16 Panthers place in top 3 at Illinois meet

Blake Faith, Track and Field Reporter

Track and field director Brenton Emanuel all season told his athletes to take advantage of every opportunity, and after the indoor season’s end he said he would not be satisfied until the Panthers were back on top.

The program gained more momentum going into the rest of the season finishing the Illinois Twilight meet with 16 top-three finishes, including a 1-2 finish at the women’s hammer throw.

Senior Jasmine Woodley and sophomore Makenna Wilson have both held or replaced the women’s hammer throw school record.

Woodley replaced Wilson’s record at the EIU Big Blue classic, but Wilson reclaimed it at Indiana State. This weekend no records were broken, but the Panther duo finished in first and second place.

Woodley finished first with a throw of 172 feet and 1 inch. Wilson finished second with a throw of 171 feet and 6 inches.

“That is a strong event for our team heading into conference,” Emanuel said. “Like I stated last week, it’s great for training to be pushed by a friend/teammate.  Those young ladies are doing a great job of taking advantage of their opportunities.”

Wilson added two more second place finishes in the women’s shot put and women’s discus throw.

On the track, senior Pedra Hicks continued her individual momentum by finishing second in the 400-meter hurdle event with a time of 1 minute and 2 seconds.

Graduate student Kristen Dowell finished with a time of 14.40 seconds in the women’s 100-meter hurdles for third place. Freshman Vivica Coleman finished third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.18 seconds.

For the men, freshman Riley Baker finished in third place in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 55.10 seconds.

“I was just focused on executing my race plan and focusing on the little things in my race that I need to work on,” Baker said. “Personally, I just want to keep getting experience in my races and keep executing what I need to do every week.”

The weather has not been consistent and that is usually how it is throughout the Midwest. Nevertheless, Emanuel knows that with each meet the weather should be dealt with and the opportunity should still be seized.

“I’ve told the team stories about weather at nationals and conference championships and how athletes dealt with it and still performed at a high level,” Emanuel said. “All outdoor season I have said no matter the circumstance you must take advantage of your opportunity. I think you are seeing that based on the results every weekend.”

Eastern’s track and field program will travel to Torrance, California to compete in the Mt. SAC Relays at El Camino College Friday.

“Our goal is to win a championship come May,” Emanuel said. “We have a lot of great things going on across the board and a lot of the team is gaining confidence at the right time and that is all that matters.”                                                                         

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