St. Louis U opens new Track & Field facility with meet

Saint Louis U opens new Track & Field facility with meet
Saint Louis University reintroduced their track and field program in 2007 and now they have a facility to go with it. SLU will open the new facility with the Saint Louis University Billiken Invitational today and tomorrow with teams from around Missouri and Illinois scheduled to compete. The new facility, which features the downtown St. Louis skyline and the Arch in it’s view, is located at the new University Medical Center campus, a few miles from the university at the corner of Compton and Rutger streets. The facility was completed last July.

New St. Louis University Track & Field Facility – Images by Chris Auckley

The Saint Louis University cross country program has been sponsored on and off for a few decades but was reestablished in 1992 and it wasn’t until 2007 until the track and field program, which had it’s own years of on and off sponsorship, was returned to full status. Al Schmidt, who has had  an excellent career at Mississippi State University, started the program at St. Louis before leaving in the early 1980’s. St. Louis area native and former Northwest High School and Truman State University standout distance runner Mike Nelson led the program as head coach as the track and field program was revived.
Nelson and Jon Bell were both Graduate Assistant coaches under St. Louisan David Harris at Emporia State University in Kansas. Bell came to St. Louis to help Nelson and after a season, Nelson left after getting a job at Marquette University. Bell took over as head coach and the program has continued to grow and excel.
Not only will the new facility attract talented student-athletes to the University, it should also benefit the St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois, and Midwest track and field communities. In December at the USA Track & Field Annual Meeting in St. Louis, a group of organizers that included Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Greg Foster, and Laura Bormann won the bid to host the 2013 USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships, a week long youth track meet. Hopefully this is just the first of many exciting event to come to the track, which sits in view of the Arch.
 Saint Louis University Head Cross Country and Track & Field Coach Jon Bell
SLU has produced several NCAA Division I Regional/Preliminary Round qualifiers and numerous Atlantic 10 Conference champions. Hilary Orf, a Marquette high school graduate and former Missouri Class 4 cross country state champion, has led the Billiken surge. After a school record and NCAA preliminary round qualification in the 1500 in 2011, Orf, earned Midwest Cross Country regional honors with her 19th place finish, missing a birth to the national championships by about 15 seconds in the 6k race. In February, Orf placed 8th at the USA Cross Country championships open women’s 8k. A month later Orf, represented team USA at the North America-Central America-Caribbean Cross Country championships, helping the womens’ team earn a gold medal. Orf is a senior who has one more year of eligibility in track.
SLU’s Hilary Orf

Margo Richardson has also shined for SLU. As a freshman in 2011, the Illinois native qualified for the USA Junior Nationals 1500 and 5k. Orf and Richardson had exceptional days last weekend at the Stanford Invitational. Orf ran 33:57 in the 10k to set the school record and meet the 2012 US Olympic Trials B standard. The time puts Orf 25th on the Division I performance list. Richardson set a 5k school record, winning her section in 16:44. Richardson’s time puts her 27th on the Division I West performance list. She’ll probably need to improve on that a little to qualify for the NCAA Preliminary Round Championships.
SLU sophomore Margo Richardson
Two others standouts for the Billikens are senior hurdler Dahmar Smiles and senior jumper Brittney Cloudy. Smiles, who grew up in St. Louis and attended University City High School as a freshman before moving to Maryland, is a multiple time A-10 champion and a NCAA Preliminary Round qualifier. Cloudy, like Orf is a Marquette High graduate, and the pair have gone to school together since 1st grade. Cloudy is a standout horizontal jumper, especially in the triple jump. Cloudy is a multiple time A-10 champion, qualified for the US Junior Nationals as a freshman, and qualified for the NCAA Preliminary Round Championships.
SLU senior Brian Holdmeyer

             Brian Holdmeyer is a 5th year senior distance runner who starred at St. Francis Borgia High School. Holdmeyer ran a 14:33 5k in December to kick off the indoor track season, but a hamstring tear cost him most of his indoor season training. Holdmeyer won his outdoor 10k debut at the Washington University Invitational, March 31, with a 30:27 clocking

SLU senior Dahmar Smiles
SLU senior Brittney Cloudy
The future is bright for the Saint Louis Billiken program and the new facility means only good things for track & field fans around the area.

SLU Head Coach Jon Bell and assistant Tim Bradley
Friday, April 13, 2012
2:30PM Hammer/Discus
5:30PM Men’s Pole Vault
Women’s Long Jump
7:30PM Men’s Long Jump
Women’s 5000m
8:00PM Men’s 5000m
8:40PM Men’s/Women’s 10k
Saturday, April 14, 2012
10:00AM Men’s Javelin, women to follow
12:00PM Women’s 4x100m
12:10PM Men’s 4x100m
12:20PM Women’s 1500m
12:30PM Women’s High Jump
     Men’s Triple Jump
12:40PM Men’s 1500m
1:05PM Women’s 100mH
1:25PM Men’s 110mH
              Women’s Shot Put
1:40PM Women’s Pole Vault
1:50PM Women’s 400m
2:05PM Men’s 400m
2:25PM Women’s 100m
              Men’s High Jump
2:40PM Men’s 100m
2:55PM Women’s Triple Jump
3:05PM Women’s 800m
3:25PM Men’s 800m
              Men’s Shot Put
3:55PM Women’s 400mH
4:15PM Men’s 400mH
4:30PM Women’s 200m
4:45PM Men’s 200m
5:00PM Women’s 3000m Steeple
5:20PM Men’s 3000m Steeple
5:40PM Women’s 4x400m
5:55PM Men’s 4x400m

Meet info: 
Meet performance list:
Meet heet sheets:

Mike Meehan RunningSTL story:
St. Louis University story:

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