TERRE HAUTE —
If day one of the Pacesetter Quadrangular is any indication, the rivalry between the Indiana State and Southern Illinois men’s and women’s track and field teams should be raging on day two at Marks Field today.
Only five events went in the books Friday, but just one point — combined — separates the two long-time Missouri Valley Conference rivals.
To wit, Southern Illinois leads the ISU men by one scant point (62-61), while the women’s teams are tied (60-60). Butler and Wisconsin-Milwaukee are also competing in this four-team event.
“Southern is indoor conference champion, we were runner-up to them,” ISU men’s coach John McNichols said. “Last year, [SIU] was runner-up to us three times … cross country, outdoor and indoor. So we’ve had a good rivalry going here for some time.”
“[SIU] placed ahead of us indoors, so we’ll keep working on them [today],” ISU women’s coach Angie Martin echoed. “They are strong in some of the same areas that we’re strong in. We’re always glad to compete against them because it brings out the best in us I think.”
ISU’s men certainly concluded its cool and rainy day one on a high note.
Dustin Betz, a junior, roared from behind to win the men’s 5,000-meter run, overtaking Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Jake Reilly with just under two laps to go. Betz’s winning time was 14:45.54.
“Coach [assistant Geoff] Wayton talked right before this race and gave me a strategy of how to go about things,” Betz said. “I basically held for about two miles, then last mile was kind of ‘give it your all’. It actually ended up being the last lap before I really took off.”
McNichols was also happy with Betz’s performance, but was equally pleased with the third-place finish of teammate Andrew Lepkowski.
“[Lepkowski’s] off a redshirt last year, so it’s been quite a while since he’s raced,” McNichols mentioned. “So he hadn’t shone me that race sense yet this season. I think he’s kind of gotten it back.”
Two other winners for the ISU men were Brandon Pounds in hammer throw (207-9) and Chris Fields in shot put (50-11.50).
“Throwing in the rain is something I’m trying to get used to, so I was pretty happy,” Pounds said. “This week has been very windy and cold. It was hot last weekend. So we’re dealing with that. That kind of deals with training and a little bit more mental side of things. Other than that, I was happy with today.”
ISU’s men were without injured long jumper Maurice Lyke, but Ernest Rollins and Robert Webb picked up the slack with third- and fourth-place finishes, respectively.
One men’s meet record was eclipsed as Butler junior Craig Jordan won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a time of 8:58.84. The previous mark was 9:00.20 set by Matthew Graham of DePaul last year.
On the women’s side, ISU failed to win any of their five events, but were able to pick up needed points with four runner-up and a third-place finish.
ISU’s Felisha Johnson was a runner-up in both the hammer throw (195-4) and shot put (51-11.25). ISU finished 2-3 in the 3,000 steeplechase (Hanna Mercer, Andrea Prusz) and were 3-4 in the 5,000 (Jessica Zangmeister, Valerie Burns).
Martin praised the efforts of Mercer and Prusz in the steeplechase.
“The steeplechase is a newer event for both of them … they’re really learning to run well,” Martin said. “Keep improving by big amounts, which is exciting.”
Jeneva McCall of Southern Illinois easily won both her events, hammer throw (222-6) and shot put (56-4.75). McCall entered the competition leading the nation in the hammer throw, shot put and discus.
Butler’s Becky Howarth won the 5,000 in 17:23.72 and Shelbi Burnett claimed the 3,000 steeplechase in 10:47.92, while SIU’s Malaikah Love won the long jump in 19-5.50.
Today’s portion of the two-day meet resumes with field events at 11 a.m., and track events starting at 12:30 p.m. Strangely enough, today also marks Senior Day for the Sycamores as this is their only home meet this season.
(Top 3, plus other ISU finishers)
Team results — Southern Illinois 62, Indiana State 61, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 31, Butler 21.
5,000 — Dustin Betz (ISU) 14:45.54, Jake Reilly (WM) 14:49.85, Andrew Lepowski (ISU) 14:59.78.
3,000 steeplechase — Craig Jordan (But) 8:58.84, Lucas Cherry (SIU) 9:08.47, 3. Kevin Oblinger (But) 9:19.54, 4. Gabe Ocasio (ISU) 9:21.18, 7. Andrew Sullivan (ISU) 9:53.29.
LJ — Douglas Palacious (SIU) 22-9, 3. Eric Reeves (SIU) 22-5, 3. Ernest Rollins (ISU) 21-11.50, 4. Robert Webb (ISU) 21-11.
SP — Chris Fields (ISU) 50-11.50, Brian Cooper (SIU) 49-1, Brad Foote (SIU) 46-3.50, 9. Justin Applegate (ISU) 41-4.25.
HT — Brandon Pounds (ISU) 207-9, Collin Otto (SIU) 191-2, Bradley Sauer (SIU) 188-7, 6. Fields (ISU) 174-10, 10. Applegate (ISU) 147-10.
Team results — Indiana State and Southern Illinois 60, Butler 29, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 26.
5,000 — Becky Howarth (But) 17:23.72, Lacey Gibson (SIU) 17:39.28, Jessica Zangmeister (ISU) 17:39.98, 4. Valerie Burns (ISU) 17:41.30.
3,000 steeplchase — Shelbi Burnett (But) 10:47.91, Hanna Mercer (ISU) 11:02.41, Andrea Prusz (ISU) 11:06.19, 7. Emily Mercer (ISU) 12:18.32.
LJ — Malaikah Love (SIU) 19-5.50, Kelly Steffen (ISU) 18-10, Samia Taylor (WM) 18-9.75, 4. Jaquelle Spencer (ISU) 18-2.50, 6. Carmelia Stewart (ISU), 17-10.25, 7. Sahlesa Smith (ISU) 17-7.50, 8. Shelby Higginbottom (ISU) 17-6, 12. Patricia Merrion (ISU) 16-3.75, 14. India Williams (ISU) 15-7.50.
SP — Jeneva McCall (SIU) 56-4.75, Felisha Johnson (ISU) 51-11.25, Mary Thiesen (ISU) 49-10.50, 5. Tara Perigo (ISU) 46-4.25.
HT — McCall (SIU) 222-6, Johnson (ISU) 195-4, Kim Fortney (SIU) 191-8, 7. Thiesen (ISU) 172-4, 10. Kasey Kahle (ISU) 145-8.