Women set several personal records for track and field

While the Lions didn’t reclaim the conference championship, they did have several personal records set at the MIAA indoor track and field championships Feb. 25-26 in Warrensburg.

“We competed extremely hard,” said Patty Vavra, head women’s track and field coach. “I couldn’t have asked for a much better performance from the entire team.”

The Lions tied for third with Pittsburg State University, coming right behind Central Missouri State University and Emporia State University.

“We all went there to compete and we gave it our all,” said sophomore Sarah Wallace. “You can’t be disappointed with your best, that’s all you can give.”

Vavra said although the team would’ve liked to place higher, she couldn’t be happier with the ladies’ efforts. She also said 90 percent of them had personal bests for the year at the conference meet.

One those personal bests came from freshman Jessica Selby in shot put. She won first place with a throw 46-1 1/2, almost a foot and five inches past her previous personal record.

“It was a great performance from a freshman to step up and win that event in our conference,” Vavra said. “It was quite a feat. It’s very competitive.”

The throw also set the new University record for indoor shot and gave Selby a better provisional mark, qualifying her for the national indoor meet.

“That was probably the most satisfied I’ve been all season with the way I threw,” Selby said, “but I still want to throw farther.”

Senior Danee Jones threw 44-04 1/4 to place fifth in shot put. Senior Chelsea Michael threw 39-04 1/2 to place ninth.

In the weight throw competition, Jones captured first place with a sling of 58-11 1/2.

“I really would’ve liked to get a [personal record],” Jones said, “but I guess it was good enough to be first.”

Jones is currently ranked second in the nation in division II weight throw and will compete at the national indoor meet.

“Danee has really dominated the weight throw competition the last three years,” Vavra said. “She’s thrown consistently well all year.”

Selby placed ninth with a throw of 47-03 1/2.

Distance races also proved to be a strong point for the Lions.

Junior Erin Click won the mile competition by finishing in 5:02.71.

Vavra said Click had to pull away from the competition and hung on to the lead until the finish, which improved her time in the mile by six seconds.

Senior Megan Russell placed fourth with 5:09.02.

Coming in seventh was senior Ashley Caffey with 5:13.23.

Sophomore Sarah Wallace placed fifth in the 600-yard run with a time of 1:28.42.

In the 3,000-meter, Russell came in second with 10:24.34. Click came right behind in third with 10:25.21.

Caffey placed fifth with a time of 10:28.93.

In the longest race of the meet, the 5,000-meter run, Caffey crossed the finish line in 18:03.65 to claim second.

Russell placed fifth with a time of 18:18.62. Freshman Kelly O’Toole placed 10th with a time of 18:58.93.

Vavra said when it came down to “crunch time” she knew the distance runners were going to contend.

In the relays, the Lions’ 4×400-meter relay placed fifth with a time of 4:00.19.

The relay consists of freshman Lynita Bridges, Wallace, junior Ashley McClelland and junior Iashia Castle.

In the 200-meter dash, freshman Whitney Metcalf placed seventh with a time of 27.08.

Castle placed third in the 400-meter dash with a time of 58.04.

The Lions ran a different team in the distance medley relay and still earned points for the team. The relay consisting of freshman Abby Adams, Wallace, McClelland and junior Kelly Fanning, placed sixth with a time of 12:55.66.

In the high jump competition, junior Melissa Horn leaped 5-3 to place seventh.

Melissa Turner, senior, placed seventh in the pole vault competition by clearing 9-10 1/2. Junior Jenni Blevins also cleared 9-10 1/2 but placed ninth.

Junior Madeline Cline cleared 9-4 1/2 to tie for 10th place.

In the long jump competition, Castle placed sixth with a leap of 16-10 1/2. Junior Dionne Prince jumped 15-10 1/4 to place ninth.

Castle jumped 37-5 1/4 and claimed third place in the triple jump competition. Prince placed fourth with a jump of 37-1.

The Lions are sending three to the division II national indoor track and field meet in Boston next week.

They are Jones in the weight throw, Selby in the shot put and freshman Alison Walker in the 800-meter run.

Walker didn’t run the 800-meter in the conference meet and is currently recovering from an injury.

The rest of the team is taking it easier than normal in practice before they start preparing for the outdoor season, which starts March 17 at the Pittsburg State Open.

“I have to feel pretty pleased with our efforts,” Vavra said. “Hopefully we’ll bring it into the out-door season.”