CHARLESTON, Ill. – In their final tune-up before the Ohio Valley Conference Championships next weekend, the Eastern Illinois men claimed first-place honors, while the women placed second overall at the EIU Friday Night Special. The Panthers earned a combined 22 top-three finishes at the Friday Night Special.
The EIU men earned 126 total points to lead the men's division. Indiana State finished in second with 111 points, while Bradley (62 points) and Southern Illinois (59 points) rounded out the men's division standings. Indiana State finished in first overall in the women's division with 130 points, finishing just ahead of Eastern Illinois with 112 points. Southern Illinois ended the Friday Night Special in third-place with 65 points, while Bradley placed fourth with 51 points.
The EIU women started the Friday Night Special off strong claiming the top three spots in the 400-meter dash. Dhiaa Dean won the even with a time of 58.91, while teammates Sophia Keith (59.40) and Stephanie Dominguez (59.72) finished the event in second and third.
Nyjah Lane, Rachel Garippo, and Tori Master all earned a first-place finish in their respective events. Lane sprinted to a top-finish in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.61. Garippo cruised in the mile run as she crossed the finish line at 5:06.07. Master earned her top-time in the 400-meter hurdles as she finished the event at 1:06.34.
Jocelyne Mendoza and Madalynn Gil earned a second-place finish each at the Friday Night Special. Mendoza posted the second-best time in the mile run at 5:15.71, while Gil earned her second-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles (1:08.70).
Darneisha Spann placed third overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.72, but her time of 8.59 was a new personal-best time and improved her sixth-place ranking in EIU history.
In the field events, Haleigh Knapp and Brion Portis earned a second-place finish each for the EIU women. Knapp recorded the second-best mark in the high jump at 1.68 meters, while Portis earned her second-place finish in the triple jump at 11.95 meters.
The EIU men had a strong start to their night as they went one, two, and three in the 60-meter dash. Jamal Robinson led the way in the event for the Panthers with his time of 6.87. Davion McManis placed second at 7.02, while Ja'Marcus Townsend ended the event in third at 7.04. Townsend also earned a first-place finish in the 200-meter dash, while Lars Ott finished the event in third overall (22.92).
The Panthers picked up a second and third-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles. John Piper ended the event in second overall at 8.19, but his time currently ranks as the top-time in the OVC this season. Elven Walker finished the event in third overall at 8.36.
Myles Foor earned the final top-three finish for the EIU men in the running events. Foor finished the 800-meter run with the second-best time of 1:57.56.
Chrisford Stevenson finished in first in the triple jump to lead the EIU men in the field events. His first-place jump ended at 14.15 meters.
Joe Smith and Ashton Wilson picked up a third-place finish in their respective events. Smith posted a mark of 6.83 meters in the long jump, while Ashton competed in the high jump and ended the event at 1.98 meters.
The EIU men's and women's indoor track & field teams will return to action next weekend (Feb. 24-25) as the Panthers will host the OVC Indoor Track & Field Championships in the Lantz Fieldhouse. The EIU men won the OVC Indoor Track & Field Championships last season at Tennessee State.