Women overcome obstacles, set new records

Strong winds, fatigue from a tough week of practice and injuries were cited as factors in Southern’s track and field performance at Emporia State University last weekend.

“It was probably as windy of a day as we’ve had,” said Patty Vavra, head women’s track and field coach. “Anything we ran around the oval struggled.”

Vavra said last week was almost the peak intensity week of their work out. She said now they’d start cutting back.

“We trained all through last week knowing it may affect the quality of our performance in the meet,” Vavra said.

Several of the athletes agreed practice was tough last week.

“We just trained through the meet,” said junior Kelly Fanning.

The highlight of the meet came when senior thrower Danee Jones once again broke a University record.

This time it was the outdoor discus record previously set by Marissa Hunter in 2000.

Jones flung the discus 159-9 to raise the record nine inches.

The fourth-place throw gave Jones her second provisional mark this outdoor season.

She plans to improve on this throw and hopefully hit 170-0.

Freshman Amanda Littlefield got a PR (personal record) in the discus with an eighth place throw of 132-6.

“It was a good wind for discus; it carried it well,” Littlefield said. “It was a bad wind for hammer.”

In the shot put competition, freshman Jessica Selby earned third place with a throw 44-00 1/2. Jones was seventh with a throw of 43-00 1/2.

In addition to the discus throwers, the wind also aided the pole vaulters.

“A good tailwind made it easier to get on the poles,” Turner said.

Blevins agreed.

“A tailwind can be a pain if it’s too strong,” she said. “We had it perfect.”

With their tailwind, both Turner and Blevins cleared 10-6 and earned sixth and seventh places, respectively. This was Blevins’ second PR in the last two weeks of competition.

“She’s been working extra hard this year,” Turner said.

In the triple jump competition, junior Iashia Castle went 35-10 1/2 for sixth place.

She also placed eighth in the long jump with 17-9 3/4.

There was a four-way tie for 10th in the high jump competition including junior Melissa Horn who cleared 5-00 1/4.

In the 100-meter dash, freshman Whitney Metcalf placed fifth with 12.48.

Metcalf also placed third in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.12. Freshman Rachel Minard earned fourth place with 1:05.71.

Vavra said Minard had a nice improvement by dropping her time by five seconds.

Freshman Ashley McClelland came in seventh with 1:06.75. Castle finished the 400-meter dash in 59.61 to earn sixth place. Southern’s ‘A’ 4×400-meter relay finished seventh in 4:07.49.

Senior Ashley Caffey finished her first 5,000-meter run this outdoor season in 18:03.23 to claim second place.

Freshman Kelly O’Toole ran her way to fifth place with 19:03.20.

“We’ve been training really hard,” Caffey said. “We used [ESU] as a training tool.”

In the 1,500-meter run, junior Erin Click claimed third by finishing in 4:50.87. Fanning ran 4:53.39 to gain sixth place.

Though the weekend proved to be tough, O’Toole is looking at it optimistically.

“We can concentrate not on it being a bad experience but a learning experience,” she said.

Caffey said they’ll soon start tapering down their workouts.

“Our last few meets we should be running pretty good,” she said.

Saturday Southern travels to Wichita State University to compete.

“This weekend will be really cool for me,” Blevins said. “It’s the stadium I jumped at all through high school. If there would be a slight tailwind, that would be perfect.”