Runners shave time off personal bests

With two on their way to the Tyson Invitational, the rest of the Lions headed to Central Missouri State University to place at the Mule Relays Friday. The team took seven top five finishes in the meet.

One of the biggest improvements came from sophomore distance runner Kelly O’Toole in the 5,000-meter run. O’Toole ran a personal best of 18:25.93, 33 seconds faster than her previous best record.

“Normally, after a race even if I do well, I think I could have done better,” she said. “But after this race, I was like ‘Wow, I did pretty good.'”

While she said she normally feels anxious before the race, this time she was excited.

“I was ready to go out and race and beat some people,” she said.

O’Toole said her performance gave her more confidence.

“The better she runs, the more confidence she has,” said women’s head track and field coach Patty Vavra.

“She is running with a lot of confidence right now. With more success comes confidence and I think that will really put her to improve her performances as well.”

In the weight throw competition, senior Ashley Clements threw a third place mark of 50-00.

“It was mediocre,” Clements said. “After coming off a personal record it’s hard to be happy with less than that. I’m still trying to be positive for this weekend.”

In the next few weeks Clements hopes to bump up her personal record by a few inches to hit a provisional mark of 52-00.

Sophomore Amanda Littlefield took fourth in the weight throw with 48-10.75.

She said after a slow start to the season, it was a good mark to hit.

“It’s comforting to finally get a better mark before conference,” she said.

She hopes to place for points at conference.

“At this point I definitely think it’s possible,” she said.

Freshman Shannon Borgard ran 1:29.91 to a fourth place finish in the 600-yard run. Junior Sarah Wallace followed in fifth with 1:30.32.

It was Borgard’s first time competing in the 600-meter. Since she is used to competing in the 800-meter, she didn’t quite know what to expect in the race.

“I wouldn’t say it’s my best performance, but it was good to get out there and run and get a feel for it,” she said.

She said the most disappointing part was the finish. She believed she could’ve passed two girls, but she tightened up at the end. In the next two meets she looks to improve her time to 1:27.

Two more fourth place finishes came from senior Dionne Prince in the triple jump with 36-10.50 and

the 60-meter hurdles.

Prince said having a week off because of a leg injury helped keep her legs fresh for the meet.

Vavra said Prince continues to steadily improve in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.19 and ran 9.05 in the preliminaries.

“The more we can have improved performances at this time of year, the more confidence we can go into conference with,” Vavra said.

Friday and Saturday the Lions head to the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. for their last chance to compete before the conference meet. Southern will host the MIAA conference indoor track and field championships Feb. 24 and 25.