The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 22, 2013

MSSU's Morgan solid in MIAA pentathlon

The Joplin Globe

WARRENSBURG, Mo. — Missouri Southern’s Kaylee Morgan scored an unexpected four points in the women’s pentathlon on Friday as the MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships began a three-day run at the UCM Multipurpose Building.

And in the men’s heptathlon, the Lions’ Jayce Thomas ranks third after four events, and two of his better events are scheduled today.

Morgan, a freshman from Carthage, accumulated 3,187 points in five events. She won the long jump (17 feet, 10 1/4 inches), and she earned the most points (828) with a career-best in the 60-meter hurdles (9.40 seconds).

“If you look on paper, Kaylee was not supposed to score but she had a really balanced day,” Lions coach Patty Vavra said. “She had her career best in the hurdles, which she hasn’t run that many times. She didn’t do quite as well in the high jump (5-1), and the shot put seems to be her nemesis (28-0 1/4).

“But she came back with a big long jump and won that event, and she ran a 2:40 in the 800 meters. ... That was a great start for our team this weekend.”

Central Missouri’s Zoe Sharplin won the event with 3,629 points, 23 more than Sheri Kaye Campbell of Lincoln. The Jennies’ Erin Alewine, one of the top pentathletes in the nation, fouled on all three attempts in the long jump and did not score.

The Lions’ Emily Paullus, who was sidelined six weeks with hamstring problems, finished 12th with 2,925 points. For Pittsburg State, Ashley Baier was 17th (2,589) and Jessica Reichenberger 19th (2,215).

Thomas established personal bests in two events Friday — 60-meter dash (7.47) and shot put (35-0 1/2). His effort in the shot was approximately two feet longer than his previous best.

“He shows a lot of potential in practice (in the shot put),” Lions assistant Bryan Schiding said. “He throws very well on a daily basis. He tends to push a little bit in competition, but he had a very good throw today. He won the high jump at 6-7, which is an inch and a half off his personal best.”

Thomas also placed fourth in the long jump (21-11 3/4).

“He’s about 100 points ahead from where he was at our home meet,” Schiding said. “He’s right on track with what we believe will be a solid mark for the national meet. Two of his strongest events — the hurdles and pole vault — are Saturday. We’re very happy with his performance. He’s on track with what he wanted to hit.”

Pittsburg State’s Jeff Piepenbrink ranks ninth with 2,545 points, just 32 points out of seventh place.

Final three events are today — 60-meter hurdles at 9:30 a.m, pole vault at 10:30 and 1,000 meters at 1 p.m.

Field events start at 1:45 this afternoon with the men’s triple jump, high jump and shot put and the women’s triple jump, pole vault and weight throw.

Running preliminaries start with the 60 hurdles at 4, and the session ends with finals in the 5,000 meters and distance medley relay.