The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 4, 2013

MSSU, PSU set to battle for MIAA track title

The Joplin Globe

HAYS, Kan. — The scene is set today for a Pittsburg State-Missouri State battle for the men’s MIAA outdoor track and field championship.

After Saturday’s action concluded, the Gorillas led the team standings with 50 points, and Missouri Southern was next with 471⁄2.

“We had a lot of good things happen,” Lions coach Tom Rutledge said. “We had a few setbacks, but so did other people. Pitt is ahead of us by 21⁄2 points, and we’re basically going head to head right now. ... There are some events where we have the advantage and some events where they have the advantage. It’s going to be a battle, and we’re happy to be in there. We have to do what we do, and that’s keep our cool and stay competitive. And I’m sure Russ Jewett (PSU coach) is telling his kids the same thing.”

In the women’s meet, Kaylee Morgan posted two top-five finishes and Brittani Reagan took fourth place in the long jump to account for Missouri Southern’s 15 points.

Missouri Southern’s men picked up 18 points in the pole vault as Michael Juergens finished second, Brady Melugin and John Lowe tied for fourth place and Raymond Woldvoldt tied for seventh. Juergens and Will Haer of Northwest Missouri State each cleared 16 feet, 31⁄2 inches, but Haer won the event based on fewer misses.

“It was a tough day vaulting for everyone with the crosswind,” Rutledge said.

The Lions also picked up multiple points in the long jump (Taylor McClelland tied for fourth place and Darion Boure tied for seventh), the hammer throw (Dustin Green second and Evan Moore fifth) and 10,000 meters (Eric Schott fifth and Jake Benton eighth).

“Dustin Green had a PR in the hammer (194-8),” Rutledge said. “He was fired up after the discus. He had a great warmup in the discus but he fouled all three times.”

Jayce Thomas wound up fourth in the decathlon and Nicklas Polizzi was sixth in the discus.

Pittsburg State’s Keenan Soles and Steven Mann placed 2-3 in the long jump, and Kyle Utsey took sixth.

John Talbert took second in the discus and Cody Holland was eighth. Jeff Piepenbrink was fifth in the decathlon and tied for fourth in the pole vault, and Adam Volkert was fourth in the 10,000.

Among the MSSU-PSU battles today are the 100 and 200 meters where both schools qualified two runners to today’s finals. The Lions’ Jeff Fraley qualified first in the 200 and third in the 100, and Erron Holley was fifth in the 100 and seventh in the 200.

The Lions’ Miles Migliara qualified for the 800 final.

Morgan, a freshman from Carthage, finished fifth in the heptathlon with 4,491 points. And she took third in the long jump (18-113⁄4), taking her jumps both before and after she ran the 800 meters, the final event in the heptathlon.

“Kaylee Morgan had an outstanding day,” Lions coach Patty Vavra said. “She scored just over 4,000 points at Cowley County a month ago, and she almost hit 4,500 this weekend. That’s a great performance and a great improvement. There was a day when 4,500 points was like a bench mark, and I still think it is, especially for a freshman.”

Reagan was fourth in the long jump at 18-111⁄4, just one-half inch behind Morgan.

“Brittani Reagan had a PR in the long jump as well,” Vavra said. “The competition was so strong and so close.”

Sprinter Jasmin Hughes qualified fourth in the 200 and eighth in the 100.

Central Missouri leads the women’s standings with 36 points, followed by Pittsburg State 30, Emporia State 26, Truman State 22, Lindenwood 18 and Missouri Southern and Nebraska-Kearney each with 15 and Lincoln 14.

The Gorillas’ Larissa Richards set a meet record while winning the discus (171-4), and she was second in the hammer. Hannah DeVries took third in the 10,000.