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Central grads excel at OVC meet
Terry, Egbuka win conference titles for Southeast
For Tyler Terry, winning an Ohio Valley Conference title is nothing new. He now has six of them.
Not so for Brianna Egbuka, like Terry a Central High School graduate. She also is doing big things for the Southeast Missouri State track and field program.
Terry and Egbuka, a pair of juniors, both stood out over the weekend as Southeast finished second in both the men's and women's divisions at the OVC outdoor meet in Cookeville, Tenn.
Terry captured two more OVC titles, while Egbuka claimed her first conference championship.
"They both had really big meets," Southeast coach Eric Crumpecker said.
Terry won the long jump and triple jump after also pulling off that double at the OVC indoor meet. He is the first OVC athlete to win those four titles in the same year.
Terry has six OVC championships as he also swept the two events at the 2009 indoor meet.
"Tyler has just been getting it done the last few years," Crumpecker said. "He goes to the conference meet and takes care of business. You don't have to worry about him."
Terry had four top-four OVC outdoor finishes before finally breaking through this year.
His winning distances were 23 feet, 11 3/4 inches in the long jump and 46-8 in the triple jump.
Terry became the first athlete to win the OVC long jump and triple jump both indoors and outdoors in the same year.
"It's always exciting any time you can be part of something special like that," Terry said.
After a strong high school career at Central, Terry was confident he could do well at the collegiate level.
"I always had confidence, but I didn't know if I could ever reach my potential," said Terry, who should have a strong chance of qualifying in the long jump for the NCAA regional May 28 and 29 in Austin, Texas. "In track you can always get better."
Terry said competing collegiately where he grew up has been a good decision for him, partly because he has plenty of fans in the area.
"At my job [Cracker Barrel], I see people who say they've been keeping up with me and congratulating me," he said.
Egbuka won her first OVC title by taking the hammer throw, an event that has not been her specialty and was held at the conference meet for the first time. She also was second in the shot put and sixth in the discus.
"She has just been getting better and better with the hammer. This year she kind of took it on as her event," Crumpecker said. "We had a feeling she would have a big meet. She had a PR by about eight feet. I was proud of her."
Egbuka won her first OVC title after previously recording four top-five finishes.
"I am pretty excited about it," she said.
But Egbuka didn't think her breakthrough would come in an event that she still is working to master.
"This is really my first year," she said. "My freshman year we did it a little bit to help us learn the [indoor] weight throw. The home meet my freshman year I got dead last [in the hammer]."
Egbuka said she got off a solid hammer throw of about 160 feet in the first meet of this season.
"Then I didn't have any more good throws. I was getting worried," she said.
Her season-opening throw did have Egbuka ranked second entering the OVC meet, but she still lagged about 11 feet behind the top-ranked thrower.
However, Egbuka uncorked a throw of 167-11 over the weekend, and that stood up for the championship.
"I guess I didn't expect to win," she said.
Maybe nobody was as thrilled for Egbuka as Terry, her old Central teammate.
"I was extremely happy for her," Terry said. "I've been competing with her on the same team since about eighth grade."
Like Terry, Egbuka is pleased she decided to attend her hometown university.
"I have grown in my appreciation for it. Most people want to leave, but I have seen the benefits to it," said Egbuka, whose best chance at earning a regional berth is probably in the shot put, according to Crumpecker.
Other locals shine
Terry and Egbuka weren't the only local products to fare well over the weekend.
Southeast track and field generally features several area high school graduates among its top performers, and this year is no exception.
Junior Rachel Kahle from Jackson, a key contributor since her freshman season, was third in the long jump, third in the 200 meters, fourth in the 100 and was on the runner-up 1,600 relay team.
Kahle now has 13 career top-five OVC finishes, including a 2009 indoor title as a member of the 1,600 relay. She has three individual runner-up finishes.
"Rachel had a big weekend. She's had a big year and she's having a really good career," said Crumpecker, who added that Kahle has a good chance to qualify for regionals in the 200.
Jared Siemers, a freshman from Central, was fourth in the hammer throw and seventh in the discus.
"Jared had a PR in the hammer. He really came on," Crumpecker said.
Also, sophomore Max Wieser from Saxony Lutheran placed fifth in the 800, freshman Jill Schnurbusch from Notre Dame finished fifth in the pole vault and sophomore Tiffany Mead from Central was on the second-place 1,600 relay.
"It's always nice when there are athletes from the area who can contribute to our program," Crumpecker said. "We've gotten a lot of really good ones from the area over the years."