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Redhawks win four events at Haines Invitational
Southeast athletes fared well at their own Joey Haines Invitational.
Brandon Karcher didn't know what to expect in his first race since the fall cross country season.
The Southeast Missouri State senior got more than he anticipated Saturday in defending his 5,000-meter title on his home turf at the Joey Haines Invitational.
"I didn't expect that at all," a beaming Karcher said. "I didn't know what to expect, to be honest. I'm happy."
Karcher's performance was among Southeast's highlights in its 28th annual track and field meet, formerly known as the SEmotion Relays.
The Redhawks won four events at the Abe Stuber Complex in the affair that featured 11 women's teams and nine men's squads.
Team titles were supposed to be decided in a series of dual meets among the Division I squads entered, but because of a computer glitch no scores were available at press time.
"We had some real good performances," Southeast coach Eric Crumpecker said. "We had a great day with the weather and it was a real competitive meet for everybody."
Karcher has been a standout in the middle distances and in cross country since his freshman season. He finished fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference cross country meet last fall and seemed primed for a big senior track campaign.
But a foot problem -- similar to the one that has plagued St. Louis Cardinals star Albert Pojuls over the years -- caused Karcher to miss the entire indoor track season.
"It's just been sore and tight," Karcher said. "I have a special boot I sleep in at night so it's not so sore. I've done that at least a couple of months."
Karcher's victorious time in his first race back was 15 minutes, 19.77 seconds.
"I'm not in near as good a shape as I have been," he said. "But it's a big confidence boost."
Another highlight of the meet for Southeast was the career-best javelin throw by senior Rebecca Martin from Jackson High School.
Martin's toss of 141 feet, 10 inches garnered her the title. She surpassed her own previous top performance as No. 6 in Southeast history.
"She had a really good meet," Crumpecker said.
Junior Ashley Brewer also had a career-best winning performance in the discus (155-5). She moved into third place all-time at Southeast, pushing ahead of her own previous top effort that had been third.
"She had a great meet. It's the third meet in a row she's won," Crumpecker said.
Southeast's other individual winner was senior Danny Stults in the 800 (1:56.03).
"He ran a really good race," Crumpecker said.
In addition, John Berry -- a Southeast graduate assistant coach who was a standout long-jumper for the Redhawks -- claimed the title in his specialty while competing unattached.
Berry, who completed his eligibility at Southeast last year, had a distance of 24-10 1/2.
"John can still do it," Crumpecker said.
Finishing second for Southeast's women were Amy Warren in the 5,000 and Whitney Thomas in the 100 hurdles.
On the men's side, Brandon Colbert was second in the discus.