Southern Miss opened the indoor track and field season with eight top-three finishes and three event winners at the Blazer Invitational hosted by UAB on Jan. 11.
“We officially “knocked the holiday rust off”, with this meet, and have a starting point to get better from,” Head Coach Jon Stuart said. “Every opportunity to compete will bring experience and better execution, so we never take the competition lightly.”
Notable teams in attendance were Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, South Alabama, Miami and Tennessee. Conference USA teams UAB, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and Middle Tennessee also competed in the invitational.
For the sprinters, junior Keiyana Gaskin finished in second and sophomore Rikianne Patterson finished in fourth place running times of 7:46 and 7:53 in the women’s 60m dash. In the men’s 60m dash, senior McKinely West opened the season by running a 6.74. In the 500m dash, junior Aireanna Taylor finished in sixth place with a time of 1:20.
In the men’s 60m hurdles, junior Caleb Parker finished in third place with a time of 7.92.
The distance runners came out with a strong performance in first, second and third place in the one-mile run. Sophomore Kate Mattox won the event running 5:02 with Regen McGee following close behind at 5:03. Junior Sarah McMillon rounded out the group with a 5:09.
In the 3000m run, redshirt sophomore Emma Kate Holdbrooks ran 10:13 to finish in fifth, freshman Lina May placed sixth in her first collegiate track meet with a time of 10:15. Junior Theresa Harto finished in eighth place with a time of 10:26.
In the women’s high jump, junior Jamari Drake jumped 1.74m to finish in sixth place and in the long jump freshman Marquasha Myers jumped 5.35m to finish in ninth place.
In the men’s long jump, senior John Warren jumped 7.35m to earn his first win of the season and in the high jump, sophomore Eric Richards and Parker finished in third and fourth place by jumping 2.10m.
For the throwers, senior Danisha Jones threw 15.26m to finish in fifth place in the shot put and threw 18.41m in the weight throw to finish in seventh place.
“Getting wins with Kate Mattox, Mckinely West, and John Warren really energized our team, and led to some great performances from the rest of the team. We can build off today’s good work.”
The Golden Eagles will return to action for a two-day meet at the Vanderbilt Invitational starting on Jan. 18.