Track: Panthers shine in first outdoor meet

Monday, March 31 2008 - EIU Invite

Sprinters wins multiple events; teams win 13 events

By: Dan Cusack/Sports Reporter

Posted: 3/31/08

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The Eastern men's and women's track teams competed in the first outdoor meet of the season Saturday at O'Brien Stadium during a chilly, windyJunior Eastern distance runner Katie O'Brien (center)  competes in the Women's 5000 meter run finals on Saturday during the EIU Invitational at O'Brien Stadium. O'Brien finished with a time of 18:54:66. (Nora Maberry/ The Daily Eastern News) afternoon.

Thirteen Eastern athletes had first-place finishes in the meet, in which athletes from Indiana State and Western Illinois competed.

Eastern domisteeplewebd the sprinting events as junior sprinter Violet Nwordu and senior sprinter Brenton Emanuel each won two.

Nwordu won the 100-meter dash in 12.51 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 25.31 seconds.

Nwordu said she did not expect to do so well.

"With this type of weather, I'm from Texas, so it doesn't work very well for me," Nwordu said. "It's our first outdoor meet, and I'm so used to warm, nice weather."

The wind and weather slowed her down, she said.

"Especially during the 200-meter dash, the wind affected me," Nwordu said. "The wind hit me somewhere during the middle. I run my best when I don't have a strategy, when I'm just like whatever happens, happens."

Emanuel won the 100-meter dash in 10.77 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 21.63 seconds.

"I wasn't expecting (those times). It was the first meet of the year," Emanuel said. "I was just going out to have fun and just run. I just wanted to get out of the box as fast as I could and roll them up."

In addition to Emanuel and Nwordu, 11 other athletes won events.

Junior jumper Nicole Walcott was tops in the high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 2.25 inches, while sophomore thrower Jaimee Phegley won the javelin with a throw of 108'05''.

Junior hurdler Chandra Golden won the 400-meter hurdlers in 1:04.41 in one of the day's most competitive races. Indiana State junior hurdler Cori Carr led the entire race until Golden and junior hurdler Samantha Manto caught up on the backstretch.

The three runners were tied coming out of the final hurdle, and Golden won the footrace to edge out Manto by two-tenths of a second.

For the men, sophomore middle-distance runner Wes Sheldon won the 800-meter run in 1:53.13.

Senior jumper Obe Eruteya had a solid day, winning the high jump (6' 7.75") and placing second in the long jump and the triple jump.

Senior jumper Mike Embry edged out Eruteya in the long jump, as Embry won with a mark of 21'05.25".

Freshman pole-vaulter Joe Noonan picked up where he left off in the indoor season as he won the pole vault with a mark of 15'1.00".

Sophomore Kandace Arnold also continued her winning ways, as she won two events after winning the Ohio Valley Conference shot put championship earlier this month.

Arnold won the discus with a throw of 137'1" and the shot put with a throw of 44'2.75".

Arnold's discus throw was a personal best and placed her 10th all-time in Eastern history.

Despite winning two events, Arnold was not happy with her performance.

"137 for me today was not good," Arnold said. "I wasn't happy about it. We really didn't feel ready. We were warming up, and I was telling my teammates, 'I don't think I am ready for this.'"

Arnold said it was still early in the season, and she knew she would have time to improve.

The Panthers will host the EIU Big Blue Classic on Thursday at O'Brien Stadium.

Dan Cusack can be reached at 581-7944 or at

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