Track and field ready to ‘get the ball rolling’

The Missouri Southern women’s indoor track and field team started the season Jan. 11, competing against Division I schools at the University of Arkansas Invitational.

“We sent a limited group. A number of them really weren’t ready to compete, but it was a good start,” said Patty Vavra, women’s track and field coach.

Southern was well represented in weight throwing, placing five girls in the top 10. Senior Jessica Selby-Tallman placed 3rd with a throw of 16.56 meters. She was followed by senior Jessica Self (15.35m), who finished in 5th place. Sophomores Cortney Vie, Emilie Mieseler and senior Amanda Littlefield grabbed the 6th, 7th, and 9th place finishes.

“The weight throwers had a good opener. Cortney (Vie) and Emilie (Mieseler) had close to personal bests,” Vavra said.

“The throwers are extremely vital to the team. They’ve made a major impact.”

Selby-Tallman, Vie, Self, and Mieseler also competed in shot put earning the 2nd, 9th, 13th, and 14th place finishes. Senior Alison Walker competed in the 800 meter run finishing 14th. Senior Erica Culver placed 16th in the pole vault while sophomore Ciara Lipsey placed 21st.

“This season is going to be great. We have all been practicing hard,” Vie said.

The team also has two new members this semester. Sophomore Jill Weeks, a transfer student from Allen Community College in Kansas will be competing in throwing. Carita Ruitta, a freshman from Finland, will be competing in sprinting.

“Our sprint group is a little beat up, but they will improve,” Vavra said.

“The distance group is coming off a great cross country season. They will be pretty good fairly early. It is hard to peak all three seasons (cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track), but they are close to being ready.”

The men’s track and field team is ready to “get the ball rolling,” said Tom Rutledge, men’s track and field coach. The team competed at the University of Arkansas Invitational on Jan. 11.

Sophomore Derek Wright took 18th place in the 800 meter run. Freshman Kevin Wright took 21st in the 60 meter hurdle. Sophomores Cory Reynolds and Phillip Horn took 6th and 10th place finishes.

“They had a good day and they made a lot of improvements,” Rutledge said.

Seniors Russell Ellis and Jacob Williams finished 5th and 7th in the pole vault. Ellis jumped 16.075 feet.

“I wished I could have jumped higher, but who doesn’t. My goal is to break the school indoor record,” Ellis said.

Senior Adam Sims earned a 4th place finish in the shot put, while senior John Isenman placed 4th in the weight throw.

“We have 28 members on the roster, but we only took 10 people to Arkansas. We needed another week to get ready. We will be back to a full team soon,” Rutledge said.

The team is still without junior Dustin Dixon, who is out recovering from a broken fibula.

“Dixon is doing great. He is recovering quickly and may be back for outdoor track,” Rutledge said.

Sophomore Nick Heberle is still out with an Achilles injury and freshman Jarkko Jarvenpaa will not run either. Senior Kyle Davis will be back in action after missing some practice due to the birth of his second child.

Both teams will be back in action tonight, hosting the Fazoli’s/Baymont Inn Invitational. Events take place from 2:30 p.m.-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. The event is in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center and admission is free.