Men’s outdoor track heats up

The Missouri Southern men’s track and field team will send a small group of athletes to tonight’s University of Missouri Invitational. “We will send about four or five men to the meet,” said Tom Rutledge, men’s track and field coach.

“We were originally scheduled to compete at the University of Texas-Arlington, but my son, Assistant Coach Kyle Rutledge, is getting married tomorrow.”

A small group, consisting mainly of throwers, opened the outdoor season at the PSU/Wendy’s Open on March 22.

Senior Adam Sims finished third in the shot put with a distance of 47 feet, 11 and a quarter inches.

Sims also finished ninth in the discus with a throw of 36.53 meters.

“I wished he could have done this in the indoor season,” Rutledge said. “But, he is coming along nicely.”

Sims, however was the top collegiate performer in the shot put, placing behind former Southern thrower Mike Hines. Hines won the event with a distance of 52 feet, seven and a quarter inches.

“I coached Mike [Hines],” Rutledge said. “So, it’s nice to see him still doing well.”

Sophomore Kyle Hancock was fifth in the shot put, while senior John Isenman finished third in the hammer, but was the top collegiate performer. Isenman finished behind Southern coach Jamie Tallman.

Outdoor track and field consists of five events that are not in indoor track and field: javelin, hammer, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 10,000-meter run, and 400-meter hurdles.

“Having these events added makes it harder when you don’t have the depth,” Rutledge said.

Junior Dustin Dixon will be running again by the end of the season. Dixon broke his fibula in November at the Divison II Cross Country Nationals hosted by Southern.

“He won’t race for a while,” Rutledge said. “We are looking forward to having him back though.”

Southern will also get an extra boost by having senior TJ Britton on the team.

Britton has been out due to the 2007-2008 basketball season and will compete in the 800-meter run.

“He should win conference and get a trip to nationals,” Rutledge said.

“I enjoy having him. He is very talented and funny.”

The men’s team also sent three athletes to the Division II Indoor Nationals on March 15.

Senior Jacob Williams finished second in the pole vault with All-American honors. Williams jumped a height of 16 feet, 10 and three-quarter inches.

Senior Russell Ellis finished sixth in the pole vault with a height of 16 feet, two and three-quarter inches. Ellis also received All-American honors.

“They did a great job,” Rutledge said. “It was awesome. I am very proud of them.”

Sophomore Cory Reynolds earned a second place finish in the high jump.

“Cory [Reynolds] beat guys who had beat him in conference,” Rutledge said. “He earned All-American Honors, and really just jumped outstanding.”