Track Lions set the bar

While most performances weren’t above normal, the athletes gained experience competing at the Tyson Invitational last weekend.

“It was a good experience for younger kids because lot of them did swallow their adam’s apple because they weren’t used to that competition,” said men’s head track and field coach Tom Rutledge. “It’s the largest collegiate meet in the country.”

While the distance medley relay team improved their time to 10:07.33, the team still looks to improve their time to secure their spot at the national meet.

In a last effort to improve it, the DMR will be competing at the University of Nebraska on Friday before joining the team at the University of Central Missouri on Saturday. The next two meets will be at the UCM. This weekend the team will get used to racing on the track before the MIAA Conference meet next weekend. Rutledge said the teams to beat will be Northwest and Central, due to their depth and balance.

“For us to win, we’re going to have to have a perfect meet,” he said.

Women’s head track and field coach Patty Vavra said her team’s weakness is the lack of conference meet experience.

“I always say, if you don’t better your best performance, you’ll be left in the dust,” she said.

Senior Sarah Wallace also agreed that the conference meet has a lot stiffer competition.

“Conference is a whole different ball game. It’s different than any other regular meet,” said senior Sarah Wallace.

Nevertheless, Rutledge said he expects to see continued good effort and improvement.

“They’re a great group of guys,” Rutledge said. “They’re improving, doing well, and working hard. I’m very pleased with their progress.”

Rutledge still wonders if the team has progressed far enough to win the conference meet.

“They’ll give everything they got,” he said.

Vavra agreed.

“We’re going to compete hard no matter what,” she said. “That’s a demand.”