Members of the womens track and field team circle the track, while senior Jessica Selby-Tallman holds the MIAA trophy. Selby-Tallman won the shot put and weight throw.

Meagan Morrison

Members of the women’s track and field team circle the track, while senior Jessica Selby-Tallman holds the MIAA trophy. Selby-Tallman won the shot put and weight throw.

The women’s track and field team brought home the indoor MIAA Conference championship for the first time in four years last weekend.

“I’m so happy for them-extremely proud-but happy because they deserve to have that success,” said Patty Vavra, women’s head track and field coach.

Vavra said the biggest factor in the success was the unifying team effort in a sport that is often individualized.

“Everybody stepped in and did their part,” Vavra said. “It’s so difficult to do that in this conference and in the conference championship, but we really knew that’s what it was going to take to have a win.”

Junior Stacy Borgard, who finished third in the 600 yd run, said she kept hearing Coach’s words “Don’t miss it” (referring to the opportunity to compete and fellowship with teammates) while she was getting ready to race this weekend.

And the team didn’t ‘miss it.’

“As a group, they were so focused and so intense, they would not be denied,” Vavra said.

The merits were so widespread throughout the team; Vavra had a hard time not being impressed by every member.

“It’s hard to name anybody because it seems to take away from the effort of the others because they all worked their heart out and competed so well,” Vavra said.

One example of that is the distance medley relay lapping Northwest Missouri State University and Truman State University on its way to a 16 second winning gap over Pittsburg State University, who took second.

The team consisting of sophomore Courtney Waltbillig, freshman Carita Riutta, senior Alison Walker and junior Kara Eckard finished in a time of 12:19.31.

Walker also came out in front of the 800M run with a time of 2:18.23.

Another distance runner, sophomore Kimi Shank, took second in the 3K and 5K with 10:10.54 and 17:29.65, respectively.

Another Lion also scored in the 3K: sophomore Victoria Kline took third.

“It was the first time I doubled this year and it wasn’t as rough as I thought it would be,” Shank said.

Next, Shank will be going to nationals in the 5K to compete against the female who beat her in both events: senior Jonel Rossbach from Emporia State.

Rossbach is currently ranked first in the nation in the 5K while Shank sits not too far behind in fourth.

“We’ll meet again,” Shank said with a laugh.

Standouts helped the team, but Vavra said multiple scoring in the same event was key to winning.

Selby-Tallman led the way again in the shot put, winning with a throw of 51-09 and topping her previous building record throw. Selby-Tallman leads the nation in the D-II event.

Sophomore Cortney Vie finished third (42-10.75) and junior Jessica Self was sixth (42-02.25).

The Lions then scored in four places in the weight throw. Selby-Tallman threw 56-10.25 for first. Self took second with 56-08.50.

Vie and sophomore Emilie Miesler placed fourth and fifth respectively.

The pole vault also had multiple scorers. Senior Erica Culver claimed the title, clearing 12-01.50. Sophomore Ciara Lipsey took fourth in the event with 11-01.75.

“It felt great,” said Culver of her long awaited performance.

“I feel like I’m right on track. A lot of stress went into that, but I feel like I peaked at the right time.”

Also in the mile run, Eckard and Waltbillig took third and fourth, with their respective times of 5:11.63 and 5:13.52.

Sophomore Channell Lloyd doubled up in events as well taking fifth in the 60M hurdles and fourth in the triple jump.

The 4x400M relay also scored for the team with a sixth place finish of 4:04.23.

Next, national competition is on the list for four Southern women: Selby-Tallman (shot put), Self (weight throw), Culver (pole vault) and Shank (5K).

“It’s what I’ve been looking forward to my whole career,” said Self of her first national meet.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work and time. My coaches have been pushing me to new limits to do things I didn’t think I could have done.”

Meanwhile, Selby-Tallman, sitting at first in the nation, is eyeing the shot put title.

“I anticipate having the best competition of my life,” Selby-Tallman said.

“And hopefully it will be good enough to bring home the gold.”