Men finish 2nd, women 9th in OVC track, field championships


File Photo

Joe Smith flies through the air in the long jump event during the EIU Big Blue Classic in March 2018 at O’Brien Field.

Blake Faith, Track and Field Reporter

In track and field director Brenton Emanuel’s first OVC Indoor Championship, the men finished in 2nd place and the women in 9th place. This track and field program is still made up of a younger core, but Emanuel knows that they will improve for future competitions.

“I thought the energy was great by both teams, and our team chemistry grew this weekend,” Emanuel said. “We are a very young team with a lot potential. I think for the some of the new/young athlete this was an eye opener.”

Senior Ashton Wilson competed hard, erasing his junior year results to finish fifth in the heptathlon. In the heptathlon, Wilson’s best finish was 3rd place in the high jump. Wilson would also finish 5th in men’s high jump.

“I was very surprised with some of my performances due to lack of experience and injuries, but going through treatment and rehabilitation throughout the year has helped get my body as close to perfect as I can,” Wilson said. “I try to remind myself and my teammates how much these performances mean for the team. We train and compete all year for this moment to win as a family. It’s not just an individual sport at conference.”

Senior Cedric Johnson started the season strong, but did not have similar results to finish the season. Johnson would not let that influence his final indoor 60-meter hurdle. Johnson finished in third place with his time of 8.33 seconds.

Sophomore Tadiwa Mhonde finished third in the the men’s 200-meter dash with a new indoor personal record time of 21.86 seconds. Mhonde, junior Ricky Owens and senior Brandon Lane would finish 2nd, 4th and 5th for the Panther in the 60-meter dash.

The 4×400 team of freshman Riley Baker, Mhonde, junior Anthony Bello and Lane finished in 4th place with a time of 3 minutes and 20 seconds. Baker would also compete in the 400-Meter Dash, securing an 8th place finish with a personal record time of 50.58 seconds.

For the women Panthers, sophomore MaKenna Wilson finished in 5th place in the women’s shot-put with a throw of 13.12 meters. 

Senior Kristen Dowell finished in fourth place in the women’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.79 seconds. In the women’s 4×400-meter dash, Dowell, senior Pedra Hicks, junior Sophia Keith and junior Louisa Rieger finished in 6th place with a season best of 3 minutes and 52 seconds.

Even though this is Emanuel’s first OVC Indoor Championship, Emanuel promised that this is just the beginning and that this program will only get better. The track and field program will have until Friday, March 22nd to practice and get ready for the first outdoor season meet. The first meet will be the SIU Bill Cornell Spring Classic in Carbondale, Illinois.

“I thought the athletes that were here with us competed hard,”  Emanuel said. “Being an EIU track and field alum, we always want to be the best in conference. I won’t be satisfied until we are back on top.”

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