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SIUE Claims Four Champions at OVC vs. MVC Meet

Deborrah Blackburn
Deborrah Blackburn

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Four SIUE track and field athletes won their respective events at the 2017 Gibson Invitational.

The "OVC vs. MVC" event featured SIUE, Southeast Missouri, Indiana State, Illinois State and SIU Carbondale. All are members of the Ohio Valley Conference and Missouri Valley Conference.

"This weekend is a good stepping stone," said SIUE Head Coach Scott Block. "The atmosphere was competitive and the athletes responded. We learned a lot and know what we need to work on moving into the final few weeks of the regular season.

Deborrah Blackburn (high jump), Nichyria Byrd (triple jump), Haley Miller (3000 steeplechase) and Nick Matthews (hammer) were crowned champions at the meet.

Blackburn and teammate Lauren White both set personal bests in the high jump with leaps of 5-5 (1.65m). Blackburn won the event on a tiebreaker.

"They showed a lot of school pride today," said SIUE jumps coach Joey Pacione. "We made changes to their approach in practice recently, and it made a difference."

Byrd won the triple jump at 39-6 (12.04m). She outdistanced her competitor by more than a foot.

"Nichyria continued her hot streak with another PR and is starting to come into her own as a great jumper in both the long and triple jump," said Pacione.

Miller defeated her nearest competitor by nearly 30 seconds in the steeplechase at 10:48.44. It was another personal best, and she closed the gap on the school record set by Claire Brown (10:37.57, 2014) by more than 20 seconds.

Matthews' winning mark of 192-9 (58.75m) in the hammer not only was a personal best but placed him No. 3 on the SIUE all-time list.

Some other highlights of the meet include:

  •   Ezekiel Clerk recorded a PR in the triple jump at 47-4 (14.44m)
  •   Brittney Gibbs placed fourth in the long jump 17-10.5 (5.45m)
  •   Kevin Campbell sprinted to a PR in the 400 (49.77)
  •   Scott Woodard lowered his career best in the 1,500 (4:11.26)
  •   Michaela Smith sported a PR in the discus of 143-6 (43.12m)
  •   Lauren White set a second PR for the day in the 100 hurdles (15.32)
  •   Bobby Kaluza and Dalton Oakes each set key marks in the 110 hurdles. Kaluza set a PR at 14.88 while Oakes nearly broke his PR at 15.43.
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