Weather causes mixed results, chance to bond at outdoor track meet

Weather has always been a factor in outdoor sporting events, and the Lions saw the good and bad side in competition April 22.

At the University of Missouri-Rolla Dewey Allgood Invitational, the men and women were rain-delayed twice during competition.

“We had team bonding time during the rain outs,” said senior Iashia Castle.

“We got creative to make the time go by.” Castle said warm-up time was down to the minutes when the delays were called off both times.

Patty Vavra, head women’s track and field coach, said they still saw some bright spots and nice improvements though.

Despite the lack of adequate warm-up time, Castle had a career-best triple jump with a winning mark of 39-07.75 and is currently ranked 10th in the nation. Senior Dionne Prince went 37-05.25 for fourth in the event.

“I guess it turned out well,” Castle said. “I didn’t have expectations before the triple jump; I just went out there to see what happened.”

She also ran the anchor leg in the winning 4×400-meter relay.

Freshmen Camille Brown, Stacy Borgard, and Alison Walker teamed with Castle to knock 10 seconds off the Lions’ best time this season. They ran it in 3:57.89 for first place.

“I’m very proud of Camille and Stacy,” Castle said. “They’re working really hard, and it’s starting to show at the end of the season. They contributed to the 10-second drop.”

Brown said in the 4×400-meter relay she was focused on doing her part to help out the team.

“People are realizing the season is close to an end,” she said. “Everybody wants to zone in and do things for other people to win and do things for each other.”

Borgard said they all clicked, and their performance gave them a confidence boost.

“Hopefully we’ll keep knocking down time,” she said.

Another “bright spot” in the meet was the high jump. Senior Melissa Horn had a career best mark of 5-05.

“I was a lot springier off my feet, which in turn gives me more pop,” Horn said.

While Horn said it’s difficult to switch from high jump form to long jump form, she still placed sixth in the long jump with 16-00.50. Senior Iashia Castle took second in the event with 17-11.00 while Prince took third with a leap of 17-08.00.

“It’s nice to see the seniors step up in the end of the season,” Vavra said. “Hopefully they’ll have a great end to their career.”

Distance runners Kelly O’Toole, sophomore, and Bret Musser, freshman, said they both could have used some more competition in the front of the 5,000-meter run.

O’Toole hit the finish line first in the 5,000-meter run in 18:55.27.

She said her time was better than at Wichita State University, but she could’ve had better.

“If someone was there to push me, I could’ve ran a faster time,” she said.

Musser also took first place in the 5,000-meter with a time of 15:48.55. Sophomore Ryan Arthur came in fourth with 16:01.69, while sophomore Anthony Reed took sixth with 16:16.46.

“The competition could’ve been there but it wasn’t that day,” Musser said.

He also said they delayed the race twice, for an hour each time, due to the weather.

In addition, Southern also took some of the top spots in the throws.

“Jessica Self improved in almost every event,” Vavra said. “We dominated the throws in the places.”

Freshman Cortney Vie threw for first in the shot put with 40-00.00, her best throw yet.

“It’s was a great throw,” she said. “I felt like it clicked.”

Vie hopes now to reach 42-00 before conference.

Senior Ashley Clements took fourth with a throw of 38-06.25. Freshman Jessica Self took sixth with a throw of 38-04.75.

In the discus, sophomore Amanda Littlefield threw 127-02 for first. Self took second with 125-04. Vie took fifth with 121-01.

Self took second in the hammer with 151-07. Clements threw 151-00 for third. Littlefield came in fourth with 150-00. Vie threw 130-10 for sixth.

Self and Littlefield threw the javelin for the second time in competition this season.

On the men’s side, sophomore John Isenman threw 162-07 for second place in the hammer. Sophomore Lucas Clark took fourth with 143-04.

“It was a good series of throws, my technique was clicking,” Isenman said.

Tom Rutledge, head men’s track and field coach, said Isenman is “pumping it out there” and is helping some of the team to do the same.

“At this rate he will hit a provisional mark before the end of the season,” Rutledge said.

In the shot put, sophomore Adam Sims took second with a throw of 46-06.00.

While some Lions saw rain, others saw sun while competing at Texas Christian University.

“It was a rollercoaster,” Rutledge said. “The weather was absolutely perfect. We squandered a very good day.”

He laughed and said the reason for the “OK” performances is the athletes aren’t used to good weather.

“We got down there and coaches and everybody got the lazies,” he said.

He said some of the performances were a little flat, but Southern was still represented well against tough competition.

As for the next meet, the Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invitational is set for Friday at Southern.

“It’s the last time competing for these seniors who have made such an impact for this program and team,” Vavra said.

Borgard said the seniors have done a lot for the team and will be greatly missed.

Vavra said the teams always look forward to home meets.

For the meet Friday, Vavra said she expects a smaller field of great, quality competition.

The meet is set to begin at 3 p.m. Friday.

“You always feel like you have to do your best,” O’Toole said. “But when it’s your home town and fans are in the stands, it makes you want to do better.”

The Lions also compete at home April 30 to May 1.