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

Eastern satisfied with first big meet of the season

(From Left to Right) Kylie Decker and Rylea Borgic in the mile run. (Emmie German)

First-year Director of Track and Field James Gildon oversaw the 10th annual John Craft Invitational in the Lantz Indoor Fieldhouse on Saturday. 

This was coach Gildon’s second-ever meet while director at Eastern and his first meet with more than two schools attending. 

Teams from IUPUI, University of Missouri-Saint Louis, Vincennes College and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College attended the meet. 

Gildon noted that he was happy with the performance of his team, yet that they still had room for improvement.  

“Each group, throws, distance, sprints, hurdles, they all had some bright spots, but they’re really hungry,” Gildon said. “Even though they were bright, it didn’t feel as bright as they could be.” 

Field events began at 10 a.m. with first-year throwers Coach Mitchel Couch and second-year pole vaulting Coach Josh Stice overseeing. 

Couch mentioned the training that was required to get the throwers ready for Saturday’s meet.  

“They’ve been troopers man. I’ve been putting them through the gauntlet a bit,” Couch said. “All in all, very happy with performances today.” 

Senior thrower Bradley Olysav placed first in both men’s weight throw with 17.67 meters and shot put with 15.95 meters. Olysav was content with his times, saying he was happy performing at this level considering the limited training time.  

“Only having a week of in-person training, I wasn’t expecting that much,” Olysav said. “It was a good building block. You got to start somewhere.” 

Pole vaulting saw graduate pole-vaulter Declan Ritzenthaler place first with a vault of 4.70 meters. Stice said that this mark was made on a shorter run-up than Ritzenthaler usually competes with and was impressed with his mark. 

Stice also said that he was impressed with the efforts of sophomore pole vaulter Zac Stout.   

“If you look at his position in May, he was shooting around the 4 meters 10 [centimeters], 4-20 mark,” Stice said. “Now he’s pretty consistently at the 4-30 mark and even hit a 4-40 today.” 

Junior jumper Taryn Tarquin led Eastern in the triple jump with 11.10 meters. She placed second in the meet with this mark. 

“I felt good [today]. I felt like this meet was good for shaking the rust off,” Tarquin said. “We have two pretty important meets coming up, so hopefully those will be better than today was.” 

Track events began at 12:30 p.m. and consisted of 24 events. 

Distance Coach Erin Howarth and the Eastern distance runners competed in their first meet since early November. Howarth said that she felt good about the runner’s success at the meet, noting that winter break training paid off. 

Jaime Marcos, who graduated from Eastern in 2023, came back to race the 3k at this meet. Fifth-year distance runner Adam Swanson discussed the benefits of having a runner like Marcos back running at Eastern. 

“It was fun for sure,” Swanson said. “It was cool because when I was a freshman here, he was a sophomore. He’s always been a great runner for the time that I’ve known him. Just having him here was really great competition.” 

Swanson finished first in the 3k with a time of 8:15.20. Marcos was less than a second behind him at 8:16.28. 

Freshman sprinter Daniel Lacy led the sprinters in the 60-meter with a time of 6.92.  Junior sprinter Riley Wittkamper won the 400 meter with a time of 51.60. 

Gildon discussed what the team would be working on in the days following the meet.  

“We operated in pockets today; each group stayed with their own group,” Gilson said. “We missed that cross-group support. That’s something that we’re going to highlight in our post-meet meeting.” 

Track and field will be meeting again on Saturday at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.


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

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