Track, field competing in split squad events


Sean Hastings

Freshman Dillon Birch competes in the men’s hammer throw at the Panthers’ EIU Big Blue Meet March 30 in the field behind O’Brien Field. Eastern will have a split squad meet at the Drake Relays and the Louisville Twilight.

Alex Hartman, Track reporter

Beginning with this week’s Drake Relays, the Eastern track and field team will begin to wrap up its season. 

The meet begins Thursday and will feature a few of Eastern’s top competitors. The rest of the team will head down to Kentucky for the Louisville Twilight Meet. 

This will be the second consecutive meet that the team will send two different groups to compete in. Last week most of the team traveled to Indiana State for the Pacesetter meet, and then eight competitors went to California for the Mt. SAC Relays in California. 

Some of the athletes who competed in the Mt. SAC Relays included senior high jumper Haleigh Knapp, senior distance runner Maria Baldwin, senior sprinter Davion McManis and graduate student Ryan Pearce. 

Both squads found success at their respective meets last weekend. Baldwin had a career day at the Mt. SAC Relays as her 10,000-meter run time of 35:28.08 minutes vaulted her to second all-time for Eastern in the event. Also at the Mt. SAC Relays, senior Darneisha Spann posted a 100-meter hurdle time of 13.95 seconds, that ranks fourth in school history. 

At the Indiana State Pacesetter meet Eastern had four first place finishers, and 15 total top three finishes. 

Junior Pedra Hicks continued her strong outdoor season as she won the 400-meter hurdles a time of 1:01.34. This marked the fourth time she has won the 400-meter hurdles this season. 

In the field events, junior Joe Smith placed first in the triple jump with his mark of 49’1.75”, and went on to finish in second place in the long jump with a distance of 22’4.50”.

Also in the winner’s circle was junior distance runner Grace Rowan as she won the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:39.90, and freshman teammate Kate Bushue was not far behind Rowan as she finished third in the 1500-meter run, then placed second in the 5000-meter run. 

The two sets of teams that will compete this week look will look to repeat their multiple successes as they near the end of the outdoor season, May 10 at the OVC Outdoor Championships.

This week’s meets will begin with the Drake Relays starting Thursday and running until Saturday. The Louisville Twilight meet will commence on Friday and run to Saturday as well. 

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