The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 27, 2013

MIAA schools take track, field honors

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— National championships by Pittsburg State thrower John Talbert and Lincoln hurdler Sabiel Anderson headlined MIAA performances at the Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which ended Saturday night in Pueblo, Colo.

All told, athletes from eight MIAA schools collected 48 All-America honors. MIAA women posted 25 top-eight finishes, while the men had 23 All-Americans.

Talbert won the discus with a throw of 196 feet, 7 inches and became the Gorillas’ first national champion since Jeremy Jackson won the 60-meter hurdles indoors in 2010. Before Talbert, PSU’s last outdoors national champion was in 2002 when Joe Peppers won the decathlon.

Anderson swept the hurdles, taking the 110-meter highs in 13.66 seconds and the 400-meter hurdles in 49.49. Anderson, who qualified fifth in the 400 hurdles at 51.80, broke 50 seconds for the first time.

The MIAA had five national runners-up — Pittsburg State’s Marquise Cushon in the triple jump (he was seeded 10th) and Larissa Richards in the discus, Fort Hays State’s Makayla McPhail in the javelin and Lincoln’s Michelle Cumberbatch in the 400 hurdles and the Blue Tiger women’s 1600 relay team.

Lincoln finished third in the women’s team standings — only the second time in the last 11 years the Blue Tigers were not first or second — and sixth in the men’s standings. The Blue Tigers placed in the top eight in 17 events — 11 women and six men.

Pittsburg State ranked second among MIAA schools, tying for seventh place in the men’s standings and 17th place in the women’s standings. It was sixth top-10 finish for the Gorilla men in school history and their best finish since they tied for sixth in 2009. PSU’s women finished in the top 20 for the 12th time.

The Gorillas had six All-America performances by the men, including a seventh place by the 400 relay team of Jason Crowe, Keenan Soles, Greg Wright and Kyle Utsey.

PSU’s women had four All-Americans. Richards, in addition to finishing second in the discus, was fourth in the shot put and ends her career with six All-America honors.

 Final count for Rutledge

Tom Rutledge concludes his 24-year career at Missouri Southern having coached 57 All-Americans in track and field.

Dustin Green repeated as an All-American in the discus, but the Lions had two first-time All-Americans during the indoor season — Seth Hackney in the shot put and Michael Juergens in the pole vault.

Missouri Southern’s women came home with four All-Americans — Brittani Reagan in the long jump and triple jump, Kaylee Morgan in the long jump and Whitney Hardy in the high jump.

The Lions’ Kylie Cornman was an All-American in the shot put at the indoor meet.

 Alicia Nelson’s big year

Standout distance runner Alicia Nelson from Adams State concluded a decorated school year on Saturday night.

Nelson, a junior, won the Division II cross country national championship last November at the Missouri Southern course. She won the 3,000 meters at the indoor track and field championship, and she added titles in the 3,000 steeplechase and 5,000 at the outdoor meet.

 Indoors, outdoors

Nelson was one of 13 Division II athletes who won national titles in their event at both the indoor and outdoor meets.

Other women achieving the feat were Katie Nageotte of Ashland (pole vault), Vashti Thomas of Academy of Art (long jump), Sam Lockhart of Grand Valley State (shot put), Barbara Szabo of Western State (high jump), Helen Crofts of Simon Fraser (800) and Melissa Agnew of U-Mary (mile indoors, 1500 outdoors).

Six men hit this daily double, including Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Jeron Robinson (high jump) and  Jordan Yamoah (pole vault) and St. Augustine sprinters Jermaine Jones (200) and Dane Hyatt (400). The other two are Drew Windle of Ashland (800) and Tabor Stevens of Adams State (mile indoors, 3,000 steeplechase outdoors).