Cougars celebrate successful season for athletes

News-DemocratMay 26, 2014 

— Southern Illinois University Edwardsville celebrated the 2013-14 cross country and indoor track and field season in a recent banquet at Crystal Gardens.

Awards for the 2014 outdoor track season will be presented in the fall.

"The banquet is a time to celebrate an outstanding year, recognize some amazing individuals and express gratitude to all those who support the program," said SIUE interim coach Eileen McAllister. "I would like to express a big thank you to administration and our support staff."

McAllister also thanks the alumni in attendance. A special recognition was given to Crystal Wenzel for her generous donation and to Jen Schaller, owner of RunWell, for their sponsorship.

"I can't say enough about the coaching staff: Scott Block, Iliyan Chamov, Deserea Howard and Kayla Brown," added McAllister. "Their work ethic is unparalleled and their positive energy and personalities are contagious. I am blessed to be surrounded by such a talented, intelligent and fun group, who most importantly are great human beings."

McAllister also reflected on the direction of the SIUE track and field program.

"It has truly been a special year," she said. "I am proud to follow in the footsteps of the great coaches prior to me and to coach such a fantastic group of young adults. The future for this program is very bright."

Here is a list of award winners and season accomplishments.

Cross Country Athlete of the Year

Female: Claire Brown (No. 1 SIUE finisher every meet, 15that OVC Championship, No. 3 SIUE all time in 6k)

Clint Kliem (10that OVC Champ, All OVC secondteam, first SIUE CC athlete to garner All OVC, No. 7 SIUE all-time 10k & NO. 8 SIUE all-time 8k)

Cross Country Newcomer of the Year

Keith Meyer (Thirdor fourthrunner for us all season, ran a personal best every meet, No. 6 on SIUE Freshmen 10k list and No. 13 on SIUE freshman 8k list)

Indoor Field Athlete of the Year

Female: Jatavia Wright (25 points at the Indoor OVC champ, SIUE indoor records long and triple and co-record in 55 hurdles, SIUE's first athlete to make the NCAA DI Indoor Championships and garnered 2ndteam All-American)

Male: La'Derrick Ward (SIUE's first NCAA DI Indoor FirstTeam All -American with sixthplace, SIUE Indoor long and triple jump records)

Indoor Track Athlete of the Year

Male: Braxton Klavins (18.5 points at OVC champ, SIUE record in 400, No. 2 all time in 60m, 200m and 600m)

Co-Female: Hilary Conrad (No. 2 SIUE all time in 200m, eight points at OVC championship)

Co-Female: Claire Brown (No. 2 SIUE all time in 3k & 5k, nine points at OVC championship)

Track and field Newcomer of the Year

Julian Harvey (Eight points at indoor OVC, No. 2 All time in LJ, No. 3 all time in high jump, 21.5 pts at Outdoor OVC.

Cougar Pride Award

Greg Block (outstanding effort and support for your team. Your sportsmanship, team spirit, sacrificeand leadership extend beyond the competition venue. The SIUE Cougar family proudly recognizes your selflessness.)

Indoor summary

* 85 personal bests

* 18 SIUE all-time top 3 marks

* 8 SIUE records

* 5 OVC Champions

* 2 NCAA DI All-Americans

* Women's fall gpa 3.1

Cross Country summary

* 27 Personal bests

* 14 SIUE All-time top 25 times

* Women's fall gpa 3.54

Captains

Hilary Conrad, Braxton Klavins, Claire Brown - second year in a row as captain for all three women.

Josh Thomas - firstyear

Seniors:

Hilary Conrad, Claire Brown, Renee Johns-Goodenough, Ciara Turner, Jamil Mashni, Josh Thomas

"It's always sad to say goodbye to seniors," said McAllister. "There is comfort in witnessing their personal development and knowing they are equipped to take their next step. We will miss their tremendous work ethic and big hearts."

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