The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 24, 2013

2 Lions earn All-American track honors


From staff reports

PUEBLO, Colo. —  Missouri Southern freshmen Kaylee Morgan and Brittani Reagan earned All-America honors in the long jump on Thursday during the first day of the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the Neta and Eddoe DeRose Thunderbowl.

Morgan finished fifth with a jump of 19 feet, 63⁄4 inches, and Reagan was eighth at 19-31⁄2. Vashti Thomas of Academy of Art won the event at 21-23⁄4.

“They stepped up and had great marks today,” Lions coach Patty Vavra said. “They were in the first flight, and that’s always a little bit tedious, watching the second flight and hoping you are going to stay in the top nine. Brittani was eighth and she wasn’t safe until the last round was over.

“They were a little off the board today but still had big jumps in great competition. It was great seeing two Missouri Southern athletes on the (awards) stand, and knowing they are both freshmen, they have bright futures ahead of them. But for now, it was nice for them to enjoy and savor the moment of being an All-American.”

Reagan returns to action today in the triple jump.

In the men’s 100 meters, Jeff Fraley was fourth in his heat in 10.37 seconds and did not advance to the final. It took 10.31 to make Saturday’s nine-man final.

“Jeff had a good race really, just six-hundreths of a second off.” Lions coach Tom Rutledge said. “They were all close.”

Fraley is back on the track today for the 200 prelims. He’s seeded seventh in the event at 20.89, four-tenths of a second behind the top mark.

Dustin Green finished 12th in the hammer throw at 182-10. He returns to action today in the discus (No. 7 seed) and Saturday in the shot put (No. 14 seed).

“Dustin didn’t have a bad day,” Rutledge said. “He threw 56 meters, but they had some animals out there throwing. The winner threw one foot shy of going down the hill. They almost didn’t have enough room.”

The Lions’ Sydney Haase tied for 10th place in the pole vault at 12-11⁄2. Teammate Ashleigh McFarland did not clear the opening height.

“They started at 12-1, and Sydney nailed the first attempt,” Vavra said. “She had a couple of good attempts at 12-5 but couldn’t get it. Ashleigh’s stride was off a little bit today, but the experience will help her for the future.

“What a competitive group. The top two went 14-5 ... unbelievable. The opening height today was what a few years ago it took to be an All-American. That tells you about the group of competitors.”

Pittsburg State

The Gorillas have two All-Americans in the men’s long jump as Keenan Soles placed fifth (24-81⁄4) and Steven Mann was eighth (24-53⁄4). Jeffery Henderson of Stillman won the event at 25-71⁄2. Kyle Utsey, the Gorillas’ third entry in the event, fouled on all three attempts.

Emily Ballock set a school record in the 400-meter hurdles and qualified sixth overall with a time of 59.95 seconds. Michelle Cumberbatch of Lincoln had the fastest time of 58.59.

Pitt State’s men’s 4x100 relay team of Jason Crow, Soles, Jordan Riffel and Kyle Utsey finished fifth in its heat and qualified seventh in 40.30. The top two qualifiers broke 40 seconds — St. Augustine’s at 39.01 and Grand Canyon at 39.93.

John Talbert was 14th in the hammer (183-9). He’s the No. 3 seed in today’s discus competition.

The Gorillas’ Larissa Richards was 15th in the hammer throw (171-1). Her two best events — discus and shot put — are today and Saturday, respectively, and she’s seeded in the top four in both..

Morris advances

Trenton Morris of Southwest Baptist, who prepped at College Heights Christian School, qualified for the 12-man final in the 1500 meters.

Morris qualified 10th in 4:00.65, just over three seconds behind the fastest time. The final is Saturday at 6:45 p.m.