Track team prepares for ‘wet feet’

Courtnie Vie competes in the hammer throw. Vie took sixth in the event while Jessica Selby took first with a NCAA provisional distance of 178 ft. 2 in. The Lions placed three in the Top 10.

Hallie Hocker

Courtnie Vie competes in the hammer throw. Vie took sixth in the event while Jessica Selby took first with a NCAA provisional distance of 178 ft. 2 in. The Lions placed three in the Top 10.

Hallie Hocker

The first outdoor home meet is always a good time for athletes to get their feet wet, according to women’s head track and field coach Patty Vavra.

“They literally got their feet wet in the steeple chase,” Vavra said.

Sophomores Kara Eckard and Kari Fritchie were the lone runners in the 2000-M steeplechase. The event is usually 3000-M, however the women were told to run 2000-M of the event to try it out for this week’s meet.

“It’s exciting because we haven’t had any steeplechasers for a while,” Fritchie said.

Eckard said it was fun except for the water pit obstacle on the course.

“Everyone congregates around it hoping you take a swim,” she said.

Fritchie said they didn’t put on a show for the crowd though.

The water pit isn’t the only obstacle in the race, there’s also a barrier to hurdle.

“It’s awkward, like when you’re first trying to ride a bike,” Eckard said. “Because the barrier doesn’t go down, you do.”

Fritchie said she “froggy-jumped” the barrier at least once.

“After the first one, I heard ‘wait for me!'” Eckard said laughing.

The women said it was a fun event for them to try out together as roommates and teammates.

“There will be another 1000-M [added to the race] this weekend at a faster speed,” Fritchie said.

While junior Erica Culver didn’t try a new event, she excelled in her own.

Culver said she had a “mission accomplished” when she broke the outdoor university record by almost a foot.

She cleared 12-05.25 for the win in the pole vault competition last Friday.

Melissa Turner set the previous record of 11-06.00, in 2003. Freshman Ciara Lipsey cleared 10-10.00 for second.

Culver credits part of her success to using a different pole.

“I definitely used big sticks,” she said.

While an automatic national qualifying mark is 12-09.00 in the event, Culver has set her hopes on 13-04.00.

“That was her career best ever,” Vavra said. “She may have to go farther than normal this year because the competition is stiff.”

Junior Jessica Selby broke her university record by two feet in the shot put event with a winning throw of 48-06.75. Selby also won the hammer throw with 178-02.

“She had great support in both throwing events from the other throwers,” Vavra said.

In the 5000-M run freshman Ashley Bunch improved her time by 20 seconds for a second place finish with 18:37.77.

In the 400-M hurdles, freshmen Channell Lloyd and Danielle Oliver came in second and third respectively, with 1:05.92 and 1:06.86.

The 4×100-M team took first with a time of 47.81, close to a provisional qualifying mark.

“They’re knocking on the door to get a provisional in that event,” Vavra said.

The relay team is aiming to go to nationals this season.

The men also had some excellent performances last Friday at the MSSU Track and Field Festival. Overall, the men’s and women’s teams claimed 16 wins.

Junior Russell Ellis cleared a provisional of 16-08.75, taking second in the event. Junior Jacob Williams and Ellis are respectively ranked second and third in the nation in the D-II event.

Senior Marcus Walton finished first in the 800-M run with 1:53.88. Walton said his goal is to run whatever it takes to get to nationals.

“It was a good place to start,” Walton said. “People came out and did well.”

Sophomore Ryan McPeak took third in the 200-M dash in 22.18.

He also came in first in the 400-M dash with a personal record of 48.44. Freshman Andrew Wright came in second with a time of 51.23.

“It was only my second race of the year,” McPeak said. “So hopefully I’ll run faster.”

Head men’s track and field coach Tom Rutledge said the teams really appreciated the football team’s help in running the meet.

“It helped us stay focused on running and not running and then working or working and then running,” he said.

Southern’s next meet will be the Emporia State/State Farm Invitational April 7.