SIUE brought eight of their jumpers and sprinters up to Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, for the Top Times Open this past weekend, where they had four individual first place finishes.
Sophomore jumper Logan Webb continued his hot streak with two personal records, first place in long jump and third place in triple jump. His 23-foot .5-inch long jump PR was the first time he had jumped over 23 feet in a meet.
Assistant Coach Joey Pacione said he was impressed with Webb’s performance because of the competitive mentality he and the other athletes were showing at the meet.
“They really took the people in the lanes beside them and that they were jumping against seriously, and that competition really pushed Logan Webb to [have] a great day,” Pacione said.
Behind Webb, freshman sprinter and jumper Devonte Tincher leapt to second place in the long jump with a 22-foot 4.5-inch jump.
On the women’s side, junior jumper Nichyria Byrd placed first yet again in the triple jump, and senior jumper Deborrah Blackburn took first in high jump. Senior jumper Brittney Gibbs came away with a second place finish in long jump.
Blackburn also placed sixth in the triple jump, where she set a new PR. Despite her first place high jump finish, she said she still has some approach techniques to work in preparation for the rest of the season.
“For the high jump, it didn’t necessarily go as I would have hoped only because I didn’t reach the height I was trying to,” Blackburn said.
Two of the men’s sprinters, senior Bobby Kaluza and freshman Collin Brown, had strong performances in their events as well.
Out of the sprinters, Kaluza was the only one to take home first in his 60-meter hurdles event, even though he has been battling a hip flexor injury the past two weeks. Kaluza said his injury brought his time down more than he wanted, but he applauded his teammates for the effort they put in at the meet.
“Overall, I was happy with how our team came out and just performed,” Kaluza said.
One teammate in particular really impressed Kaluza. Brown finished second in the 200 and fourth in the 400.
“That’s a hard day to do, so it’s pretty good to see him do that as a freshman,” Kaluza said.
According to Kaluza, the week leading up to the Top Times Open was a rest week to keep the athletes fresh for the upcoming events. Pacione said he likes to implement these low-volume weeks every four weeks so the athletes are less tired heading into meets.
“Now we know how we can perform without doing all that much at practice, so now we can get back to doing the normal training cycle,” Kaluza said.
The Cougars have two more indoor meets before the OVC indoor championships in late February, and Pacione said he hopes to use these meets to solidify what the team has been working on throughout the season.
“Each athlete will get at least one more opportunity in each of their main events over the course of the next two weeks, so they go into conference having enough competitions under their belt to perform well when it counts,” Pacione said.
The next meet is the Don DeNoon Invitational in Carbondale, Illinois, on Feb. 2 and 3, where the Cougars will have the chance to face off against some OVC foes before seeing them at the conference meet.
“There’s going to be some pretty good competition [in Carbondale] as well as some conference teams, so we can just really work to try to beat them, so that way we really know where we’re going to stand at conference,” Kaluza said.