standings last week at Indiana State.

Director of track and field Tom Akers said he is looking at the team as whole when it comes to improving.

“Everyone,” he said. “Coaches are greedy. We are optimistic; I think we can improve in almost every aspect. We had some great performances in the steeplechase with Riley McInernery. He broke nine minutes despite hitting the last barrier and falling down. Ruth and Rachel Garippo had some great performances there.”

Junior Riley McInerney won the men’s steeplechase with a time of 8:58 seconds, which now ranks fourth in school history. Redshirt senior Joe Calio placed fifth in the same race with his time of 9:23.28 seconds.

In the women’s steeplechase at Indiana State, sisters Rachel Garippo and Ruth Garippo placed second and fourth and both posted times that are now top ten in school history. Rachel was second with a time of 10:46.15 seconds, which ranks third. Ruth was fourth with a time of 10:53.33 seconds and now has the fourth-best time in school history.

Akers said that the teams didn’t travel to Illinois State last year because they didn’t fit into the scheduling, but they have competed at Illinois State in past years.

“It’s a relatively new surface so it should be nice,” he said. “The great thing about this is we are going to have some great weather. It’s going to be 70 degrees or warmer so hopefully with some good competition, take advantage of the good conditions and get some good performances.”

Sophomore Haleigh Knapp won the women’s high jump with a height of 5’7.25”. She has done well in the high jump this year, as she has taken first in two of the first three outdoor meets. Senior Amy Yeoman also posted a top 10 school record at Indiana State last week. She took second in the women’s 800-meter dash with a time of 2:11.87 seconds, which ranks tenth in school history.

Akers said that for the most part the teams are pretty healthy.

“We’ve got a few minor injuries we’re sort of going to be cautious with and we’ve got a few people coming back off some so we’ll sort of see how they’re functioning.”

Akers said that the teams have really done well with competing and hopes for them to take advantage of the good weather this weekend.

“Last couple of meets we’ve done a really good job of competing despite the lack of good conditions to get good performances in,” he said. “We’ve still even had some really good performances despite the lack of good conditions. Hopefully we can go in with that same competitive mindset and compete well with the weather conditions.”

Junior Jamal Robinson and senior Christian Illunga-Matthiesen took second and third in the men’s 100-meter dash. Robinson finished with a time of 10.83 seconds for second place and Illunga-Matthiesen was right behind him with a time of 10.85 seconds. Senior Mark Pedziwiatr took second in the men’s 800-meter with a time of 1:53.67 seconds.

Senior Eric Gordon had a pair of top-five finishes for the men last weekend in the pole vault and the 400-meter hurdles. He was third in the pole vault with a height of 15’6.25” and fifth in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 56.26 seconds.

When it comes to improving, it will come down to everyone, not just one group.

“We’ve got to continue to keep taking steps forward in every area,” he said. “We can’t rely on just one group trying to carry us through to the championships, its got to be a full team effort.”


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