Men’s team resets University records

Even though it was his first time running the open 400-meter dash, junior Marcus Walton broke the University record.

He ran 49.39 to reset the record by .43 seconds from Preston Smith’s earlier one in the event in 1991.

While Walton is ranked eighth nationally in the 800-meter, he was still surprised he ran as fast as he did.

“The turns were real tight on the track, so I knew I was going to have to go a little bit harder than usual,” he said.

Rutledge said it was no surprise Walton broke the record.

Walton will be running the 400 again this weekend at home when Southern hosts the MIAA conference championship.

In the pole vault competition, sophomore Russell Ellis improved his provisional mark by clearing 16-1.25 at OU.

“He nailed it Saturday; he had a great day,” Coach Rutledge said.

Ellis now sits sixth in the nation in D-II pole vault.

“I knew eventually it was going to come,” Ellis said. “It just took some time.”

With a higher mark and one week left of competition, the chances are good for him to compete at the national meet.

“It’s going to be crazy,” he said. “Ever since I got here, my goal has been to go to nationals. I always wanted to do that.”

He’s the third Lion, along with seniors Matt Campbell and Kyle Rutledge, to get within the top six national rankings this indoor season.

The Lions went second through fifth in the meet. Campbell cleared 16-7.25. Ellis and Rutledge cleared the same height, Rutledge taking fourth. Freshman Seagar Wilson took fifth with a mark of 15-1.50.

“Seagar Wilson is scratching at the door,” Coach Rutledge said. “It’d be awesome to get four out of twelve vaulters in the national championship. It’d be a perfect slate.”

Ellis hopes to clear 16-4 at conference, which has been his goal all indoor season.

In the running events, the Lions took first in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:23.41.

Freshman Bret Musser placed fifth in the mile run with 4:29.04. Sophomore Thane Garnett took sixth with 4:31.27.

In the 1,000-meter run Kyle Davis took beat his only other competitor with a time of 2:34.64.

In the 800-meter run, freshman Dustin Dixon finished sixth in 2:00.25. Sophomore Rustan Crockett followed in eighth with 2:07.90.

Freshman Justin Franklin took seventh with 23.02 in the 200-meter dash.

Junior Dustin Miller won the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:07.56. Sophomore Ryan Arthur followed in second with 9:15.79.

Senior Kyler Rushing high jumped 6-04 for seventh place.

In the weight throw competition, junior Lucas Clark finished with a third-place mark of 15.19 m. Sophomore Jon Isenman took fourth with 14.30 m. Senior Mike Hines placed fifth with 14.21 m.

Hines won the shot put event with a throw of 53-5.5 feet (16.29 m). Sophomore Adam Sims took fifth with a 14.29-meter throw.

“[Mike] is primed, sitting right on the bubble at 13th,” Rutledge said. “They take the top 12 and he’s had good practices the last couple of weeks. I think Mike could do it at conference and go to nationals.”

Rutledge said Hines will have to hit 55-0 to get to nationals and that the mark could win the conference.

“He’s prime to have a big throw and workouts have been showing that,” Rutledge said.

As for the MIAA conference meet this weekend, Coach Rutledge said it’s exciting to have the home crowd here.

Kyle Rutledge said it helps having the meet at home because they’re used to the track.

“It’s our home field, we practice on it everyday and know pretty much everything there is about the track,” he said.

Coach Rutledge said the teams to beat will be Central Missouri State University, Pittsburg State University and Emporia State University.

Coach Rutledge said the team can’t afford to make any mistakes, but he believes they’ll do well against the competition.

“I feel our guys give me everything they possibly can,” Coach Rutledge said. “I can’t ask any more. They’re a super group of young men.”