Track finishes successful weekend

Lion pole vaulter Jacob Williams clears 16-ft 6-inches last Saturday. Southern will host the Radio Shack Invitational tomorrow at the Legget & Platt Athletic Center.

Lion pole vaulter Jacob Williams clears 16-ft 6-inches last Saturday. Southern will host the Radio Shack Invitational tomorrow at the Legget & Platt Athletic Center.

With two provisionals and several good performances, men’s head coach Tom Rutledge said he can’t complain.

“We had a great weekend,” he said. “I was very pleased.”

Junior pole-vaulter Jacob Williams had the first provisional at the meet.

While Williams was glad to clear 16ft-2 in, he then went on to clear 16ft 06in and take the second seat in national Division II rankings. Junior Russell Ellis cleared 16ft 2in and is currently ranked fourth in the nation. Sophomore Seager Wilson is eleventh nationally.

“When I cleared it, it was almost a shock,” said Williams, whose goal at the beginning of the season was to qualify for nationals.

He said he was very excited because he had a lot of family in the crowd cheering him on.

“Now I just have to sharpen everything up and get ready for indoor nationals,” he said. “I’ll work hard until that rolls around.”

Freshman Chris Brown also hit a provisional qualifying mark. Brown high jumped 6ft 08.75in for second place. Freshman Cory Reynolds tied for fourth with 6ft 04.75 inches.

Brown and Reynolds both said they didn’t feel like they competed near their best. Brown said he and Reynolds are both dealing with injuries. However, they both look forward to competing better at home this weekend. Brown said his goal was now to get 6ft 10inches to secure his place at the national championship.

“I would be happy with one of them making it to nationals,” said Kyler Rushing, student assistant. “I’d like them both to be consistent at 6ft 10inches by the end of outdoor.”

Freshman Ryan McPeak turned in a time of 50.69 seconds in the 400-meter dash despite fighting an injury. Junior Marcus Walton finished sixth in 51.07 seconds.

This weekend McPeak will be trying out different races in preparation for the conference meet.

Meanwhile, Southern took fifth in the 4×400-Medley with a time of 3:32.08.

Junior John Isenman took sixth in the weight throw with 49-02.25. (lbs? ozs?)

In the mile run, freshman Isaac Garcia took sixth in 4:26.13.

“We’re sitting in pretty good shape,” Rutledge said. “The times will get faster and faster. The 3000-meter and 5000-meter people really put on a show. They ran as a team and basically looked very strong.”

Sophomore Dustin Dixon won the 5000-meter race with a time of 15:06.80. Junior Dustin Miller followed in second (15:17.61), junior Ryan Arthur in third (15:20.11), freshman Brennan Benkert in seventh (16:05.58) and unattached freshman Nick Haberle in ninth (16:17.11).

The 3000-meter race went almost the same way. Arthur came in second (8:44.05), freshman Ricky Armstrong in third (8:46.95), Miller in fourth (8:55.56) and sophomore Bret Musser in seventh (8:59.94).

The distance medley relay took fourth with a time of 10:12.96. The team consists of Dixon, junior Kyle Davis, Walton and McPeak

“We can do far better because those times will come down,” Rutledge said. “We need 10 [minutes] flat or better.”

Dixon said this year must be a slower year for the medley. Last year the DMR was ranked seventh in the nation with 10 minutes flat. This year the team is ranked fourth without a better time. However, Dixon is hoping the medley will knock it down to 9:57 at the Tyson Invitational to qualify for nationals.

This weekend Chiartano, Miller, Garcia, and Patrick will run the medley.

Last weekend Rutledge doubled the distance runners in events to put pressure on them and was very happy they “held up to the task.”

“This weekend some of them will have a break to rest,” he said. “For others, the competition will be tougher at the meet this weekend than at last weekend.”

Southern will face such teams as the University of Missouri-Rolla, University of Central Missouri, Southwest Baptist University, and Pittsburg State University.

“Central is tough because they’re balanced,” Rutledge said. “They hit hard in the jumps, sprints, and hurdles. So we need to concentrate in the events we’re strongest.”