The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 25, 2013

Hardy earns All-America honor in high jump

From staff reports

PUEBLO, Colo. — Jumper Whitney Hardy notched Missouri Southern’s fifth All-America honor on Saturday in the Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Pittsburg State athletes turned in another strong outing, picking up five more medals on the third and final day of competition.

Hardy tied for eighth place in the high jump, clearing a personal-best 5 feet 83⁄4 inches. She then was one of six jumpers to exit the competition at 5-10.

“Whitney tied for eighth and set a PR,” Lions coach Patty Vavra said. “Again it was a very, very competitive event.”

The Lions’ Kylie Cornman did not place in the shot put, throwing 45-33⁄4 to place 11th.

“She couldn’t come up with the big throw,” Vavra said. “She never did get in rhythm today. A typical Kylie Cornman throw would have gotten her into the finals.”

Hardy joins Kaylee Morgan (long jump) and Brittani Reagan (long jump, triple jump) as All-Americans for the Lions.

“We’ve had overall a good national championship meet,’’ Vavra said. “I wish we would have scored a few more points (71⁄2 total), but we’re young and they will all be back. We gained some valuable experience and at the same time brought home hardware.”

Missouri Southern’s men failed to pick up any medals in field events on Saturday.

Seth Hackney was 17th (52-11) and Dustin Green 20th (50-101⁄4) in the shot put. Michael Juergens took 11th in the pole vault (16-23⁄4), and in the triple jump Darion Boure finished 10th (48-111⁄2) and Jayce Thomas 18th (47-31⁄2).

Boure’s jump came on his first attempt, but he fouled on his next two attempts and slipped from sixth to 10th during the final round of jumps.

“Dustin re-injured his finger in the discus (on Friday while earning All-America honors),” Lions coach Tom Rutledge said. “Seth threw over 16 meters, but it would have taken 17-plus to get into the finals. Guys were popping it out 18 meters plus. The guy from Minnesota State won easily (Christopher Reed at 65-7, winning by almost three feet).”

With Saturday’s action over, Rutledge’s 24-year career as Lions’ coach is over.

“It’s been a great ride,” he said. “I probably pushed them too hard to get here. It’s not their fault. They gave everything they had.

“They will do well in the future. I just feel bad for my two great senior throwers. They were fun.”

Pittsburg State

Two top-four finishes pushed the PSU men into a tie for eighth place in the team standings with 30 points.

Marquise Cushon was second in the triple jump (51-101⁄2), and Jeff Piepenbrink was fourth in the pole vault (17-03⁄4).

The Gorilla women received All-America efforts from Larissa Richards (fourth in shot put, 48-03⁄4), Emily Ballock (sixth in the 400 hurdles, 59.58), and Amber Kloster (eighth in the javelin, 147-10). Kloster was seeded 18th in the event but surpassed her former best this year by almost six feet.