EIU track, field set to host Big Blue Classic


File Photo | The Daily Eastern News Eastern’s Cedric Johnson races toward a hurdle in a meet last Spring at O’Brien Field. Eastern hosts the EIU Big Blue Classic this weekend.

Blake Faith, Track and Field Reporter

Eastern’s track and field programs  will look to bring the momentum from the Southern Illinois Bill Cornell Classic to the EIU Big Blue Classic Friday and Saturday.

This will be the only home meet of the outdoor season.

Track and Field Director Brenton Emanuel wants his athletes to take advantage of their opportunity no matter the situation and continue to move up Eastern’s top-10 list, inside of the OVC, and NCAA leaders list.

For the freshman this is their first time competing on O’Brien Field. Upperclassmen have been in this position before and love being home. For the seniors, this is their last time they will be able to compete at home in front of their friends, family and community as a Panther.

“It is a great day for the seniors to compete at home one last time because a lot of not all competed here in high school for the state championship,” Emanuel said. “I’m excited for them to be honored at the end of meet and for them to have some great performances.”

Senior Ashton Wilson had similar thoughts.

“This meet is a big deal for us but we also want to make it a lot of fun for the athletes and families involved,” Wilson said. “It would mean a lot if we had a large support group from the university.”

Wilson finished fifth in the Men’s heptathlon at the OVC Indoor Championship.

However, Wilson did not have the exact performance he wanted in his first outdoor meet of his senior season last weekend.

“The first meet didn’t go well for me, but I would like to brush that off and have a new fresh start,” Wilson said. “A home meet is the best place to do it. I would like a respectable performance and finish the last home meet with a good attitude.”

While this team has such a younger core this mix of athletes have all competed hard and made the most of their results.

The Panthers currently have three members who hold the top spot in their events in the OVC. Two of those Panthers are underclassmen and one is an junior.

Sophomore MaKenna Wilson is coming off of a big weekend including her school record throw in women’s hammer throw at 173 feet and 8 inches. Her throw in the women’s discus event of 143 feet and 9 inches is at the top of the OVC.

Freshman Jekeel Suber finished second at Southern Illinois in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15 minutes and 16 seconds that sits atop of the OVC in that event.

Junior Tyler Lay finished third 300-Meter Steeplechase with a time of 9 minutes and 57 seconds which rounds up the finals spot the Panthers hold in the OVC.

The Panthers will compete against teams from Bradley, University of Illinois-Chicago, IUPUI, Western Michigan, Millikin University, Olivet Nazarene, Rose-Hulman, College of DuPage and Lincoln College.

Competition begins Friday with the field events will begin at 1 p.m. and the track events will begin at 6:30 p.m. under the lights at O’Brien Field.

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