The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 5, 2013

Pitt State edges Southern for MIAA track title

The Joplin Globe

HAYS, Kan. — In what was essentially a two-team race, Pittsburg State had just a touch more fuel.

The Gorillas held off Missouri Southern and claimed their second straight — and ninth overall — MIAA outdoor track and field championship on Sunday at Fort Hays State’s Lewis Field Stadium.

Pitt State finished with 145 points, just 10.5 more than MSSU. Central Missouri was a distant third at 113.

“It was basically a two-team meet from the get-go,” MSSU coach Tom Rutledge said. “We knew it was going to be tough and that it was going to be a two-team meet. It was a great day with a lot of enthusiasm on both sides.

“It was a great meet with great competition. Pittsburg has a good team and we gave them all they wanted, but they came out on top. That’s the way track is.”

The Gorilla and Lion women also finished strongly, taking second and third, respectively, behind runaway winner Lincoln.

The PSU women finished with 108 points, more than 100 points behind Lincoln. MSSU finished one point ahead of fourth-place Emporia State.

“Third place is probably about the best I thought we could do coming into the weekend,” MSSU women’s coach Patty Vavra said. “Obviously our goal is always to win it, but a third-place finish in a league as tough as this is something to be proud of.”

On the men’s side, Pitt State began pulling away from MSSU with a combined 10 points in the 400 and the 400 hurdles and then took control with Adam Volkert’s second-place finish in the 5,000.

That added up to an 18-2 advantage for PSU in those three events.

“We had our backs against the wall, and then Adam kind of put the knife in us after the 5,000,” Rutledge said. “He’s a very talented runner, and our guys are just a little too young right now in that race.”

MSSU’s Jeff Fraley finished fifth in the 100 before rebounding to win the 200 with a time of 21.14 seconds.

Darion Boure won the triple jump with a distance of 51 feet, 10.5 inches — more than a foot better than second-place Marquise Cushon from PSU.

The 4x400 relay team was second with a time of 3:12.95.

“That mile relay team may have punched their ticket to nationals,” Rutledge said. “They’re 11th in the nation now.”

Keenan Soles scored 20.5 points for Pittsburg State.

The Pittsburg High School graduate was second in the 200 and fourth in the 100 and triple jump. He also helped the Gorillas’ 4x100 relay team to a first-place finish.

Combined with his runner-up finish in the long jump on Saturday, Soles earned the men’s High Point Scorer award with 28.5.

On the women’s side, MSSU finished 1-2-5 in the pole vault.

Ashleigh McFarland and Sydney Haase each cleared 12-05.5, but McFarland won on misses. Melanie Bower cleared 21-01.5 for fifth place.

“That was a giant event for us,” Vavra said.

Brittani Regan was second in the triple jump after coming into the meet ranked fourth in the conference. Shelby Newell was seventh in the event.

Jasmin Hughes had a solid day with a third-place finish in the 200 and a fourth-place finish in the 100 after entering the meet ranked 11th and eighth in the respective events.

“We saw the real Jasmin Hughes today,” Vavra said. “She ran a 24.35 in the 200 for a provisional mark and then ran a 12.04 in the 100. Those are probably the best times she has run in her career.”

Pittsburg State got 28 points from Larissa Richards, setting a school record while capturing a second MIAA title of the weekend in the shot put.