ELSAH — The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville track and field program continued its indoor season Saturday, competing in a dual meet against Ohio Valley Conference foe Southeast Missouri at Principia College's Jim Crafton Training Center.
"It was a fantastic meet, and the team did an amazing job," interim head coach Eileen McAllister said. "We had an outstanding effort all around. The team has clearly come a long way from last year. It's not just their marks; it's the way they're competing. They have more grit."
The Cougars set six new school records against the Redhawks, including four on the women's side and two for the men.
For the women, LaDonna Caston set school records in the 60 meter dash (7.67 seconds) and 60 meter hurdles (8.55), while Jatavia Wright broke her own school records in the long jump (19 feet, 7 inches) and triple jump (41-5.25).
Hilary Conrad also had an impressive day for the Cougar women, taking first place in both the 200 meters (25.31) and 400 meters (56.49). She ran the anchor leg in the women's 4x400 meter relay as well, and came from behind to give SIUE the win in the event (3:57.11).
"Hilary was the story of the day," McAllister said. "She was on fire. This was a huge day for her, and it's a testament to her hard work and dedication"
Other event winners on the women's side included Claire Brown in the 5,000 meters (18:30.27) and the distance medley relay team of Brown, Kirby Hale, Renee Johns-Goodenough, and Conradette King.
For the men, Darius Smith posted a new program-best time in the 60 meter dash (6.88) and La'Derrick Ward broke his own school record in the long jump (24-9.75).
Braxton Klavins produced a standout performance as well, winning the 200 meters (22.19) and 400 meters (48.97) for SIUE.
Also winning their events were Clint Kliem in the mile (4:19.78), Nick Moore in the 5,000 meters (15:12.31), and the men's 4x400 meter relay team of Klavins, Derek Drew, Ahmad Evans, and Smith. Freshman Travis Kidd took home first-place honors in the high jump via a jump-off.
"Travis showed a lot of composure to win the high jump," McAllister said.
Personal bests were set by Johns-Goodenough in the women's mile, Ward in the men's triple jump, and Julian Harvey in the long jump. Harvey's mark in the long jump was also a junior national outdoor qualifier.
Southeast Missouri earned team victories in both the men's and women's competitions. The Redhawks prevailed 83-70 on the men's side and won 79-70 on the women's side.
"The meet was much closer than it looked on paper," McAllister said. "We gave them points in the pole vault by not having anyone compete. We need a little more depth in certain areas."
The Cougars will now have a two-week break from competition before the squad splits up to compete in the Missouri Invitational in Columbia, Mo., and the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on Feb. 7.
"I'm happy to see that our athletes have taken their experience from last season and applied it this year," McAllister added. "We still have more to prove but we're off to a tremendous start."