The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 2, 2014

Pitt State men capture MIAA indoor track title

MSSU teams finish second

Pittsburg State’s men edged Missouri Southern and won the MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championship on Sunday at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.

In a meet that wasn’t decided until the last event — the 4x400 relay — Pittsburg State outscored Missouri Southern 130.5-129. Lincoln won the women’s division with 153 points. Missouri Southern was second with 123.5.

The PSU men won three events Sunday — Jeff Piepenbrink in the pole vault, Andre Sanders in the 60-meter hurdles and Adam Volkert in the mile — as the Gorillas captured their first MIAA indoor title since 1996.

“It was a great head-to-head battle with two balanced teams,” said PSU head coach Russ Jewett. “We are extremely fortunate to have a program like Missouri Southern so close to us because, no doubt, they make us better.”

Missouri Southern countered with victories in the 60 and 200 by Jeff Fraley, whose 20.75 points were the most by a male athlete. The top scorer in the women’s division was Yanique Ellington of Lincoln with 22.5 points.

The Lions placed in the top three with Brady Melugin and Michael Juergens in the pole vault, Jazz Allen in the 60 hurdles, William Rush and Andrew Webster in the mile and Eric Schott in the 3,000 meters.

“Winning the 60 was something I hadn’t done,” said Fraley, whose time of 6.74 seconds matched the mark needed for an automatic berth in the national meet.

Fraley’s time of 21.60 in the 200, besides an automatic qualifying mark, was significant as well. “I rebroke my school record in that one,” he said. “That was good. That’s always good.”

Lions head coach Bryan Schiding said he was pleased with MSSU’s overall performance.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” he said. “They competed so much better than on paper. I’m very proud to be their coach.

“I can play the ‘could’ve, should’ve’ game. A lot of things went our way today and we had very few things not go our way today. Pitt was without Keenan Soles, one of their best athletes. We were without one of our best athletes. They represent Southern very well. They’re a great group of young men.”

Soles was the defending MIAA champion in the long jump. Piepenbrink placed second in the heptathlon and broke the PSU school record Saturday with 5,141 points, enough for a provisional national qualifying mark.

In the women’s division, MSSU’s day began when Kylie Cornman repeated as MIAA champion in the shot put with a throw of 47-7.75.

“We had competition today,” Cornman said. “We had people who were putting it out there. That always helps. It was nice to play my part.”

In the long jump, Kaylee Morgan was third and Brittani Reagan was fourth, then the Lions picked up their first victory on the track when Kindra Emberton, a sophomore, won the mile with a provisional qualifying mark of 5:01.74. Teammate Emily Harris was third.

“I told everybody on the team I’m not a miler, so it came as a shock,” said Emberton, who later placed fifth in the 800. “Our biggest thing was we had so much energy. That’s probably why we did so well in the mile.

“We definitely worked together. She (Harris) pushed me the whole way through. It ended up setting us up perfectly.”

Kaitlyn Belisle, who won the 5,000 meters Saturday, became a two-event champion when she won the 3,000 meters in 9:57.80, good for a provisional mark and just ahead of Jessica Macy of Pittsburg State.

“I wasn’t expecting that to happen,” Belisle said. “Hanging onto the girls from Pitt helped me a lot. It was almost a school record, too.”

MSSU had two other all-MIAA performances — Amber White, who was second in the 400, and Sydney Potts, who was third in the 600 yards.

“I’m so proud of them,” said head coach Patty Vavra. “We scored 30 points more than we should have and got beat by a national-championship caliber team.

“Kaitlyn Belisle, what a double. Once she took the lead, it was over. The distance runners did a great job today. I told the ladies as far as I’m concerned, you’re winners. You went above and beyond our expectations going into the meet.”

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