Men’s track team proves consistent

Hallie Hocker

Soaking up the sun, the men’s track and field team took advantage of the weather at Wichita State University April 16 to improve their marks.

Southern earned one more provisional qualifying mark from freshman pole-vaulter Russell Ellis. Ellis cleared a personal record (PR) of 16-00 3/4 to join his teammates in the national rankings.

“It was a great day to jump,” he said. “I was pretty pumped to PR on top of a provisional. I’m shocked still.”

Junior Matt Campbell and senior Chris Turner both cleared 16-6 3/4. Campbell placed third, and Turner took fifth due to jumps. Senior Kyle Rutledge cleared 16-00 3/4 and placed fifth above Ellis’s eighth place due to jumps.

“Pole vault had an extremely good day,” said Tom Rutledge, head men’s track and field coach. “We accomplished one goal in pole vault and have four people nationally ranked.”

This week the pole-vaulters have had former All-American Chris Steddum’s help in practice. Steddum comes from the University of South Carolina and has been an All-American pole-vaulter in both the indoor and outdoor season by consistently clearing 18-00.

In the shot put competition, junior Mike Hines took the top spot by throwing 53-11 for first. Freshman Nick Vince threw a PR of 48-11 for fifth.

“I’m getting better, definitely,” Vince said. “I feel like this weekend was good for me, and I feel like I could get bigger throws leading up to conference.”

Freshman Adam Sims threw 46-8 1/4 to place eighth. Sims was pleased with his throw, the second best of his career.

“It was like five inches off my PR,” he said.

Hines said Sims’ and his other teammates’ hard work encourages him.

“One thing that motivates me is seeing my teammate Adam Sims improve,” Hines said. “He’s working hard. Seeing him go out there and be consistent and continually get good throws gives me the motivation to improve.”

Taking fifth place in the high jump with a height of 6-04 was junior Kyle Rushing.

Rushing said he’s been struggling lately.

“Six-eight would be all right for confidence boosting,” he said.

In the long jump competition, decathlete Turner took seventh with a leap of 22-1 1/2.

He said the mark is not where he wants to be, but it is still better than where he’s been jumping.

“I jumped 23-00 consistently before but I haven’t done it in the outdoor yet,” Turner said.

His goal is to get a provisional in the decathlon, long jump and pole-vault his last season.

“It was a good meet to prepare for conference,” said freshman sprinter Chris Farmer, who ran one of his best times in the 200-meter.

Coach Rutledge said it is good the team is establishing consistency.

Senior Neil Hombs ran the 400-meter dash in 48.91 for ninth place. This is the fourth week he has run under 50 seconds this season.

The men’s 4×100-meter relay team, consisting of freshman Farmer, sophomore Jordan Ousley, junior Moses Manga and senior Turner, also placed seventh with a time of 42.52. On Saturday, all the distance runners will be joining up again with the team to compete at the University of Arkansas.

“We’re taking everybody,” Rutledge said. “We’re looking for improvements and will try to start polishing up for conference.”