Southern Invitational leads to historic wins


Sierra Witzman

Payton Roberts, senior secondry education major, before the shot put event. 

During Southern’s Lion Open, the two teams earned 14 provisional qualifying marks, two automatic qualifying marks and seven event wins. 

Southern’s Josh Norville, junior, placed first in long jump and made a new school record, beating his own school record he made at the Pitt State Invitational, with a jump of 7.65 meters. 

“A school record is nice, 7.65 bumps me up from being third to second. The only thing is, though I’m jumping well, I still have more in me. 

Being at home is nice [because] we’re a lot more compact … you have classmates and your teammates that you know… watch you so just that atmosphere to have people cheer for you and the hype kinda helped me out a little today,” said Norville. 

Dean Howard, senior, won pole vault with a provisional mark of 5.18 meters, his personal best, and ranking him second nationally while seventh in school history. 

Ryan Riddle, freshman, came in first in the men’s mile breaking the school record and a provisional qualifying mark with a time of 4:08.84. 

With sixth best throw in Southern history, Rajindra Campbell, senior, posted a provisional mark of 18.04m and placed first in shot put. The score placed him fifth nationally. 

Payton Roberts, senior, placed first in shot put, throwing a 15.77m landing second in national rankings and fourth in Southern’s history. This also got the second automatic qualifying mark of the day.

In the men’s triple jump, Southern had two provisional marks posted by Brendan Watkins, senior, with a mark of 14.85m and Adrain Broadus, junior, with a mark of 14.76m. 

“It’s a great atmosphere to compete at home having … everybody here and it’s close proximity environment. It’s just nice because the noise radiates and the energy is definitely felt in the air it’s nice,” said Watkins. 

All six women in the seeded pole vault cleared the provisional standard. Emily Presley, senior, posted an automatic mark that moved her into the nation’s top spot with 4.20m. 

Cornesia Calhoun-White and Claire Luallen both posted provisional marks with 8.59 and 8.74 respectively in the 60-meter hurdles. 

Calhoun-White also posted a provisional mark alongside Jasmine Deckard in the 60-meter dash. 

Southern’s women’s team is ranked fifth in the nation and men’s track team is currently ranked sixth.

“I actually feel like we’ve done really well and we’re continuing to build on a program. The men are actually seeded sixth in the nation and the women fifth so we’re pretty happy with that but I think there’s still room for improvement as to go up even further on the rankings list,” said Ashlynn Vanatter, junior. 

Though Southern is competing well, both athletes and coaches see the team doing better and getting better in the future.

“As a season we’re pretty solid… After this weekend I think they will be even higher than we were but this is a pretty special time in the program because we’ve never had two teams ranked in the top six nationally…. I think if we keep in the right direction, keep our key people, keep our whole team healthy and on the same page I think the sky’s the limit for these kids,” said Bryan Schiding, director of cross-country and track and field.

Southern will compete at Pittsburg State University next Friday.