The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


This poll has ended.

Do you treat student evaluations seriously?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Loading Recent Classifieds...

Coach Gildon, Coach Baker start EIU careers at Early Bird track meet

Eastern was able to win against McKendree Univesity on Thursday. (File)

First-year Director of Track and Field/Cross Country James Gildon coached his first track meet as director on Thursday. This was the Eastern Illinois Early Bird meet, which took place in the Lantz Indoor Fieldhouse. Only one other school was invited to this meet, division two McKendree University out of Lebanon, Illinois.

The Panthers won the meet, winning 19 out of the 27 events. Gildon, however, noted that the meet was used as a tool to gauge how training had gone to this point in the season. He added that he didn’t value the results as highly as he would at a normal meet.

“[The Early Bird meet] is really a gage to see where fall training has taken us,” Gildon said. “I do believe that results tend to be a lagging measure of things that happened before. So, [the meet] gives us an idea of how the summer went, and how the early part of fall went”.

Gildon also added that he used the Early Bird meet to judge athletes’ work ethic in a competitive environment.

“The two variables that we were going to judge were effort and intensity,” Gildon said. “Obviously, me coming in August, there’s a bit of a transition we have to endure”.

Gildon was not the only first-year coach to begin his Eastern career at the Early Bird meet. Assistant Coach Riley Baker began his first track season alongside Gildon on Thursday.

Baker has been an athlete at Eastern since 2019, earning first-team all-Ohio Valley Conference eight times as a Panther.

Baker discussed how he was feeling going into his first meet as a coach.

“Super excited, obviously a change of pace having been an athlete last year, now transitioning into being a coach, definitely super exciting,” Baker said. “It’s definitely awesome and rewarding seeing all the work our athletes have put in kind of come to fruition today.”

Baker assisted Gilden in managing the Early Bird meet. All told, there were 15 track events, eight for the men and seven for the women: no women’s 600m, and 12 field events, six for the men and six for the women.

Junior sprinter Cameron Yarborough won the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.86, 0.08 seconds in front of senior sprinter Brailyn Johnson, 6.92 seconds.

Yarborough’s time was also 0.08 seconds faster than his 60-meter time at the OVC championship meet, where he ran a 6.92. With that being said, Yarborough is looking to record even faster times this season.

“With the 60 [meter], I’ll take it, it’s a good stepping stone for sure,” Yarborough said.

Yarborough and the coaches will get a month-long break, as the Panther’s next meet will be in the Lantz Indoor Fieldhouse on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Commenting on the Daily Eastern News web site is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to remove comments that contain obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Also, comments containing personal attacks or threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
All The Daily Eastern News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest