Story written by SLIAC Director of Athletic Communications, Brian Lovellette
The 2018 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Track and Field Championship will take place this weekend in Greenville, Ill. Greenville is the defending champion, winning both the men's and women's titles in the inaugural championship last spring. This year's championship will begin on Friday evening with several throwing and long distance track events. The championship will conclude on Saturday with the bulk of events running from late morning to afternoon.
The Greenville men's team dominated last year's event, more than doubling the next closest team in total points. The Panthers captured 16 gold medals last year and come into this year's championship with 10 conference-best times and distances this spring. Andrew Sharp is the favorite in the 800-meter race, where he put together a conference-best time of 1:52.16 this spring. The Panthers could sweep the event as John Mangold, Nathan Potts, and Jaylen Shelton are all in the top five of times this spring among SLIAC runners. Alex Fink comes in with the best time in the 400-meter race this spring while Dylan Goodyear is the favorite in the 3000-steeplechase where his time is 15-seconds faster than any other competitor. The Panthers could grab some points in the 1500-meter, where they have four of the top five runners this spring. Bobby Neal will be looking to grab top-three finishes in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash races. The Panthers are loaded once again in the field events where they have the top three distances in the shot put and discus with Mitchell Hooten leading the way. Ben Perry also holds the top mark in the hammer throw this spring.
On the women's side, Lia Kruse will be looking to get points for the Panthers in both the 1500-meter and 5000-meter races. Rachel Hanna will be looking for gold in the triple jump after recording a conference-best mark of 33'4" this spring. The Panthers remain strong in the throwing events behind Carly Abbott and Savannah Maloney while the duo of Marideth Tate and Deb Cunningham are one-two in distance this spring in the hammer throw.
Brett Charlton will be the performer to watch for Eureka College, after racking up points in three events in last year's meet. Charlton had a time of 11.49 seconds in the 100-meter dash and recorded the third best distance in the long jump this spring, an event in which he captured the bronze medal last year. Alex Lamont (discus) will also be hoping to pick up points for the Red Devils. Annaliese Miller and Ashley Harfst are top performers for Eureka on the women's side. Miller cleared a height of 4'7" in the high jump this spring while Harfst had the conference's fourth best throw in the discus with a mark of 113'0" this spring.
The Fontbonne University men's team features two of the top four competitors in the 10,000-meter race with Jacob Dixon and Juwan Lee. Dixon will also be competing in numerous other events for the Griffins. Another multiple event performer for the Griffins, on the women's team, is Emily Bay. Bay has competed in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, long jump, shot put, discus, hammer, and javelin this spring. Middle distance runner Katie Gosser will be active as well for Fontbonne. Discus thrower Sierra Moore will be looking to grab gold after throwing a conference-best 117'9" this spring.
Principia College's Corey Carter comes into the championship meet on a hot streak, having broken a pair of school records in each of the last two weekends. Carter has the best time in the conference this spring in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dash and sits 9th nationally in the 200 qualifying time. He broke a 60-year old school mark in that event two weeks ago and this past weekend he topped a 42-year old mark as part of the 4x100 relay team. The Panthers should also compete in the 400-meter race with Mitchell Gill and Jon Ansumana tallying top four times this spring. Zach Matthiesen is the favorite to win the 1500-meter race and the 5000-meter race where he holds substantial season-best times over other runners. Emily Gillespie should pick up points in the pole vault for the Panthers women's team.
The Spalding University track and field team could see Kelsey Hamilton challenge in the 100-meter dash while Kelsey Phillips will be looking for medals in the 1500-meter, 5000-meter, and 10,000-meter races. Katie Suiters will likewise be looking for multiple medals, ranking in the top four in the shot put, discus, and hammer throw. The Spalding men's team will rely on their throwing competitors to pick up points. Cameron Mitchell and Jeff Cassidy both rank in the top five in the conference in the shot put and discus this season while Mitchell is also second in the hammer throw and teammate Noah Hadfield is third.
The trio of Carson Gross, Jacob Ridenhour, and Brandyn Robinson could give the Gorloks big points in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes with all three recording top five times in both events this spring. Abram Donovan and Robert Koegel will look to go one-two in the 10,000-meter race after holding impressive top two times among SLIAC runners this season. Joseph Souvannarath is the favorite in the 110 hurdles while Webster will look to sweep the 400 hurdles after recording the top four times among conference runners this spring. Mason Stevens (pole vault) and Kyle Goessler (long jump) had conference-best marks this spring. Joey Elking and Dimitrije Mitic will battle each other for the top spot in the javelin. Donalda Desir will be looking to pick up three gold medals after putting down the best conference times in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes as well as the 400-meter race. One year after taking the top two spots in the 100 hurdles the Gorloks have a chance at sweeping the event after recording four of the top five times this spring with Meghan Illig and Meredith Sowers pacing the field. The Gorloks could also sweep the long jump while Miranda Green (shot put) and Alyssa Feldewert (javelin) are favorites in their events.
Westminster College will look to middle and long distance runners Shannon McCaul and Jessie Kuykendall to gather points from their women's team. Kuykendall has the third best time this spring in the 1500-meter race and is the favorite to repeat in the 5,000 meter and 10,000-meter races. McCaul meanwhile should defend her 3,000 steeplechase title, holding a near one-minute advantage over the next closest time among conference competitors. Taylor Howard should also pick up some points for the Blue Jays. John Martin and Chris Idleburg will compete in several events for the men's team.