Southeast Missouri State throwers grab OVC track and field honors

Friday, May 6, 2011
Southeast Missouri State's Samantha Espiricueta is ranked 19th nationally in the javelin. (Fred Lynch)

Southeast Missouri State garnered two Ohio Valley Conference outdoor track and field postseason awards Thursday.

Senior thrower Brandon Colbert was named male field athlete of the year. Fellow senior thrower Samantha Espiricueta claimed the same honor on the women's side.

Voting was done by the league's coaches and announced in advance of the OVC outdoor championships that will be held today and Saturday in Murray, Ky.

"I'm really happy for both of them. It's great for them and very deserving," said Southeast coach Eric Crumpecker, whose program also swept the same two awards for this year's indoor season. "They both have had great careers and they've worked really hard."

Colbert continued his impressive run of OVC honors. He was named outdoor male field athlete of the year for the fourth time -- the other times in 2007, 2009 and 2010 -- while winning similar awards for the indoor season this year and 2008.

"There's probably not many people who have won the athlete of the year award as many times as he has," Crumpecker said. "He's had an unbelievable career."

Colbert, who will be looking to repeat in the discus and hammer throw at the OVC outdoor meet, claimed the weight throw for the second year in a row at this year's OVC indoor, adding to his haul of conference titles.

Colbert, from Troy, Mo., ranks near the top of the conference this year in the discus (166 feet, 4 inches) and hammer throw (206-1). He holds school records in the hammer throw with that mark and in the indoor weight throw while ranking among the program's all-time top five in the shot put and discus.

"He's been one of the most decorated athletes we've ever had here," Crumpecker said. "He's worked hard and has kept improving."

Espiricueta holds the OVC's top performances in the javelin (159-9) and discus (143-11) this year. She won the javelin at last year's OVC outdoor meet, setting a conference record.

Espiricueta has dominated in the javelin this season. She ranks 19th nationally and has seven top-two finishes in as many meets, including five titles. She was second at the prestigious Drake Relays last weekend.

Espiricueta, a native of Belton, Mo., who originally came to Southeast as a softball player, is the school record holder in the javelin with a 166-8 mark set as a sophomore in 2009, the year she qualified for the national meet and also won the OVC title.

"She's worked and just gotten better every year," Crumpecker said.

Southeast will shoot for team success during the OVC outdoor meet hosted by Murray State.

Southeast's women were second last season and the men third. Perennial power Eastern Illinois is the defending champion in both divisions.

Eastern Illinois also swept this year's OVC indoor meet. Southeast's men were second and the women placed third.

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