ST. LOUIS – The men of Indiana State and the women of Wichita State have been selected as pre-championship favorites for this weekend's 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in a vote by the league coaches.
The UNI-Dome on the campus of Northern Iowa will serve as host for the meet as the Indiana State men and the Wichita State women both look to regain their 2011 championship titles.
The Sycamore men's team received 35 points and five first place votes in this year's poll. Indiana State will be led by five-time MVC Track Athlete of the Week, Greggmar Swift and four-time Field Athlete of the Week, Brandon Pounds. Swift holds a top-five time in the nation in the men's 60-meter hurdles, while Pounds boasts the top distance in the nation in the weight throw. The Sycamores hold the top spot in the Missouri Valley best lists in six different events. On the women's side, the Sycamores have been tabbed as the pre-championship No. 2. They will be led by Felisha Johnson, a four-time MVC Field Athlete of the Week and the nation's top competitor in the weight throw. The Sycamore women have the top position in six different events as well.
Wichita State's Men's Team finished second and received 30 points in the pre-championship poll as well as a first place vote. Jake Wike possesses the top time in the Valley in the Men's 800m and their Men's Distance Medley time is the best in the Valley by nearly 13 seconds. The Wichita State women are the pre-championship No. 1 and are led by two-time MVC Women's Track Athlete of the Week, Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton. She holds the top times in the Valley for the Mile, the 3000m, and the 5000m (by well over a minute). Tuliamuk-Bolton is considered one of the best distance runners in the nation. On top of that, J'Lynn Ledesma holds the top height cleared in the Valley in the High Jump.
Southern Illinois' Men's and Women's teams ranked 3rd and 4th respectively in the MVC pre-championship poll with the SIU women receiving a first place vote as well. The defending champion SIU men own top Valley times in the 400m (Ryan Sidwell) and the Mile (Zach Dahleen), the top height cleared in the Pole Vault (Ryan Sidwell) and the top distances in the Triple Jump (Dougie Palacious) and Shot Put (Josh Freeman). The women's team boasts several strong performances as well, placing in the top five in multiple events this season.
The UNI Men are tabbed as the No. 4 team in the pre-championship poll. The Panthers own the top time in the Valley for the Men's 4x400 Relay, and Ethan Miller has the highest score in the Heptathalon (5682 points). On the women's side, the Panthers have been tabbed as the No. 6 team in the poll. In the women's Pole Vault, Libby Torresani cleared a height 12' 9.5", good for tops in the MVC.
The Drake Men are fifth in the MVC pre-championship poll, receiving 11 points, while the Drake women were tabbed seventh, receiving 18 points in the women's poll. Brogan Austin holds the top time in the Valley for the Men's 3000m, and Marissa Smith and Sarah Yeager are second and third respectively in the Women's 60H.
Illinois State's men's team rounds out the poll landing in sixth place, while the Redbird women have been selected as third place finishers. For the women, Brittany Smith ranks among the best in the nation and is No. 2 in the Valley in both the Shot Put and Weight Throw. Rachael Brewer is one of the top distance runners in the Valley as well, holding the No. 2 times in the Mile and the 3000m. In the Distance Medley, the Illinois State women hold the top time in the Valley by nearly 20 seconds.
The defending champion Missouri State women's team has been tabbed fifth in the pre-championship poll. Shavonne Husbands and Althia Maximillien hold the top times in the 200m and 400m respectively, while Kimsue Grant owns the top distances in the Long Jump and Triple Jump.
Bradley rounds out the women's poll in eighth, receiving ten points.
Men's MVC Indoor Track and Field Pre-Championship Poll
1. Indiana State (5), 35 pts.
2. Wichita State (1), 30 pts.
3. Southern Illinois, 24 pts.
4. Northern Iowa, 18 pts.
5. Drake, 11 pts.
6. Illinois State, 8 pts.
Women's MVC Indoor Track and Field Pre-Championship Poll
1. Wichita State (4), 60 pts.
2. Indiana State (3), 58 pts.
3. Illinois State, 43 pts.
4. Southern Illinois (1), 39 pts.
5. Missouri State, 38 pts.
6. Northern Iowa, 22 pts.
7. Drake, 18 pts.
8. Bradley, 10 pts.