Redhawks' accomplishment at OVC track meet was quite a feat

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Southeast Missouri State has long had one of the premier overall track programs in the Ohio Valley Conference -- and the Redhawks have been hands down the most consistently successful athletic program at the university in recent years.

But the Redhawks outdid even themselves over the weekend.

Southeast became the first school to sweep the OVC Outdoor Championships since 1995 when it won the men's and women's titles in Clarksville, Tenn. The last program to accomplish that? Also Southeast.

But what makes this year's double victory so impressive is the way the Redhawks pulled it off.

Southeast's women have been decimated by injuries the entire outdoor campaign, and coach Joey Haines estimated that sidelined athletes would have scored upwards of 60 points.

Yet the Redhawks still claimed their third consecutive OVC outdoor crown, to go along with two straight indoor titles. They've captured eight OVC championships since joining the league in 1991.

Southeast's men faced the tall order of unseating OVC giant Eastern Illinois, which had won the last eight outdoor titles, along with four straight indoor crowns.

Yet the Redhawks managed to upset the Panthers for their first OVC title since 1996 and their fourth overall.

Congratulations to all the coaches and athletes involved with Southeast's impressive weekend. The track program has now brought home each of the university's three OVC titles so far during the 2004-05 school year.

And also kudos to Haines, the architect of the Redhawks' stellar program. He was given two more OVC coach of the year awards over the weekend, bringing his bounty to a whopping 17.

A Southeast coach who I will not name mentioned to me during Tuesday's annual All Sports Year End Celebration at the Show Me Center that Haines is the most underappreciated coach at the university.

With the kind of success he's had over the past 20-plus years, that's hard to argue with.

* Major kudos to Derek Winans, Jen Cross, Jen Burke and Kim Krieger, who took home the biggest awards from Southeast's annual sports elebration.

Winans won the Jewel Award, while Cross, Burke and Krieger shared the Trombetta Award, given each year to the graduating senior male and female athletes with the highest grade point averages for their career.

Cross, Burke and Krieger all had perfect 4.0 GPAs, while Winans was not far behind at 3.977. That's impressive.

Knowing how much time it takes to either be an exceptional athlete or an exceptional student -- of which I was neither, by the way -- to master both phases of their college life is quite an accomplishment for the four.

* Also congratulations to Southeast assistant soccer coach Beth Guccione for recently being inducted into the Lewis & Clark Community College Hall of Fame. Guccione was a record-setting goalkeeper for Southeast from 1999 through 2001 after transferring from Lewis & Clark.

* Area baseball players who have completed their American Legion eligibility and think they can play at a pretty high level should be at Capaha Field at 1 p.m. May 15. That's when the Capahas -- the region's highest-level amateur baseball team -- will hold tryouts.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

* Southeast baseball coach Mark Hogan reports that the recent second annual Joe Uhls Memorial Golf Tournament and Dinner, which serves as a fund raiser for the Redhawks' program, was another rousing financial success.

The auction, held in conjunction with the dinner, raised more than $13,000, according to Hogan, with the centerpiece being a large, autographed, water color print portrait of Bob Gibson pitching that went for $5,000.

Along with the tournament and dinner, Hogan said the final tally will be between $15,000 and $20,000 raised for Southeast baseball.

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