Eastern had its opening indoor track meet for the 2016-17 season Friday, and it came with mixed result at the EIU Early Bird meet. Both the men’s and the women’s placed third overall in the meet. However, Eastern did have 14 top-three finishes.
Indiana State finished first for both the men and women. Illinois State placed second overall for both the men and women, and Western Illinois rounded out the meet in fourth place for the men and women.
Eastern had some standout runners but had success in the field events on Friday with sophomore thrower Adam Kessler, senior thrower Bryn Buckwalter, junior high jumper Haleigh Knapp and sophomore long jumper Chaela Krueger.
Kessler won the men’s shotput with a PR and ninth in Eastern history distance of 54 feet, 8 inches. Buckwalter took second place in the women’s shotput and weight throw with distances of 49 feet, 7.75 inches and 57 feet, 11.25 inches. Knapp won the women’s high jump with a height of 5 feet, 10 inches, and she is tied currently for second in the country. Krueger had the best long jump on the women’s side with a distance of 5.74 meters.
The coaches have a lot of hope for this year’s track and field team and expect them to progress as the season goes on.
“We are going to have a really strong team this year on the throws side; there were 5 PR’s on the team, and the freshman are looking solid,” coach Jessica Sommerfeld said.
Eastern had success in the sprinting events, including a one-two finish for senior Anita Saffa and junior Nyjah Lane in the 60-meter dash with times of 7.60 and 7.61, respectively.
Freshman runner Sophia Keith placed third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.17. Fellow freshman hurdler Maddy Gil competed in the 60-meter hurdles in her first career meet.
“I was nervous for sure, it being my first college track meet, and it is so much different from high school,” Gil said. “I am even possibly running on the 4×400 team, but that will be determined later.”
Eastern had some positive signs looking ahead in the season, which will start up Jan. 13 and 14 at Illinois’ Winter Invite.
Alex Hartman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]