The Cougars’ track and field teams competed this weekend at the Eastern Illinois University Big Blue Classic in Charleston. Head Coach Eileen McAllister said both of the teams performed very well.
“Most notable was [freshman sprinter] Brittany Thomas breaking the school record in the 100-meter and winning that. She also won the 200 [meter] and ran the No. 3 all-time at SIUE in that. She’s a freshman, so this was a really big weekend for her,” McAllister said.
Thomas’ time was 11.70 seconds in the 100-meter and 24.17 seconds in the 200-meter.
McAllister said other athletes set PRs [personal records] this weekend, which bodes well for the rest of the season.
“We had a number of other PRs and I thought in general, everybody competed well,” McAllister said. “It was a step in the right direction for sure. We still have a lot of people trying new events for the first time. I thought the people who opened up in those events did well.”
Distance events the night before featured new faces to the competition including freshmen distance runners Ben Scamihorn and Haley Miller. Freshman distance runner Jess Clarke also ran the 10-kilometer race for the very first time.
Several throwers on the women’s team also set personal bests, including sophomore Megan Lauzon.
“Megan [Lauzon] had a big weekend. She PR’d in two of her three events,” McAllister said.
Lauzon’s PRs were set at 140 feet in the hammer throw and 141 feet, 9.5 inches in discus.
Freshman Jacqueline Landuyt also set a PR this weekend, throwing 137 feet and 10.75 inches in the hammer.
McAllister said the women’s team — especially since it is so young — is giving an exciting start to the season.
“I think the freshmen are progressing and impacting the team. That’s always a good sign moving forward,” McAllister said.
The men’s team featured a great performance from senior sprinter Braxton Klavins in the 400-meter run.
“He won the 400 [meter] again, and dropped his time a little bit more. He’s continuing to whittle his time down to a qualifying time for nationals. He had a good, solid weekend for sure. He really ran his own race and stuck to his strategy,” McAllister said.
Junior sprinter Darius Smith set a personal best in the 400 [meter] with a time of 49.83. McAllister said this would prepare him for his primary events, the 100-meter and 200-meter runs.
“That was nice to see. He’s a guy that works hard. The 400 [meter] is long for him; he usually runs shorter, so for him to get out of his comfort zone the last couple weekends and run the 400 [meter] for training purposes, and for strength, is awesome to see,” McAllister said. “I’m excited to see him open up in the 100 and 200 in the next few weekends.”
Freshman thrower Caleb Seagren set a PR in the discus, improving by more than a meter with a throw of 135 feet, 9.5 inches.
McAllister said the first few weeks are important in setting the scene for the rest of the season.
“It’s about getting starting points the first two weeks, getting back into outdoor events and the different strategies, getting comfortable in new events. Now that we’ve done that, we just hope to continue to progress from there and continue to build on those opening marks that we’ve made and learn from those first two outings and keep moving forward,” McAllister said.
The Cougars’ next meet is at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 10 at the Western Kentucky University Hilltopper Relays.
“We’re looking forward to Western Kentucky this weekend and to build off of what we’ve started the first two weekends,” McAllister said.