Thomas takes OVC honor, leads track, field into Meyo Invite

Oscar Rzodkiewicz, Assistant Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s track and field teams gear up for the Notre Dame Meyo Invite set to begin Friday at 4 p.m. and run through Saturday.

The long jump and weight throw kick off the invite with the running events to follow at 4:30 p.m. Saturday’s events begin at 10:30 a.m.

Redshirt senior Shandall Thomas enters the weekend with another accolade after taking home Ohio Valley Conference Track Athlete of the Week for her 6.76 second time in the preliminaries for the 60-meter race at the Iowa Black and Gold Premier.

That time was a personal best and ranks ninth all-time in the event in Eastern history and first in the OVC.

He finished in eighth after a 6.87 time in the finals of the event.

This is Thomas’ first OVC Athlete of the Week award and the third given to an Eastern athlete.

Two athletes on the men’s side took home top 10 finishes last week, including senior Joe Smith, who placed second in the triple jump after hitting a mark of 48-6.75, and freshman Adam Swanson, a fourth-place finisher in the 800-meter after a 1:54.42 finish.

Smith is currently top four in the conference in both the triple jump and the long jump, the latter of which came from his 22-5 mark from the EIU Early Bird event.

Swanson still ranks second in the OVC in the 800-meter for his 1:54.34 effort in the 800-meter at the Illini Invitational. He also ranks 13th in the one-mile run.

Junior Tadiwa Mhonde also claims a top conference spot in the 400-meter, sitting at No. 2 with a time of 49.18 from the Black and Gold Premier that awarded him sixth place last weekend.

For the women’s team, senior Grace Rowan enters on a high note after setting a personal best in the one-mile run last weekend with a 4:56.26 time, good for first at the premier and seventh-best in Eastern history. Her time also leads the conference.

Freshman Shanisa Stinson moved up to No. 2 in the conference leaderboard with her performance in the 60-meter hurdles after a finish of 8.86 that slotted her in fifth place at the invite.

Other Panther runners set season-best times last weekend, including freshmen Akiya Kollore and Zakiya Johnson who did so while finishing in the top 10 in the 200-meter along with sophomore Chloe Irish and senior Jocelyne Mendoza who did the same in the 800-meter.

After the weekend, Eastern stays on the road next weekend for the Grand Valley Big Meet scheduled for Feb. 14.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]