By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Two Missouri Southern freshmen — Kaylee Morgan from Carthage and Tylor Albright from Galena — broke long-standing school long jump records during Friday afternoon’s last chance meet at Fred G. Hughes Stadium.
Morgan cracked the 20-foot barrier for the first time, sailing 20 feet, 13⁄4 inches. Nikeisha Beaumont of Lincoln matched that distance, and she was awarded first place on the strength of her second-best jump.
Morgan, who moved up to fourth in the national rankings, beat the Lion record of 20-01⁄2 set by Tongula Walker at the 1995 Division II national championships. While Walker lost the school record, she still holds the stadium record of just over 21 feet she set competing unattached in 2000.
Brittani Reagan, another Lion freshman, also threatened the record, going 19-111⁄2.
“Not only did they jump well, but they jumped a series of jumps over six meters,” Lions coach Patty Vavra said. “In fact, I don’t know if Kaylee jumped under six meters today. Kaylee had jumped 5.90 (meters) coming in and Brittany had only jumped 5.77, but they just had a great series of jumps. One of Brittany’s big jumps — 6.04 — was wind-aided, so it didn’t count. She had to come back and do it again and did 6.08.
“It was great competition, and those two jumped out of the pit today almost. It’s so fun to watch. Of course, being at home is always nice, too. They were on fire today. There is no doubt about that.”
Albright’s season best before Friday was 23-71⁄2, but he shattered that mark with a jump of 24-1. Albright broke the school record set by John Buchanan in 1992 by one-fourth of an inch, and he put himself in position to qualify for the national meet.
“Tylor Albright nailed a 24-foot long jump and is probably going to get in nationals,” said Tom Rutledge after his final home meet as the Lions’ coach. “He’s been close, and he’s been getting better every week.
“We had some good performances. We improved some in the shot and discus, just not enough. Seth Hackney is on the bubble (in the shot put). Taylor McClelland is on the bubble (in the triple jump). ... We now wait until Monday or Tuesday and find out.”
The Lions’ Whitney Hardy and Kylie Cornman solidified their national hopes with career-best efforts. Hardy cleared 5-8 in the high jump, and Cornman threw 48-63⁄4 in the shot put — her first time beyond 48 feet. Cornman now ranks seventh nationally and Hardy ninth.
However, Missouri Southern’s men’s 4x100 relay team, pole vaulter Melanie Bower and sprinter Jasmin Hughes fell short of provisionals. Hughes, in fact, ran a season-best 24.29 in the 200.
“It’s tough for Melanie — her back is bothering her — it’s hard to see her not get in because she got in last year as a freshman,” Vavra said. “And it was hard with Jasmin. She was a tenth (of a second) off or so, but that’s the way our sport is. It’s a matter of centimeters and hundreths of a second to separate whether you get to go or not. With every excitement of someone making it, there is the disappointment of somebody not making it.”
The Lions’ pole vaulters did not improve their marks. Michael Juergens, who broke a pole during one attempt, won the men’s competition at 16-31⁄2. Sydney Haase and Ashleigh McFarland tied for first among the women at just under 12 feet.