The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 6, 2012

Pitt State men win MIAA track title

The Joplin Globe

EMPORIA, Kan. — Pittsburg State’s men completed a wire-to-wire victory in the MIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships by winning the team title on Sunday.

Missouri Southern finished tied for third in the women’s division and fourth in men’s competition.

“Our kids did well,” said Tom Rutledge, Southern men’s coach. “We had personal bests ... we had a good meet. It’s just that other people had better meets.”

Pittsburg State’s men, behind a strong effort in the throws and jumps, scored 168.5 points to 153 for defending champion Central Missouri. Lincoln was third with 125 points and Southern edged Fort Hays 95.5-92.5 for fourth place.

Lincoln outscored Central Missouri 204-172 for the women’s championship. Southern and Emporia State tied for third with 85 points apiece and Pittsburg State was fifth, in a field of nine schools, with 81 points.

Freshman Jeffrey Fraley had the lone championship of the day for the Lions, winning the 200-meter dash in 20.92 seconds. Fraley swept the MIAA indoor and outdoor titles in the race.

He also finished fourth in the 100 dash and ran legs on the fourth-place 4x100 relay and sixth-place 4x400 relay.

The Lion men scored 30 points in the field events Sunday, including 2-4 finishes in the shot put by Seth Hackney and Dustin Green and 2-7 finishes by Darion Boure and Taylor McClelland in the triple jump. Green, on Saturday, was also third in the hammer and fourth in the discus.

Zachary Williams, who walked on to the team in the middle of the semester, was fifth in the javelin and sophomore Clark Tanksley was sixth in the high jump.

Alex Mason was fourth in the steeplechase and the Lions added eighth-place finishes from Anthony Price in the 400 and Eric Schott in the 5,000.

“We got behind early,” Rutledge said. “Pittsburg State jumped all over us in the throws and in the long jump. We came back quite a bit today. ... Our distance guys are still young, but we ran them in two or three events apiece. It was a learning experience. They know what they can do now.

“We beat (Pittsburg State) in cross country and indoor track. We beat a good team and they’re not staying down. It’s competition and that’s why we’re in this business.”

Sunday highlights for the Southern women were a series of third-place finishes — Codi Fritchie in the steeplechase, Rachel Schrader in the 1500, Jasmin Hughes in the 200, Nicole Green in the shot put and Kaitlyn Belisle in the 5000.

Belisle, from Enid, Okla., was another late addition to Southern’s roster, along with fellow Cowley County (Kan.) Community College transfer Cassy Kendrick.

The Lions received fourth-place finishes from Lisa Vengels in the high jump and Hughes in the 100, along with the 4x400 relay team.

Amber White was sixth in the triple jump and the 4x100 relay was also sixth. Junior JeAnna Sheppard was eighth in the 100 hurdles.

Seven meet records were set during the three-day competition. MIAA athletes had 45 automatic qualifying marks for the NCAA Division II national meet, and 216 provisional marks.

“It’s just unbelievable, the level of performance that our athletes are competing against,” Vavra said. “They just keep stepping it up more and more to that level.

“And that group of freshmen, they have a great passion for the sport. They’ve matured, as they have had to, quickly this year. They were led so well by our seniors. It’s good to see our seniors have an exciting finish to the meet, even if it was for third place.”

The Lions are entered in a last-chance meet at Emporia State on Saturday. It will be the final opportunity for Southern athletes to qualify for the national meet, scheduled May 24-26 in Pueblo, Colo.