EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – The SIUE track and field and cross country teams celebrated their success at their sixth annual team banquet.
Awards presented at the banquet include the 2014 cross country season, 2015 indoor season, captains' awards, the Cougar Pride award, and senior recognition.
"The banquet is a time for us to celebrate an outstanding year to date, to recognize some individuals, and most importantly to express gratitude to all those who support the program," said Head Coach Eileen McAllister. "We want to thank all the athletes, alumni, families, administration, and support staff. We wouldn't be here without their continued support."
McAllister emphasized appreciation for the coaching staff, Throws Coach Scott Block, Jumps Coach Iliyan Chamov, Sprints and Hurdles Coach Deserea Howard, and Distance Coach Kayla Brown.
"They are talented, intelligent, and fun individuals," said McAllister. "They are a pleasure to work with and their energy is contagious. They are accomplished professionally and personally. They are passionate about track and field, coaching and mentoring young men and women, and it shows."
The Cougar Pride Award is given annually to a student-athlete who displays sportsmanship, team spirit, sacrifice, and leadership that extends beyond the competition venue and embodies the team's values of altruism, accountability, passion, grit, and critical thinking.
The team and coaching staff concluded the banquet by honoring their seniors. This year's class of seniors arrived during the transition period to NCAA Division I and were unable to participate in the postseason when they first arrived.
"We have a highly-decorated class with a long list of accomplishments," said McAllister. "It is important to recognize their sacrifice for the program. Most notable of their accomplishments is their personal growth. Seeing who they are now as compared to their freshman year is extremely rewarding."
Academically, all four teams were above a 3.0 grade point average for the fall semester, with 22 athletes making the dean's list at a 3.5 or better.
Below is a list of accomplishments and award winners.
Cross Country Athletes of the Year
Male: Clint Kliem
- SIUE's No. 1 runner in five of seven competitions, placed eighth at the OVC Championship, earning him a place on the All-OVC Second Team, recorded the No. 1 8K and 10K times in SIUE history
Female: Conradette King
- SIUE's No. 1 runner in four of seven competitions, recorded the No. 7 6K in SIUE history in the regional championship
Cross Country Newcomers of the Year
Male: Tyler Owens
- Top freshman finisher in four of five competitions, recorded the sixth-best 10K by a freshman in SIUE history at the regional championship
- Miller finished No. 10 on the SIUE all-time freshman list in the 5K, Clarke finished No. 10 on the SIUE all-time freshman list in the 6K
Indoor Track Athlete of the Year
Male: Ahmad Evans
- Scored 16 points at the OVC Championships, finishing second and winning his heat in the 400 and 200
Female: LaDonna Caston
- Scored 15.25 points at the OVC Championships, OVC champion in the 60m hurdles, and also scored in the 60, 200, and 4x400
Indoor Field Athlete of the Year
Male: La'Derrick Ward
- Scored 16 points at the OVC Championships, OVC long jump champion, OVC Indoor Male Field Athlete of the Year, third in triple jump, finished the season ranked No. 25 in the NCAA in the long jump
Female: Elizabeth Hampl
- SIUE record-holder in the weight-throw at 58 feet, 4.75 inches, scored at the OVC Championships in the weight throw and shot put, and was SIUE's top field event point scorer
Cougar Pride Award
Greg Block, four-time winner
Cross Country Summary
-Men's cross country had their highest OVC finish in SIUE history, finishing third
-24 personal bests
-22 all-time top 20 marks
-Two school records
-103 personal bests
-Five SIUE all-time top three marks
-Seven SIUE records
-Three OVC champions
-Men's third place finish at the OVC championships was the highest finish in SIUE history