End of the road trip for track and field

Alex Hartman , Track and Field Reporter

With the indoor track and field regular season coming to a close for the men and women of Eastern, it has had a long run of successful performances the past month. The trend continued this past weekend at the Grand Valley State Big Meet, where the Panthers had a combined 20 top 10 finishers. The meet all the way up in Allendale, Michigan was the final road meet of the indoor season for the team.

Both the men and women’s teams finished the invitational in fourth place out of 40. The team proved once again it can compete on a large stage with many top schools and come out with a top spot.

“The team is doing what we practice and are building confidence going forward into the conference meet,” coach Akers said.

There was a variety of events that Eastern athletes earned top 10 finishes in from distance to field events, there was success everywhere.

Some of the highlights for the women were junior Brion Portis earning the top spot in the triple jump with a leap of 39’09.75”, which is the seventh best in the OVC this season. Then junior Haleigh Knapp once again had a top 10 finish as she leapt to the second spot with a jump of 5’08.75”.

In the distance events, senior Ruth Garippo set a new school record in the women’s 5,000 meter run as well as earning top spot in the event with a time of 16:55.22. The time broke the previous time by five seconds.

Fellow distance runner senior Riley McInerney earned yet another top 10 spot this year in the 3,000 meter run, finishing ninth with a time of 8:16.72. His senior indoor season has been his best yet, he said.

“Personally it is going very well this season, it (has) been the best start to a season I’ve ever had to a season, my race at U of I was a personal best in the 3K and the time still ranks me in the top 40 nationally,” said McInerney.

For the throwers Eastern had a few top 10 finishers with the pair of senior Riley Kittridge and sophomore Adam Kessler. Kittridge finished sixth in the shot put with a throw of 55’01.00”. Kessler got the eighth spot with a throw of 52’09.25”. Then freshman thrower Nick Philips got the sixth spot in the weight throw with a toss of 56’10.00”.

The final non-conference meet for the team will be next week at home, the EIU Friday Night Special, Feb. 17th.

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