School records shattered in first outdoor track meet


Despite a later-than-expected start to the outdoor track season, due to the cancellation of the Billiken Kickoff track meet at the SLU Medical Center Stadium, SLU track and field still performed well when called to duty. The squad instead started their season off split between the Raleigh Relays, in Raleigh, N.C., and the Ole Miss Joe Walker Invitational in Oxford, Miss. At the Raleigh Relays, SLU school records were improved.

Despite the cancellation, SLU will still host at least one tournament this season. The Billiken Invitational will take place at the SLU Medical Center Stadium on April 6-7. However, the Billikens completed their first meets in North Carolina and Mississippi. In the Raleigh Relays, SLU sophomore Manuel de Backer had the highlight performance, breaking the school record in the 10,000-meter run. He and senior Hiob Gebisso were two of SLU’s competitors in the Raleigh Relays.

De Backer finished his school record-setting run in 29:29.17, more than 30 seconds faster than the previous school record. De Backer also owned the previous school record for the 10,000 meter run, a time of 30:01.31, which he set last year at the San Francisco Distance Carnival. As of Sunday morning (March 26), he owns the top 10,000-meter time in the NCAA West region and the Atlantic 10 Conference. The time is also the 14th fastest time in the country this season.

Gebisso ran a 1,500-meter time of 3:53.27 at the Raleigh Relays, which is the second-fastest time in the Atlantic 10 so far this season. Meanwhile, sophomore Tannock Blair’s time of 1:52.90 in the 800 meters, at the Joe Walker Invitational, is the fastest time in the conference this season.

SLU also had some success in the field events. Sophomore Jaryn Blackshear-Bryant, who has repeatedly broken records earlier this year, now has broken his own record, again, in the decathlon. He accumulated 5,771 points total and also managed to register personal records in the 100-meter run (11.40) and the javelin throw (31.07 meters).

The women’s team also had some individual success. Freshman Amanda Baker registered 3,998 points in the Heptathlon, which is the second-best mark in the conference.

Several other strong performances occurred in the weekend’s meets. The men’s 4×400 meter relay, composed of sophomore Will Moore, senior Kyle Clinkingbeard, junior Josh Freivogel and senior Griffin McCurren ran the relay race in 3:20.65, a time that was good enough to earn second place. The women’s 4×400 relay team, which was composed of senior Hannah Rohde, senior Marina White, junior Katherine Kelly and sophomore Maddie Jamrozek, completed the relay event in 3:58.42, good for sixth place overall.

Next up for the Billikens will be another split squad set of events. Part of the team will be competing in the EIU Big Blue Classic, which will take place in Charleston, Ill. The rest of the team will be at the WashU Invite, which will take place at Washington University’s campus in St. Louis. Both meets will take place on Friday, March 31. The Atlantic 10 Conference Championships will be in Amherst, Mass., this year, and will take place on Saturday, May 6. The NCAA Championships will stretch into early June.

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