Lions take second in MIAA track and field meet

While the Lions were neck and neck with Central Missouri State University the first day of the MIAA conference track and field meet, the second day the Lions weren’t able to keep up with the Mules’ depth and home advantage.

The Lions placed second to CMSU.

“Our guys gave one of the best performances of this year and from previous meets,” said Tom Rutledge, head men’s track and field coach. “We did everything we could. Missouri Southern should be proud.”

He said while he thinks Southern is better than CMSU man for man, the Mules have “too many weapons.”

“Everybody did their job, we just came up short,” he said.

Rutledge also said Southern is one of the best teams in the conference, and he wants to continue that next year.

“It’s nice to know we’re always a contender,” he said.

Rutledge said while there were no individual stand-outs; the men performed well as a team.

One of the highlights came during the distance medley relay, which includes freshman Brandon Wheeler, junior Kyler Rushing, junior Lucas Plocher and freshman Kyle Davis.

Davis, who ran the last leg (the mile), had just finished running the 5K a half hour before the DMR started.

Davis didn’t know if the 5K had loosened him up, but to run a mile in the relay soon after, he said, “You’d have thought it would’ve killed me.”

Davis said he really didn’t have any adrenaline left because he had used it up in the 5K.

“I just tried to go out and do what coach asked me to,” he said.

When Davis received the baton, Southern was in seventh.

The goal was to be in the top four.

With the team loudly cheering him on as he went around the curve, Davis four people to carry the Lions into a third place finish with a time of 10:39.57.

He said it was the strongest point he had felt all season.

“It was a breakthrough for me,” he said. “As a freshman, I finally showed some potential as to why I as recruited. I finally felt like I’d done something to help out the team.”

Coach Rutledge said Davis had a great weekend.

“[Davis] showed some unreal ability in strength and power,” he said.

Other highlights of the meet:

* Paul Koehler, senior, won both the 3,000-meter run and the 5,000-meter run.

“I had in mind that I wanted to win those events and help the team,” Koehler said. “Time wise, I could’ve done better.”

He finished the 3K in 8:36.26. Davis placed fifth in the event with a time of 8:46.53. Senior Craig Rhoads finished sixth with a time of 8:51.74.

* In the 5K, Koehler crossed the finish line in 14:56.37. Rhoads came in third with a time of 15:15.09. Freshman Ryan Arthur placed eighth in 15:45.32.

* Senior Neil Hombs claimed second place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 50.21.

* In the mile, senior Craig Rhoads finished in 4:22.30 to place fourth.

Freshman Brandon Wheeler placed seventh in the 800-meter with a time of 2:02.42. Plocher finished eighth in 2:03.01.

* In the 200-meter dash, freshman Chris Farmer placed sixth with a time of 22.78. Junior Moses Manga followed in seventh with a time of 22.81.

* The 4×400-meter relay finished in 3:24.04 to earn third place. The relay consists of Manga, Rushing, freshman David Downs and Hombs.

* In the high jump competition, Rushing claimed second place by soaring over 6-7 1/2.

* Junior Matt Campbell won the pole vault competition by clearing 16-4. Senior Kyle Rutledge claimed third place with a vault of 15-6 1/4. Freshman Russell Ellis placed fourth with a clearance of 15-00 1/4.

*Senior Mike Stewart claimed second place in the triple jump competition with a distance of 47-2 1/4.

* In the long jump, Stewart leaped 21-8 to tie for eighth.

* Junior Mike Hines said his goal going into the conference meet was to place in the top 20 in the shot put competition. He knew if he did that, he’d be going to the national meet. He met his goal with a launch of 55-1 1/2 to claim second place. This throw bettered his provisional mark and secured him a spot in the national indoor meet.

Freshman Nick Vince threw the shot 46-11 1/2 to place ninth.

Rutledge said so many times they could’ve “laid down and died” but it was “pure blatant desire” that kept them going.

“My guys were just awesome,” he said. “Everyone did their job with everything they possibly could. When we ran out of bullets, we threw rocks and chairs.”

He said they did everything he asked them to do plus more.

“A lot of those kids made a believer out of me,” Rutledge said. “It makes me feel humble to these young men.”

The men pulled back on practice this week to rest some.

“It’s necessary to pull yourself back a bit to allow yourself to peak,” Koehler said. “After this week we’ll be full force again.”