The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 5, 2012

Southern's Vengels holds fourth in MIAA heptathlon

The Joplin Globe

EMPORIA, Kan. — Central Missouri rank 1-2 in both divisions of multi-event action at the MIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

The men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon both wind up today at Witten Track/Welch Stadium on the Emporia State campus.

Darius Walker, the NCAA Division II national champion in 2010, leads the decathlon by 330 points over teammate Shawn Boss after five events.

Jayce Thomas, Missouri Southern freshman, is seventh. Thomas is one place and 71 points behind Pittsburg State’s Jeff Piepenbrink, a former Jasper High School standout.

Lindsey Lettow and Erin Alewine, 1-2 in the women’s national heptathlon last spring, are in the same position here after four of seven events. Lettow’s lead is 19 points.

Southern senior Lisa Vengels, competing in her first heptathlon since her freshman season, holds fourth and freshman Emily Paullus is tenth.

“She had a solid day and put herself in pretty good position,” Southern women’s coach Patty Vavra said of Vengels. “She ran close to a personal best in the hurdles and she had her second-best high jump of the season. In the other two events (the shot put and 200-meter dash), she’s somewhat of a newcomer, but she competed very, very well in them.

“Fourth place in this conference is saying something, because you’re competing against some of the best in the nation.”

Paullus was finishing just short of her goal in each of the opening day’s events.

“She needs to make up some ground in order to score,” Vavra said.

Thomas had strong efforts in the high jump (6-6) and long jump (22-6), said men’s assistant Bryan Schiding.

“He’s a good hurdler and a very good pole vaulter,” Schiding said of today’s events. “His discus and javelin are coming along very well. The 1,500? It’s going to come down to guts.”

After the decathlon is finished, Thomas will compete in the preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles and the pole vault during the individual portion of the meet. He has 15 events in the three-day meet.