Western Courier

Indoor barometer

Western Illinois Media Services and Tom Loftus contributed to this report

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If Chelsea Lynes, Jamario Taylor and Michael Crabtree do their thing, the awards stand at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center could be dominated by purple and gold this weekend.

Those three Western Illinois athletes are among a large contingent of Leathernecks that figures to have an excellent chance at medals at this weekend’s Summit League Indoor Championships. The two-day meet, which begins today, is being hosted by Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne University.

“I see this as our mid-term exam for the track and field season,” said second-year Western head coach David Beauchem. “We will certainly get a measure of where we are as individuals and how our team has progressed up to this point.”

North Dakota State will be looking for its fifth straight team titles in both the men’s and women’s competitions

Western’s men finished seventh out of seven teams last spring, while the Leatherneck women were seventh out of eight squads. Both Western teams figure to make a stronger showing this time around.

In the women’s mile, Lynes, a junior, owns the fastest mile time (4:53.47) in the Summit League this season, a personal-best that she turned in at the Illinois State Classic. It was also the second-fastest time in program history, just short of the program record of 4:53.00 set by Patty Murray in 1985.

Lynes also ranks fourth in the league in the women’s 800-meter run. Lynes ran a 2:10.79 at the Illinois State Classic, the second fastest in that event in program history, just behind Lane Suarez’s time of 2:10.16, set in 1985.

Taylor, a junior, owns the second-best men’s high jump effort in the league, 7 feet, one-quarter inch, which he cleared at the Iowa Invitational for his seventh victory this season in that event. His effort, a personal best, ranks 36th in the nation. Taylor, an Indoor All-Summit League performer last season, also ranks second in program history behind Lawrence Hardin’s 7-1 effort, set in 2010.

On Tuesday, Taylor was named Summit League Men’s Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week.

Sophomore Michael Crabtree will be competing for top honors in the men’s high jump this weekend. Crabtree turned in a 6-8 3/4 effort at the Iowa New Year’s Classic, good for second place at the competition, the third-best mark in the Summit League and ninth-best in program history.

In the women’s shot put, Dana LaRue is currently No. 2 in the league. At the Iowa Invitational, LaRue, a senior, picked up her third shot put victory of the season with a personal best throw of 51-1 1/2, which is fourth-best in Western history and 37th in the nation. LaRue was named an All-Summit League performer following the 2009 and 2010 indoor campaigns before redshirting last indoor season. She has won two Summit League shot put championships (2010 indoor & 2011 outdoor).

In the women’s weight throw, LaRue set a personal best at the Iowa Invitational and placed second overall with a toss of 59-2, which ranks fifth in program history, second in the Summit League and 96th nationally.

 Sophomore Nathaniel Marshall currently ranks second in the Summit League in the men’s weight throw with a 59-3 1/2 effort, which won that event at the Fighting Scots Invitational.  Right behind Marshall is senior Paul Hames, who set a personal best at Wisconsin’s Elite Invitational with a toss of 59-1 1/4. That effort is No. 3 in the Summit League.

Senior Carianna Cottone ranks fifth in the league in the women’s 5,000 with her personal-best performance of 17:18.92, which she ran at the ISU Classic. Cottone’s performance was the second fastest in program history, trailing only Patty Murray’s 17:10.34 from 1986.

Freshman Megan McGlone is currently fifth in the Summit League in the women’s triple jump (37-11 1/2) and fourth in the women’s pentathlon (2,919).

Sophomore Zach Glasebrook owns the fifth-best effort in the league in the men’s heptathlon (4,574).

“I expect some great performances this weekend,” Beauchem said. “The expectations are certainly there and I think we will compete very well this weekend.”

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Indoor barometer