New faces bring new promise to SIU track and field
Thirteen Illinois athletes will take their places for the Southern Illinois University (SIU) track and field team this season, according the the university. The group will be joined by recruits from 10 other states and three countries.
The athletes in this year's recruiting class have won 22 combined state championships.
One of the most-prized new faces on the women’s side is Jewell Bolden, a hurdler from Andover, Kansas. Bolden won seven state high school championships, including four consecutive 100-meter hurdles, and broke a 34-year-old meet record in the event with a time of 14.27 seconds. Bolden is also an accomplished jumper, winning three Kansas state titles in the long jump.
The Salukis women’s track team will also see the addition of Mesha Newbold, a junior college transfer from Iowa Central Community College , where she was a five-time NJCAA All-American and recently finished fifth at the 2017 NJCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100-meter hurdles.
A’veun Moore-Jones, who comes to SIU from Mount Vernon, will join the women’s throwing team. During her junior year of high school, she finished fourth in the shot put and took second in the discus at the state championships. She is Mount Vernon High School’s most-decorated thrower in history, with four top-five finishes at the championships.
The Salukis men will welcome 13 newcomers.
James Croft will give a boost to the SIU sprinters. Croft comes to Carbondale from Missouri, where he was a six-time medalist at the state championships. Croft excelled in relay events and during his junior year helped Hazelwood West High School win gold and set a 5A state record in the 4x100 meter relay. During his senior year, Croft ran the anchor leg of the 4x200 meter relay.
Another accomplished sprinter joining the Salukis is Johnny McGluen, who attended Whitehaven High School in Memphis, Tennessee, and excelled on the track. During his junior year, he won two state titles and claimed two third-place finishes.
Sam Sikon, a local athlete will be joining the Salukis as a thrower. He attended Carbondale Community High School and is one of the best throwers in its history. As a freshman, Sikon took second place in the shot put and fourth in the discus at state. He became the first SIU male athlete to medal in the shot put since 1924. As a sophomore and again as a junior, he took first place in the shot put and discus. As a senior, he won a third-straight title in the shot put.
The Salukis will get the 2017-2018 track and field season underway in early December. The season will run through the end of the spring semester.