Track has eight first place finishes at ISU

Mark Shanahan, Assistant Sports Editor

The track and field teams posted eight first-place finishes on Saturday at the Illinois State Redbird Invite along with seven performances ranking in the Eastern career top ten.

The men placed first in the team standings, while the women placed second behind the home team Illinois State. Loyola and Bradley each had their men’s and women’s teams at the meet, and Northern Illinois just had their women’s team there.

Sophomore Haleigh Knapp continued to perform well in the women’s high jump as she set the school record. The sophomore won the event and set the record with a height of 5’10.50”. Her new record was three quarters of an inch higher than the previous school best.

Knapp did not know she was going for the school record when she went for her leap. She said she felt a lot more confident and determined coming into the meet.

“I honestly wasn’t even sure what the record for outdoor was,” she said. “I was just trying to compete well.”

Knapp was just getting the women started in the field events, as she was one of three first-place finishers for Eastern. Senior Janie Howse won the women’s hammer with a throw of 163’11.25.” That throw is fourth best in school history. Junior Bryn Buckwalter was second in the hammer through followed by Nicolette Diana as Eastern swept the event.

Red-shirt freshman Brion Portis earned second in the triple jump for the women. Senior Dhiaa Dean took first place in the 400-meter dash with her time of 55.24. Junior Anita Saffa was second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.87. Sophomore Maria Baldwin was third in the 5K with a time of 17:15.54.

The Eastern men captured both of the sand jumps starting with sophomore Chrisford Stevens winning the triple jump with a leap of 47’11.” Junior Kendall Williams won the long jump with a distance of 23’8.75. ”

Junior Riley Kittredge won the discus with a throw of 148’6.50” and teammate Clayton Turner placed second with a throw of 140’4.50.” Senior Eric Gordon won the pole vault with a height of 15’5.50.” Gordon was also second in the javelin with a throw of 195’2.50.”

Freshman Michael Miller was third in the men’s 400-meter with a time of 49.47. Senior Christian Ilunga-Matthiesen was second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.52, which is now tenth best at Eastern. Illunga-Matthiesen was also apart of the 4×100 relay team that also consisted of Jonathon Boey, JaMarcus Townsend and Jamal Robinson. They finished with a time of 40.53.

The Panthers had three top three finishes in the hurdle events. Junior John Piper was second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.27 and third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 58.57. Senior Amina Jackson was second in the women’s 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:02.35. Sophomore Darneisha Spann was second in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.41.

The teams will be back in action this Saturday at Illinois.

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