Trailblazer Track and Field picks up National Qualifiers in Outdoor Opener


CHARLESTON, Ill. – The Vincennes University Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams are still carrying the momentum of a very impressive end to the Indoor Season at Nationals earlier this month as the Trailblazers begin the 2023 Outdoor season Saturday at the EIU Big Blue meet at Eastern Illinois University.

The Blazers got the outdoor season started Friday afternoon at the IWU Polar Bear Invite, hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University.

VU sophomores Ian Boit (Kimilili, Kenya) and Ernest Momodu (Indianapolis, Ind.) each recorded NJCAA National qualifying times in the 10k, with Boit finishing seventh with a time of 32:36.01 and Momodu placing ninth at 32:39.81.

“Ian and Ernest got the outdoor season off to a great start on Friday,” VU Assistant Coach Tyler Steigenga said. “The temperature was in the high 30s, it was raining and very windy, but they both still managed to get under the National Qualifying standard. They had a little extra help from myself, pacing and blocking the wind for them during most of the race, but it was an impressive performance, managing to get the standard on their first attempt at the distance. It takes a lot of focus and determination to be able to run the 25-lap race on the track.”

The focus then shifted to Eastern Illinois where VU freshman Desroy Jordan (Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) came away with a couple of solid finishes, placing fifth in the 200 meters with a time of 22.07 seconds, before taking the top spot in the 400 meters with a time of 48.59 seconds.

Jordan was joined in the 400 meters by sophomore Yamar Lyons (Kalamazoo, Mich.) who placed seventh at 51.68 seconds.

Vincennes’ best event of the weekend was the 800 meters, where the Blazers had three runners place in the top eight, with freshman Isaac Stanford (Flora, Ill.) leading the way with a time of 1:55.09 and placing second.

Sophomore Mathew Keitany (Kenya) and Trent Faulkner (Wheatland, Ind.) followed behind Stanford, with Keitany placing sixth at 1:57.05 and Faulkner taking seventh at 1:58.04.

The men’s field events were led by freshman Olegs Kozjakovs (Riga, Latvia) who placed fourth in the javelin with a distance of 45.03 meters.

Sophomore Mason Harmes (Borden, Ind.) battled the elements outside Friday to place seventh in the shot put with a final throw of 13.59 meters.

The VU women’s team was led by sophomore Giorgia Fino (Francavilla Fontana, Italy) who got her first action of the school year and placed seventh in the javelin with a throw of 37.41 meters.

Freshman Ysnaira Dos Santos Vieira (Brazil) rounded out the VU performers this weekend with a ninth-place finish in the pole vault after reaching a height of 3.50 meters.

“Friday the throwers competed at EIU in maybe the worst conditions I have every watched athletes compete in,” VU Head Track and Field Coach Marty Rogier said. “It was cold and raining with strong winds and the athletes were just standing in the rain and mud for over four hours while their events were conducted.”

“Mason somehow managed a big PR in the shot put,” Rogier added. “We came back Saturday morning to what looked like were going to be even worse conditions, but eventually the skies cleared and the winds were still strong but not gusting.”

“This is a meet where I told the kids, ‘we were not concerned with hitting times or distances’ and just wanted to survive to compete another day,” Rogier said. “But our kids are competitors and they competed very well.”

“Desroy had two very nice races, especially considering the wind,” Rogier added. “He won the 400 with a very good 48.59 and came back to run fifth with a 22.07 into a head wind. Yamar also ran both very well and was just off a PR in both. I am really excited to see what they might do with some nice conditions.”

“Brittany had a strong finishing lap in the 1500, which got her an 11 second PR,” Steigenga added. “Matthew Gray had the fastest closing lap in his heat and finished second in his race, with Griffin finishing behind him in one of his best races as a Trailblazer.”

“In the 800, all three men had a good start to the outdoor season, running just off their PRs,” Steigenga said. “We had a good first outdoor meet. You never know what to expect coming off Indoor Nationals a few weeks ago and now having to deal with all kinds of different weather outside. We had a lot of positive performances to build off of.”

“Olegs did well competing against DI and DII throwers in the discus and javelin to get ready to compete in an upcoming decathlon,” Rogier said. “Finishing fourth in the javelin and 12th in the discus was impressive.”

“Giorgia had a very good day for her first meet of the year,” Rogier added. “She qualified for Nationals and finished seventh in a really good field of throwers. Ysnaira had a nice jump over 3.50 in the pole vault.”

The Trailblazers will look to continue this strong start heading into next weekend’s ISU Pacesetter Sports Invitational hosted by Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind. The event is set to take place Saturday, April 1.



FRIDAY at IWU Polar Bear Invite


Ian Boit – 7, 32:36.01

Ernest Momodu – 9, 32:39.81



Desroy Jordan – 5, 22.07


Desroy Jordan – 1, 48.59

Yamar Lyons – 7, 51.68


Isaac Stanford – 2, 1:55.09

Mathew Keitany – 6, 1:57.05

Trent Faulkner – 7, 1:58.04

Shot Put

Mason Harmes – 7, 13.59m


Olges Kozjakovs – 4, 45.03m


Pole Vault

Ysnaira Dos Santos Vieira – 9, 3.50m


Giorgia Fino – 7, 37.41m