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Men Earn Fifth, Women Earn Seventh at OVC Championships

Jessica Oranika
Jessica Oranika

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – SIUE track and field completed the Ohio Valley Conference championships with the men finishing in fifth place and the women's team finishing in seventh place.

The men earned 87 points and the women earned 53.

A total of 19 student-athletes earned All-OVC honors in 26 different events.

Highlighting the meet was junior Julian Harvey, who punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships in the long jump during day one, setting a new school record. In day two, Harvey jumped to the OVC crown in the triple jump, setting a new school record of 51 feet, 9 inches.

Jessica Oranika set a new school record in the 400 meters with a personal best of 54.77 seconds to earn second. Oranika also placed sixth in the 200 meters with a time of 24.89.

Along with Harvey, eight student-athletes on the men's team earned All-OVC honors.

Nick Matthews finished second in the weight throw with a personal best of 56-0.75. Alec Dutton finished sixth in the weight throw with a personal best of 53-0.25. Dutton also finished fifth in the shot put with a personal best of 48-9.75. Martinus Mitchell rounded out the conference awards for the throwers with a fourth place finish in the shot put with a personal best of 52-11.

In the track events, Keith Meyer took home two All-OVC awards in the 5K and the 3K. He took second in the 5K with a time of 14:53.47 and sixth in the 3K with a time of 8:33.98.

Derek Drew also took home two awards. He ran a time of 48.77 in the 400 for third place, and finished fifth in the 200 with a time of 22.32.

Matthew O'Connor ran a personal best of 1:52.59 in the 800, finishing third.

Bobby Kaluza earned a seventh place finish in the 55-meter hurdles with a time 8.18. Darius Smith earned eighth in the 55 meter dash after qualifying for finals.

Along with Oranika, nine total women earned All-OVC honors, including Nichyria Byrd and Ivory Cassell in the long jump. Byrd earned third with a mark of 18-9.5 while Cassell earned sixth with a jump of 18-6. Cassell also earned honors in the 55 meter dash with a time of 7.13, good enough for sixth.

Megan Lauzon posted All-OVC results in two events. She finished second in the weight throw with a personal best of 56-11 and fourth in the shot put with a personal best of 46-3.5. Claire Nolan added a third-place finish in the shot put with a personal best of 47-2. Catherine Jakich threw a personal best of 43-5.5 in the shot put to finish eighth.

LaDonna Caston earned a fifth place finish in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.09. Aleasha Jones joined Oranika with an eighth place finish in the 400 meters, running the lap in 57.88.

Deborrah Blackburn recorded a mark of 5-3.75 in the high jump to earn seventh.

"The team did everything that was asked of them," said Interim Head Coach Scott Block. "The energy was high and the atmosphere was competitive. We had more PRs than I can count. I want to thank the assistant coaches for all their hard work this season."

Harvey will compete in the NCAA Championships March 12 before both teams take a break and begin the spring season March 24-25.