Big push is on for men’s track as conference meet gets closer

Big push is on for mens track as conference meet gets closer

Julie Lybarger

Big push is on for men’s track as conference meet gets closer

The Missouri Southern men’s track and field team will begin action tonight at the Central Missouri Relay Invitational and the University of Nebraska Prairie Wolf Invite.

The men’s team will be taking 11 athletes to Nebraska, while the women will only be taking two.

“The big push is on,” said Tom Rutledge, men’s track and field coach. “We are giving them the opportunity to get better and make better marks.”

Last weekend, the team competed at the University of Arkansas Tyson Invitational and the Radio Shack Invitational hosted by Southern. The men’s team claimed two individual titles in the high jump and the 800 meter dash.

Sophomore Corey Reynolds won the high jump with a provisional height of six foot 10.25 inches.

“He is doing great,” Rutledge said. “Right now, he is tied for fourth in the nation.”

Sophomore Derek Wright won the 800 meter dash with a time of one minute and 57 seconds.

“Derek is really starting to make a move,” Rutledge said. “He had a personal record and I am really proud of him.”

Seniors Jacob Williams and Russell Ellis both hit national qualifying marks in the pole vault competition. Both reached a height of 16 feet and six inches. Williams finished third while Ellis finished fourth.

Sophomore Corey Shumate also reached a provisional height of 15 feet, eight and a quarter inches. Junior Seagar Wilson placed seventh in the pole vault.

Williams, Ellis, and Shumate also competed at the Tyson Invitational placing second, fourth and sixth.

“Hopefully, we can get all four vaulters in the national competition,” Rutledge said.

Senior Ryan Arthur finished second in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 15:27 and tenth the night before at the Tyson Invitational.

Sophomore Brennan Benkert placed sixth in the 5,000 meter run. Freshman Aki Nummela finished fourth in the one mile run at the Tyson Invitational.

“Aki [Numella] is doing good,” Rutledge said. “He needs about two second off his time to get in the national meet.”

Back in Joplin, Senior John Isenman was fifth in the weight throw. Sophomore Jordan Patton finished sixth in the 60 meter finals. Patton finished in a time of 7.06.

Senior Kyle Davis placed fifth in the mile with a time of 4:33. Junior Phillip Horn finished fourth in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8:47.

Senior Dustin Miller won the 3,000 meter run with a time of 8:50, while freshman Jarrko Jarvenpaa finished third.

“Jarrko [Jarvenpaa] really needs a little more racing experience, but I think he can definitely help us in the conference meet,” Rutledge said.

Coach Rutledge also signed three athletes onto the team Monday. Rutledge signed Tyler Burgess of Joplin High School, Shawn Goebel of Washington High School and Jacob Crocker of Lebanon High School.