Smith wins triple-jump, Eastern places 23

Blake Faith, Track and Field Reporter

The Eastern track and field program gained more momentum toward the rest of its season, earning 23 top-10 finishes at the Iowa Black and Gold Premier.

“I was hoping to see some good performances, some seasonal best and personal best this weekend,” said Brenton Emanuel, director of track and field. “Just like any other competitive person, we always want more, and I think we will have some better performances down the road.”

The results and the program taking advantage of the facility and great competition is exactly what Emanuel wanted for his program. For senior Cedric Johnson, this was a meet that he wished to learn from and improve.

Johnson finished 16th overall in 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.33 seconds. So far this season, Johnson has performed well, but the last couple weeks have not been easy.

In the last two week meets, he has not finished in the top five in his event.

“I want better results than the past few weeks; I have to reach the 7s to get my spot back as No. 1 in conference,” Johnson said. “You know things happen. I made a rookie mistake, but I take it as a learning lesson and let the past be the past and focus on Notre Dame Johnson.”

The women finished with nine top-10 finishes. Freshman Rylei Jackson earned sixth place honors in the 60-meter dash, crossing the line at 7.89 seconds. Senior Kristen Dowell took fourth in the 400-meter dash at 58.63 seconds.

The quartet of Dowell, senior Pedra Hicks, Jackson and junior Sophia Keith took fourth in the 4×400-Relay at 3 minutes and 59 seconds. MaKenna Wilson took fifth in the weight throw at 56 meters.

The men finished with 14 top-10 finishes on the day.

Tadiwa Mhonde took third in the 60-meter dash (6.96 seconds) and seventh in the 200-meter dash (22.27 seconds). Ricky Owens took fifth in the 60-Meter Dash at 7.06 seconds.

Joe Smith was the top finisher for the Panthers during the Black and Gold Premier, earning a first place finish in the triple jump with his distance of 49 meters.

“It felt good seeing the team perform on the level they did against big competition on that stage; it speaks volumes about them and shows a glimpse of their potential in the future,” Johnson said.

The track and field program will take these results, improve this week and then travel to Notre Dame on Friday to compete in the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational.

“I want us to focus on moving up the OVC leaderboard in all of our events and continuing to perfect your craft,” Emanuel said.

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]