Nummela breaks school record, earns MIAA Athlete of the Week

The Missouri Southern men’s track and field team will host today’s Bob Laptad /Bill Williams Invitational. Field Events are scheduled to begin today at 2 p.m., while running events start at 4 p.m..

“The meet may be switched to tomorrow, if there is bad weather,” said Tom Rutledge, men’s track and field head coach.

“In that case, field events will start at 10 a.m. and running events at 3 p.m.”

Freshman Aki Nummela was named MIAA Track and Field Athlete of the Week with a provisional in the 1,500-meter run at the University of Arkansas on April 19.

Nummela finished 22nd in the event with a time of 3:50, a new school record.

“Aki [Nummela] did an awesome job,” Rutledge said, “he really just ran a good race.”

Nummela’s time, broke the 14 year old record previously set by Jason Riddle in 1994.

Last weekend, the men’s team competed in the different meets: the University of Kansas Relays, Central Missouri Mule Relays, and the University of Arkansas John McDonnell Invite.

Freshman Jarrko Jarvenpaa finished second in the 3,000-meter run at Arkansas. Jarvenpaa finished with a time of 8:50.

“Jarrko [Jarvenpaa] had a break out meet,” Rutledge said, “he is doing a great job. He is getting back into the swing of things and I expect good things from him in the future.”

Also at Arkansas, junior Phillip Horn finished fourth in the decathlon. Horn also finished third in the Emporia State decathlon on April 10.

“Phillip [Horn] had a bad first day at Arkansas, but he came back the second day,” said Rutledge.

“At Emporia State, he had a good first day and a bad second day. Hopefully, we can put both days together for the MIAA Decathlon Championships at Fort Hays on Sunday.”

Sophomore Chris Brown finished in a three-way tie for tenth in the high jump. Brown jumped a height of six feet, four and three quarter inches.

“Chris is doing good,” Rutledge said.

“He is a little rusty, but he is finally getting his rhythm. It’s been a little tough for him and Corey [Reynolds], but they’ll make it.”

Senior John Isenman finished seventh in the hammer throw at Central Missouri. Isenman threw for a distance of 53.64 meters.

“John [Isenman] received his first provisional ever,” Rutledge said.

“He is doing a very good job.”

At the University of Kansas Relays, sophomore Brennan Benkert finished third in the 10,000-meter run against strong Division I competition. Benkert also received a provisional with his time of 31:04.

“It’s really cool having my name on the list of qualifiers for nationals,” Benkert said.

“Unfortunately, the time is not fast enough to get me in, as only the Top 16 go, and I am 19th. I am using that as my momentum going into the last two weeks of the season to keep myself motivated and focused.”

Senior Ryan Arthur finished right behind Benkert in fourth place, with a time of 31:06.

“Ryan [Arthur] ran extremely well against good competition,” Rutledge said, “I am very pleased. He had a great race.”

The men’s team will finish up their outdoor season with today’s home meet, followed by the MIAA Decathlon on Sunday, MIAA Outdoor Championships on May 3-4, Emporia State on May 10, and the NCAA Division II Nationals in Pomona, California starting on May 22.

“We are trying to get more people qualified for nationals,” Rutledge said.

“More people means more points. Our team is working hard and we are using this weekend to fine tune them for the conference meet.”