Women earn All-American honors for indoor, begin outdoor season

Two All-Americans return home for the Missouri Southern women’s track and field team after the NCAA Indoor Division II Championships March 10-11 in Boston.

Sophomore Jessica Selby and senior Iashia Castle earned the honors.

Selby came out of the shot put event in seventh place with a throw of 46-7.25. An inch farther than her fourth place finish in 2005, this was her second time to be All-America indoor in the shot put.

“The competition was better this year than last year,” Selby said. “It was an honor to throw with people at the same level.”

Now she has put her focus on the outdoor season, working hard to hit 49 feet.

“Hopefully this will make her hungrier for the outdoor season and upcoming years,” said Patty Vavra, head women’s track and field coach.

Castle competed in the triple jump. She stretched out for 38-7.50 to receive eighth place in the nation and All-America honors.

She said she was surprised to get the honor because she didn’t jump her best jump.

“It was great to see her get to nationals and be able to stand up on the All-America stand,” Vavra said. “It’s a nice accomplishment for her after all that hard work over four years.”

Vavra said freshman Alison Walker ran a respectable race in the 800-meter. She missed the finals by one-tenth of a second. She came in fifth in her heat with a time of 2:14.82.

Walker said she values the experience she had.

“It was a blast – a great experience even though I didn’t come home All-American,” she said. “Hopefully it will prepare me for the next two years for what the competition is going to be like.”

Now the team is heading out into the on-setting heat to compete for the outdoor season.

Southern hosted the Track and Field Festival March 31 and April 1 with several Lions placing.

“The meet was fairly small but very competitive,” Vavra said. “Several [University of] Arkansas athletes were here who were quality performers.”

She said there were a couple key people who were unable to compete, but she saw good improvements in performances like in the hammer and shot put events.

Several throwers made it into the finals in each throwing event, including the discus throw.

“Everybody keeps doing better each week, especially in the hammer,” said senior Ashley Clements.

Selby threw the hammer 160-03 for third. The previous week she threw a provisional 169-03 in the event.

“I always get excited when I’m doing well, and I feel a big improvement,” Selby said. “That’s how I feel about hammer right now.”

Sophomore Amanda Littlefield placed fourth in the hammer with 156-07. Clements threw 152-11 for sixth.

“It’s going to be a very strong event for us,” Vavra said. “They have good work ethic and are a talented group.”

In the shot put, Selby threw 46-02.50 for second. Littlefield threw the discus 123-09 for sixth.

Freshmen Jessica Self and Cortney Vie made it into the finals in all the throwing events.

“I’m excited,” Selby said. “I think we’ve got one of the best groups of throwers in the MIAA, especially in hammer.”

Senior Dionne Prince took third in the triple jump (37-00.50), long jump (17-08.75) and 100-meter hurdles (14.88). She also took fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.90.

Senior Melissa Horn also competed in the long jump. She finished sixth with 16-08.00. She also took third in the high jump with a leap of 5-01.25.

Freshman Kara Eckard ran a personal best in the 800-meter run with a third place time of 2:21.70. Junior Sarah Wallace took a couple seconds off her previous time with a run of 2:22.55.

The 4×400-meter relay took third with a time of 4:06.79.

Freshman Shannan Borgard ran the 400-meter dash in 1:00.73 for sixth place.

Freshman Abby Adams took sixth in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 11:00.14.

Vavra said the team is battling a couple of injuries, which is expected at this time of the year.

“We’ll be all right as long as we stay healthy,” Prince said. “Right now we’re in that time where stuff is starting to hurt.”

Castle said it’s difficult to score with more events in the outdoor season and small team, so it is important they stay healthy.

“Everybody needs to PR in their events and do the right thing,” she said. “They need to sleep right: no partying. This is crunch time.”

Vavra said the Lions will travel to Pittsburg State University Saturday to face PSU, Central Missouri State University and Fort Hays State University for a different team-oriented meet.

“Two people from every team score in every event,” she said. “It has a lot more team flavor to it.”