BY: MATTHEW CRUMP
Senior Soufiane Bouchikhi and sophomore Ann Eason continue to shine after they won multiple races at the OVC Indoor Track and Field Championships Feb. 22-23.
Overall, the men’s team placed third out of six teams and the women’s team placed sixth out of nine teams.
Eason was the highlight of the match for Eastern. Her weekend started with a win in the women’s distance relay. Eason, along with teammates sophomore Erica Wesstrom, freshmen Julie Mathisen and Tashuana Yapchung, had over a five second lead on the other teams with a time of 12:00.38.
“The medley was really fun,” Eason said. “It was the first time we had done it. We didn’t really know what to expect. We wanted to go out and have fun, and it worked out really well.”
Her next win was in the women’s mile race. She won with a time of 4:52.39, just barely edging out Eastern Illinois’ Britney Whitehead’s time of 4:52.65.
Eason’s third win was in the women’s 3,000 meters. She easily won the race, with her time of 9:53.83 being almost 10 seconds faster than the next fastest score.
The three wins earned Eason her fifth OVC track title. She was named OVC Female Athlete of the Indoor Track and Field Championships on Tuesday. She is the second Colonel to be named this, with former Colonel Lydia Kosgei earning it last year.
Despite strong individual showings, the women’s team did not place as well as Eason said she hoped.
“We were a little disappointed,” Eason said. “We got second last year, but we lost a lot of key seniors. And we don’t have as many people in field events or sprints. It’s a kinda hard to think about the team overall because we have gaps.”
Bouchikhi, who was named OVC Runner of the Year on Feb. 21, was the top runner for the men’s team. He won the men’s mile and the men’s 3,000 meters. Also, he was a part of the men’s distance medley team, who was narrowly defeated by Eastern Illinois.
The medley team consisted of Bouchikhi, junior Wade Meddles, senior Anthony Eason and sophomore Thijs Nijhuis. They placed second with a time of 10:03.05. Eastern Illinois barely defeated the Colonels with a time of 10:03.01.
The men’s mile was almost as close. Bouchikhi managed to win with a time of 4:11.50 while the second place runner had a time of 4:11.69. Freshman Mads Taersboel (4:11.88) placed third and Meddles (4:12.42) was right behind him. Junior Sean Vandermosten (4:18.92) placed seventh.
The Colonels dominated the top five spots in the men’s 3,000 race. Bouchikhi (8:18.40) won the race, Meddles (8:19.53) placed second, freshman Amos Kosgey (8:25.37) nabbed third place and freshman Ole Hesselbjerg (8:34.26) placed fifth.
The event was at the Lantz Indoor Fieldhouse in Charleston, Ill. Eastern Illinois won the men’s championship for the fifth consecutive year, and Southeast Missouri won the women’s championship.
The Colonels race again at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational on March 1-2 in North Bend, Ind.