Wind alters outcome for men

Hallie Hocker

Wind was an important factor for the men’s track and field team last weekend. They left early Saturday morning to compete at Emporia State University with a couple of Division I schools added into the mix of competition.

“We looked flat,” said Tom Rutledge, head men’s track and field coach. “We had a hard week in practice, but we can’t make excuses.”

The windy conditions proved beneficial for the pole vaulters.

“The wind was great,” said junior Matt Campbell. “There was a nice consistent tailwind that helped everybody out.”

Campbell cleared 16-6 3/4 to place second in the pole vault competition. Senior Chris Turner earned fourth with 16-00 3/4, while senior Kyle Rutledge had the same height but took sixth by jumps.

“I did all right; I can always do better though,” Rutledge said.

He’s looking to get on bigger poles and clear 16-6, two inches above his personal best, to get into nationals.

Freshman Russell Ellis is also working to get into nationals. Ellis had a PR (personal record) at the meet with a ninth place vault of 15-7 and came close to getting 16-1. Ellis said he’s slowly increasing his height and would like to get another PR this weekend. His goal is to get 16-0 or better to get into nationals.

“I’m very pleased with the pole vaulters,” Coach Rutledge said. “We have three in the top 10 in the nation and should soon have a fourth with freshman Russell Ellis starting to make a move.”

The wind on Saturday didn’t bother senior sprinter Neil Hombs either. Hombs took second place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.25.

Junior Mike Hines was disappointed with his fourth place discus toss of 153-11.

“I wasn’t really into it in the morning,” he said.

However, shot put went better.

Hines received a provisional in shot put with a third place throw of 53-11 3/4. Freshman Adam Sims threw 47-1 1/2 for eighth place.

Rutledge noted Hines’ improving and said he was pleased.

“Jamie Tallman is doing a great job with the throwers,” he said.

Tallman is the throwers’ coach.

The men’s “A” 4×400-meter relay took seventh with a time of 3:28.51.

In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, senior Craig Rhoads ran 9:44.96 to earn third place. Sophomore Dustin Miller earned 10th with a time of 10:14.53.

Junior Kyler Rushing rook ninth in the high jump, clearing 6-4 3/4. Senior Chris Turner took eighth in the long jump competition with 22-8 1/2.

Turner said he should be jumping 23-0 or more.

“I’ve still got some work to do, but I’ll get there by conference,” he said.

This Saturday the team will be leaving early in the morning once again only this time to compete at Wichita State University.

Rutledge said he has a good group of young men and to win the championship they’ll have to put in the time.

“Everybody has a breaking point,” he said, “true winners find a way to succeed.”