Track and field goes the distance at Tom Botts invitational

Cougars’ track and field achieved high marks at last weekend’s Tom Botts Invitational at the University of Missouri,  especially in distance events. Senior Ben Scamihorn placed first in the men’s 5000m, and junior Austin Woodard followed with a second-place finish.  

Scamihorn’s time of 14:52.84 improved his personal record by 35 seconds. Scamihorn said it was only his second 5000m race of his SIUE career. 

“The 5K has never really been an event that I’ve focused on. I’ve usually done more like 1500m and steeplechase, but this year I’ve shifted focus to more 5K and steeplechase because I thought I’d be more successful in that,” Scamihorn said. 

According to Woodard, who placed second in the 5000m with a time of 15:05.51, University of Missouri runners helped carry him and Scamihorn through the beginning of the race. 

“[The Mizzou athletes] basically stuck with [Ben and me] for like a mile and a half of the race … It was nice to have people to sit behind and allow them to bring you through,” Woodard said. “And then around there, me and Ben kind of surged past in the lead, so we were right next to each other for a few laps, and then he started to pull away towards the end.” 

Senior Matt O’Connor placed third in the men’s 1500m with a time of 3:59.54. He also placed second in the 800m by running a time of 1:52.69, followed by sophomore Joe Stone’s fourth-place time of 1:53.29, and junior Landon Skelly ran a PR of 1:55.78. 

In the women’s 1500m, junior Aly Goff ran 4:43.22, placing seventh. 

On the jumping end, senior Nichyria Byrd took third in the women’s long jump, leaping 19 feet, 1 inch. 

The team has three more chances to qualify for NCAA First Round: the Memphis Invitational starting 4 p.m. Friday in Memphis, Tennessee, the SIUE Gateway Classic on Friday, May 3 in Edwardsville and the OVC Outdoor Championships starting 9 a.m. Thursday, May 9 through Saturday, May 11 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Byrd has not yet qualified for the NCAA Regionals First Round on May 24 and 25. 

“I haven’t qualified yet, which is why my goal is to jump over 6 meters, but if I jump over 6 meters or I hit that 20-foot long jump mark, then I’ll be sitting comfortably to go to first rounds,” Byrd said. “So, that’s what my goal is this coming week.” 

Freshman jumper Ethan Poston reached 6 feet, 11 inches in the high jump the OVC Indoor Championship and estimates he needs to jump 6-10 to make it to the first round of regionals. This weekend, he placed third in the high jump with a jump of roughly 6 feet, 7 inches. 

“Right now, [my coach and I] are working on over-the-bar stuff because that’s really what I need to work on,” Poston said. “I know I can get 6-10 because I’ve gotten 6-11 before … so I just have to believe in myself.”  

Senior Brittney Gibbs placed second in the women’s triple jump with a season-best of 40 feet, 7 inches. In the men’s long jump, junior Logan Webb placed fourth, freshman Conor McCarthy placed fifth and sophomore DeVonte Tincher placed sixth.

Junior Austin Lynch’s 180 feet, 1-inch throw placed fifth in the men’s hammer throw, and junior John Barnes placed fifth in the discus with a toss of 148 feet, 9 inches. 

The Cougars will be back in action 4 p.m. Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 at the Memphis Invitational at the University of Memphis. 

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