EDWARDSVILLE — The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men's and women's track and field teams began their 2012-13 indoor seasons Saturday at the Saluki Fast Start meet in Carbondale.
Both the Cougar men and women produced some impressive performances with several first-place finishers and a new school record holder in the long jump.
"The biggest thing today was that our team competed hard, and they had fun doing it," coach Kareem Jackson said. "When there were opportunities for them to give in, they never did. That attitude was contagious throughout the entire team."
On the women's side, sophomoreJatavia Wrightbecame the program record holder in the long jump (19 feet, 0.5 inches), breaking the previous record of 19-0 set by Christine Butler in 2008.
"It's an awesome feeling to represent my school by setting this record," Wright said. "I'm proud of my teammates andI was pleased with the performances today, but I know there's still more to come."
"For Jatavia to set a school record this early in the season is outstanding," Jackson said. "I couldn't be more pleased."
SeniorAftan Noontook home first-place honors in the 600 meters with a time of 1:34.79, while juniorRenee Goodenoughplaced first in the 800 meters with a finish of 2:24.91.
Also placing first was the 4x400 meter relay team of Noon, Wright, seniorKaya Senaya, and juniorHilary Conrad, who finished in 3:57.93.
FreshmanLaDonna Castonearned two runner-up finishes, placing second in the 60 meters (7.82) and the 60 meter hurdles (8.80). SeniorMichelle Higginsalso placed second in the triple jump with a leap of 39-3.25.
For the SIUE men, juniorBraxton Klavins(1:21.67), seniorMarc Presley(1:22.08), and juniorJosh Thomas(1:23.48) finished 1-2-3, respectively, in the 600 meters.
The trio also teamed up with sophomore Davin Smithto take second in the 4x400 meter relay with a time of 3:19.63. Klavins also placed third in the 60 meters (6.93) while Thomas took third in the 60-meter hurdles.
"I was happy with my performance today given that it's only December," Klavins said. "I think we competed well today and I know everyone is excited to get the season rolling."
In the field events, sophomoreThayer Harrisonplaced second in the triple jump (47-9) while fellow sophomoreGreg Blocktook third in the shot put (53-5.5).
Overall, the Cougars posted 15 personal bests. The performances of Higgins, Noon, and Wright all made the program's all-time lists for the women's team, while Harrison and Smith made the all-time lists for the men.
"With an early meet like this at the end of the first semester, we want to see how our kids are going to respond to different challenges throughout a meet," Jackson added. "It gives us a chance to see where we're at, and we got a good evaluation of that today."
SIUE now has a month away from competition, as it returns to action Jan. 18 at the Missouri Invitational in Columbia, Mo.