Men’s, Women’s track finish successful weekend

After a three week bye, due to weather, the Lions finally got to race someone besides themselves in practice.

“It’s been a wild season,” said women’s head track and field coach Patty Vavra.

Among the good performances this weekend was sophomore Jessica Self who threw a career best and provisional mark in the hammer at UCM this weekend.

“She had a really good series of throws,” Vavra said. “The thing people don’t realize about Jessica Self is she is pretty good at four throwing events and that’s unusual. You don’t see other throwers throwing in all four events. She is very versatile and competent in all throwing events.”

Self was second in the event. Sophomore teammate Cortney Vie threw 153-10 for fourth at UCM.

Junior Jessica Selby won the hammer throw event at Arkansas with a throw of 167-08. Self and came in fourth and sixth, respectively, but each had bigger throws at UCM than at Arkansas.

“To win an event there [at Arkansas] is a pretty big feat. It’s good competition,” Vavra said.

Selby also took first in the shot put this weekend at UCM with a throw of 47-09.25. Self threw 39-10.75 for fourth. Vie threw 39-09.25 for fifth.

Selby threw the same mark to take third at Arkansas in the shot put.

Senior Sarah Wallace also had a good showing at Arkansas with a career best time in the 800-M run with 2:17.31.

Wallace has been student teaching and competing this season, a feat Vavra said not many track and field athletes undertake.

“If anybody can do it, it would be her and she’s done that very well,” Vavra said.

Vavra also said the distance runners had a good two-day session. In many cases, the women ran a personal best on both days.

At Arkansas, freshman Ashley Bunch also improved in the 3000-M run with a fifth place finish of 10:39.66.

Vavra said sophomores Kara Eckard and Kari Fritchie ran the 3000-M steeplechase for the first time this weekend and did well.

In the 1500-M run at UCM Southern inched out all other competition in the top ten except for two UCM women. Eckard (4:57.01), Bunch (4:59.93), and freshmen Victoria Kline (5:00.78) and Cortney Waltbilling (5:02.65) were second through fifth in the event.

Vavra said as a whole, the distance group is improving late in the season.

“Coming off a tough cross country season, young athletes sometimes find it hard to come back competitively in the indoor season but Jamie Burnham has done a good job of getting them to peak in the outdoor season,” Vavra said.

In sprints, Danielle Oliver finished second in the 100-M dash with a time of 12.41.

She also took third in the triple jump, clearing 35-11.25. Freshman Jestine Hayes jumped 35-01.25 for fourth. Freshman Kayla Piley jumped 33-04.50 for sixth. Following her was freshmen Jessie Wood (33-04.00) and Chanell Lloyd (32-05.75).

Lloyd also took fourth in the 100-M hurdles in 15.27.

In the pole vault, freshman Ciara Lipsey got a personal best in outdoor when she cleared 11-05.75 this weekend.

She was excited about the jump and ready to go higher, but it wasn’t the day. She has a goal of 12 feet.

“To me, a 12-foot jumper is a different caliber jumper. So to me, I’d feel like I’d moved on to the next level if I cleared 12 feet,” Lipsey said.

On the men’s side, Coach Rutledge said the lack of competition the last couple weeks contributed to some sluggish performances.

There were still some stand-outs at the Arkansas though.

Two provisionals came from sophomore Dustin Dixon in the 5000-M run and junior John Isenman in the hammer throw. Dixon ran 14:38 at the KU Relays.

At Arkansas, Isenman took second in the hammer throw with 164-02 and junior Lucas Clark took fifth with 141-06.

“My first two throws were good, then I tried to force it instead of just sitting back and letting it go,” Isenman said.

Senior Dustin Miller took first place in the 3000-M steeplechase with a time of 9:30.75.

Freshman Corey Reynolds took fifth in the high jump with 6-06.75.

“It was a little difficult adjusting to the wind because it was blowing pretty hard, but I adjusted pretty well,” Reynolds said.

Juniors Jacob Williams and Russell Ellis tied for fifth in pole vault with 16-00.75.

Junior Adam Sims and freshman Eric Bearden took fifth (46-09.00) and sixth (46-04.25) in the shot put, respectively.

Sims also got sixth in the discus with a throw of 135-05.

“Overall, morale is good, kids are running well, and I’m pleased with the effort,” said Tom Rutledge, head men’s track and field coach.

Both teams are excited about competing at home this Friday.

“Being at home is a lot easier because you’re used to the environment and just the feeling of being at home is good,” Self said.