The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 5, 2012

Pitt State men first, MSSU women second after opening day at MIAA meet


The Joplin Globe

EMPORIA, Kan. — Pittsburg State’s men and Central Missouri’s women are opening-day leaders in the MIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Missouri Southern is second on Central in the women’s division, with strong performances in the pole vault and a powerful effort in heptathlon salvaging an otherwise disappointing day.

Southern’s men hold fourth place in a race equally divided between the MIAA’s “haves” and “have nots.”

The final round of the conference meet begins at noon today at Emporia State.

Freshman Melanie Bower won the pole vault to spark Southern’s women. Bower, repeating the title she first won at the indoor conference meet, cleared a career-best 12 feet, 4 3/4 inches. Sophomore teammate Vanessa Langford tied for second at 11-5 and freshman Ashley McFarland was fourth, at the same height, as the Lions scored 22 of their day’s total of 30 points in the vault.

Central Missouri leads with the women’s division with 56 points and Lincoln looms in third with 28. Pittsburg State is fifth with 18 points.

In the men’s division, Pittsburg State is off to a stunning start with 75.5 points through six events. Defending champion Central Missouri is second (62) and Fort Hays is third (40.5), followed by the Lions (33.5). The other five teams have a total of 22.5 points.

Southern athletes broke two school records and narrowly missed a third in Saturday’s competition.

Senior Lisa Vengels finished fifth in the heptathlon, for four points. But Vengels, competing in an outdoor multi-event for the first time since her freshman season, destroyed the school record with a strong provisional performance for the NCAA Division II national meet.

Her total of 4856 points obliterated the Missouri Southern record set by Brandy Simpson (4397) last spring. In Saturday’s events, Vengels went 17 feet, 6 inches in the long jump, threw the javelin 95-9 and ran the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 34.04 seconds.

Central Missouri scored 26 points in the heptathlon with a 1-2-4-6 finish.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Belisle, initially expected to redshirt this season, scored the other four points for the Southern women with a fifth-place finish in the 10,000 meters.

In qualifying races, sophomore Jasmin Hughes tied the school record in the 100 dash (11.84 seconds, set by Danielle Oliver in 2007) and came within 0.03 seconds of the school record in the 200, running 24.17.

Junior JeAnna Sheppard, in the 100 hurdles, was the Southern women’s only other qualifier.

Jeffrey Fraley continued his assault on the Southern men’s sprint records, running a 10.30 time in the 100 dash. Fraley missed out on the top time of the day when Lincoln’s Romel Lewis ran 10.29 in the second qualifying race.

Fraley had set the mark of 10.33 seconds a week earlier in the Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invitational.

Southern’s men scored their points with a steady effort.

Freshman Jayce Thomas was sixth in his first decathlon.

Junior Dustin Green was third in the hammer (175-7) and fourth in the discus (162-11, trailing freshman teammate Nick Polizzi’s 167-9 for third place).

The Lions had a fourth from Michael Juergens and a tie for seventh from Raymond Woldtvedt in the pole vault and a fourth from freshman Eric Schott in the 10,000. Freshman Darion Boure was seventh in the triple jump.

Fraley qualified for the final in both the 100 and 200. Other men’s qualifiers for today’s final are Jazz Allen, in the 400 hurdles, and Anthony Price, in the 400 dash.