Men’s Track takes on D-I schools at Arkansas, prepare for MIAA

Division I schools provided some competition but the Lions prevailed April 23 at the University of Arkansas’s John McDonnell Invitational.

“Naturally, Arkansas was a very competitive meet,” said Tom Rutledge, head men’s track and field coach, “But we held our own.”

Senior Chris Turner grabbed first place in the pole vault competition with a season high of 16-10 3/4. Senior Kyle Rutledge cleared 15-9 for fourth place.

In high jumping with 6-4 3/4, junior Kyle Rushing took fourth place.

He also ran a season’s best in the 4×400-meter relay which placed fifth with a time of 3:22.98. Rushing ran the relay with junior Moses Manga and Turner and senior Neil Hombs.

Senior Craig Rhoads finished the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a season’s best time of 9:31.97 to earn fourth place. Sophomore Dustin Miller finished with a seventh place time of 10:06.00.

Senior Paul Koehler ran the 3,000-meter in 8:39.10 to place eighth.

Koehler qualified to compete in 10,000-meter at the Drake Relays Thursday. This is his second year qualifying, and he looks to do well.

In the triple jump, senior Michael Stewart placed sixth with 45-3 3/4.

“It was my first time jumping in a month,” Stewart said, who is recovering from a back injury. “I did about what I expected because I’m out of practice. It could’ve been worse.”

He says he wants to make it through the rest of the season and help his team.

In the long jump competition, freshman Sam McDonald leaped 20-1 1/2 to come in tenth.

Junior Mike Hines took second in the shot put competition with 53-8 1/4. Freshman Nick Vince threw 47-11 3/4 for fifth place. Freshman Adam Sims came in eighth with 46-3 1/4.

Sophomore Lucas Clark earned fifth place in the hammer with a season’s best of 144-10. Clark said his goal is to get a PR Saturday and to place in conference.

Freshman John Isenman threw the discus 112-11 for ninth.

In the javelin competition, senior Mika Alahaivala threw a season’s best of 222-8 and took second. He also holds the number two spot in the nation for Division II javelin.

Hombs ran a second place time of 48.89 in the 400-meter dash (unseeded). Manga ran in 51.63 and came in ninth place.

In the 200-meter dash (unseeded), freshman Chris Farmer had a PR of 22.01 and took fifth place.

“I’ve been doing that [decreasing time] consistently the last three meets,” said Farmer who expects it to be 21.9 for conference.

In the unseeded 800-meter run, freshman Rustan Crockett finished in 10th with 2:08.88.

In the unseeded 1,500-meter run freshman Brandon Wheeler placed sixth with 4:09.12. Junior Lucas Plocher came in eighth with 4:14.51.

Due to inclement weather, the Bill Williams/Bob Laptad Invitational hosted by Southern will be held Saturday.

Field events start at 1 p.m. Running events start at 3 p.m.

“We have to bring a good attitude and have a good time,” Kyle Rutledge said. “That’s all we can ever ask.”

Then on Sunday and Monday, Turner and McDonald will compete in the MIAA decathlon at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

McDonald said he’s “stoked” and will be trying to score some points.

Turner said he is looking to do better than previous decathlons because he is healthy and knows what he’s doing unlike his first year competing as a decathlete.

On May 7 and 8, the Lions will compete in the MIAA conference championship at Pittsburg State University.

“We’re in pretty good condition to win the conference championship,” Koehler said. “So far overall it’s been a really good season.”

Rutledge said while they have been inconsistent most of the year, he has a good group of athletes that work hard.

He said he admires the distance runners for their stamina, the pole-vaulters for their courage and the throwers and runners for their work ethic. This is the reason he enjoys coaching track and field.

He said he wants them to perform well, do the best of their abilities and have fun.

“If we can put it together one more time, that’ll show a lot of character,” Rutledge said.