Indoor track and field team press on for a victorious season

Time is running short for the indoor track season.

With the pressure of having the conference track meet Friday and Saturday, the Lions still placed in 17 events in the top 10 at the University of Oklahoma Feb.18 and 19.

“Last week’s meet was a good tune up for the conference meet,” said Patty Vavra, head women’s track and field coach.

Vavra said the meet gave them a chance to answer some questions because they might enter some athletes in events they don’t usually compete in.

Two of those who competed in different events were senior Megan Russell in the 3K and senior Ashley Caffey in the mile.

Russell claimed first place in the 3000-meter with a time of 10:30.77.

“I had only ran the 3K in an outdoor meet, but I improved my time by 30 seconds,” Russell said. “I was extremely happy with that.”

In the mile, Caffey crossed the finish line in 5:10.47 to place third.

Freshman Abby Adams placed eighth with a time of 5:35.13. Kelly O’Toole, freshman, came in 10th place with 5:36.27.

Sophomore Sarah Wallace placed sixth in the 600-yard run with a time of 1:30.74.

In the 800-meter run, freshman Alison Walker came in second place with a time of 2:15.90. Freshman Rachel Minard finished ninth with 2:36.11.

Junior Ashley McClelland finished 10th with a time of 2:39.23.

The Lions’ 4×400-meter relay crossed the finish line in 4:02.49 to place fifth.

Senior Danee Jones placed second in the weight throw competition with sling of 59-4.

Senior Ashley Clements competed unattached and received sixth place with a throw of 50-1 1/4.

Freshman Jessica Selby threw 47-3 3/4 for eighth place.

Amanda Littlefield, freshman, placed ninth with a throw of 45-0 1/2.

Senior Chelsea Michael threw 44-4 and received 10th place.

“The throwers as a group improved performances in the shot put or weight throw,” Vavra said.

In the shot put competition, freshman Jessica Selby threw almost a foot farther than her first provisional mark.

She threw 44-9 for second place and a better provisional mark.

Selby said she’s not satisfied and wants to throw better and throw farther.

She said she hopes to do this at the meet this weekend.

“I still think she’s got another foot in her,” Vavra said. “She’ll have to throw another foot to get into the national meet, but it’s within her range.”

Jones received fifth place with a throw of 41-10. Clements placed eighth with a throw of 40.08 1/4.

In the jumping events, Iashia Castle, junior, leaped 38-2 3/4 to place fifth in the triple jump.

Freshman Dionne Prince placed eighth with a jump of 37-0 1/4.

“This meet really brought a lot of improved performances,” Vavra said.

She said the improvements came in small increments, but it’s to be expected at this time in the season.

“Every weekend everyone has been improving,” Russell said.

The indoor season is wrapping up.

“Every meet is important at this time, and we’re down to one,” Vavra said.

The Lions will be heading to Warrensburg at Central Missouri State University Friday and Saturday to compete in the MIAA indoor conference championship.

Jones said she is looking for unity between the men’s and women’s team to defend their titles as conference champions.

The teams to beat are Emporia State University, Pittsburgh State University, Truman State University, and CMSU.

Also, the nationally-ranked distance medley relay team will not be running this weekend.

They made the decision to concentrate on individual events first and hope that after the weekend the relay would still be in the top eight.

The relay is currently ranked sixth.

A different combination of athletes will be competing in the DMR.

“It’s going to take the full team’s effort to get the best in every event,” Vavra said. “We will have to capitalize on every opportunity we have to score.”

Caffey agreed and said hopefully people will step up and take advantage of opportunities.

Her goal this weekend is to score as many points as she can for the team.

“I’ll do whatever I can to push us forward,” she said.

Castle said she has high hopes for the team.

She would like to see them place in the top three overall.

Jones is looking forward to the team coming together and having good performances.

“We’ll have to have a group of personal best to compete at a high level,” Vavra said.

She said they’ll not only need to meet, but also beat their personal bests.

“If we get beat, we’ll get beat head to head,” she said.

“We have to control what we can control and that’s ourselves.”