The Panthers competed hard in their last road meet of the indoor season, seizing 23 top-15 finishes.
Those finishes were just what the Panthers needed at the Grand Valley Big State Meet, a meet that track and field director Brenton Emanuel told his team they could make a “big statement” heading into conference competition.
Senior Ashton Wilson earned the top finish for the Panther men with his first-place finish of 6-05.00 in the high jump. Freshman Steven Rowe took second in the high jump at 6-03.25. Senior Clayton Turner took fifth in the shot put with his throw of 50-11.00.
“It feels great, I was hoping to get an indoor PR but was just shy of that,” Wilson said. “ I’m not quite satisfied with my performance, but I am hoping to peak at the right time. I am continuing to set goals while taking care of my injuries.”
Freshman Jekeel Suber crossed the line fifth in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.03. Sophomore Tadiwa Mhonde finished sixth place in the 60-meter dash at 6.99 seconds, and he had a tenth place finish in the 200-meter dash crossing the line at 22.12 seconds.
Freshman Riley Baker finished 14th in the 400-meter dash at 49.50 seconds. The quartet of junior Anthony Bello, Mhonde, Baker and freshman Morris Seaton took fifth in the 4×400 at 3 minutes and 18 seconds.
Jasmine Woodley earned the top finish for the women with her first-place throw of 60-03.75 in the weight throw, while Makenna Wilson took fifth at 53-11.75. Sophomore Paige Minor took ninth in the High Jump Invite at 5-02.50.
Senior Pedra Hicks had a fifth place finish in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.88 seconds. Graduate student Kristen Dowell finished sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles, crossing the line at 8.90 seconds.
The quartet of Hicks, junior Sophia Keith, junior Louisa Rieger and Dowell took ninth in the 4×400 at 3:52.37.
This weekend will be important to the players in multiple ways. For some, it is their final meet of the indoor season; for others, it is a chance to be on the roster for the OVC Indoor Championship.
“I remind myself when I can that I’m part of a bigger picture,” sophomore Jaime Marcos said. “I remind myself of what I might feel like if I don’t do my part. And with that, it’s easier to ground myself.
The Eastern track and field program will compete in their last home meet Friday, Feb. 15 at the EIU Friday Night Special.
“It’s the best feeling to have our families and supporters there,” sophomore Maggie McPherson said. “A lot of our meets are far way, which makes it difficult for people to come support us, so when they’re able to, it makes it more special.”
Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]