The Cougar track and field teams accomplished many personal feats at the Marshall invite in West Virginia this past weekend.
The meet ended with one school record and eight athletes breaking into the all-time top-5 list. The had a successful weekend, setting them up for the Ohio Valley Conference Championships in less than two weeks.
The men’s team placed first overall and the women’s finished in second.
Assistant Coach Joey Pacione said both teams performed spectacularly.
“As coaches, we saw exactly what we were hoping for in terms of competitiveness and executing their events,” Pacione said.
Pacione mentioned multiple individuals with personal bests from this weekend, including the female Cougars who claimed multiple top-three finishes and PRs.
Sophomore Aly Goff finished first in the mile, setting a PR and a time that is second all-time for SIUE. Goff and freshman Kassidy Dexheimer both set PRs in the 800-meter.
Senior Claire Nolan finished second in the shot put and senior Lizzie Virgl set a PR in the weight throw. Virgl’s mark is second all-time for SIUE as well.
Senior Deborrah Blackburn placed first in the high jump and senior Brittney Gibbs finished second in the triple jump.
“It’s been a process from the first day of practice until now, depending on the event, it is working on the technical aspects of what they need to succeed as well as the physical workouts,” Pacione said.
The men’s team did remarkably well, too.
Senior Martinus Mitchell set a PR in the shot put, making his mark at second all-time for SIUE. Junior Nick Matthews and sophomore John Barnes placed first and second in the weight throw.
The distance medley relay team set PRs and the school record in the event by over eight seconds. In the 800-meter dash, senior Matt O’Connor ran a season best and sophomore Kevin Campbell set a PR as well.
The freshmen were dialed in and gained results too.
Freshman Nylo Clarke set a PR winning the 200-meter dash, marking his time as the fourth fastest in SIUE history and a meet record. Freshman DeVonte Tincher and freshman Collin Brown also set PRs in the 200.
Senior Bobby Kaluza placed first in the 60-meter hurdles and Tincher placed first in the 60, setting a meet record.
“When you PR, everyone on the team knows about it and congratulates you, and it excites me that they are excited for me. I couldn’t have done it without them pushing me at the meet and knowing that gives me a sense of pride,” Tincher said.
Junior Nichyria Byrd participated in the long jump event this past weekend.
“I kind of had a little downfall during the middle of the season, so I’m just looking for good jumps, consistency, and I hope to jump 20 or consistent 19,” Byrd said.
Byrd’s current PR in long jump is 20 feet 6 inches and she hopes to set a new personal record at conference.
Pacione said it will take a lot of focused and hard work to succeed at the OVC Championships, but he knows the team will perform well.
“We plan for it to always be the best meet of the year, and this year it truly looks like that is what’s on deck for them,” Pacione said.
SIUE track and field teams will have this week off before traveling to Charleston, Illinois, for the Indoor OVC Championships.