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January 16, 2014

ISU track to battle Illinois State in only home meet of season

TERRE HAUTE — The Indiana State men’s track and field team will be looking to stay unbeaten on the young season tonight in the Sycamores’ lone home matchup of the indoor or outdoor seasons.

ISU will battle Missouri Valley Conference rival Illinois State — while Rose-Hulman battles Manchester — inside the Rose-Hulman Sports and Recreation Center.

“This is one of the meets that I really enjoy every year,” ISU coach John McNichols said. “It’s a dual meet, so it is a simple, clean competition with a very definitive winner.  A meet like this helps us as we build our team toward a conference championship at the end of the season. We don’t have this type of opportunity every week with two to three scored competitions and the rest are invitational types, where you’re just chasing marks.”

 The Sycamores have won eight of the last nine Coughlan-Malloy Cups including the last seven. Then men have won the last seven straight against Illinois State.

“This meet is a long-standing competition between conference rivals,” said McNichols.

Terre Haute native John Mascari, fresh off a school record in the 5,000 meter run will look toward his season debut at 3,000 meters. Senior Al Escalera will make his season debut after redshirting the indoor and outdoor track seasons in 2013, as he runs the mile run.

Olympian and World Championship qualifier Greggmar Swift will highlight a very tough hurdler group in the 60-meter hurdles. Swift holds the No. 2 mark in the nation.

ISU pole vaulter Connor Curley, a Terre Haute native, will attempt to pick up a win in his hometown.

The ISU women are led by All-American sprinter Katie Wise.

Senior Shelby Higginbottom, a former North Central standout, will lead the middle-distance events, as she will compete in her first 800 race of the season.

“This is a great meet for us, as Illinois State is obviously a tremendous rival in our conference and they have a very good team,” said Women’s Head Coach Angela Martin. “We’ve been doing this meet since 2005 and as a combined squad we have won every year except 2006. Our main goal going into the meet is to get that cup back and get the win. Ultimately this helps us prep for the conference meet and each week we want to get better and better.”

The meet begins at 6 p.m. with the field events.

Swimming

• Rose-Hulman still ranked — The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming and diving team remains nationally ranked at No. 18 in the weekly NCAA Division III Endless Pools/CollegeSwimming.com national poll, according to results released by the organization this week.

Rose has relied on strong performances that included multiple school records at the Transylvania Invitational and several excellent swims at last week’s Washington (St. Louis) Invitational to reach the national top 20 for the second time this season.

Rose-Hulman has scored 358.2 performance points in the weekly rankings, based on comparative results from meets around the country.

The Engineers’ top five performances this year, according to the rankings, are sophomore Orion Martin in the 100-yard butterfly (49.41 seconds), Martin in the 200 freestyle (1:41.48), sophomore Matthew King in the 1,650 freestyle (16:33.23), freshman Pierce Bartine in the 400 IM (4:32.00) and freshman Matthew Schulstad in the 200 butterfly (1:51.84).

In addition, sophomore Sam Gould has already qualified for the NCAA Division III diving regional after two provisional marks this season.

The Rose men’s and women’s teams will return to action Saturday at DePauw in a meet that also includes Illinois Wesleyan.

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