It seemed as though every Redbird was going to set their personal-best mark at the Eastern Illinois Early Bird track meet on Friday when the Redbirds squared off against Eastern Illinois and Indiana State.
Senior Curt Jenson broke the Illinois State, Missouri Valley Conference and Eastern Illinois Early Bird shot put records with a final toss of 66-07. The previous MVC record was set in 1984 by John Smith of Southern Illinois with a mark of 62-09.75. Coach Elvis Forde was very happy for Jenson.
“Curt had a huge mark that will probably put him on the national list,” Forde said. “He earned the school record, facility record and everything that comes with a throw of that magnitude. This should make him a contender for the NCAA Championships. He has paid his dues the past few years, after sitting out last year in the expectation that he will get stronger in the weight room. He has prepared himself well because this is something that he wants to do. Not only did he do well in the shot put, but he did solid in the weight throw as well.”
Junior Chase Pavelonis also put up a personal-best pole vault of 16-00.75, which was good enough for second place.
“The person that I have the greatest respect for on this day is Chase Pavelonis,” Forde said. “His grandmother passed away a few days ago and he came in here in his first meet of the year and jumped over 16 feet, earning him a personal-best mark. His family would have wanted him to come.”
Senior Akil Mills won the weight throw competition with a throw of 64-03.75 and set a personal-best in the shot put as well, putting up a toss of 52-03.25
Junior CJ Hamilton, the defending MVC 800-meter champion, cruised to a first-place finish in the 800-meter race, picking up a time of 1:55:76. Junior Kevin Fisch had a strong day as well, hitting a personal-best mark in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.72 and finishing third in the pole vault with a 15-07 foot leap.
For the Redbird women, sophomore Jianna Williams finished in first-place in two competitions, throwing a personal-best in the weight toss of 61-07.75 and a shot put toss of 47-01.50.
The Redbird men finished third with a score of 70 points. A total of 16 events were scored for the men on the day. Indiana State came in first with 133 points.
The Redbird women finished in third-place as well with a score of 75 points. Eastern Illinois’ women took the home event with a first place finish with 126 points.