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Monday, September 1, 2014

SIU Saluki Early Bird

Carbondale, IL -- August 29, 2014 (Results @ )

CARBONDALE, Ill. -  The Southern Illinois cross country teams opened the 2014 season on Friday with the Saluki Early Bird meet. The men defeated Indiana State, 23-32, while the women fell to ISU, 32-23. Both teams competed in separate 4K races.
The meet opened with the women's 4K, which saw five SIU runners finish in the top-ten. Senior Tori Parry led the charge for the Salukis, finishing second with a time of 14:45.77. Sophomore Shannon Effron finished two places behind Parry, finishing fourth in a time of 15:06.95. Senior Lacey Gibson, freshman Allie Sweatt, and senior Allison Gallo finished seventh, ninth, and 10th respectively for SIU.
Head coach David Beauchem was pleased with what he saw from his women's team and was glad to see his underclassmen perform well in their first collegiate meet.
"I thought it was good overall," said Beauchem. "We came out and ran our freshman. I thought that Shannon, Allie, Claire (Darnell), and Hillary (Merrill) all had pretty good races for freshmen in their first collegiate meet. They really raced better than they had been training."
The men's team had a strong showing, with all five runners finishing in the top eight. Senior Michael Castel earned his first win as a Saluki, winning the 4K race with a time of 12:03.39. Junior Juan Carrera kept pace, finishing second in a time of 12:05.21. Senior Matt Hazel took third, crossing the finish line in 12:08.92. Senior Cole Allison and junior Evan Ehrenheim finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
"Mike came in and won his first race with SIU, and he has not raced cross country in two years so we really had to get the rust off of him," said Beauchem. "Juan ran steady like he always does and Matt came out and ran great and really stepped up in the top three. It was a good opener to have the men get the win."


Several of the women's and men's starters were held out of this first competition and most will begin their season at the upcoming SIU Invitational on September 20th.
The Saluki teams have both been tagged in the recently released 2014 USTFCCCA Pre-season polls.  The men's team is ranked 11th in the always tough Midwest Region.  The Saluki women are ranked 4th in the Pre-season poll.  The MVC each have four teams ranked in the top 15 in the Midwest Region thus giving credence to the overall depth and quality of the Missouri Valley Conference.  Illinois State, Loyola-Chicago and Bradley Universities all have both their men's and women's teams included in the first D-1 rankings. 


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