Men and women place 1st at John Craft invite

Alex Hartman , Track and Field Reporter

After a successful meet at the University of Illinois, the men’s and women’s track and field teams returned home for their annual John Craft Invite.

Now midway through the season, the Panthers are really hitting their stride going forward in the season.

The men finished in first place with 204 points for the first time this season and the women finished in second place with 162 points. The team success also meant individual success, as seen in the eleven first- place finishes.

The runner-ups at the invite were, for the men, Illinois State with 176 points and Tennessee- Martin with 36 points. For the women, the first- place finisher was Illinois State with 204.5 points, and the third place team was Austin Peay with 92.5.

The track and field team is deeper into the season now and it is starting to be seen in the eyes of the coaches.

“We are starting to do what we preach in practice, and are building more confidence going forward in the season as we are preparing for the conference meet,” said coach Jessica Sommerfeld.

The team is seeing contributions from nearly every event, and there are many athletes that are standouts for the team.

“The team is looking good with the recent performances this and last week, and some of the team’s standouts include Riley McInerney, Julie James, Anita Saffa, and the distance crew as a whole,” said coach Akers.

Some of them include senior distance runner Riley McInerney, who cruised to the top spot with a time of 4:12.38. Then fellow senior distance runner Paxson Menard won the 3000-meter run with a season best time of 8:33.84. Then women’s senior distance runner Julie James earned first in the mile run with a personal record and Ohio Valley Conference third ranked time of 5:01.38.

Some other performances by the Panthers included sophomore thrower Adam Kessler, who had a pair of first place finishes in the shot put and weight throw. He threw the shot put 54’02.50” and the weight throw landed 55’10.25”.

The same went for senior women’s thrower Bryn Buckwalter, who had a pair of first place finishes in the shot put and weight throw. She threw for 49’.05.00” in the shot put while throwing 55’10.25” in the weight throw.

Looking ahead to next week, Eastern will be heading to Bloomington, Ind. to compete in the Indiana Relays on Jan. 27th-28th.

Alex Hartman can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]